Month: November 2012
Q: Why is it important for a community association to have moving rules? What points should moving rules cover?
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is giving more flexibility to 55-and-over communities who wish to help families who have been affected by the hurricane. HUD recently issued guidance that allows communities who have designated themselves “housing for older persons” the flexibility to open up vacant units to evacuees of Hurricane Sandy under the age of 55, without jeopardizing the community's qualification for certain legal exemptions under the Fair Housing Act.
If you’re like most community association managers, you require contractors you’ve hired to prove that they’re licensed and insured and have any other necessary qualifications to work in the community. However, members sometimes want to hire their own contractors to perform work in their units. This can open up the association to liability. That’s because an association can be held liable if a member’s contractor or one of the contractor’s employees is injured or if another member is injured by the contractor’s subpar work.
Whether it’s for fun, exercise, environmental concerns, or in an effort to save on gas prices and car expenses, an increasing number of children and adults have been riding bicycles. Many of your association members or their children may ride their bikes within the community. While bicycling should be encouraged, it can also create liability for the association if you don’t set rules to improve safety for not only these cyclists, but also members who walk or drive there.
If you’re tired of sending multiple notices and fines to members who have violated parking rules, you may have considered booting illegally parked cars. Be aware that booting has its drawbacks. Members or renters whose cars get booted may sue the association, claiming that it doesn’t have the legal right to take that action. To avoid this, include a clause in the association’s parking contracts with members and renters that provide the explicit authority to boot cars that are parking in violation of your community’s parking rules.
When the weather is snowy or icy, don’t send an employee up to the roof to clear gutters, inspect for leaks, or remove snow. The employee could injure himself. By winter, it’s too late to do your inspections and gutter clearing, but you’ll still need to remove any snow that accumulates. To do this, have employees stay on the ground and use a telescopic extension pole to eliminate the buildup.
When you clean up snow and ice, be sure to remove all of it and not take halfway measures—like only throwing down salt, which can leave common areas slippery. After the cleanup, designate an employee to check the sidewalks, steps, driveway, and parking lots to make sure they’re clear. Pay particular attention to steps because this is the place where members are most likely to injure themselves. If a member falls on leftover ice, you could end up being sued.
Facts: A condo owner purchased his unit for use as a vacation property and as a rental unit during those periods when he was at his permanent home in another state. According to the owner, his unit suffered damage during renovations performed by contractors working under the condominium association’s direction. Specifically, the owner asserted that substantial renovations to the exterior of the buildings of the units, including his unit, had to be made due to the association’s failure to properly maintain the common areas of the units.
Facts: Two owners purchased an unimproved lot in a planned residential community. The recorded Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of the association applied to all properties located within it. Several years later, the association filed a complaint alleging that the owners had breached the CC&Rs when developing their lot, but the owners denied any breach. The association asked the district court for a judgment in its favor, which was granted.
An above-ground pool that two Pittsburgh-area community members built on their property is making waves after the association filed a lawsuit, alleging that the pool violates the Unity neighborhood development’s regulations and should be removed.