Month: March 2013
Spring is here, but it’s not too early to plan ahead for beating the heat if the community you manage experiences hot weather during the summer months. Keeping units and common areas cool during scorching summer months is especially important in certain types of communities—for example, communities whose residents are over a certain age and whose health conditions can be aggravated by excessive heat.
A Fairfax, Va., homeowners association spent big bucks on a small problem—and bankrupted itself in the process. The 44-unit townhouse community shelled out almost $400,000 in legal fees to fight a four-year battle with two unit owners who in 2008 placed in their yard an election sign that was four inches taller than the association’s covenants allowed.
Home businesses are being operated more often than ever before, as a cost-saving measure or because it’s more convenient for the business owner to stay at home. But some associations restrict the kinds of businesses members can operate in their homes or prohibit home businesses altogether.
Facts: An association that owns and maintains the public areas within a gated community and provides services to the residents of that community sued a homeowner for dues and assessments. Following a nonjury trial, a court ruled in favor of the association. It ordered the owner to pay over $3,000 to the association. The owner appealed.
Decision: A New York appeals courtupheld the lower court’s decision.
Facts: Water leaks in the common area of a condominium building damaged an owner’s unit. The owner sued the association and the building’s developer. After a jury trial, the jury found that both the developer and the association were negligent and that their actions were the direct cause of the damage. The jury attributed 80 percent of “fault” to the developer and 20 percent to the association—that is, the developer would be responsible for paying 80 percent of the damages and the association would be responsible for paying 20 percent.
Facts: A condominium unit included access to a wood rooftop deck enclosed by a railing. The owner of the unit held a party on the deck. One of the party guests climbed over the railing and walked across an unimproved portion of the roof where he fell through an airshaft and was injured. The guest sued the condo association for negligence. The association asserted that the incident wasn’t foreseeable and that it owed no duty of care to the guest. The association asked a trial court for a judgment in its favor without a trial.