Month: June 2013

Conduct Legal Checkup of Swimming Pools to Avoid Liability

Make sure that your community swimming pools are ready for action this summer by checking their safety, insurance coverage, and legal compliance. Many associations don’t conduct legal checkups, which is risky considering the number of lawsuits and regulations that exist. A big part of a checkup should be conducting an insurance inspection. Your association should inspect the pool area with a representative from the association’s insurer, if one is available and willing to visit.

HOAs Targeted in State Campaign Finance Law

By signing Senate Bill 1454 into law, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has pulled community associations into the fray of campaign finance legislation that critics have said is “sweeping.” They say that the pressure to pass the bill increased in the final hours of the legislative session, as it became a catchall for some stalled measures in the Arizona Senate and House. The new law will go into effect Sept. 13, 2013.

Assert Legal Rights Quickly if Member Encroaches on Common Area

If a member builds a fence, patio, or any other structure that encroaches on a common area—even just a little—quickly assert your legal rights to have it removed. If you don’t and enough time passes, that portion of the common area could become the member’s property.

Take Five Qualities into Account When Assembling Board

Inevitably, for one reason or another, a community association board member will give up her position. When this happens, the association has the sometimes difficult task of replacing the outgoing member. There are certain qualities that some people have that make them more suitable for the role than others. Experience, of course, helps too. After all, the more a new board member knows, the more she’ll be able to contribute to the association in a meaningful way. You may be asked to help the board determine who the best replacement for an outgoing board member is.

Top 10 Dos & Don’ts for Reducing Risks

Anticipating risks and then coming up with reasonable, cost-effective, and practical ways to reduce them is a large part of being an effective association manager. Because you and your staff are at the community day-in and day-out working on everything from dealing with the board to making sure that landscaping projects are going well to responding to members’ complaints or questions, you’re in the unique position of seeing potential problems before they arise.

Check Documents, Applicable Law for Plumbing Responsibility

The case law issued in recent years by U.S. federal and state courts was replete with lessons for community associations and their managers alike. A major theme that has emerged is the repair and maintenance of both common areas and members’ units. Sometimes, like in the following case, the dispute revolves around who owns an area (and therefore, who is responsible for its upkeep): the member or the association.

Assessing Liability Issues Raised by Neighborhood Watch Program

Q: As a member of my community association, I’d like to organize a neighborhood watch program to help prevent crime in the community. I’m concerned that the association might be held liable if something goes wrong as a result. Is a neighborhood watch program a good idea?

A: With the Trayvon Martin murder case underway in a Sanford, Fla., circuit court, the controversy surrounding so-called neighborhood watch programs in planned communities continues.

Tailor Recordkeeping to State Law, Association’s Specific Needs

You know that organization is one of the keys to association management success, especially if you’re in charge of a larger community or one with many members. If you did an annual spring cleaning this year, you might also have realized that you need to cut down on clutter in your office, which might include boxes of association records—which can get sizable if they include accounting records, membership lists, meeting minutes, and other important papers—that the association has accumulated over the years. So, what should an association do with old records?

Set Rule Barring Members, Guests from Condo Roofs

As summer begins and temperatures rise, members and their guests may be tempted to go up on the roof and sunbathe, barbecue, or just cool off from their hot units. Unfortunately, allowing people on the roof of your condominium building can create problems for you and the association. For example, if a member or guest gets seriously injured or causes costly property damage, a court may rule that you’re liable for the injuries or damage because you let members and guests use the roof. How can you avoid this risk? Consider banning members from using the building in this way.

CAI Steps Up Disaster Relief Fairness Campaign

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) continues to fight for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief equality. Since the beginning of the year, CAI, the organization that provides information and education to community associations and the professionals who support them, has stepped up its efforts to secure access to federal disaster relief funds for community associations across the U.S.