Month: October 2013

Get Members Ready for Special Assessment

Although the recession has passed, members of your community may still be struggling or just getting back on their financial feet again. Some may be stretched to pay for basic association costs. So announcing a special assessment might be the last straw. And even members who can afford a special assessment won’t be happy to pay unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Increase Employee Retention with Exit Interview

In the not too distant past, it wasn’t uncommon for an employee to work for the same company for many years, or even for her entire career. But today, the average worker stays at each of her jobs for just 4.4 years, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the expected tenure of the work force’s youngest employees—the so-called “Millennials” who were born between 1977 and 1997—is about half that.

Finding Solutions to Live-Work Condo Challenges

The development of so-called live-work condominium buildings is picking up speed throughout the country in response to the proliferation of professionals who work from home. The condo hybrid creates a space that’s suited to work and residential needs. But the trend is not without its challenges: Some developers have experienced delays because building codes in most municipalities don't yet have provisions for these residential-commercial hybrids; the type of work the unit owner can engage in could also be subject to municipal oversight.

Slip-and-Fall in Remote Area Not Foreseeable by Association

Facts: A condo owner and her neighbor had a disagreement. In retaliation, the neighbor “hid” a ceramic planter that belonged to the owner on a grassy, sloped area away from their units. The grassy area wasn’t intended for use by owners or their guests. While retrieving her planter the owner slipped and fell on the grassy slope, which was waterlogged from a rainstorm the night before. She broke her ankle. She sued the association and its management company.

Board Had Proof of Outstanding Common Area Charges

Facts: A condominium board sued the owners of a condo to foreclose a lien issued for the nonpayment of common charges, and to recover the common charges and fees the owners allegedly owed. The owners counterclaimed, asserting that the board had no right to foreclose. The owners argued, among other things, that they already had overpaid common charges and that the board had “constructively evicted” them.

Proceed Cautiously When Responding to a Hoarding Problem

By Carol Johnson Perkins, Esq.

With the popularity of reality TV shows, hoarding is on everyone’s mind. Many of us collect or keep objects—perhaps more than we should—because they have sentimental value or we may “need them someday.” But compulsive hoarding is more than simply having too much clutter—it’s now recognized as a mental health disorder, under the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) adopted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) earlier this year.

Association Enforced Weight Restrictions Against Member’s Assistance Animal

Facts: A U.S. Air Force veteran lived in a Florida condominium unit for several years before getting a large dog in 2008. Although the homeowners association had a policy against keeping animals that weighed more than 25 pounds, the member agreed to take the dog from a coworker who couldn’t care for it anymore.

Florida HOA Pays $150K to Settle Discrimination Complaint

In August 2013, a Florida condominium association and its former management company agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a fair housing claim alleging that they enforced occupancy limits that discriminated against families with children.