Month: February 2014
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—and you may be asked to help the board determine who the best replacement for an outgoing board member is. If so, there are specific important qualities that make for a successful community association board of directors, or can change the makeup of the board in a meaningful way.
Security is one of the most important aspects of managing a community. After all, if members don’t feel safe, they won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of association living. Review your security policies and practices frequently. If you’re on a tight security budget and don’t have access to a lot of resources, or if your community doesn't experience a lot of crime, you may be tempted to cut corners—for example, by using only part-time patrols. But if you do this, stagger security guards' shifts to keep criminals off guard.
Q: Several community members, and, occasionally some guests, use wheelchairs. Because of the size and design of some of the common areas, the walls have been dented, paint has been scratched on the walls and doors, and corners and doorways have been nicked. There has also been damage to carpets and wood floors from wheelchairs. It has been expensive to repair wall and floor damage caused by those wheelchairs to the common areas. What can I do to prevent this damage?
Like association board members, managers are entrusted to work within fiduciary guidelines, exercise sound business judgment, and consistently maintain the duty of care and loyalty they owe to the association. Managers who keep these responsibilities in mind are more likely to preempt member dissatisfaction and even liability.
Just because you have pet rules for your community, that doesn’t mean that members with pets will always follow them. Noncompliant members can create problems that range from annoying to dangerous. What can you do? Periodically send a letter reminding them of the importance of complying with your pet rules and pointing out how disregarding the rules disturbs other members and your maintenance staff. Your letter, like our Model Letter: Remind Pet Owners of Responsibilities, should include four key points.
At some point, you may have considered providing storage rooms or lockers for members. It can work in your favor in two ways because it gives members a great amenity, especially those who are living in smaller units, while providing an opportunity to generate income for the association—if you charge a fee. Using common space storage to generate income also shows members that the association is being proactive in investigating any and all means to generate income without having to unnecessarily raise common charges or impose assessments on its members.
Facts: An association sued two members for not paying maintenance fees. The members filed a counterclaim alleging that the association had caused monetary damage to them by “engaging in bad faith conduct” by its involvement in a lawsuit filed by a group of other members in the community who accused the association of withholding financial documents. The members asserted that they had been rejected for a reverse mortgage loan on their unit because of that lawsuit. A trial court ruled in favor of the association without a trial. The members appealed.
An Arizona HOA board has succumbed to pressure from owners in the community to reverse its ban on residents smoking medical marijuana in their yards and on their patios. The HOA board had voted to ban the use of medical marijuana in those areas, prompting residents to accuse the board of overstepping its bounds. A petition to rescind the ban had been circulated by several homeowners, many of whom cited their personal freedom as one of many reasons that they were outraged.