Month: May 2014

Hold Orientation Sessions for New Board Members

Inevitably, for one reason or another, a community association board member gives up his position. When this happens, the association has the sometimes difficult task of replacing the outgoing member. But the challenging part of replacing a member comes after the new member is found and elected to the board. That's because, depending upon the new member's experience with your association, or associations generally, there may be a lot of information for him to quickly get up to speed on—especially if big decisions are in the process of being made.

Avoid Liability When Enforcing Debt Collection Policy

From time to time, members of the association you manage may have financial trouble and get behind on their assessments or other amounts that are owed, such as costs for things like a storage area or parking. And that can be compounded when fees, fines, and interest are added due to delinquency. Sometimes, late payments aren’t because of financial hardship—a member may be upset about something in the community and feel that he’s “taking a stand” by not paying what he owes.

Preventing Defamation Claims Arising from Newsletter, Website

Q: My association publishes a community newsletter and hosts a community website. I’m worried that at some point there will be a situation in which a disgruntled member or someone outside the community falsely accuses the board of defamation for something that may be published in the newsletter or on the website. What are the defenses against defamation lawsuits?

Set Sports Court Rules to Minimize Association Liability

Sports courts, such as basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts, are a great amenity for a community. But they can also lead to problems—for example, members arguing over how much time should be allotted on a court—or serious injuries. Creating a set of rules that govern the use of sports courts is a smart way to avoid liability for injuries and to head off member disputes.

Vacation Rentals Didn’t Violate Ban on Commercial Use of Units

Facts: Homeowners sought to invalidate a covenant adopted by their community association prohibiting the rental of their homes for less than 30 days. A trial court ruled in favor of the homeowners without a trial.

Association’s Late Assessment Notice Didn’t Excuse Payment

Facts: A townhome owner in a planned community didn’t pay his annual assessments for seven years. The association sued him for the delinquent amount. A trial court ruled in favor of the association and awarded full payment of unpaid annual assessments plus attorney’s fees and costs.

Owner Couldn’t Establish Retaliation by Association

Facts: A homeowner reported to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture an incident of hazardous environmental exposure to an employee of a landscaping company that had been hired to do lawn maintenance by the association. The employee was African American. According to the homeowner, the landscaping company used “unsuspecting” African-American employees to apply toxic pesticides without any training or knowledge.

Owner Sees Red after HOA Insists on Painting Handicap Lift

When a Durham, N.C., association told a homeowner she needed to paint her handicap lift to match the new paint color of her and her neighbors’ porches or face fines, she refused. The owner argued that prior to the repainting of porches in the community, the lift didn’t match the original paint color of her porch, so it shouldn’t be a problem now. The owner told the association that the installer of the lift didn’t recommend repainting over the factory paint because it would interfere with future repairs.