Month: January 2015

Don’t Try to Sway Election

Don’t try to influence your association’s election by stating that if a certain person is elected, you or your management company will cancel its contract. While it’s not illegal to seek to influence association elections, generally it’s inappropriate for community association managers, whether they’re on-site employees or representatives of a management company, to try to sway an election.

Avoid Voting Proxy Pitfalls

Most state laws require community associations to allow their members to vote by proxy when they can’t or don’t want to attend a meeting in person. For many, this is helpful because using proxies can allow absentee owners—including those who might reside out of state part of the year—to cast a vote that might otherwise have been lost. It can also help an association meeting reach a quorum so that business can proceed.

Don’t Make Decisions Unless a Quorum Is Present

Remind the association’s board of directors: Before making any decisions or taking any actions at a meeting, make sure a quorum is present. A quorum is the number of people who must be present for the board to take any official actions. Your association’s governing documents and/or your state law will explain how many people make up a quorum. Some board members mistakenly believe that a meeting can proceed without a quorum present as long as no one objects. But, with very few exceptions, actions taken at meetings where a quorum isn’t present are invalid.

Comply with Fiduciary Duty by Improving Board’s Decision-Making Process

While board members have what’s known as a “fiduciary duty” to the association, some members—especially those who are at odds with choices the association has made—mistakenly think that the board should serve their particular interests. That goes squarely against the concept of fiduciary duty—that is, a legal obligation imposed on all board members to be loyal to the association.

Recognize Warning Signs, Get Help for Elderly Members

Although many elderly members in your community are capable of living independently, sooner or later you may have an elderly member who has trouble coping with day-to-day concerns, such as managing money or keeping his unit tidy. An elderly member who has trouble coping may neglect normal upkeep in his unit. Oversights can lead to property damage and safety concerns. For example, the member may eventually stop cleaning, let his bathtub overflow, or leave the gas range on—putting himself, other members, and your condominium building at risk.

Purchasing Property at Foreclosure Sales

Q: A home in our community has been foreclosed on by the association after the owner failed to pay assessments for a long period of time. The association wants to buy the foreclosed lot. Is there a rule regarding how much money an association is allowed to spend buying a foreclosed lot? There also are past-due real estate taxes on this lot. How much can an association spend paying the past-due real estate taxes owed on a lot if obtained in its own foreclosure action?

Association Didn’t Respond Properly to Flag Complaint

Facts: A homeowner flew the American flag on a flagpole in front of his house. The association sued the homeowner to enjoin him from displaying the flag. The homeowner asked a trial court for a judgment in his favor without a trial. The trial court ruled in favor of the homeowner without specifying the grounds upon which it made the decision. The association appealed.

Decision: A Texas appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision.

Federal Court Couldn’t Rule on Homeowners’ State Claims

Facts: Two homeowners sued the association. They asked for a temporary restraining order to stop the association from locking them out of their home due to the foreclosure on their home. They claimed that the president of the association began harassing one of the homeowners due to her nationality and language barrier.