Month: November 2015

Avoid Typical ARC Problems That Arise from Variance Requests

While control over uniformity and aesthetics plays a large role in the attraction to homeownership in a planned community, from time to time, a member will ask for a variance from the architectural and design rules.

Don’t Refuse to Accept Delinquent Payments

Unfortunately, you’ll sometimes have to determine how to handle a situation where a member is delinquent in paying assessments or other fees or charges from the association you manage. Tread lightly in this situation. There can be major ramifications from—and even penalties for—associations that are deemed to be acting as a “debt collector” while trying to recoup what the member owes. And if a member is trying to pay delinquent fees, you should also find out how you can work with him to pay down the balance.

Remain Diplomatic When Extinguishing Secondhand Smoking

Many condo associations face an increased number of complaints from nonsmokers about their smoking neighbors and are being asked to take action. Oftentimes, associations are put in the awkward position of resolving the conflict between smoking and nonsmoking members. The emotions involved are heightened due to the fact that smokers believe that they have a right to smoke in their own homes, while nonsmokers believe that they have a right not to be exposed to harmful secondhand smoke.

Keep Architectural Review Committee on the Right Track

A selling point of association living is that the community’s or condominium building’s appearance will be maintained and uniform. While control over uniformity and aesthetics plays a large role in the attraction to this type of homeownership, from time to time, a member will ask for a variance from the architectural and design rules.

Get Control Over Employees’ Online Activities During Workday

Social media, email, and the Internet have vastly improved some aspects of business. Your association may have a website or use Facebook or Instagram to promote the benefits of living in the community or condominium building you manage or to post pictures of community events. But when employees spend work hours sending personal emails, going online to shop, or checking their social media channels, it leads to a decrease in productivity.

Purpose, Not Style of Structure Determined Declaration Compliance

Facts: A homeowners association declaration permitted garages that are attached to a home, and accessory structures that are not used for storage and that are deemed acceptable by the design review committee. Two homeowners’ request to build a detached “garage” on their property was denied by the association because the declaration allowed only those garages that are attached to a house. The homeowners built the garage without the association’s approval. The association sent the homeowners a letter asking them to comply with the declaration.

Homeowner’s Claim of Retribution Didn’t Excuse Late Assessments

Facts: A townhome owner failed to pay two years’ of association assessments due on the property. The association filed a small claims action seeking damages for the unpaid assessments, including late fees and attorney’s fees.

Covenant Allowed for Home-Based Daycare Businesses

Facts: An association discovered that two homeowners in the community were operating daycare businesses in their homes. The association asked a trial court for a declaration that this was in violation of the restrictive covenant, and an injunction—that is, an order from the court to shut down the businesses.

Link to Governing Documents Wasn’t ‘Notice’ of Rule Amendment

Facts: Two homeowners moved into a planned community in 2009. The association fined them for bringing their dog into the clubhouse. The homeowners contested the fines. The homeowners argued that the fines were wrongly imposed because they hadn’t been properly notified of any change in the HOA rules prohibiting dogs.