Month: December 2015
Whether you manage a planned community or a condominium building, issues with the board can take up your time and create frustration among owners who just want things to run smoothly. One of those issues could be assembling a board to begin with. In some scenarios, owners may be clamoring to serve on the board. That’s good news: It indicates that members of the community are invested in and want to be involved in the successful operation of the association.
Members sometimes build improvements on common areas or limited common areas without first getting the association’s consent, because they mistakenly believe the area belongs to them. This can lead to an unpleasant dispute between a member and the association, especially when the association tells the member to remove the improvement.
Q: The homeowners association I manage is in a dispute with our prior law firm regarding the payment of legal fees. We haven’t been able to come to a settlement and are currently scheduled to go to trial later this year. If we win, can we recover attorneys’ fees and costs for such a dispute?
Facts: A unit owner slipped and fell on a driveway leading to his condominium complex. He sued the association, seeking damages for injuries he suffered. The driveway, also known as the “east access road,” is located on property owned by a third party. The association has an easement for ingress and egress—that is, the right to use the driveway to come and go—in common with the third party. The third party asked a New York court for a judgment in its favor without a trial.
Facts: The association and its management company were responsible under the association’s governing documents for maintaining the common areas of a condominium building. But the management company failed to waterproof areas of the building, leading to water intrusion and deterioration. The board of directors spent reserve funds for purposes other than the repair, restoration, replacement, or maintenance of the common areas.
Community Associations Institute (CAI) recently presented the 2015 Hero of Associations award to Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) for his tireless efforts in helping constituents living in condominiums, cooperatives, and community associations become eligible for federal disaster relief. Israel began working on disaster relief fairness to help constituents affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The day-to-day focus of the association manager, members, and the board might center on their roles in keeping the community running smoothly—abiding by the governing documents, quickly dealing with problems that pop up, and making decisions that affect the community, respectively.
Before taking drastic steps to shut down a daycare in the community or condominium building you manage, check whether the business actually is allowed in the governing documents. An Illinois association learned the hard way that if the covenants permit a certain type of business to operate, it can’t be shut down.
Q: Internet access is a must-have for most people in the community I manage, and there have been complaints because our association requires members to arrange for and pay for Internet access in their own units. The association wants to provide wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi) to the entire community. Can we pay for it by adding the cost to the monthly assessment?
Association living requires a collaborative effort to ensure safety, uniform aesthetics, shared common amenities and activities, and maintenance that make the community a desirable place to call home. The day-to-day focus of homeowners, the community association manager, and the board might center on their roles in keeping the community running smoothly—abiding by the governing documents, quickly dealing with problems that pop up, and making decisions that affect the community, respectively.