Month: July 2016
Record keeping is an essential part of running an association. Not only does the law require associations to keep certain types of records for specified periods of time, but records also can prove that the association acted as it was required to in certain situation, and help you keep track of things like association spending, complaints and requests by members, and board decisions.
Despite widespread warnings about the dangers of cigarettes, you’ll no doubt have at least some smokers in the community you manage. This is especially problematic in condominium buildings, where smoke from one unit can permeate other units and common areas—leading to bitter complaints or damage that you’ll have to deal with. Some cigarette smoke complaints might even purport that the smoke is causing health issues for other members.
Q: I’ve had to send several notices to homeowners in the planned community I manage. They’ve installed fencing that isn’t compliant with association requirements. There has been so much correspondence regarding the issue—do I have to reference in each notice exactly what the homeowners are being warned about?
Record keeping is an essential part of running an association. Not only does the law require associations to keep certain types of records for specified periods of time, but records also can prove that the association acted as it was required to in certain situations, like making necessary repairs—which in turn can relieve it from liability for wrongdoing and avoid lawsuits. Records can also help you keep track of things like association spending, complaints and requests by members, and board decisions.
Resorting to litigation if a contractor violates your agreement with it is an unfortunate situation for many reasons. Lawsuits take up valuable time that the association could be using in a positive way to better the community. And a lawsuit might ultimately end up costing even more than the amount that the contractor owed the association anyway. Even if you’ve agreed that a claim must be resolved by arbitration, those costs can skyrocket too.
If your community association has a hard time getting enough board members to attend monthly board meetings to form a quorum, consider meeting by telephone conference call. Meeting by conference call makes it easier for directors to attend, increasing the likelihood that they will. This is especially true for vacation communities, whose board members often live far away from one another and are rarely all present at the community at the same time.
Facts: A homeowner who violated the rules in an association’s governing documents was fined. He sued the association, claiming that it couldn’t lawfully impose fines on its members. He argued that: (1) only a government can impose fines; (2) the restrictive covenants do not authorize the imposition of fines; (3) the bylaws’ provisions concerning fines are not the equivalent of a liquidated damages provision in a contract but rather constitute unenforceable contractual penalties; and (4) the association’s imposition of fines violates public policy.
Facts: Two condominium unit owners sued the association for claims associated with alleged mold contamination in their unit and common area. A trial court ruled in favor of the association. The association also asked the trial court to allow it to collect as an assessment against the owners the litigation fees and costs. The trial court dismissed the claim. The association appealed.
Decision: A Georgia appeals court upheld the trial court’s decision.
Facts: A condominium unit owner was attacked by another resident’s dog in a common area. The owner sued the association and manager. She claimed that the association and the manager of the condominium were negligent because the condominium association failed to enact and/or enforce rules relating to dogs, failed to enforce the regulations that were in place, and failed “to perform regular inspections of all buildings to ensure compliance” with the rules and regulations.