Month: March 2018
As a community association manager, a large part of your time can be taken up with questions from directors and members that require a response. While you might want to provide as much helpful information as you can, be aware that this area can be fraught with risk for you and your management company.
Avoiding the Practice of Law
Occasionally, a homeowner will ask to review association records. This can be a tricky issue if you don’t know exactly how to handle this request and what you can and can’t show to a member. A recent court case highlighted the specific issue of associations withholding records based on “protected” status.
A California homeowners association is requiring members to keep their garage doors open most of the day on weekdays. The new rule is in response to the association learning that so-called squatters—people living in a home illegally—were inhabiting the garage of at least one home in the area.
While squatting can present its own problems for an association, members are complaining that the move is putting them at risk in a different way: Security is compromised.
As a community association manager, a large part of your time can be taken up with questions from directors and members that require a response. While you might want to provide as much helpful information as you can, be aware that this area can be fraught with risk for you and your management company. That’s because giving what you think of as a detailed and helpful response could be seen as “the practice of law” under certain circumstances, which could subject you to penalties.
Depending upon where the community you manage is located, hot weather is a year-round issue you must manage or summer is around the corner faster than you think. One sure way you can beat the heat, no matter where your association is, is to be certain that your community’s central air conditioning system or members’ individual units are ready to go for peak temperatures. Malfunctioning systems are likely to waste energy and money—and they’ll certainly lead to member complaints.
Q: A homeowner in the planned community I manage has installed a shed in his backyard. Under the association’s declaration of restrictions, the homeowner is required to get written permission to install this type of structure, but didn’t. He refuses to remove it, saying that multiple other similar sheds are visible in his neighbors’ yards. If the association sues him, what’s the likelihood that other owners’ unapproved structures will affect the outcome?
A homeowners association in Las Vegas is facing not just a staggering jury verdict in favor of the family of a teenager who was injured by playground equipment in the community, but also questions from confused members, some of whom feel misled.
In 2015, a swing set crossbar in the community’s common area fell on the 15-year-old boy’s head, causing permanent brain damage that will worsen over time. Court records show the association did not have a maintenance and inspection plan on their playground equipment.
Facts: A condominium unit owner alleged that a board of directors election for the community had been improperly conducted. He claimed that there were statutory violations. He asked a trial court for declaratory relief—that is, a judgment of a court that determines the rights of the parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages—but the court denied it. The unit owner appealed.
Decision: A California appeals court affirmed.