Consider 16 Factors to Avoid Tax Liability for Worker Classification
Like any other business or organization, community associations must file taxes with the government. And tax liability is a huge issue that associations need to be aware of. Improper reporting can land the association in hot water and cost thousands in fines, penalties, and late fees. With the New Year just here, April—the month in which federal and state taxes must be filed—might seem far off. But properly doing necessary paperwork and consulting with the association’s accountant can take time. So planning ahead is key.
Avoid Ex-Employee Litigation with Methodical Termination Process
Managing an association involves day-to-day tasks that, while they should be done meticulously, are also not typically the impetus for lawsuits. Although you might be used to dealing with small issues that aren’t the subject of litigation, don’t be cavalier about bigger decisions, like how to let go of an employee who just isn’t working out.
Vineyard Wasn’t a ‘Business’ Prohibited by Governing Documents
Facts: Two homeowners cultivated a vineyard on their land in a planned community for the purpose of making wine to be sold to the public. The association’s CC&Rs didn’t prohibit the cultivation of a vineyard for this purpose, but they did prohibit “any business or commercial activity.” Several other homeowners objected to the operation of what they considered to be a commercial vineyard in violation of the prohibition against any business or commercial activity.
Landmark HOA Legislation Presents Compliance Challenges
Important new legislation is changing how California HOAs will operate starting in 2019. Assembly Bill 2912 began with its purpose “to take important steps to protect HOA members from fraudulent activity by those entrusted with the management of the association’s finances.” The bill, which passed both houses of the Legislature on unanimous votes, is sponsored by the Community Associations Institute and the California Association of Community Managers.
Avoid ‘Negligent Hiring’ Claims by Vetting Job Candidates
Every person who works in your community—from maintenance employees to office staff—will interact with members and potentially have access to sensitive information, including financial documents. When employees are trustworthy, this exposure isn’t an issue. But it’s incredibly difficult to ensure that a new hire won’t turn out to be an opportunist who uses her position for an ulterior motive.
Use Tough Acceleration Policy to Keep Members Current
The financial health of an association depends in large part on monthly payments from members. Those payments are integral because they pay for the services and amenities the members expect and are entitled to. Unfortunately, whether it’s because of financial difficulties or a dispute, sometimes you’ll encounter a member who doesn’t make his monthly payment of assessments.
Use Business Judgment Rule to Avoid Association Lawsuits
Typically, if decisions made by the board turn out well, members are happy. But if the decisions lead to unforeseen costly expenses to the community, some members might sue, regardless of the board members’ good intentions. That’s why it’s more important than ever that your board’s judgments be the result of a sound, deliberative decision-making process. If they are, there’s a much better chance that courts will defer to them in case of a lawsuit.
Avoid Insider Crimes with Four Safeguards for Employee Hiring Process
Every person who works in your community—from maintenance employees to office staff—will interact with members and potentially have access to sensitive information, including financial documents. When employees are trustworthy, this exposure isn’t an issue. But it’s incredibly difficult to ensure that a new hire won’t turn out to be an opportunist who uses her position for an ulterior motive. This creates serious risks for you and the association.
Take Four Steps to Minimize Heat Complaints from Members This Winter
Winter weather can make community managers’ jobs more challenging if they’re managing associations that are located in cold-weather climates. You’ll typically field an influx of heating complaints. Often, these complaints are unfounded or result from easily correctable problems. Provide too much heat, however, and you’re just wasting fuel and money. The best bet is to address heating complaints right away, while also controlling your heating costs.
Defining Board Officers’ Duties
While serving on the board of a community association is a volunteer position, board members can get very invested in it. It’s not uncommon to hear about board members who overstep boundaries. That’s why it’s important to be able to gently—or in some cases, more firmly—remind a member who’s taking over duties that aren’t part of her position about the board members’ official duties and why it’s important for everyone to play his or her role.