Q Is there any benefit to knowing about new on-site employees' preexisting injuries? How can I get this information?
Fair housing claims often stem from adverse actions taken against members for violating community policies or rules. In some cases, it's a claim of “disparate treatment—that is, that the rules are being selectively enforced because of a member's race or other characteristic protected under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Less commonly, it's a claim of “disparate impact,” where seemingly neutral rules have a disproportionate effect on racial minorities or other protected groups. In some cases, both claims are raised.
Community members may want to inspect the records of their association for a variety of reasons, some legitimate and some improper. It may be hard to tell whether a member wants access to records for a harmless reason, to harass the association, to gather confidential information to which the member isn't entitled, or for information that will support his case if he's planning to sue the association. This makes it difficult to know when to grant and when to deny requests when they're made.
If your community is in a region of the country that gets snow, hiring a snow removal contractor may be inevitable. Typically, snow removal contractors provide associations with a form contract to sign. But a form contract may not always work to your benefit—for example, it may not have a payment plan that's beneficial to you or specifically spell out such things as when the company should start plowing after a snowfall.
If you draft your own snow removal contract, ask your attorney about including the following seven key protections.
Association boards are filled with people from all walks of life. And although the volunteer position offers no financial compensation, board members have considerable responsibilities. They are basically in charge of running a “business” with all the same attention paid to revenues, expenses, and assets. On top of carrying out the association's administrative duties, board members have to be concerned with exposing themselves to one of the perils of their position—the potential for conflicts of interest.
Finding good management employees can be tough. Especially, in today's job market, you may find yourself wading through piles of applications from unqualified candidates if you advertise a job opening using traditional recruiting methods.
But there's one recruiting resource that many management companies overlook—their own employees. You can turn your employees into a recruiting team by implementing an employee referral program that pays them for referring job candidates whom you hire, says Patricia Anderson, a Colorado-based human resources consultant.
In last month's issue (Aug. 2010), the Insider explained how to identify when the brick façade on your building needs repointing work. Repointing work is the chiseling out of old, worn mortar between bricks and having it replaced with fresh mortar.
Recently, a Montana mixed-use condominium association board voted to amend its governing documents to specifically prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries in the community. The association had sent out a survey to its members regarding medical marijuana in February 2010 asking the owners of the association how they would like to address medical marijuana and its place in the community. In that survey, 73 percent responded, with 72 percent in favor of prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in the community.
The decisions that a board makes very rarely please everyone. A board may have just approved a large special assessment to finance the replacement of the roof, and some owners may not be pleased with how the association's finances are being handled. Most displeased owners may focus their energies on building consensus and replacing current board members. But there are some members who will handle their displeasure with the board in completely inappropriate ways.
Your community may set reasonable rules to protect the safety of your members' children and respect other members' right to enjoy their property. But your community must be careful that your rules do not unfairly single out children, or your association may be charged with discrimination based on familial status. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status, which generally refers to minor children.