Q: During the summer months, more of our members use the outdoor amenities in the community, such as the pool and basketball courts. We’ve had to crack down on some of the behavior that we’ve seen in these areas, but because the nature of some of the behavior isn’t that serious, I’m tempted to let it go if it seems harmless. What types of risks does the association run if it fails to enforce rules consistently?
Colorado legislation passed this year will tighten standards for homeowners associations in the Centennial State. The legislation, which affects debt collections and manager licensing, was prompted by scandals and horror stories from associations over the past few years, including embezzlement.
Make sure that your community swimming pools are ready for action this summer by checking their safety, insurance coverage, and legal compliance. Many associations don’t conduct legal checkups, which is risky considering the number of lawsuits and regulations that exist. A big part of a checkup should be conducting an insurance inspection. Your association should inspect the pool area with a representative from the association’s insurer, if one is available and willing to visit.
By signing Senate Bill 1454 into law, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has pulled community associations into the fray of campaign finance legislation that critics have said is “sweeping.” They say that the pressure to pass the bill increased in the final hours of the legislative session, as it became a catchall for some stalled measures in the Arizona Senate and House. The new law will go into effect Sept. 13, 2013.
If a member builds a fence, patio, or any other structure that encroaches on a common area—even just a little—quickly assert your legal rights to have it removed. If you don’t and enough time passes, that portion of the common area could become the member’s property.
Smoking not only poses dangers such as fire and health risks to a community, it also annoys nonsmoking members and their guests, resulting in more complaints that you have to address. But if a board decides to go ahead and impose a smoking ban, is simply enacting a new community rule enough?
If your association doesn’t have a dedicated space for meetings, you should find and reserve a space at least three months in advance. It’s important to find an appropriate meeting room—rooms that are too large or small, hot, cold, or noisy can affect participation. Appoint someone to make all the necessary arrangements, such as accumulating and testing the necessary equipment—for example, the lectern, microphone, overhead projector, or computer Internet connections and display.
Several bills being considered by the Texas Legislature this session are posing the question of whether the rights of one individual homeowner should trump the rights of all owners in an HOA. The bills would affect the powers and duties of Texas homeowners associations—some having to do with merely cosmetic issues, such as prohibiting associations from banning flags in front yards, and some substantial, such as giving HOAs more powers of accelerated foreclosure.
In a community where many members have teenage children, managers sometimes have problems with children spray painting and otherwise vandalizing buildings at night in the community. How can you stop the graffiti and vandalism? You might think that imposing a curfew and prohibiting children under a certain age—say, 16 years old—from being outside after a certain time—say, 10 p.m.—unless accompanied by an adult is a simple solution.
A recent meeting of the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) centered on issues arising from the passage of a 2012 Colorado referendum legalizing the smoking of marijuana and possession of as many as six marijuana plants. CAI addressed managers’ and associations’ fears about pot smoking in communities, including fielding complaints about the smell of marijuana.