A New Jersey condo association representing residents of a 55-and-older condominium development recently agreed to pay $9,000 to resolve allegations that it refused to sell a condo to a man with disabilities and his wife because the couple planned to have their adult disabled daughter live with them.
HUD announced the settlement last month, before the government shutdown shuttered the agency. The wife, now a widow, is pursuing claims against the association in New Jersey state court. The association denies that it discriminated against the family.
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.
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.
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.
Mold in any property can present multiple serious health issues. It has been a controversial issue at residential properties in particular, because it can cause serious health problems and be expensive to remediate. Mold prevention techniques and effective remediation of existing mold should be high on your list of maintenance and safety concerns. But perhaps the biggest concern for the community association is the issue of responsibility for mold-related problems.
An efficient annual member meeting not only encourages future member participation, but also exhibits your and the elected directors’ expertise and leadership skills. The success of this meeting goes a long way toward building trust in board members to protect and faithfully serve the community’s interests. Given the importance of this yearly event, you should already have—or now create—a checklist of meeting preparation steps. If no checklist exists, create one with a list of tasks to get you to the finish line.
Association life continues to thrive across the country, as seen in the 2018 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, conducted by Zogby Analytics for the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR). This is great news for community association managers for the seventh time in 13 years. Once again, Americans living in homeowners associations (HOAs) and condominiums say they’re satisfied in their communities. According to, the majority of survey respondents say their association’s rules protect and enhance their property values.
Associations, whether large or small, depend heavily on money to operate. Every aspect of keeping a community safe and running smoothly has a cost associated with it. Too often, associations make the news for negative financial reasons—fraud, bankruptcy, or other shortfalls that disrupt the community. However, an association that’s being run effectively combined with a strong local economy could have more money than expected. That’s great news for the association, but it creates the question of how that budgetary surplus should be used.
If the board of directors of the community association you manage has the authority to approve or deny proposed leasing and sales transactions, you might be wondering whether, if there is a denial, you should disclose the reasons behind it. And, if so, what is the best way.
One of the major draws of association living is the aesthetics of the community—specifically, the ability to compel owners to keep their properties well maintained. But, unfortunately, in your management of a planned community, you’ll have to deal with owners who don’t follow architectural review board guidelines or don’t keep up their properties with proper maintenance. There may be pressure from the board or homeowners to crack down on violations.