By Carol Johnson Perkins, Esq.
Across the country, momentum has been building to legalize marijuana—at least for medical use. Though marijuana is still illegal under federal law, more than 20 states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws—and more may soon follow. This fall, Florida voters will decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.
When it comes to daily life in an association—whether it’s a condominium building or a community of standalone homes or townhomes—there will always be some members who love association life and some members who realize too late that they don’t enjoy being bound by community rules. Community management expert Paul D. Grucza has over 33 years of experience turning the love-hate relationship between associations and their members into a more harmonious union by building a bond among owners, boards, and management staff.
Boards should strive to set fair rules and enforce them consistently and effectively. But that’s not always easy to do. Sometimes boards let rules slide because it takes less effort, especially if only minor rules are being disregarded by members. But this creates a huge problem for an incoming board that realizes once it enters office that its predecessors haven’t enforced community rules.
While social media can be used to positively promote your management company and the associations it manages, there are also two inherent dangers in this type of communication. First, social media may be used improperly by your employees, leading to liability for the company. Second, the association’s members may use it as an outlet for complaints, leaving the board and manager to undo the damage—undesirable impressions of the community that negative comments have created.
From time to time, members of the association you manage may have financial trouble and get behind on their assessments or other amounts that are owed, such as costs for things like a storage area or parking. And that can be compounded when fees, fines, and interest are added due to delinquency. Sometimes, late payments aren’t because of financial hardship—a member may be upset about something in the community and feel that he’s “taking a stand” by not paying what he owes.
by Jim Slaughter, Esq.
There are more than 320,000 community associations in the United States, according to the Community Associations Institute. Think of all the membership, board, and committee meetings that take place! Since statutes and governing documents often require such meetings to follow certain rules, it’s important for managers and board members to know about parliamentary procedure, which, when used properly, can also serve to streamline meetings and make association life easier and more productive for everyone.
By Carolyn Zezima, Esq.
The popularity of community gardens has exploded in recent years to over 5,000 community gardens nationwide. Many associations see the benefits of having gardening programs for members and have started gardens in their common areas.
Every community association relies on its members to make monthly payments so that it can pay for the services and amenities its members expect. So when a community member doesn’t make his monthly payment of assessments, he harms the entire community. What can you do to cut assessment delinquencies? One strategy is to set a late fee policy (see “Enforce Late Fee Policy Consistently to Avoid Fair Housing Claims,” in this issue).
Like association board members, managers are entrusted to work within fiduciary guidelines, exercise sound business judgment, and consistently maintain the duty of care and loyalty they owe to the association. Managers who keep these responsibilities in mind are more likely to preempt member dissatisfaction and even liability.
If you manage a community association for long enough, you’ll inevitably encounter disgruntled members. Some of these cases may not amount to anything if the member’s issue can be resolved or if you simply acknowledge the member’s complaint even if it’s meritless. After all, it’s not uncommon for association members to misplace frustration over other issues onto the association.