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.
By Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq.
The winter holiday season gives associations the opportunity to make their communities look festive and create a sense of camaraderie among members. Getting into the holiday spirit can lead to legal liability, though, if decorations or activities violate the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Pay attention to these aspects of holiday decorating when planning displays and celebrations.
Although the recession has passed, members of your community may still be struggling or just getting back on their financial feet again. Some may be stretched to pay for basic association costs. So announcing a special assessment might be the last straw. And even members who can afford a special assessment won’t be happy to pay unless it’s absolutely necessary.
By Carol Johnson Perkins, Esq.
With the popularity of reality TV shows, hoarding is on everyone’s mind. Many of us collect or keep objects—perhaps more than we should—because they have sentimental value or we may “need them someday.” But compulsive hoarding is more than simply having too much clutter—it’s now recognized as a mental health disorder, under the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) adopted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) earlier this year.
Community association managers today have to keep up with ever-changing technological, financial, legal, and management trends. But one thing largely stays the same: the language in many associations’ governing documents and other materials. Typically, this language hasn’t been updated in several decades, despite a drastic change in membership demographics. And that can create frustration among members whose cultural understanding of certain terms is at odds with the meaning the terms were originally supposed to convey.
Internet access is no longer an optional amenity for most Americans—it’s a necessity. Members of your community may use it to run home-based businesses, socialize online, shop, pay bills, or watch TV shows and movies. With such high demand for Internet access, should your association provide this “amenity” for members or leave it to members to arrange for service individually?
In an economy where many associations are still struggling to overcome challenges like vacancies and foreclosures, it’s as important as ever for associations to avoid depleting their reserves and, as a result, making trade-offs about what bills to pay and what services to forgo. That’s where on-time payment of assessments becomes very important. Your community association can face a serious financial crisis if even a small percentage of members don’t pay their assessments on time.
Inevitably, for one reason or another, a community association board member will give up her position. When this happens, the association has the sometimes difficult task of replacing the outgoing member. There are certain qualities that some people have that make them more suitable for the role than others. Experience, of course, helps too. After all, the more a new board member knows, the more she’ll be able to contribute to the association in a meaningful way. You may be asked to help the board determine who the best replacement for an outgoing board member is.
You know that organization is one of the keys to association management success, especially if you’re in charge of a larger community or one with many members. If you did an annual spring cleaning this year, you might also have realized that you need to cut down on clutter in your office, which might include boxes of association records—which can get sizable if they include accounting records, membership lists, meeting minutes, and other important papers—that the association has accumulated over the years. So, what should an association do with old records?