Featured Articles

Clearly Define Rights and Terms in “View Protection” Bylaw

If the community you manage is located in a scenic area, like near a beach or lake, or in a city with a famous skyline like New York, Boston, or Seattle, the view that owners enjoy from their units might be very important to them. Owners often buy their particular units because of the views and are dismayed if they're obscured by structures or foliage added later. Owners who have paid for a specific view that they can no longer enjoy or that previously made their unit more valuable and unique than others, making resale easier, could sue the association.

How to Allocate Budgetary Surpluses

The financial health of a community association is one of the most important things that an association manager must constantly monitor. Without enough funds, the association's board of directors may struggle to cover costs, and may eventually have to increase assessments. Since the downturn in the economy, many associations have felt the stress of budgetary shortfalls. But as the economy improves, some are getting a pleasant surprise: They have a budgetary surplus, rather than a shortfall.

How to Prevent and Control Bedbug Infestations

In the past few years, we have seen an incredible rise in bedbug infestations in all 50 states. In a 2010 survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, 95 percent of responding pest-control professionals reported treating bedbugs during the previous year. In 2000, the number was 25 percent.

Resolve Internal Conflicts with Alternative Dispute Resolution

From time to time, there will be conflicts within your community. When there's a dispute between or among members, or between members and the association or its directors, the board will have to determine the best strategy for a resolution.

How to Minimize Liability Risks Associated with Social Media

Social networking is growing at an exponential rate. According to a report by technology and market research firm Forrester Research, 55.6 million U.S. adults visited social networking sites in 2009, double the number of users reported in 2007. As more adults become engaged with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, property management companies and associations are increasing their presence in an effort to be where their members are. These communities are discovering that Facebook, in particular, is especially adept at conveying information and building community.

Use Well-Drafted Architectural Review Form to Minimize Disputes

There are times when members may want to make modifications to their homes. In these instances, the concern for associations is that these changes may affect the harmonious design of a community, decrease property values, and increase liability. For example, low-quality construction can drive down property values, increase the premiums on your community's liability insurance, or even render important warranties void. Some types of work, such as a new roof deck, if not done right, can lead to injuries and increase your community's exposure to personal injury liability.

What Associations Need to Know About the Federal “Red Flags Rule”

The Red Flags Rule is a regulation published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under its consumer protection authority to compel businesses to develop written plans to combat identity theft. It was created under the authority of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) and the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Implement Safety Plan to Avoid CO Poisoning, Liability

With colder weather approaching, condominium associations with gas or oil heat need to worry about carbon monoxide (CO), a hazardous gas that's invisible and odorless. At least several hundred people die each year from CO poisoning, and thousands more become ill.

In one recent incident, a 24-year-old woman in Pittsburgh, Pa., was pulled unconscious from her unit after carbon monoxide had been leaking into her condominium building. Crews from the gas company determined the toxic gas was leaking from a faulty furnace.

Recent Legislative Trends: States Create Ombudsmen and Raise Manager Licensing Requirements

 

In recent years, it seems as though the number of disgruntled members has risen. These members might complain of lack of transparency or failures by association boards to follow basic governance principles, such as: adopting an annual budget with notice to the members, holding fair elections for the board of directors, providing key financial information about the association, and fairly imposing association fines. Oftentimes, these complaints are resolved in court or directed to the offices of the states' attorney generals.

Avoid Common Space Storage Room Hassles with License Agreement

Many condominium associations provide storage rooms or lockers for their members for a fee. This is one way for an association to generate additional monthly income and provide a nice amenity for members living in smaller units.