Featured Articles

Watch the Words: HOA’s Court Victory Doesn’t Assure Recovery of Attorney’s Fees

When associations sue owners, they typically rely on language in the governing documents that provides the owner must pay the association’s costs if it prevails. But the Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled that an HOA that successfully sued an owner over unapproved construction was on the hook for its own nearly $84,000 in attorney’s fees…

The Last Straw: How the Nuisance Provision Can Help Your Clients Deal with Residents’ Extreme Behaviors

It’s one thing when a tenant occasionally doesn’t clean up after his dog. It’s another, says Scott Weiss, of counsel for the Nashville, Tenn., law firm Ortale Kelley, “when you have repetitive violations of the governing documents, drug dealing, loud parties, or damage to common elements or other owners’ property.” Extreme circumstances call for extreme…

Associations Shift Focus with Their Security Measures

The media have been blasting headlines about rising crime, but the message doesn’t seem to be getting much traction with many community associations. While they may have implemented what ostensibly are security tools, these associations are deploying them more to monitor residents than to combat crimes against people or property. “Security these days is less…

To Be or Not to Be: Vaccination Mandates for Owners and Vendors

If your clients are facing pressure to both re-open amenities and keep their residents safe from COVID-19, they might be considering imposing vaccine requirements. Here’s what they need to know before they decide whether to require vaccinations of owners wishing to use amenities and third-party vendors coming on the property. Mandates for Amenities As is…

Foreclosure Fundamentals: Follow All the Rules

A Florida HOA didn’t provide an owner it was trying to foreclose on with documents required by the declaration. The result? The case is going to trial (Pash v. Mahogany Way Homeowners Ass’n). Read on to learn some important lessons about how to handle foreclosures. Budget Procedures Matter The HOA filed a foreclosure action against…

Sweeping New Association Law Takes Effect in Florida

A far-reaching new piece of legislation targeting community associations took effect in Florida on July 1, 2021. “It’s a mixed bag,” says Donna DiMaggio Berger, a shareholder in the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office of Becker & Poliakoff. “There’s some good stuff and some not so good stuff.” Good or bad, though, Berger says “there are…

Support Animal Requests in No-Pet Buildings Are a Tricky Balancing Act

A no-pet policy. An owner who requests an emotional support animal (ESA). Another owner with severe pet allergies. What’s your client to do? A recent ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court demonstrates just how dicey this situation can be — even when a board tries its best to accommodate everyone (Cohen v. Clark, Iowa Supreme…

Hold Up: 5 Areas to Negotiate on Elevator Maintenance Contracts

Properly operating elevators rank near the top of the most important  — and most visible —equipment in a community association. Yet some communities sign standard service contracts without giving the terms much thought. “One of the biggest mistakes across the board with associations is not having a lawyer look over the elevator contracts,” says Jennifer…

Records Matter: A Bizarre Case Study

Poor recordkeeping can undermine the results of even the most amiable and productive board or membership meeting. When a meeting is contentious, insufficient records can prove even more disastrous. A community in Pennsylvania learned that the hard way (Pocono Mountain Lake Forest Community Ass’n v. Swift). Who’s the Boss? A trial court described the community…

Watch Out for Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

The misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor can prove costly for employers — including both community associations and managers. So it was good news when the Trump administration finalized a rule that loosened the test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. “Under Trump, the idea was to…