Departments

Final Guidelines for SORNA Released

If someone tells your association that a sex offender is living in your community, confirming the accuracy of the information has been made easier through the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). This law established a new, comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification throughout the United States.

Association Can Impose Fines

Facts: An association claimed that a member misrepresented his ownership of the condo where he was living. The ownership of the condo had changed hands among a father, his son, and the son's company a few times in five years. The association claimed that as a result of the misrepresentation, the member was improperly elected to the board of directors and appointed president. The association held a hearing to determine whether the member should be assessed fines for violating the association's governing documents.

Don’t Debit Different Amount from Member’s Account Without Advance Notice

If a member pays his regular association assessments using automated electronic payments, don't transfer additional fees from his bank account without giving the member advance notice. Overstepping your bounds on automatic payments violates the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (FCRA).

Association Didn’t Knowingly Make False Statement

Facts: A member sued her association and its management company for their handling of property damage caused by several hurricanes in 2004. To fix the damage, the association had obtained a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Understanding Costs, Hazards of Electronic Document Discovery

While technology has made conducting business more efficient, it has also created the potential for new legal problems. “Unless you're sure that your company will never be in a lawsuit, you should be concerned with the costs and hazards of electronically stored information,” says attorney Robert Machson, an e-discovery strategy expert. Electronically stored information (ESI) includes any data stored electronically, such as email, documents, voice messages, and digital images.

How New Condo Lending Guidelines Affect Associations

In an already difficult condominium market, Fannie Mae, the largest provider of financing for U.S. home loans, has adopted new underwriting guidelines that have since resulted in an increase in mortgage application rejections. The revised rules are a response to rising loan delinquencies and defaults. But the new policies also reflect long-standing concerns about the need for lenders to assess the financial strength of community associations, as well as the credit profiles of the prospective members borrowing money to purchase homes in condominium buildings.

Managing Hazardous E-Waste Materials

Electronic equipment has become woven into the American way of life. Consumer electronics companies inundate us with commercials for the latest and greatest computers for our laps and desks, TVs for our homes, and MP3 players for our ears. And for each new product release, one or more of these items become outdated or obsolete. As a result, we are storing or discarding obsolete or unwanted electronic products at increasing rates.

Rental Restriction Did Not Violate FHA

Facts: A member had lived in her community until she had to move into a nursing home after her husband's death. To qualify for Medicaid and to finance her care, she rented out her home, in violation of her community's restriction against renting. The member died and the association sued her estate, arguing that the rental ban was needed to protect property values within the community.

Association Not Liable for Fraud

Facts: A cell phone company wanted to build a tower near an association community. When the association found out about this proposal, it filed an objection with the city. The association board then negotiated with the company. After the negotiations, the tower was built 150 feet from the location originally proposed, and the color and type of tower were changed. The company also agreed to pay the association an initial payment of $7,500 and $400 per month for the duration of the 20-year lease.

Community’s Tax Assessment Is Too High

Facts: A community's common areas included parcels of land used as a parking lot and a tennis court. A town's assessor valued the common areas in excess of $100,000 by comparing their square footage to other home values in the community. In effect, the tax assessor, assuming the best use of these lands would be to build homes, assessed them at a far higher value than at their previous assessment.