Members May Be Liable for Defamation of Board President

Facts: The president of a condominium association and her father, the association manager, sued a group of members for defamation. The president alleged that the members conspired to remove her from the board. The complaint alleged that from August 2006 until May 2007, the members maliciously made false and defamatory statements about her and her father to other condominium owners in the building. The complaint further alleged that “throughout 2006 and 2007, defendants continued to make false and defamatory statements.”

Service Company Can’t File Mechanic’s Lien Against Association

Facts: A condominium association signed three service agreements with a company that provided management, security, and property services. According to the contracts, the company was to provide standard residential cleaning, maintenance, and concierge services to all common areas.

When the association did not pay the company, the company filed a lien against the association and more than 100 condominium units. The trial court granted a judgment without a trial in the company's favor and foreclosed on the lien.

Association Not Required to Arbitrate Construction Defect Claims

Facts: A developer purchased 418 apartments, common areas, and common facilities in 2004 and converted the apartments to condominiums in 2005. In the course of making the property a condominium project, the developer recorded governing documents that required that the homeowners association arbitrate any construction defect claim the association might have against the developer. The governing documents provided that the association came into existence upon the sale of the first condominium.

Police Arrest Squatters of Foreclosed Home

Police detectives in Newport Beach, Calif., recently arrested a couple for illegally squatting in a $2.6 million, ocean-view home. The couple had previously admitted they had entered the house, changed the locks, and put the utilities in their names, even though they did not own the property or have the owner's consent.

Association May Be Liable for Aggravation to Member’s Respiratory Condition

Facts: A member sued the condo association, the management company, and the association's landscape contractor for negligence. The member alleges that the landscaper negligently and carelessly spread and blew mulch near the member's condominium. As a result, dust from the mulch accumulated in the condominium, aggravating the member's preexisting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease condition.

Association Not Liable for Racial Discrimination

Facts: Under an association's governing documents, a purchaser had to pay at least 10 percent of the purchase price on the property with financing not to exceed 90 percent of the purchase price. A prospective buyer agreed to purchase a condominium for $55,000. She intended to pay $35,000 with funds from State Housing Initiatives Program (SHIP). Unlike bank loans, the recipient of SHIP money need not pay it back.

Association Must Provide Access to Insurance Adjuster

Facts: A Florida condominium community was damaged by a hurricane. However, its insurer's estimate of damages didn't exceed the deductible for the property, so the insurer made no payment to the association.

Association Responsible for Leaky Sewer Pipe

Facts: A member had a leaky sewer pipe two feet beneath the concrete slab underlying his condominium. The leak was discovered when liquid seeped up into the floors and carpet of the member's unit. The leak was reported to the association's president, who called property management, who then sent a plumber to make repairs.

Member Allowed to Keep Pet Bird

Facts: A property manager wrote to a member, asserting that she was in violation of the community's governing documents by keeping a bird in her condominium and permitting it to chatter and whistle to the annoyance of other members. She was given two weeks to remove the bird or the association board would begin fining her $10 per day. The manager again wrote to her a month later, notifying her that fines were being assessed against her unit at the rate of $10 per day.

Nevada Ruling Limits Collection Agency Fees

Nevada Financial Institutions Division Commissioner George Burns recently ruled that collection agencies for community associations in Nevada can no longer charge excessive fees. The decision limits collection agencies to nine months of back association dues and permits fees only as outlined under state laws. Any added fees or charges must first be approved by the association.