Departments

Community Suing U.S. Government Over Asbestos

An association in Oregon has filed a $3.2 million lawsuit against the federal government and other previous owners of the military camp that preceded the community, citing asbestos contamination. The association says it discovered asbestos material in a six-acre site where demolished military buildings were buried. The government purchased the site in 1942 for use as a U.S. Army combat engineer training camp.

Association Not Required to Arbitrate Construction Defect Claim

Facts: A condo association filed a construction defect lawsuit against its developer. The developer asked the court to move the lawsuit out of court and order the association to arbitrate the claim. Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons or “arbitrators” by whose decision they agree to be bound.

Spread Association Deposits Over $250K Across Several FDIC-Insured Institutions

On July 21, 2010, basic FDIC insurance coverage was permanently increased to $250,000 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures the safety of checking and savings deposits in member banks. The standard maximum insurance amount of $100,000 had been temporarily raised through Dec. 31, 2013. That increase is now permanent.

Don’t Retaliate Against Employees Who Help Alleged Discrimination Victims

The Fair Housing Act's ban on retaliation applies not only to prospective members who claim to be victims of housing discrimination, but also to anyone who helps or encourages alleged discrimination victims to pursue their rights under fair housing law. Those provisions protect employees from adverse employment actions—such as being fired, demoted, or harassed—for opposing discriminatory practices or advising aggrieved residents to contact fair housing agencies.

Association Allowed to Amend Governing Documents

Facts: An association board had determined that it would be in the association's best interest to completely restate the association's covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCandR) to bring the documents up to date with current law, delete obsolete developer references, and clarify ambiguous provisions that had caused confusion.

Association May Be Liable for Discrimination

Facts: A member entered into a lease agreement for her condominium with an African-American woman. Shortly thereafter, the condominium members adopted amendments to the bylaws that included a restriction on members' ability to lease their property.

Member May Have to Provide Access for Balcony Repairs

Facts: A condo association sought a court order requiring a member to give it access to her condominium to perform repair work on her balcony. The association was concerned with the structural integrity of the concrete balconies on each of its units. The member's balcony was inspected and was found to have suffered moderate corrosion requiring repair.

The trial court found that the association did not meet its burden of showing irreparable harm if the member continued to deny balcony access for repairs. The association appealed.

Manager Not Considered Debt Collector Under FDCPA

Facts: According to the records of the association, a member was behind in his assessments. In July 2007, the manager sent the member a “Notice of Intent to File Lien.” The notice included a statement of assessments owed to the association. The following month, the member demanded an explanation of the assessments and alleged that a portion of the assessments already had been paid. The manager then sent a “Notice of Lien,” which included a statement of assessments owed.

Association Must Assess Individual Members for Limited Common Element Replacement

Facts: A condominium community is comprised of a six-story building with 96 units and a 43-story building with 520 units. There is a common garage connecting the two buildings, and they share common heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Association Must Pay $1.2 Million for Discrimination

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A civil rights trial against an association in Plymouth County, Mass., accused of discriminating against three Jewish members has ended in a settlement. A jury awarded the members $600,000 for the violation of their civil rights and an additional $150,000 for nuisance. Together, with interest, the judgment is in excess of $1.2 million. The families claimed they were subjected to anti-Semitic acts, including hate mail and the painting of Swastikas on their garages.