Q & A

Making Up for Unexpected Budgetary Shortfall

Q: My association’s board and I have carefully planned for the future of the community I manage, but we’ve run into unexpected budgetary problems in the past despite that. It seems inevitable that it will happen again at some point. How can we effectively respond to unforeseen budgetary challenges in the future?

Assessing Liability Issues Raised by Neighborhood Watch Program

Q: As a member of my community association, I’d like to organize a neighborhood watch program to help prevent crime in the community. I’m concerned that the association might be held liable if something goes wrong as a result. Is a neighborhood watch program a good idea?

A: With the Trayvon Martin murder case underway in a Sanford, Fla., circuit court, the controversy surrounding so-called neighborhood watch programs in planned communities continues.

Determining Liability for Dangerous Condition in Community

Q: The community association I manage uses a separate maintenance company to plow, remove ice from, and salt the parking areas and common areas in the community during the winter. So far, we’ve had no complaints from members about slippery conditions. I try to inspect the work done by all of the contractors we use to maintain various parts of the community, but I can’t always do this every time work has been done.

Using Two-Envelope System for Mail-In Votes

Q: I’ve heard about some associations using a “two-envelope” system for mail-in votes. I’m considering proposing it in our community. What are the advantages of a two-envelope system and how does it work?

Paying Assessments on Vacant Lot

Q: Our homeowners’ association recently acquired a vacant lot with no mortgage through foreclosure. We plan to sell it. Does the association need to pay assessments on a lot that it owns?

Does Your D&O Insurance Offer Enough Protection?

Q: The association I manage has a general liability insurance policy. Is this enough to protect the association board members from lawsuits, or should I consider additional insurance?

Preventing Wheelchair Damage to Three Common Area Spots

Q Several community members, and, occasionally some guests, use wheelchairs. Because of the size and design of some of the common areas, the walls have been dented, paint has been scratched on the walls and doors, and corners and doorways have been nicked. There has also been damage to carpets and wood floors from wheelchairs. It has been expensive to repair wall and floor damage caused by those wheelchairs to the common areas. What can I do to prevent this damage?

Initiating Assessment Collections Process

Q A member of the community I manage has fallen behind on his assessment fees. The association has tried to work with him to get current on the charges, but its efforts haven't helped. What is the next step the association can take to recoup what it's owed?

Do Board Members’ Oral Promises Trump Declaration?

Q I live in a small condo co-op. When I've seen board members in the building, we've discussed that portions of the balcony outside my unit need to be either repaired or replaced. They've agreed that the association should be responsible for the cost of this and similar repairs to other units in the building. But when I formally asked the association to pay for the repairs, it said that it's my responsibility under the declaration and bylaws.

Finding Out About Employees’ Preexisting Injuries

Q Is there any benefit to knowing about new on-site employees' preexisting injuries? How can I get this information?