Community Association Financials

Budgets, Dues, Association Fees, Assessments, Financial Controls, Insurance, Reserves

Owners Can Sue Managers Over Excessive Disclosure Doc Fees

An Illinois state court has sent a warning signal to association management firms about the fees they charge for disclosure documents. Disagreeing with a federal court ruling to contrary, the court held that owners can sue a manager for charging excessive fees under the state condo law (Channon v. Westward Mgmt., Inc.). The ruling applies…

Climate Change Is Coming for Your Association

Savvy community association managers have realized for some time that rising sea levels —whether in oceans, lakes, or rivers — pose a threat to their clients. “The problem is that it’s such a slow creep that it’s not visible to the naked eye,” says Brad van Rooyen, president of HomeRiver Group-Florida, the management company for…

When Sharing Across Communities Creates Conflict Rather Than Cohesion

When multiple associations share amenities or common areas through a master association, frictions can arise. Master associations come in different flavors, but Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with numerous community associations, says he usually sees them when multiple “sub-associations” in the same geographic vicinity share certain common…

Work Opportunity Tax Credit Can Add to the Bottom Line

Community association management companies (and their clients) have a valuable tool available for growing their staffs and reducing their tax bills at the same time — the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). And they may not even be aware of it. “The credit is very overlooked,” says Jamie Dokovna, a shareholder in the Florida law…

Watch Out for Legal Pitfalls with 55-and-Older Communities

The federal Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) exempts 55-and-older communities from the prohibition against familial status discrimination in housing. But some of these associations fail to comply with the law’s strict, and ongoing, legal requirements, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination claims. As an example, to qualify for the exemption from familial discrimination liability, a…

Fannie Mae Tightens Requirements on Condo, Co-op Mortgages

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Fannie Mae will implement tougher requirements related to aging infrastructure and deferred maintenance on mortgages for attached condo and co-op communities. The updated requirements are temporary, but no end date has yet been established. “Associations, boards, and managers really need to be cognizant of these new requirements, especially when you think…

Building Sound Foundations: Lessons from Surfside

Building Sound Foundations: Lessons from Surfside

The June 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Fla., made headlines around the world — and thrust many issues that plague condo and other community associations into the spotlight. The catastrophe, its causes, and its effects already are the subject of intense study, evaluation, and discussion.

“I think the collapse going to have an impact for a long time,” says Ken Bertolucci, president of NS Management in Skokie, Ill.

If a “bright side” can be found, it’s that many associations and boards across the country have had a wake-up call and now are more open than ever to some of the basic — but sometimes costly — practices they should have been implementing all along.

“This tragedy has now become the trigger for all the things we’ve been harping on for years but that have fallen on deaf ears,” says Paul Grucza, director of education and client development at the Seattle-based management company CWD Group, Inc. “It took this to make associations stop, re-think, and adjust.”

In this special report, we explore five issues that your clients may have a new, or renewed, interest in and identify some of the particular areas where they may need to take immediate action to protect themselves and others. We also provide best practices to help them get on track.

Fearful boards are looking to their managers for their expertise and insights in the wake of Surfside. We hope this report helps you beat their expectations.

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Rising Sea Levels Bring a Wave of Risk — Even in Unexpected Locales

Savvy community association managers have realized for some time that rising sea levels —whether in oceans, lakes, or rivers — pose a threat to their clients. “The problem is that it’s such a slow creep that it’s not visible to the naked eye,” says Brad van Rooyen, president of HomeRiver Group-Florida, the management company for…

Avoid the Potential Pitfalls of Sharing Common Areas Among Communities

When multiple associations share amenities or common areas through a master association, frictions can arise. Our experts have some ideas for preempting those through effective negotiation. How It Happens Master associations come in different flavors, but Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with numerous community associations, says he…

One Association’s Loss Could Prove To Be a Future Victory for Others

When an owner drops a lawsuit against a community association, the association can recover its attorneys’ fees, right? Not necessarily. A California association recently learned this lesson the hard way. Ironically, though, the court’s ruling could prove helpful for other associations. In 2008, the association obtained majority approval from the members to spend about $5.3…