Dispute Resolution

Lawsuits, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Preventing Disputes

Association’s Ultimate Victory Doesn’t Guarantee Attorneys’ Fees Award

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 (Champir, LLC v. Fairbanks Ranch Ass’n). Ironically, though, the court’s ruling could prove helpful for other associations. Traffic Light Project Halted In 2008, the association…

3 Tips for Effective Conflict Resolution

Conflicts, whether between the board and owners or among owners themselves, are inevitable. But successful resolution isn’t. Some of our experts have advice on how managers can help their boards handle these disputes so they don’t spin out of control. 1. Focus on the facts. “You have to get rid of the emotional baggage,” says…

Don’t Get Stuck Paying Attorney’s Fees

When associations sue owners, they typically rely on language in the governing documents that provides the owner must pay the association’s costs if it prevails. But the Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled that an HOA that successfully sued an owner over unapproved construction was on the hook for its own nearly $84,000 in attorney’s fees.…

Watch the Words: HOA’s Court Victory Doesn’t Assure Recovery of Attorney’s Fees

When associations sue owners, they typically rely on language in the governing documents that provides the owner must pay the association’s costs if it prevails. But the Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled that an HOA that successfully sued an owner over unapproved construction was on the hook for its own nearly $84,000 in attorney’s fees…

New Emergency Powers (and More) in Florida

A far-reaching new piece of legislation targeting community associations, Senate Bill (S.B.) 630, took effect in Florida on July 1, 2021. “It’s a mixed bag,” says Donna DiMaggio Berger, a shareholder in the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office of Becker & Poliakoff. “There’s some good stuff and some not so good stuff.” Good or bad, though,…

Emotional Support Animal vs. Severe Pet Allergies – Who Wins?

A no-pet policy. An owner who requests an emotional support animal (ESA). Another owner with severe pet allergies. What’s your client to do? A recent ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court demonstrates just how dicey this situation can be — even when a board tries its best to accommodate everyone. The case involved tenants in…

Sweeping New Association Law Takes Effect in Florida

A far-reaching new piece of legislation targeting community associations took effect in Florida on July 1, 2021. “It’s a mixed bag,” says Donna DiMaggio Berger, a shareholder in the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office of Becker & Poliakoff. “There’s some good stuff and some not so good stuff.” Good or bad, though, Berger says “there are…

Support Animal Requests in No-Pet Buildings Are a Tricky Balancing Act

A no-pet policy. An owner who requests an emotional support animal (ESA). Another owner with severe pet allergies. What’s your client to do? A recent ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court demonstrates just how dicey this situation can be — even when a board tries its best to accommodate everyone (Cohen v. Clark, Iowa Supreme…

Fine for Abusive Owner Leads to Costly Court Battle

After numerous allegations of abusive behavior, a Chicago condo association imposed a $500 fine on an owner. It led to years of costly litigation, a $125,000 payment to the owner, and a court ruling that could haunt associations for years to come. The owner had a long history of bad behavior. According to deposition testimony,…

Should You Let Owners Install Their Own Security Lighting?

The desire for security lighting by owners with security concerns can put associations and boards in a difficult position, especially when their CC&Rs prohibit exterior or high-intensity lighting. What should your clients do when owners request permission to install lights that can be both protective and disruptive? “Lighting is said to be a deterrent to…