Community Association Governance

Governing Documents, CC&Rs, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations

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…

55-and-Older Communities: 3 Legal Landmines to Avoid

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. Here are the three main areas where they can slip up. 1. The…

Drones Will Soon Be Flying Over Your Properties on a Regular Basis: What Are the Implications?

The number of drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles) in the air overhead has been climbing steadily in recent years. If your client associations aren’t already dealing with the implications of both commercial and recreational drone usage, they probably will be soon. “Drone usage will be commonplace in the coming decade,” says community association…

Are You Stuck With Docks Forever?

In 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an alarming ruling for associations in a case involving oral approval for the installation of docks. But now, the state’s highest court has weighed in on the case with a much more favorable ruling. The lawsuit was filed by some owners in a lakefront association. Under the…

New Demographics Mean New Ways of Doing Things

Community associations across the country are seeing a change in their demographics, and with shifting generations come shifting demands. Is your management company prepared to appeal to younger generations who have different priorities and ways of conducting business than their elders? If you can’t answer in the affirmative, here’s what you need to consider. “Even…

When Resolving Conflicts, Stick to the Facts

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. “You have to get rid of the emotional baggage,” says Michael Kim, of counsel with…

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…

When Is a Closed Session Appropriate?

Closed sessions are among the most frequently abused governance tools in community associations, according to Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif. “I frequently see boards conducting discussions in closed session where the topic really should be reserved for open session,” he says. Richardson says closed sessions…

Here Come the Drones: What You and Your Clients Need to Know

The number of drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles) in the air overhead has been climbing steadily in recent years. If your client associations aren’t already dealing with the implications of both commercial and recreational drone usage, they probably will be soon. “Drone usage will be commonplace in the coming decade,” says community association…

Court Says HOA Can Revoke Dock Approvals

In 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an alarming ruling for associations in a case involving oral approval for the installation of docks. Now the state’s highest court has weighed in on the case with a ruling much more favorable for associations (Haan v. Lake Doster Lake Ass’n). A Scare from the Court of…