Community Association Governance

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

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…

City Can’t Require Association Units Remain in STR Market

The Colorado Court of Appeals has blocked a local ordinance that required a condo association’s units to stay in the short-term rental pool, limited the owner’s personal use during “high season,” and imposed fines for violations (Town of Vail v. Village Inn Plaza – Phase V Condominium Association). While the case focused a specific local…

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…

Accommodations Must Mitigate the Effects of the Disability to be ‘Reasonable’

The Illinois Court of Appeals recently ruled that a condo association must provide only those accommodations that reduce the effects of a disability so that a requesting resident isn’t disadvantaged because of the disability. This standard proved too high of a hurdle in a recent discrimination lawsuit brought by a particularly litigious owner in a…

Minimum Rental Period Rule Unenforceable Against Existing Owners Under California Law

A California Court of Appeal has left some associations and their lawyers reeling from its broad interpretation of a state law that exempts current owners from new rules blocking short-term rentals (Brown v. Montage at Mission Hills). “This is an expansion of what I think a lot of us expected Section 4740 to mean,” says…

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…

Dos and Don’ts for Handling Owner Document Requests

Handling document inspection requests from owners can be a hassle for community association managers, but it can go much more smoothly if you follow some simple rules. Read on to learn how to improve the process for all involved. Do Know the Statutory Dos and Don’ts State laws lay out very specific requirements for how…

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…