Community Association Governance

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

Court Upholds Board’s Nuisance-Based Removal of Dangerous Dog

A California HOA’s governing documents supported its board’s decision to order the removal of a dog with a history of injuring both humans and other dogs (Sunset Green Homeowners Ass’n v. Spagenski). “I love this case because it supports an association’s right to enforce its covenants by requiring removal of a dog,” says Sandra Gottlieb,…

Surfside Recommendations: “Scary and Extraordinarily Difficult”

A Miami-Dade County grand jury has issued its report on the Surfside condo collapse, including several recommendations for making buildings safer. “I expected something scary and extraordinarily difficult to do, and that’s exactly what the grand jury recommended,” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif. The…

Take the Time to Re-Examine Rules for Potentially Discriminatory Impact

The state of Maryland recently passed a new law after an HOA’s demand for the removal of basketball hoops raised questions of racial discrimination. The episode provides a strong reminder to associations, boards, and managers that seemingly innocuous rules, new or existing, could lead to unwanted publicity and litigation stemming from allegations of discrimination. The…

Surfside Update: The Call for Condo Safety Reforms, Part 1

A Miami-Dade County grand jury has issued its report on the Surfside condo collapse, including several recommendations for making buildings safer. “I expected something scary and extraordinarily difficult to do, and that’s exactly what the grand jury recommended,” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif. In…

Government as Partner Rather Than Roadblock? It’s Possible.

From relocating an invasive flock of peacocks to reducing fire fuel and dealing with the effects of coastal erosion, community associations increasingly are working with government officials to resolve problems. “There are a lot of opportunities for managers and boards, before they start going the road on an issue, to step back and ask agencies…

3 Tax Traps for Associations and Managers to Avoid

Community associations haven’t historically been in the cross-hairs for IRS auditors, but they can face unexpected tax bills. Here are three tax-related areas where associations sometimes slip up and suffer potentially costly consequences as a result. 1. Understanding that even nonprofit associations are taxable. It’s not unusual for boards to believe that, because their association…

‘Residential Use’ Restriction Prohibits STRs

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that regular weekly rentals violated an HOA’s residential use restriction, in a case we first covered in 2020 (Cherry Home Ass’n v. Baker). The decision is a potentially promising development in the ongoing battle against short-term rentals. Owners’ Arguments Shot Down — Twice The case involved a community…

Partner vs. Impediment: 4 Tips for Working with Government Officials

From relocating an invasive flock of peacocks to reducing fire fuel and dealing with the effects of coastal erosion, community associations increasingly are working with government officials to resolve problems. “There are a lot of opportunities for managers and boards, before they start going the road on an issue, to step back and ask agencies…

What Determines Whether an Accommodation Request is ‘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…

California Court Exempts Current Owners From New Short-Term Rental Restrictions

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. “This is an expansion of what I think a lot of us expected Section 4740 to mean,” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the…