Community Association Governance

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

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…

Know the Rules Relating to Owner Document Requests

State laws lay out very specific requirements for how associations must respond to document inspection requests from their members. The requirements don’t only vary by state; they also can vary by type of association (for example, condo or homeowner). Managers and boards need to be well versed in the applicable mandates. Among other things, the…

3 Critical Issues to Cover in Today’s Board Training

Community association board members have had a lot to deal with over the past two years or so, from the pandemic to the fallout of the Surfside tragedy. Comprehensive board training is an essential part of effective risk management — for the association, the board members themselves, and the manager — in such an environment.…

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…

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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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…