Legal Compliance for Community Associations

Articles on the topic of Legal Compliance for Community Associations and CA Management Companies.

A Warning About Disclosure Document Fees, From Illinois

An Illinois state court has sent a warning signal to association management firms about the fees they charge for disclosure documents. Disagreeing with a federal court ruling to contrary, the court held that owners can sue a manager for charging excessive fees under the state condo law. In reaching its decision, the Illinois Court of…

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…

Cornering Kickbacks: How to Help Your Managers Avoid Them

Kickbacks can cost both you and your clients, but your managers might not even know when they’re receiving one. Teaching your employees to recognize and sidestep such wrongful transactions can reduce the risks to your bottom line. Recognizing Kickbacks Just what type of arrangement qualifies as a kickback? “It’s generally receiving something of value in…

Owners Can Sue Managers Over Excessive Disclosure Doc Fees

An Illinois state court has sent a warning signal to association management firms about the fees they charge for disclosure documents. Disagreeing with a federal court ruling to contrary, the court held that owners can sue a manager for charging excessive fees under the state condo law (Channon v. Westward Mgmt., Inc.). The ruling applies…

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…

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…

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…