Managing an association involves day-to-day tasks that, while they should be done meticulously, are also not typically the impetus for lawsuits. Although you might be used to dealing with small issues that aren’t the subject of litigation, don’t be cavalier about bigger decisions, like how to let go of an employee who just isn’t working out.
Keeping track of finances is an integral part of running a community association. There’s typically a regular flow of money being collected and paid out on a day-to-day basis in order to ensure continuous operations. But, although dealing with cash can be overwhelming, it’s crucial not to take shortcuts with the association’s cash management procedures. One common mistake that associations make is having the same person who prepares the checks also doing the books. That arrangement makes it difficult to tell if someone is embezzling from the association.
You know that organization is one of the keys to association management success, especially if you’re in charge of a larger community or one with many members. If you did an annual spring cleaning this year, you might also have realized that you need to cut down on clutter in your office, which might include boxes of association records—which can get sizable if they include accounting records, membership lists, meeting minutes, and other important papers—that the association has accumulated over the years.
A large part of the day-to-day management of a community is providing service, in a friendly and polite manner that comports with a major point of living in an association—being part of a pleasant environment. You’ve probably trained your staff to make homeowners and their guests feel comfortable. So when there’s an accident or other incident in your community, they might have an instinct to comfort the victim. While employees should rush to find help, there are several missteps they can take that can create major liability for the association.
By Andrea Brescia
For associations that have designated commercial space, finding the right tenant is critical. While there are a lot of retail stores that provide convenience, not every commercial tenant is necessarily a good fit for your community.
Spring is here and with it will come warm weather that brings out homeowners and condominium owners to enjoy it. Especially in city areas, which tend to have many condominium buildings, there’s limited outdoor space, so members and their guests might try to create some recreational space on community rooftops—sunbathing, barbecuing, or just cooling off from their hot units. Unfortunately, allowing people on the roof of your condominium building can create problems for you and the association.
One of the draws of living in a planned community is aesthetics—uniformity in the design and appearance of homes, rules and regulations that prevent homeowners from putting up decorations that are eyesores, and specific paint themes and landscaping that are in good taste all make for a neighborhood that looks great. But there are times when members may want to make modifications to their homes. In these instances, the concern for associations is that these changes may affect the harmonious design of a community, decrease property values, and increase liability.
One of the major draws of living in a planned community is increased security. An association has the power to hire and direct security personnel, and you and your staff can keep an eye on the community and deal with any suspicious behavior. But not all communities are gated, with a perimeter that naturally makes it more challenging for criminals to cross. Some homes are spread throughout a large community, with common areas scattered throughout the area. One look at the news shows that, unfortunately, crime happens everywhere.
Privacy issues have always been taken into consideration when it comes to issues like medical information, but it might not occur to community members that seemingly more casual items are protected from general knowledge. So community members who want to inspect the records of their association—for a variety of reasons, some legitimate and some improper—might not realize that these records aren’t automatically free game.