Unfortunately for community association managers, there are some common fair housing problems that can arise from community rules. To avoid them, make sure you understand where you might go wrong. In general, community rules trigger fair housing problems in one of two ways—either the rules are enforced unfairly or the rules themselves are unfair.
With the increasing trend of workers telecommuting to jobs with companies and the proliferation of online shops whose sellers make or store their merchandise at home, associations have had to deal with the issues surrounding so-called “home businesses.” This is a tricky issue, which is controlled in many associations by the communities governing documents. But even if governing documents prohibit businesses or commercial use of homes or condos, be aware that there still are circumstances under which the association you manage can’t interfere.
Unfortunately, as community association managers know all too well, sometimes the contractors your association hires for such jobs as snow plowing, painting, or providing security don’t perform up to the standards you expect. If you don’t terminate the contract and you let the company continue to provide poor service to your community, members could get frustrated and the management office could be fielding an increased number of complaints. Even worse, the association could get hit with a lawsuit by a member or guest hurt because of bad service.
You and your staff should have a risk management strategy set up that covers all of the issues that could lead to liability for the association you manage. One of the big ticket items in terms of liability that your strategy should address is safety hazards in the community. That’s because safety hazards can result in, at best, minor accidents and, at worst, personal injury lawsuits. Here’s how to take reasonable care in a high-risk area.