Question: I live in a townhouse style condominium that is comprised primarily of young families and, consequently, we have quite a few dogs in the community. Our recorded Condominium Declaration states: “No more than two (2) pets shall be maintained per Unit. The Board of Directors may promulgate additional rules and regulations regarding pets.” Our Board of Directors has passed a board resolution changing the number of pets allowed per unit from two (2) pets to one (1) pet. My son is heartbroken that we will have to choose which one of our dogs we have to give away. Can board members just make up their own rules? Continue Reading Can Board Members Make New Rules and Change Old Ones?
If you own a single family home and your roof needs to be replaced, you either have to take money from savings or borrow the funds to pay for it. Either way, it’s your sole responsibility to replace your roof. But what if you own a condominium unit and the roof of your building needs to be replaced or the streets need to be repaved? What if you live in a homeowners association and the pool deck needs to be replaced? Don’t you expect all of the owners in the community to contribute to the costs and don’t you expect there to be enough money in “savings” to pay for it. Continue Reading Making the case for replacement reserves
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “fidelity” as “faithfulness to obligations, duties, or observances,” but what does fidelity mean to your association and why do you need fidelity insurance? Every association collecting assessments has one or more persons handling the financial obligations of the Association (collecting and depositing assessments and paying invoices). Every board member, management company employee or other individual handling an association’s funds has a fiduciary responsibility to handle those funds in a way that best benefits the association, but what if they don’t? Continue Reading What is Fidelity Insurance and why does my Association need it?
We frequently talk about the fact that homeowner association board members have a "fiduciary duty" to the members. What exactly is it? Is it spelled out in the law? What sort of actions would violate that duty?
Questions often arise about the duties of the secretary in taking and producing minutes of meetings and providing association records to members. The primary functions of the Secretary are to produce minutes of meetings and maintain the records of the association. The secretary must produce a draft of the minutes for approval, and then finalize them with any changes upon once they are approved at the next meeting. Records to be maintained include all of the minutes, any resolutions adopted by the Board of Directors, correspondence, contracts and notices of meetings.
We suggest that the following files be maintained: Continue Reading BEING SECRETARY OF THE ASSOCIATION CARRIES SIGNIFICANT RESPONSIBILITIES
As association attorneys we are in need of the governing documents in order to answer questions posed by the board or the manager. Frequently we have those documents in that association’s file if we regularly represent that association. We do need to keep up to date on any changes in the rules and regulations or architectural guidelines which may be made without our input or review. Of course, we do believe it is a good investment for associations to allow us to review proposed rule or guideline changes before implementing to insure enforceability.
[This article is an excerpt from an article written by Mike Hunter for the
Charlotte Observer. We believe it contains some very helpful information and suggestions]
“Most swimming pools have a list of rules posted somewhere on the premises. We’ve all seen them. The rules contain common sense prohibitions against dangerous pool activities, such as having glass in the pool area and diving into the shallow end.
And almost every set of pool rules contains a statement similar to this: ‘No one under the age of 18 may use the pool unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.’ It makes sense, right?
According to a 2012 federal court opinion from California (Iniestra v. Cliff Warren Investments), a pool rule requiring adult supervision of children violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) because it discriminated against families with children.
In explaining its opinion, the federal court found the rule requiring adult supervision to not make perfect sense if its goal was to ensure the safety of all swimmers. The court noted that the Iniestra children, who were competent swimmers, were not allowed in the pool facility without a parent, but yet adults who never swam a day in their life could use the pool facility without supervision. Also illogical was that a certified lifeguard who was under 18 could not use the pool without the presence of a parent or guardian.
March 2015 – The U.S. Department of Justice announced settlement of a Fair Housing violation case against a Community Association and its Management. In addition to requiring a revamped set of Rules, the offenders must pay a $10,000 penalty to the United States and pay $100,000 to six families that suffered as a result of the discrimination.
The Complaint filed in 2013 alleged that the enactment and enforcement of a facially neutral Common Areas Rule was discriminatory. The rule provided that:
In the past two months we have been consulted on two situations involving emotional support animals. Be it known that this is a topic addressed by the Fair Housing Act. In order to qualify the resident must satisfy certain requirements. They are as follows:
Documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional that the animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability. Such documentation is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide some type of disability-related assistance or emotional support.
We have found that managers and board members who have not had any experience with the process of obtaining FHA project approval have unrealistic expectations about the processing time.In this edition we let you know the “ins and outs” of the application for such approval. We handle both initial applications and recertifications and there is a significant difference.