Board Member Responsibilities

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.

Continue Reading Emotional Support Animals and The Fair Housing Act – a word to the wise

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.

Continue Reading How long does it take for a condominium to get FHA project approval?

Due to some shepherding of this bill by CAI’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee, as of July 1 you can get help from the Circuit Court if you have made a good faith attempt (3 times) to get a critical amendment passed without success. The statute details exactly what must be done to achieve the amendment.  We hate to say it but you really need to read this statute as it lays out exactly how and when it works.  Here it is:

Continue Reading If you can’t get a critical amendment passed there is relief in court

 

Just because new owners have received a disclosure packet  when they signed a purchase contract doesn’t mean they read it. A welcome packet is a way to be sure your new owners are educated about their Association, especially amenities, benefits and rules. An owner who is educated is one who will most likely comply. If an owner does not understand a rule he has a chance to inquire before becoming a violator. Here are some suggestions for the content of a welcome packet:

Continue Reading Help your new owners and board with welcome packets

Many local condominiums are not approved or are about to expire.  We provide advice and application preparation with respect to FHA project approvals.  Condominiums must get certified/approved every two years.  There is no fee charged by the FHA.  The boards of every condominium in which FHA loans are a likely source of financing owe it to their owners to seek this approval as it is a significant benefit to all owners in terms of value and sales of units…..just ask a real estate agent.

Recently we received the following question the answer to which could be helpful to many of you.

Q.       Our condominium has a serious need for some renovation work on windows, doors and some balconies. It is going to cost around $3,000 a unit as best we can tell right now. One contractor we consulted said it was not urgent and that we could do it over a period of time. Another contractor indicated that he thought the deterioration would accelerate and we needed to do all the work right away. The Board is divided on which way to go, and right now we only have four Board members, and it is a 50/50 split. Our next election is September and we cannot agree on a new Board member either. We have been at this standoff for four months now, and we need to move ahead with some plans, but we do not seem to be able to do so. Do you have any suggestions?

Continue Reading What to do when your board is deadlocked

Only a few years ago the Virginia General Assembly recognized that many association boards just would not face up to the need for reserves in an effort to keep “dues” at a lower and more competitive level.  Many are paying a price for those decisions now.  It became such a problem that several years ago the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring reserve studies every 5 years and an annual review of reserves by every board  (see Section 55-79.83:1of the Condo Act and Section 55-514.1of the POA Act.). 

Continue Reading Boards – Take Notice – 3 big reasons properly funded reserves are essential

Recently in a Fairfax County case involving the Shadowood Condominium Association the Court examined whether or not the board could assess charges against an owner for failing to submit a unit owner status report required by the Association and for violations of rules by the unit owner’s tenants.  It appears that this association’s documents had not adopted the provisions provided in the Virginia Condominium Act authorizing the assessment of charges for rules violations. In fact the Master Deed provides that “no common expense or other sums shall be assessed….other than for the maintenance, repair, replacement or improvement of the general common elements….”

Continue Reading Virginia Supreme Court focuses on authority of Association Board to impose charges or suspensions

QUESTION: 

I understand that at this time all associations are required to have a complaint procedure in place in order for their members to be able to let the CIC Board know of issues they have with their association. I also know that the Annual Report form requires an Association to state whether or not it has a complaint procedure. What is the consequence if an association fails to comply after getting the DPOR’s letter about non-compliance when they have checked “no” on the Annual Report?

Continue Reading Mandate from the Legislature-Complaint Procedure

Q:      We are a self managed association and members often ask for copies of records such as financial data and minutes of meetings. Often they ask for minutes before they are approved. One request is for our contract with the landscaper. We don’t feel that all these requests are appropriate. What do we have to provide to our owners?

Continue Reading Requests for Association records – What are the rules of the road?