Monthly Archives: August 2015

Pakistani Terrorist

QUESTION: A board member’s husband went to another board member and told him “F**K you, you f*****g Pakistani terrorist why don’t you go back home.” This was in front of construction workers and neighbors. This is not the first police report involving this director. We have elections coming up. Can we use the police report to let neighbors know about his behavior?

ANSWER: Sometimes board members have no control over their spouses. Some, however, use them for their dirty work. Either way, the spouse’s behavior was inappropriate.

Poor Judgment. There are two possibilities related to the Pakistani board member. Either he is a terrorist or he is not. In the unlikely event he is, the spouse is displaying incredibly poor judgment. Common sense dictates you don’t aggravate a terrorist by swearing at him. In the more likely event the board member is not a terrorist, the spouse still showed bad judgment. His actions will have a negative impact on the board’s ability to conduct business. It’s bad enough when bad behavior is confined to a spouse’s personal life but when it bleeds over to the board, something needs to be done.

Legal Action. Your board member may be the sweetest lady in the world but if her abusive spouse continues to harass directors, the board may have no choice but to take legal action to stop him. Before it comes to that, you might ask for her resignation from the board. If she refuses, you can actively campaign against her reelection (which may or may not stop the abusive husband).

Campaign Material. Directors and members alike have the right to alert their neighbors to the problems created by the husband. Board members must, however, do so as individuals using their own funds and not as board members using association resources. You have great latitude in expressing your opinions against a “public figure” running for office, i.e., the wife/board member, but you want to minimize the potential for defamation by keeping all your communications truthful.

RECOMMENDATION: You should talk to your association’s legal counsel for advice on how best to handle the misbehaving husband.

EXTENDING THE
DEADLINE FOR VOTING


Older CC&Rs frequently require approval by 75% of the membership to amend them. Even worse, some also require approval by 75% of the mortgage holders.
That was what the Bel Air Ridge HOA had.

Prehistoric Documents. Their documents were recorded in 1976, which is prehistoric when it comes to CC&Rs. The HOA tried to amend them and, as expected, not enough owners voted. The board repeatedly extended the voting period while pleading with members to vote. They extended the balloting deadline five times.

Petition Filed. When balloting was finally closed, only 65% of the membership had voted. Although they clearly missed the 75% threshold, 53% of the membership approved the restated CC&Rs. Of the lenders, 9 voted in favor, one against and 71 ballots were returned as undeliverable. Even so, it was enough for the board to petition the court for approval.

Extended Balloting. Three homeowners filed papers with the court opposing the petition. The court did not find their arguments persuasive and approved the CC&Rs. The opponents appealed and challenged the repeated extension of the voting deadline. The court of appeals reviewed the issue and concluded the extensions did not violate the voting process since the Davis-Stirling Act contained no restrictions on extensions and prevailed over anything to the contrary in the bylaws.

Lender Approval. The challengers also attacked the lender approval process. The HOA had sent a letter to them stating: “If you, as a lender, do not complete and return your ballot in a timely manner indicating your disapproval of all or part of the document, it will be deemed that you have voted in favor of approving the entire Restated CC&Rs.” The court decided the HOA had made reasonably diligent efforts to seek lender approval and found no violation.

Reasonable Restrictions. The opponents also argued the new CC&Rs contained unreasonable restrictions. They did not explain why they thought the restrictions were unreasonable but, instead, argued the HOA failed to establish they were reasonable. The court disagreed and ruled for the association, thereby approving the new CC&Rs.

COMMENT: The case is unpublished but provides good insight into handling CC&R restatements. See Bel Air Ridge HOA v. Rosenberg. Kudos to the law firm of Kulik Gottesman & Siegel for their win.

POOL
CHEMICAL TESTING


As of January 1, 2014, association pools are no longer “private” for purposes of health and safety regulations. That means HOAs must now comply with public pool chemical testing requirements.

Testing & Recordkeeping. In addition to meeting higher chlorine requirements, HOAs must now test the water daily. (Small HOAs are exempted if they have 24 or fewer units.) Regulations require that written records be kept onsite and preserved for at least two years. This includes (i) chemical testing, (ii) incidents of fecal, vomit and blood contamination, (iii) incidents of drownings or near drownings, (iv) maintenance and repairs, and (v) manufacturer’s instructions for operation of all mechanical and electrical equipment and water treatment systems.

Reporting Requirements. Associations must also report incidents where two or more pool users or lifeguards have diarrhea within five days of each other.

RECOMMENDATION: Associations should contact their pool maintenance company to make sure they are in compliance with the new regulations. For more information, see public pool Maintenance and Operation regulations.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC

“Much More Than Just a Law Firm!” We’re friendly lawyers–boards and managers can reach us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.

How To Be Taken Seriously as a Landlord

One of the hardest things to do as a landlord is to run your real estate investment and rentals as a business. As a business person, you need to cultivate good business habits, and one of those is to get people—tenants, service personnel, employees and even applicants—to take you seriously as a landlord.

The way tenants and others in the business world treat you stems from a range of factors—some you can control and others that you cannot. From appearance to gender, everything you do plays a role in how you are perceived. If you would like to ensure that you are being taken seriously by tenants and others, you can make some changes in the way you present yourself. Subtle but powerful adjustments can send the message that you are someone to be taken seriously. In no time, you will also be able to influence those who don’t take you seriously at first.

Of course, you don’t need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously by others in your business. It simply means that you give respect and command respect when it comes to your real estate investment and everything that managing it entails. If you are a woman or a younger adult, commanding respect from others and being taken seriously can be harder than usual, but with these tips, you’ll be empowering yourself and taking your business matters into your own hands in no time.

Here are 7 tips on how to be taken seriously by tenants:

1. Create Your Presence

From your posture to your body language, make sure that the way you present yourself is having the effect you desire. When you are talking to people face to face, stand straight with shoulders squared and looking people in the eyes. This posture radiates confidence and calm. A firm handshake and constant (but not creepy) eye contact can further establish your presence in a conversation.

2. Watch How You Speak

Take a good look at your speaking habits and get rid of anything that may make you seem less businesslike. Examples include bad grammar, infantile language, vulgar language, extra words, run-on thoughts and sentences, and odd intonation. For example, if you end your sentences on a higher tone, it makes you sound unsure of yourself.

3. Look Professional

While you don’t have to dress up in full business attire, if you are going to be meeting with tenants, contractors or some other person related to your real estate investment, wear clothes that are clean and neat and make sure your personal grooming is up to social standards. It has more to do with how you present yourself and the first impressions you give out, than what designer brand you wear or whether your hair or teeth are perfectly straight.

4. Be Punctual

It’s never a bad idea to be on time to any appointment or meeting, and making sure you are at least on time or early shows that the upcoming event is a priority to you. When you are on time, you will also have the advantage of being there before other latecomers come rushing in, looking disheveled and unorganized. The early or on-time arrival will definitely boost your business presence.

5. Be Straightforward and Responsible

It’s a bad habit to play dumb when dealing in business, whether it’s to cover your own mistake or try to get someone to do something you should be doing. You must always own up to your actions and take responsibility for both the good and bad things that take place within your business. There’s no need to go overboard in apologizing for mistakes, nor should you dwell forever on your victories. As a landlord, you will make a big impact on tenants, contract workers and employees if you stay focused and accountable. If you don’t know something, admit it and make a plan to get the information you need.

6. Don’t Get Emotional

Whether its losing your temper, making rash decisions or acting unprofessionally, even if you are frustrated and have had a long day, keep the emotions away. When emotion gets into a discussion, argument or other face to face meeting, that’s when bad decision are made. Keep things at a professional level at all times. Of course, don’t be afraid to be persistent and passionate in getting what you want or need, but keep those emotions under wraps as you negotiate using your brain and not your heart.

7. Manage Social Media Messages

In this digital age, your business presence extends to social media and online communication. When you email or text, make sure your grammar and spelling are top of the line. Avoid “text speak” like LOL and “Where R U?” in favor of complete sentences. Also, maintain a professional presence on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and others. It’s hard to take anyone seriously when they are all business yet their social media photos show wild partying, reckless behaviors or unusual events. Know that the perception of you by tenants and others will certainly happen based on your electronic communications and many will try to find you on social media accounts. Make sure your online self does not conflict with your business approach, as it will be hard for others to reconcile the two.

Every landlord has personal habits that possibly undermine the perceptions of others that we aren’t taken seriously enough, jeopardizing business relationships and eroding confidence and trust in our abilities. In order to best establish yourself as a professional, you must take a good, long look at yourself and your habits and ensure that you are doing everything possible to be taken seriously.

The post How To Be Taken Seriously as a Landlord appeared first on RentPrep.

Why You Need to Learn More About Feng Shui

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR Magazine The ancient design philosophy of feng shui is gaining more traction in real estate as the number of Chinese home buyers are taking a bigger liking to U.S. real estate. Eighty-six percent of Chinese Americans believe feng shui will play a role in a future home buying decision, according […]

New York Rent Act Expands Regulations, But Does It Also Expand Tenant Protections?

New York’s state legislature recently extended New York City’s rent-stabilization law, to the frustration of the city’s mayor and many tenant advocates.  However, the bill’s fine print contains language sufficiently ambiguous to imply that the bill may have made it harder for landlords to shift an apartment from a rent-regulated unit to a non-regulated unit, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

For many years, New York landlords have been allowed to deregulate a vacant apartment if the legal rent for a new tenant was higher than a set threshold – currently, $2,700 per month.  Over 139,000 units have been deregulated in the past fifteen years via this method.

The new Rent Act, however, contains wording that may allow the apartment to be deregulated only if the previous tenant’s rent was at the threshold.  If the previous tenant had not paid $2,700 per month, the new tenant would still enjoy a rent-controlled apartment, even if he or she was paying more than $2,700 per month.  Only when a tenant paying the threshold amount or more had moved out would the landlord be allowed to de-regulate the apartment.

At stake is an argument over how the Legislature intended to use the word “was” in several places in the new law.  By talking about whether the rent “was” more than the threshold, did the Legislature mean to refer specifically to the previous tenant’s rent – or does the statute speak in more general terms? Currently, landlord-tenant lawyers who have examined the bill’s new language are torn on what exactly the bill is intended to say.  Many tenant’s advocates claim that the specific language at issue extends tenant protections, while lawyers for landlords point out that, when read as a whole and understood according to the state Legislature’s intent, the bill doesn’t make any sweeping policy changes regarding rent regulation.

Since a focus on specific language and an understanding of broader structure and intent are important to understanding what a statute means and how it operates, the question of what – if anything – the Rent Act changes will likely have to be resolved by the courts.  Since the state’s Court of Appeals has sided with tenants in numerous cases in recent years, however, advocates for landlords are viewing any potential court battle with some trepidation.

Note: This article is not intended as legal advice and should not be understood as such.  If you need help with a specific legal issue, contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your area.

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Know Your Association’s Governing Documents and Their Hierarchy

In a perfect world, every homeowner or condominium association’s bylaws, CC&Rs and other governing documents would be crafted by lawyers so that they are fully in compliance with municipal, county, state and federal laws and do not contradict one another.

Know your association's governing documents and their hierarchy In the real world, this can never be the case. Occasionally, there are areas of conflict between various association governing documents and the law, or amendments that are made to one document without the necessary changes being made to the others so that everything is brought into alignment. For example, a dispute can arise when a resident points to a passage in the association rules and regulations that allows them to do something while the CC&Rs contain conflicting information.

When both parties can point to language in different documents that justifies their actions or non-actions, how can such differences be resolved? Is there an established order for which document takes precedence?

It turns out there is such an order of precedence, at least in most areas. Just as the Constitution trumps federal laws, and federal laws take precedence over state laws and so on, there is a similar order of precedence, or hierarchy, of documents when it comes to homeowners associations and condominiums.

Specifics vary by state but, in general, the hierarchy of documents looks something like this:

  1. City, county, state or federal laws. The higher the level, the greater the precedence. In some cases, laws may be written in such a way that various association governing documents are deferred to.
  2. Recorded plat, map or plan that is documented in the county recorder’s office. These plans help designate ownership plots and the geographical limits of the association’s jurisdiction.
  3. CC&Rs (or a declaration of condominium for COAs).
  4. Supplementary declarations.
  5. Articles of incorporation or corporate charter (if any exist).
  6. Bylaws.
  7. Rules and regulations.
  8. General resolutions.

This is the specific hierarchy of governing documents in California, under the Davis Sterling Act:

  • To the extent of any conflict between the governing documents and the law, the law shall prevail.
  • To the extent of any conflict between the articles of incorporation and the declaration, the declaration shall prevail.
  • To the extent of any conflict between the bylaws and the articles of incorporation or declaration, the articles of incorporation or declaration shall prevail.
  • To the extent of any conflict between the operating rules and the bylaws, articles of incorporation, or declaration, the bylaws, articles of incorporation, or declaration shall prevail.

Most if not all states impose similar governing document hierarchies.

Likewise, the hierarchy of governing documents also restricts the authority of association boards to infringe on the liberty of the owners, except within certain parameters defined by the law, the declaration and the CC&Rs. For example, except within very narrowly defined contexts, association boards cannot create a rule or regulation that infringes upon First Amendment rights, except where homeowners have ceded them.

Things get a little fuzzy when it comes to state laws that pass after the homeowner or condominium association documents were drafted. After all, the Constitution doesn’t allow state governments to shred existing contracts by force of law. Florida attorneys Gary and Ryan Poliakoff explain which takes precedence:

[It] depends on whether the statutory amendments are procedural (affecting simply how laws are carried out) or substantive (an actual change to rights or regulations). The Constitution prohibits states from passing laws that impair existing contract rights. So, for example, one could debate whether a state law that prohibits an association from restricting leasing of units would be applicable. If the no-leasing provision was in the declaration before the legislature passed its law, then the change is arguably an impairment of contract (with the contract being the actual declaration of condominium).

Some documents contain language that affirms that they are automatically modified by all legislative amendments. Lawyers refer to such clauses as “Kaufman” language, after the case that stated that if such a provision is contained within the document, then legislative changes do not impair the existing documents because applying these changes is strictly an interpretation of the document.

One important rule of thumb for governing documents: In general, whichever document gets recorded first is the one that usually governs. So, below the law, the top document in the hierarchy is the plat the developer files in the county recorders’ office defining the geographical limits of the development. The declaration usually comes after that. Once a homeowner or condominium association declares its existence, they usually go on to file as a corporation or other entity, and then go on to develop CC&Rs and bylaws, and so on down the chain.

Understanding the hierarchy of governing documents can help avoid or settle costly litigation and predict how a court may rule. This, in turn, can save associations and their members thousands of dollars in court fees.

Say what you will about lawyers, but practicing law – and even simply understanding legalese – is exceedingly tough. Unless you have a board member with some training or understanding of the applicable laws, how can your association expect to safely navigate through complicated legal situations like those presented by issues related to conflicting association governing documents?

There’s one simple solution available to homeowner and condominium associations in need of legal advisors – work with association management companies! In addition to providing better financial management, dues collection and governance, professional association managers help their clients comply with federal, state and local laws and avoid costly litigation.

Click the below button to get free, no-commitment quotes from association management companies in your area and learn how they can serve as your legal advisor, dues wrangler, maintenance mogul and more. Get a free quote from a professional association manager!

Key Steps Landlords Take When Selecting A Tenant

If this is your first time away from home or you are simply new to the rental game, it can help to know how landlord’s process goes for selecting a tenant so that you can make sure you are prepared to fully demonstrate your worth as a possibility.

Initial Interview

Once you express interest in a rental property via phone or email, you will hear from the landlord. She will want to ask you some qualifying questions, so be prepared to answer honestly and pleasantly. This information will help her determine whether or not you are a good candidate for the property in question.

Things a landlord may want to know when selecting a tenant include:

  • How many people do you expect to occupy the property and their relationship to you
  • What is your reason for moving?
  • Do you have pets or smoke?
  • How long you intend to rent
  • Occupancy date
  • Credit information
  • References

Showing the Property

When you arrive to view the property, the landlord will be assessing a few things that you should be aware of as they go through the process of selecting a tenant. Your appearance is your first chance to make a good impression. While you don’t have to dress up, the care you take with yourself can be indicative of the care you would take of the property. Being polite and respectful will go a long way toward showing a potential landlord that you will be reasonable to work with in future dealings.

Application

If the property showing goes well, the landlord may ask you to fill out a rental application. This document fills in many of the details that she is unable to get through the initial interview and first impressions. Come prepared to submit things like a reference from a previous housing situation as well as credit information. Landlords often rely on credit checks to determine whether you are the kind of person that pays bills on time. Keep in mind that an invitation to complete an application is not necessarily an indication of whether or not the landlord has selected a tenant and you have the property.

Approval

If you have been approved for the rental, the landlord will let you know and invite you to come and sign the lease or rental agreement. Even if you had to pay an application fee (not uncommon in more sought after areas) you are under no obligation to commit yourself if you find terms within the fine print that were not disclosed or are not agreeable to you. If you come across such a situation, hopefully the landlord will be amenable to negotiation, but know that you can still walk away at this point if necessary. It may not be ideal, but is better than locking yourself into terms you can’t sustain.

Lease Signing

The lease, or rental agreement, is there to legally protect your interests as well as your landlord. While it keeps her from changing your rent during the duration of it, it also requires you to stay for the agreed on amount of time. Never sign a lease without carefully reading it all the way through and maintaining a copy for yourself. Take note of factors like late fees on rental payments and additional monthly charges like parking or HOA fees. Be polite but persistent if there is something you don’t understand or agree with. Ideally, both parties should have a fairly clear idea of what they are getting into before they sign on the dotted line.

The post Key Steps Landlords Take When Selecting A Tenant appeared first on RentPrep.

Recent Rental Statistics All Landlords Should See

According to many reports from across the country, rental rates are on the rise, with more people than ever choosing to rent instead of buy homes. We thought it would be interesting for landlords to see a current snapshot of the rental landscape and see what an impact being a landlord is having on today’s economy.

In a recent New York Times article, millions more Americans are renting than ever before, whether by choice or by circumstance. According to the article, home ownership in the United States has been falling steadily for eight years. This means that rentals are booming and real estate investors are happy to see that the number of new rental households is consistently increasing, with some of the strongest numbers in recent decades. Essentially, the country’s vacancy rate for rentals is among the lowest it has been in the last two decades, according to the article. That’s good news for landlords who often worry about whether they’ve made the right decision about getting into real estate.

Here are some key statistics from the Rental Protection Agency:

  • There are approximately 110,000,000 renters in the United States.
  • There are approximately 23,000,000 landlords in the United States.
  • Every day, there are more than 2,600 new renters.
  • The majority of rental properties have just 1 renter in the unit (36.6%) while the second highest group has 2 renters in the unit (26.7%).
  • More than 27% of renters fall into the age group of 25-34 years old, the largest percentage of all age ranges.
  • The places with the highest percentage of renters are Washington D.C. (59.24%), New York (47.01%), Hawaii (43.49%), and California (43.09%).
  • The places with the lowest percentage of renters are West Virginia (24.82%), Minnesota (25.45%), and Michigan (26.33%).
  • Today, nearly half of all renters pay more than 30% of their income on rent, according to the New York Times.

So what does this mean for landlords and real estate investors? The good news is that in most places, the demand for rentals is exceeding the supply, so there are plenty of good applicants to choose from and units shouldn’t sit vacant for very long. The other good news is that when supply is limited, the prices go up, and indeed rental rates across the country are rising, leading to an increase in profits.

Something that landlords and real estate investors need to consider, however, is that in some areas, rents are getting so expensive that they are unaffordable. For example, renters in certain cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami are paying more than 40% of their income in rent. These factors, plus an overall lack of supply of places to live is causing renters to look elsewhere for affordable places to rent. This means that landlords in smaller suburban areas with access to good transportation routes may be in an even better position to keep units full as people flee those cities and towns where rent is simply too expensive.

The top 10 most expensive rental markets in the country, according to CheatSheet, are:

  1. Northern New Jersey-Long Island
  2. Baltimore
  3. Philadelphia
  4. New York City
  5. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach
  6. San Francisco-Oakland
  7. Miami
  8. Los Angeles-Long Beach
  9. St. Louis
  10. Tampa-St. Petersburg

As rental markets continue to heat up around the country, landlords and real estate investors should always be thinking of the long-term for their business. While construction is rushing to meet the demand of rental units, with more multifamily properties being built this year than ever before, there is the possibility that too many rental properties will eventually cause the rental market to cool. As inevitable as the tides, real estate investing has ebbs and flows, and as the housing industry continues to gain strength over the next decade, landlords and investors need to prepare for the inevitable leveling off.

Keeping the overall reasons for becoming a landlord in mind will help property owners benefit from every twist and turn of the rental market, and paying attention to statistics can help landlords spot trends that can give them good information on what to expect in the near and distant future. Treating rental properties like a business will always help landlords make wise decisions rather than emotional ones.

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Match the Curb Appeal to the Home’s Style

Does your listing’s curb appeal match it’s architecture? A new guide provides tips on how to achieve curb appeal that compliments a home’s architecture. The Fypon Style Guide, created with Duket Architects Planners in Toledo, Ohio, provides tips on adding polyurethane products that match a home’s architecture in adding to its curb appeal. “This free […]

Top 8 Most Frustrating Things About Being a Tenant

There is no doubt that renting rather than owning a home has benefits. In addition to the location flexibility, you are more likely to pay less in rent than you would for a mortgage. There is also the advantage of not having to budget for major home repairs and maintenance. However, there are certainly some downsides to being someone’s tenant.

Here are 8 of the most frustrating things about being a tenant:

1. Decorating

You have to work a little harder in a rental to create a space that feels unique and homey to you. Decorating has to be done with the idea that it really isn’t your property and you can’t make permanent changes. Most housing situations will not allow you to paint walls or replace features that particularly bother you. You even have to be careful of the holes you put in the walls to hang art or shelves.

2. Noise

I once moved from what was essentially a great apartment because I couldn’t handle the level of noise any longer. With neighbors above me, below me and on either side, I was subject to loud music, arguments, footsteps, slamming doors, flushing toilets and even an alarm clock that faithfully beeped at 6 a.m. every morning for at least a half an hour because my neighbors upstairs had neglected to switch it off before leaving town for two weeks.

3. Landlords

Some are great and some are a challenge, but either way, it can be frustrating to have another person in your life that you have to answer to. Owning a home certainly comes with more responsibilities, but most of the rules you follow regarding its upkeep are your own.

4. Repairs

You are at the mercy of your landlord when it comes to repairs and maintenance issues. While you might get timely service on things that could damage the property further, like leaking pipes, you have no power over larger issues that are simply uncomfortable or annoying for you. I once lived in a rental that promised AC as part of the rental agreement. When the unit broke down in the hottest part of July, the landlord took a casual three weeks to get the system looked at and fixed. He was in far less of a rush than I was and simply had to dodge my phone calls until he was good and ready.

5. Lease Agreements

While rentals are generally cheaper than owning a home, they are also subject to a rate increase at the end of your lease. Depending on what kind of tenant you are, you are also at risk of being given your walking papers. The expense and hassle of moving when you didn’t expect or budget it can become a big problem.

6. Laundry Room

Many rentals share a laundry room, which are more of a battleground than you might think. Multiple units sharing two or three washers and dryers can turn the best of neighbors into enemies. Whether you are the tenant that forgets their laundry in one of the machines for hours (which is extremely bad form) or the one that removes someone else’s wet clothes the minute it buzzes (also an extremely weird no-no) you have to be diligent about making sure that you are being considerate of everyone else in the building when it comes to clean clothes.

7. Smells

If you are right next door to a hoarder, you might have some recourse about the smells that waft into your living quarters, but if you simply don’t like the pungent scent of your neighbor’s favorite dish, you are out of luck (been there, done that).

8. Parking

Most renters can sympathize with the hassle that is parking when you live in an apartment or condo. While your own spaces are usually assigned, it almost always a guarantee that the few designated visitor spaces will always be full. This leaves your guests parking a block away or risking retribution in the form of tickets or tire boots if they accidentally take someone else’s spot.

Like any situation, there are both good and bad parts of being a tenant. However, with patience and work on your part, you can enjoy the benefits of renting and minimize the frustrating parts.

The post Top 8 Most Frustrating Things About Being a Tenant appeared first on RentPrep.

3 HOA Horror Stories – Don’t Let These Happen to You!

We try to keep abreast of news related to homeowner and condominium associations so as to stay current with the topics and issues association board members like yourself should be aware of. In the course of our daily headline skimming, we’ve noticed a disheartening trend: almost all association-related articles are extraordinarily negative in tone.

Here are three HOA horror story-related articles that have been published in the last week alone:

Orange Park, FL

HOA horror stories - don't let these happen to you!“It’s a dictatorship,” one resident of the Spencer’s Plantation neighborhood said of its HOA board, which stands accused of illegally ignoring a unanimous recall vote and leveling absurdly large fines up to four times the size of annual dues for minor infractions like having a leaning mailbox.

Litigation or binding arbitration seems inevitable, especially since one homeowner has already received a restraining order against a board member.

Carlsbad, CA

An HOA board was forced into damage control mode when the manager of a unit turned into a vacation rental kicked a family out after lying that a series of complaints had been lodged against them, thereby ruining their “once-in-a-lifetime summer vacation.” The HOA board felt compelled to reach out to a local news station once the station opened an investigation based on the family’s experiences to side with and apologize to the family.

Ruskin, FL

Complaints from several surly residents of a gated community prompted its HOA board to shut down an 11-year-old boy’s lemonade stand. The pint-sized business, started with funds from the boy’s own pocket, only lasted two hours before being forcibly shuttered. “Sometimes I think they just go a little bit too far,” the boy’s father said of the HOA board. “I would hope that something as innocent as that could be overlooked at least for a day.”

The conclusion to draw from these horror stories is simple: managing an association is hard work, and there is plenty of room for conflicts to arise and abuses of power to occur. Even a competent and ethical association board member like yourself can be drawn into time-consuming and headache-inducing conflicts as a result of this fact.

This is one of the primary reasons approximately 75 percent of homeowner and condominium associations are managed by association management companies. The average professional association manager is an infinitely more talented conflict resolver, legal advisor and financial manager than the average elected association board member.

To avoid inadvertently inviting nasty articles to be written about your community – and, more simply, to save time and avoid stress – click the below button to get free quotes from local association management companies and learn what they can do for you.

Get a free quote from a professional association manager!