Suggestions for Changing Boards of Common Interest Communities

As communities Boards change over time there is often a change in direction for a community with regards to how common areas are funded or which projects are most important to the present community membership. A reserve study completed for new Boards will help to guide them in their specific direction as a reserve study provides an outline of the costs Associated with replacement of common area components as well as includes funding plans based on the client’s goals, statutory requirements and our recommendations based on our experience with similar communities.   Just Completing a Reserve Study is not Enough Just having a reserve study completed is not enough for… Read More

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The Fight Against Inflation – A Silent Assassin

Is the title overdramatic? Perhaps, but inflation is the reason many communities are in such dire financial straits, it’s silent, invisible and hits your pocket book right when you least expect it. The community that has been saving for a roof replacement for twenty four years but doesn’t tackle this silent assassin will find out they only have half the amount needed to replace the roof – slice…inflation… ​ What is Inflation? Inflation is the reduction in your purchasing power over time which causes prices to increase. It’s the main reason why your house is worth more, the car you drive is more expensive and a candy bar is double… Read More

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Protect Condominium Values – Utilize a Reserve Study

Making the appropriate decisions to adequately fund a reserve account is one of the most basic responsibilities of a Board. Reserve funds are utilized to pay for projected common area expenses like roof replacement, paint or asphalt overlays. Unfortunately for most condominium communities this basic community need is not being met as the majority of communities are severely underfunded, where reliance on special assessments and loans is highest. We have seen that the communities which have lower funding levels (ie. their reserve fund balance is significantly lower than an ideal amount) also have issues with financing units for sales/refinance, have marketability issues with Brokers & Buyers and are typically impacted… Read More

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Fire Sprinkler Installation and Earthquake Retrofit – Are They Reserve Account Expenses?

Without a doubt installation of fire sprinklers and earthquake retrofits make buildings safer and could save lives when and if they should ever be needed. Some municipalities have passed rules for installation/upgrading/modernization of these systems but most have chosen to forego putting anything into law as the cost to the owner(s) of the building can be very high. The question we are tackling from our perspective is; should the installation of these systems be paid for from the Reserve Account? Most often we advise that these system installations projects should not be budgeted for and paid from the Reserve Account as they are not current components; the past/current members have… Read More

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Deck / Lanai Refurbishment, Replacement, Maintenance – A Common Budgeting Mistake

  Decks / Lanais systems are typically one of the larger project expenses a community will face. Budgeting for their short and long term care is not always as straightforward as it appears to be as the degree of deterioration of this component is heavily reliant on historical maintenance trends in the community. I will touch on one of the more common budgeting mistakes we see on a regular basis. Maintenance and proper care will actually save a community a significant amount of money in the long run; deciding who (and how) this component is maintained can have a significant impact on the budgeting recommendations in the reserve study as… Read More

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KEEP CALM AND CALL THE MEDIATOR!!

KEEP CALM AND CALL THE MEDIATOR!! As a Community Association Member, have you ever had trials and tribulations like…… My neighbor lets his iguana swim in the community pool- What, your neighbor has an iguana? Well, the Treasurer and Vice-President of our Board are at war with each other- Is that all? We have widespread parking disputes. That’s nothing! We have one unit owner that keeps storing his belongings in the Common Area. Well, at least he doesn’t hang superman sheets from the window. No, but the lady next door uses her garage as a disco-tech. The list goes on and on. When troubles like these arise: What to do??… Read More

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How To Stop Pass Sharing at Your HOA Pool

Why is my pool so crowded?  Who are all these people at the pool?  Those teenagers don’t live in the community.  Why isn’t the pool collecting any guest money? Does this sound like you? Believe it or not, some communities embrace this culture.  After all, it is a community pool.  The elected board members have made a decision to allow a loose pass policy and/or decided not to collect guest fees. When this is the case, you may hear comments like these: “My family uses XYZ HOA pool, my mother in law lives there.”  “When my girlfriend comes to visit, she uses my next door neighbor’s pass.”  “Everybody is allowed… Read More

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Types of Swimming Pool Pass Policies

Every pool owner, property manager, or board member have the same goals: 1.  Keep people out of the pool that don’t belong. 2.  Let people in that do belong. Easier said than done sometimes.   Below are some of the most common ways communities manage access to their facility and the pros and cons of each. Key Chain Passes (or Wrist Band) Advantages Cheap. Easy to implement.   When a patron’s application is approved, you simply give them the band or keychain. Disadvantages Passes do not include a picture or identify age. It is easy to share passes. Supervisors have difficulty determining if the pass policy is being enforced. Fewer guest passes are… Read More

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Communications and Community Governance

“That government is best which governs least” – Thomas Paine Thomas Paine was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and dubbed “Father of the American Revolution” by historians. He was born in 1737 and lived a remarkable life that spanned the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and life in France under Napoleon’s rule. His communication skills were legendary and he largely influenced many Americans to take up the cause that became the American Revolution. So important were his writings, we still talk about him today. Community Association Volunteer Leaders (CAVLs as they are designated by CAI) would do well to heed the words of Thomas Paine. In… Read More

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Condo’s Underfunded Reserve Creates Many Problems

C.R. from outside of Connecticut writes: Dear Mister Condo, I live in a condo building with 58 units. There are zero adornments except for a very nice meeting room. We have two elevators which travel eleven floors up and down. I am currently serving on the board. Our Reserve fund is at 18K which in my eyes is very low. We will need a major elevator repair in a few years and increasing insurance as well as a rooftop service plan. We have decided to increase HOA dues 15% = $3000. more each month or 20% increase equaling an extra $4000. per month. We want to propose this to our… Read More

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