Is an Association Required to Have an Audit Done Every Year?

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. It’s that time of the year again… Fiscal year 2015 has ended for most of our association clients and boards are now considering the next requirements with regard to the association’s 2015 financial books and records. Many boards have contacted our office asking if an association is required to have an audit done by a CPA every year. The answer is… it depends…First, you need to examine and review your association’s documents (CC&Rs, Articles of Incorporation and/or Bylaws). Do your association documents address the need for an audit, review or compilation? If so, the association needs to follow what the documents state on this important issue.… Read More

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5 Tips to help new Board Members figure out what Community Association documents need to be kept and what to toss

Our firm has encountered situations where new board members were handed boxes of association records or been asked to review and ascertain what records the association should keep or send to the shredder. It is a big decision, but don’t be discouraged, here are a few tips you should keep in mind as you sort through the pile of papers. Remember, associations are recognized as legal entities, so certain records must be preserved for the proper period of time. 1. Retain financial records permanently Accounting statements documenting the association’s history should be retained permanently. Tax forms and supporting documentation must be retained for at least seven years. Banking records for… Read More

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Our Association Has Trouble Getting Owners to Attend Our Annual Meeting. Do you have any Tips on How to Increase Attendance?

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Yes, I do! Here are a few of our firm’s suggestions on how to increase attendance at an Annual Meeting. ♦ Announce the annual meeting date, time, and location in as many places as possible ♦ Plan and publicize a social event after or before the meeting and include food ♦ Give away door prizes or conduct a raffle (vendors of the association may be willing to donate door prizes) ♦ Give away awards for best lawn, flowers, best holiday decorations, etc. ♦ Establish a program; have a discussion on hot topics such as increasing the assessment rate, crime or common area improvements ♦ Arrange for guest… Read More

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9 Suggestions to Help Limit Speeding in Community Associations

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Over the past few years, our firm has heard horror stories from association boards and residents regarding owners, residents and vendors speeding and/or failing to obey traffic signals on association streets. Drivers who do not obey the speed limit within an association are a growing problem for community associations. Association residents want to feel safe in their front yards or while they are walking in their neighborhood. Traffic speed limits are designed to keep association members safe by posting maximum vehicular speeds. Factors such as street location, street size and number of vehicles per day are all used to determine the safest speed vehicles should travel.… Read More

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Handle Hoarders Carefully

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. There is a growing problem in community associations – owners who hoard books, newspapers, trash, knick-knacks, furniture, scrap metal, animals, rotting food and everything in between. The problem is common and has been identified as a serious behavioral illness. “Hoarders” are usually isolated and suffer from the psychological issues that produce the clinical definition of hoarding, which is “retaining items of no value in quantities that interfere with the victim’s ability to function”. The effect of this creates a fire danger, structural problems to the home, health risks and additional problems for the hoarder, their family, often the neighbors and the association. “Hoarders” are people whose… Read More

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5 Steps to Limit Potential Board Member Conflict

Did You Know? STEPS TO LIMIT POTENTIAL BOARD MEMBER CONFLICT 1. Give all board members an opportunity to contribute with equal time; 2. Consider enacting regulations, such as discussion time limits; 3. Allow follow up discussion on a topic after all board members have been given the opportunity to speak; 4. Educate new board members on board processes and outstanding issues; 5. Encourage mentoring of new board members.

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Our Board Just Received Notification that a Sex Offender Moved into our Association. What can we do about this?

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Unfortunately, our firm has received this question many times in 17 years. First, let’s talk about Arizona law. Arizona Sex Offenders Community Notification Statutes On June 1, 1996, the Arizona legislature adopted the Arizona Sex Offenders Community Notification Statutes (A.R.S. Sections 13-3821 to 13-3828). Under these laws, once a convicted sex offender is released from jail and intends to enter and remain in Arizona, the sex offender must register with the sheriff of the county in which they intend to reside. Prior to release, the agency that had custody of the individual completes a risk assessment which determines the offender’s risk level. The level of risk… Read More

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What does the Vice President Really Do?

by Beth Mulcahy, Esq. It is sometimes a thankless job, and may go unnoticed if the association has a very active and robust President. However far in the background, the Vice President plays an important role for the community association board of directors. The immediate answer when asked what the vice president does is to substitute for the President in his/her absence. This is an important role and carries the same management and skill sets as the President. The Vice President must be well versed on community issues and ready to step in when asked. The Vice President may be called upon to preside over the board meeting when the… Read More

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3 Important Tips for the New Board Member

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. A position on the board of directors is voluntary, but most newly elected board members want to do their best and start off on a good footing so they often ask me, “What are the most important things a new board member should do?” I have narrowed it to three important tips, and would advise seasoned board members to review these tips as well as new board members. 1.  Read the association documents and the minutes of the previous year. Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs): The CC&Rs define the use of the land. The declaration outlines the standards for the community and establishes restrictions… Read More

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Help! I am a Board Member that is being harassed by an owner in our association… What can I do to stop the harassment?

By Beth Mulcahy, Esq. Unfortunately, this is a question that is frequently presented to our law firm. Usually, the story goes something like this… Disgruntled owner is unhappy about something in the association such as a violation letter received, a planned capital improvement project, a special assessment or an increase in assessment rate. The disgruntled owner becomes abusive to the board or the manager (harassing phone calls or messages, showing up at board member’s home unannounced, bad behavior at a board meeting). Here’s what board members need to know about the best way to handle this situation. Black’s Law Dictionary defines harassment as “words, gestures or actions which tend to… Read More

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