Commit to Unit Owner Education. Reward Yourself with a Better Community!

For years, I have been writing about the importance of communication as it relates to community association living. I have stressed how important it is that you tell your story well and that you tell it often. Condominium newsletters, HOA newsletters, letters, websites and any other tools used to communicate need to educate readers about what is happening within their associations and why. There has never been a time when communication and education efforts between Board Members, Property Managers, and unit owners have been more important. Community Association Volunteer Leaders at many events that I attend often indicate that there seems to be a vacuum of education between Board Members… Read More

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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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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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Former Condo Board President Feeling Threatened by New President

W.R. from New Haven County writes: Dear Mister Condo, I been having serious issues with the new president and other board members since I stepped down a year ago. This position went to the new president’s head to the point where she put all my neighbor’s business out in the community and when my neighbor addressed her via email she then called the management company to tell them she felt threatened by her. Then we were going back and forth via email about some of the bylaws & rules and as well as rumors that she was talking trash about me, she turned around and falsely accused me of threatening… Read More

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