Encouraging homeowners to keep up appearances is surprisingly difficult. Shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone in the neighborhood that keeping up the general curb appeal helps everyone? Keeping lawns, trees and bushes properly trimmed encourages greener leaves and brighter blooms. Keeping weeds from growing in the grass, rocks, plants and cracks in the sidewalk is also vital to the beauty of the neighborhood as a whole. Knowing this, why are our neighbors reluctant to pitch in? Likely, because they don’t know what they are doing, don’t have time to keep struggling against their growing jungle and don’t think they […]
Many states allow medical marijuana use. A few states even allow recreational use. With the rise in marijuana use, HOA attorneys receive more and more requests for legal opinions as to what the homeowners can do and what rights the homeowners association has, if any, to restrict it. Can homeowners smoke it? Can the HOA prohibit it? The answer may surprise you.
Even if marijuana use is authorized by state law, it is still prohibited by federal law. The easy answer therefore is, yes, a community association may prohibit smoking pot because it is still a violation of federal law. […]
Homeowners associations are generally private entities. They are not governments so most constitutional rights are not available. When it comes to document review, what is subject to inspection and copying is governed by the community documents and state laws.
Generally, homeowners association members are entitled to see or copy most HOA documents. A good rule of thumb is to start with the assumption that everything is subject to inspection and then look to the documents and laws to carve out exceptions to that general rule. Most governing documents and laws protect several documents. An example of protected documents usually includes […]
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, among other things. The FHA regulates every HOA in every state and can get tricky. Violations are serious and result in judgments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. One would think that as long as the governing documents say so, a board can prohibit excessively loud parrots, large boa constrictors, smelly pigs or ferrets, or even mischievous little Capuchin monkeys. They may be wrong. Dead wrong.
Some may laugh when they hear that a squirrel may be protected by the FHA. I did. In a nut shell, […]
Many of you may have heard about the record breaking rains in Arizona yesterday. With those rains, however, came a flood of complaints from condo owners whose units were damaged by water leaks. In some cases the leaks were torrential. The question now is “who pays for the damages?” The answer may surprise you — it depends!
It depends first on what the CC&Rs say. In some cases the CC&Rs place the duty to repair and replace everything damaged on the condominium. Sometimes they place the duty to repair the roofs on the condominium and the repair of the unit […]
Last week I had an HOA client call me in a hysteria. They were very worried that their HOA would be dissolved by the corporation commission because they didn’t make quorum at their annual meeting where they were voting on director positions. Admittedly, directors’ terms do expire and annual meetings are required to re-elect or elect directors for the next terms. However, failed quorum is not a deal-killer.
Let’s face it–communities run into apathy problems. We find a lot of folks come home from work and unplug by wrestling their kids or watching their […]
Watch out! Yet another case just ruled that a board’s duties even include investigating causes of damage to the common elements and pursuing anyone who is responsible for that damage. This can become a big issue when we are talking about multi-million dollar HOA construction defect issues! Because this is such an important issue, I had to break it down for you.
On June 25, 2014, an appeals court held that a board has a duty to investigate any causes of damage to common elements and to pursue anyone responsible for that damage. Fisher v. Shipyard Village Council of Co-Owners, […]
Being a director on a board is rewarding but it has its challenges. As a director, the community blames you when things don’t go well. Over the last several years there has been a movement among some law makers to hold directors personally liable when associations lose lawsuits. Thank goodness this movement has failed each time a law maker tries to get it passed into law.
Assuming a statute like the one discussed above never passes, the current laws say that a director is indemnified from any liability in a community unless the problem is due […]
We’ve all been there… someone in the community refuses to cure a violation and you want to know what to do about it. For example, John Doe is installing an RV Garage on the side of his lot and the CC&Rs prohibit RV parking and RV garages. Under these facts and circumstances, the association would be justified in requiring John to stop his construction and return the property to its original state. But, there are times when the homeowner refuses to listen to the association’s cease work requests. In these situations the association can […]
One HOA president recently told me his community has about 10 group homes, ranging from group homes for the disabled to group homes for troubled youth. Another HOA treasurer told me they have a few that service the elderly. In all actuality, there are more group homes than one may think. The question is often asked if an HOA can prohibit them and if not what boards or managers can do to ensure the rest of the community is not adversely effected by them.
First, group homes may be protected by the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA is a […]