By Ryan Newton
We have learned association meetings have changed over the last year. In 2020 we saw many Associations push back meetings in the hopes of being able to still meet in person at a later date. Most associations had to adapt due to local gathering restrictions and in-person meetings were not possible.
As time went on, many HOA’s started using online meeting platforms to allow “face to face” meetings. This has drastically changed the meeting landscape for associations with both positive and negative outcomes.
With the shift to a more technology-based platform for meetings, we probably won’t be seeing them go away, at least any time soon, even with gathering restrictions being lifted.
There are a lot of benefits to an online meeting format; owners from other locations can attend, trends show that meetings are shorter, managers/staff save time from commuting and have an improved work/life balance, and ownership attendance has increased, helping keep more people informed.
Like with everything, there are negative effects as well; relationships can be harder to foster, voting is more complicated, it is harder to ensure everyone has a chance to be heard, secret attendees (people that can’t be seen) and for some, an online style meeting is not feasible.
Regardless of the pros and cons, meeting format has changed, and it is important to establish clear guidelines on how meetings will be handled moving forward. Below is a list of items managers/boards should review while putting procedures in place for future meetings.
PLEASE NOTE: these are general suggestions and may not be applicable to your HOA. You may want to review with your HOA attorney before making any adjustments to meeting procedures.
By Leigh Norman
As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out across the country and more people receive their shot, CAI board members are seeing a new trend: Vaccinated residents who do not want to wear masks. The evolving topic of mask wearing continues to create many questions and concerns for board members.
Even as more people receive their vaccine, COVID-19 guidelines remain the same: handwashing, social distancing, and mask wearing. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines allow fully vaccinated people to gather indoors in small groups. They can also meet with unvaccinated people from one other household.
However, vaccinated residents still need to take precautions. They are encouraged not to gather in large groups and should wear a mask in public spaces and around high-risk individuals, according to the CDC.
By Leigh Norman
In 2016, more than 3 million older Americans were injured due to a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and falls alone led to more than $50 billion in medical costs in 2015. With common causes of falls being snow and ice, more associations should evaluate their snow removal policy to prevent a costly liability lawsuit this winter.Edward Hoffman Jr., partner and co-founder of Barrow|Hoffman in Pennsylvania and a fellow in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) who practices insurance defense litigation for community association liability claims, responded to a few questions on snow removal policies.
By Laura Otto
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed new stresses on many Americans, including those living in community associations. Managers and board members are addressing increased demands from homeowners while keeping up with their personal lives, while residents are often balancing work from home, remote learning for their children, and other challenges.
“We are mentally and emotionally taxed,” says Matt D. Ober, partner at Richardson|Ober|DeNichilo in Pasadena, Calif., and a fellow in CAI’s College of Community Associations Lawyers (CCAL). “Mental health issues aren’t new to community associations, but the pandemic has heightened these feelings and behaviors. It has become overwhelming for many managers and board members.”
It’s no surprise that mental health issues are on the rise across the U.S. According to community-based nonprofit Mental Health America, 19% of adults experienced a mental illness even before the pandemic, and 24% of those adults report an unmet need for treatment. More specifically, the U.S. Census Bureau found that 48% of adults ages 25-49 report feeling anxiety and/or depression during COVID-19.
Community associations offer amenities, services, and advantages for people who enjoy convenience, preserved property values, and a sense of community. Learning how they are organized, governed, and managed avoids misinformation and misunderstandings and ensures a fulfilling community association living experience.
Community Association Living: An Essential Guide for Homeowner Leaders, a newly published resource from CAI, will help board members and residents understand the business of homeowners associations, condominiums, or housing cooperatives and how involvement is crucial to developing and maintaining a supportive society.
by Ursula Burgess
2020 will be remembered for its social unrest, political conflict, and a pandemic, all of which significantly impacted our lives. Weddings were rescheduled, schools went virtual, and our contact with one another was limited by 6 feet of social distance. It certainly was a challenging year, but I believe there were some positive aspects too.
Communities worked together to support their residents in unprecedented ways. We learned of volunteers who ran errands for older residents and others with compromised immune systems. We saw birthday and graduation parades replace the more traditional in-person party. Health care workers received additional support from communities as they worked tirelessly to help those in need. We saw kindness and compassion on many different fronts as we all faced the turmoil.
Many Americans have turned to side hustles or completely changed how and where their brick-and-mortar business operates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, a growing number of pet groomers, hair stylists, fitness instructors, daycare workers, and entrepreneurs have set up home businesses, posing a challenge to community association restrictions.
Generally, community associations have the right to restrict home businesses through provisions in their governing documents designed to maintain the residential qualities of the community. There also are times when state and local regulations may come into play.