By Tarra Eshgh, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM® , President ST & R Portfolio Management
I’m certain that there are many communities (another word “associations”) out there that are getting ready to do improvements around their properties during this perfect season such as resurfacing asphalts, exterior building painting, entrance water feature renovation, etc. Of course, summer projects come with the question of “Are we adequately funded for these projects”. Preparing a bucket list of summer projects will help the association properly evaluate the timeline of project items/components that “need to be completed” and when funds are ready and become available for the project.
Funding options are varied depending on the community association’s financial status. The most common options are:
By Ella Cox
As the U.S. reopens, many community associations are continuing to navigate conversations with residents about COVID-19 vaccines. Since there is so much information surrounding them, navigating the myths and truths has been an ongoing challenge for board members and community managers.
When the vaccine rollout started in December, some community associations took initiative by partnering with health care providers to organize clinics where vaccines were administered on-site to residents as they became available. Others set up neighborhood-wide carpooling events for residents without transportation to help them get to a vaccination site.
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article courtesy of HOA Resources
by Tiffanie Thompson, SentryWest Insurance
Let’s talk about Association Volunteers!
Who doesn’t love and appreciate anyone willing to help out?! Of course, we all do, but is our Association covered?
Typically, we all hear the term “Workers Compensation” and immediately think that would only apply to businesses. “We don’t have any ‘employees’”, “we hire independent contractors”. How does this apply to my Homeowners’ Association?
First, let’s understand what coverage Workers Compensation provides.
Workers’ Compensation is provided to protect employers for work related injuries to their employees. The benefits can be medical expenses and income compensation that is provided to the employee, regardless of who is at fault.
Workers’ Compensation coverage should be utilized by any Associations that have direct employees and indirect employees such as board members, volunteers, and committee members.
Of course, you are still wondering why would my Homeowners’ Association need this?
Close to 80 million U.S. households have an animal in their home. Pets come in all shapes and sizes and provide companionship to their respective families, but there also are animals that play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities and mental health issues by assisting with day-to-day activities or giving emotional support.
In honor of May being National Pet Month, we offer a summary of what constitutes an assistance animal, laws and regulations that apply to their ownership, and the approach community associations can take to rules and regulations specific to these animals.
Federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as state and local laws govern assistance animals in community associations (commonly known as homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives.) Assistance animals are categorized in three groups:
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article courtesy of CAI Advocacy Team
Jim Moore, RS with Advanced Reserve Solutions, Inc.
A Reserve Study is a financial plan for funding the future replacement of major common area components in an association. Roofing, exterior paint, streets, and pools are some examples of common areas that are shared by homeowners in an association. Maintaining these common areas in order to preserve or improve the property values requires setting aside a portion of your association fees into a reserve fund. A Reserve Specialist gathers essential information from the association’s board or manager in addition to conducting a site inspection that aids in quantifying common area components as well as determining the estimated remaining life of each component.
The Reserve Specialist looks at things like the total of cash reserves currently set aside, the condition and remaining life of each component and the estimated current replacement cost of major components. He then prepares a budget for the association's reserve fund to ensure that when the major components have reached the end of their useful life there is money to replace or repair the component.
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.
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article courtesy of Community Associations Institute