Political Signs and Solicitation in Community Associations

It is officially campaign season in Georgia. Community associations may be wondering whether homeowners can place political signs in their yards or on common areas to support a particular candidate. Boards may also be questioning how best to address door-to-door solicitors that are canvassing for candidates and/or seeking contributions.

2018-05-09T10:01:22-04:00April 2018|

Should Community Associations Use Social Media to Investigate Potential Covenant Violations?

In the past, community association covenant enforcement was often limited to what boards and/or managers could personally document. For example, the documentation could might include a photo of the violating property taken from the street. Nowadays, with the widespread use of social media community associations may have access to another layer of property owners' actions. This begs the question: should community associations use social media to investigate potential covenant violations?

2018-04-27T10:31:42-04:00March 2018|

Government Right of Condemnation and Its Effects on Community Associations

There is a common misconception that their property ownership rights are absolute. The truth is, however, that the government can take away any private property right without the owner's consent. This is called eminent domain, also known as condemnation, and it occurs when the federal or state government—or even a non-governmental entity, such as a public utility—takes over private property for the public good or public use, without consent.

2018-03-09T16:06:50-04:00February 2018|

FHA Certification: Does it Make Sense for Your Community?

The Federal Housing Administration ("FHA") is a government agency that insures home loans for buyers who may not qualify for a conventional loan. By obtaining an FHA-insured loan, these buyers can more easily qualify for a home loan, make a smaller down payment, and pay less in closing costs. These types of loans are attractive to many first-time home buyers and other buyers who may choose to hold onto available funds, rather than making a sizeable down payment.

2018-01-16T19:57:47-04:00December 2017|

Tis the Season: Basic Tips for Managing Holiday Décor in Community Associations

During the holidays, residents often decorate their properties with wreathes, lights and/or other seasonal décor. This can be a pleasant way to spread cheer, and it can even add a fun, communal vibe throughout the neighborhood. But what happens when the decorations go too far? Almost inevitably, there is at least one resident that goes overboard, causing management and the board of directors to revisit the association's guidelines on this specific topic.

2018-01-16T20:03:03-04:00October 2017|

Dude, Where’s My Car? Parking Restrictions and Enforcement

Most homeowner associations and condominiums have parking rules in their governing documents. These will often include limitations or complete bans on parking on the community streets or certain portions of the common elements. For violations of these provisions, many associations will be able to (1) fine the violating owner, or (2) boot/tow the violating vehicle. Before proceeding with these options, however, boards and property managers should make sure to follow the procedures outlined by their governing documents and local law.

2017-10-05T11:52:03-04:00September 2017|

The Four Ws of Changing the Governing Documents

Sooner or later, every community association is faced with an issue that was never contemplated by its declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws or rules and regulations. This may be the result of new statutes or case law, or it could be a new property trend that no one saw coming (e.g., solar panels, Airbnb, etc.). Whatever the issue, it is important for community associations to stay on top of the changes.

2017-08-01T00:34:11-04:00July 2017|

Identifying Occupancy Issues

Protective covenants governing the number and type of occupants per dwelling have been subject to much scrutiny over the years. This has a lot to do with the Federal Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), by which community associations are bound. When dealing with a potential overcrowding or occupancy issue, it is important to remember that the FHA prohibits many types of discrimination, including discrimination based on familial status.

2017-10-05T11:52:37-04:00June 2017|