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.

2018-01-16T19:57:47-05:00December 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.

2018-01-16T20:03:03-05:00October 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.

2017-10-05T11:52:03-05:00September 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.

2017-08-01T00:34:11-05:00July 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.

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

Refresher on the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005

With Memorial Day behind us and the Fourth of July just around the corner, we have reached a popular time of year for displaying the American Flag. For many community associations, hanging any type of flag is considered a change in a property's appearance (thus, requiring prior approval from the board and/or appropriate review committee), but the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 (the "Act") supersedes any restrictive covenant that attempts to restrict or prevent a resident from displaying the flag of the United States on his or her unit/lot.

2017-10-05T11:54:14-05:00May 2017|

Dogs on Call: Waiving Pet Rules to Comply with the Fair Housing Act

Many community associations have some type of covenant restricting the number and size of dogs or other animals that may be kept in the community. Some governing documents even prohibit certain types of animals or breeds of dogs. In the event a disabled resident (i.e., an owner or occupant) requests an accommodation from the association for his or her service or emotional-support animal, the association may be required to waive its pet rules to ensure compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act ("FHA"). Failing to recognize the importance of compliance with this law could result in costly legal trouble for the association.

2017-10-05T12:04:05-05:00April 2017|

Is Your Community Prepared for Disaster?

Too often, community associations find themselves being reactive as opposed to proactive when it comes to dealing with disasters. The most common "disaster" for many boards and property managers is the occasional pipe burst; however, disaster can come in many shapes or sizes.

2017-10-05T11:56:15-05:00March 2017|