FOR STARTERS: SAVE THE DATE 1/16/16. Join us for a free educational seminar and Meet and Greet Saturday morning the 16th. Contact me for more details! I’d love to see you there.
Now that a new year is upon us, it is appropriate for every board to take a few minutes at their next board meeting to make sure the following issues are in order. If not, please contact us and we would be happy to take the opportunity to help your association be adequately prepared for any issues that arise in 2016.
The following is a checklist as you review your Association’s “health” for 2016:
- Are there defects in any of the areas over which the Association is required to maintain? If it has been within 6 years of the completion of your community, you may have remedies for any construction defects.
- Evaluate your governing documents (CCRs, Bylaws, Rules, etc.). We advise that governing documents be reviewed and/or updated every six years as state laws change almost every year. Many changes to your “governing documents” can be done by Board resolution rather than an amendment (which requires a vote). Make sure your governing documents are up-to-date.
- Make sure you have a copy of applicable statutes for your association in a binder for each board member. Our office can provide you courtesy copies of these statutes as needed, so that they can be reviewed to the extent that they take priority over your CCRs or Bylaws. You should be familiar with the governing Act and the non-profit corporations Act. (You need to know whether you are a condominium community or planned unit development. A townhome is an architectural style.)
- Be sure to keep a book of resolutions (Rules and Resolutions) that show when a rule was adopted, the text of the rule, and indicate if a rule has been repealed or not. That book should be passed down from board to board so the association knows which rules have been adopted by the Association.
- If your CCRs have architectural standards, make sure your architectural guidelines and design standards are clear, unambiguous, and make sure that the process for submitting plan approval is clearly set forth and not inconsistent with law or other provisions of your governing documents.
- The Association should have a collection resolution in place which specifices what the association will do internally (it’s Manager or Board), which also states after how many days delinquent an account must be in order to be turned over to your attorney for collections. NOTE: Our office was the pioneer for deferred attorney fee collections, known as our “Common Sense Collections Program,” whereby we collect our fees from the homeowner and we do not take a percentage of recovery from the Association.
- Make sure your association has an enforcement policy in place. This is a unique type of policy that indicates the point in time the association gets involved with an enforcement matter, especially when only one homeowner is complaining and no one else seems to be bothered by a specific behavior. This type of policy puts burdens on the aggrieved owner to help the Board feel comfortable that the owners are not furthering a personal agenda, but truly addressing a community concern.
- The Association’s insurance policies should be reviewed for adequate coverage for those areas over which the association is required to insure including adequate Director and Officer Liability Insurance, in case of a claim made against the Board.
- The Association should be trained regarding the respective roles of the Officers of the Association. Remember the Board or the Management Committee is a distinct entity from its officers. Usually the Board and Officers are the same people, but the jobs of the Officers need to be understood by those serving in those capacities and a policy statement (what each Offices does) may be needed if not adequately contained in your Bylaws.
- The Association should adopt a document retention policy. Some documents are required to be kept indefinitely. Others may be disposed of at your earliest convenience. There is no reason for documents that do not need to be kept be kept for years and years in a box or file cabinet. A document retention policy will help you determine how long you keep certain types of documents.
- The Board should, through its attorney, undertake brief Fair Housing training to understand how discrimination complaints arise and how reasonable accommodations are to be dealt with regarding such issues as service and companion animals.
- Ask yourself if you are aware of recent statutory changes that address electronic means of communications and other issues such as open meeting, rental restrictions, rule making and reserves.
- The Board should fund its reserve fund and speak with their attorney about the adequacy of that fund and how it should be used in comparison to operating expenses.
- Does your Board having a Schedule of Fines that differentiates between a continuing violation and a repeat violation? Do you understand what type of notice and how frequent such notice must be given when there is a repeat violation and what due process must follow if an Owner is alleged to have violated a rule before an actual fine can be levied?
THESE ARE JUST A FEW QUESTIONS/ISSUES YOU SHOULD REVIEW FOR 2016 AND BEYOND. WE WOULD LOVE TO ASSIST WITH ALL YOUR ASSOCIATION’S NEEDS.
BEST WISHES THIS NEW YEAR – JOHN RICHARDS