Avoiding HOA Meeting Déjà Vu

Avoiding HOA Meeting Déjà Vu

mm One of the hardest things a property manager must do is manage, process and respond to abounding information. I was reminded of this when I read a recent forum on the subject of ‘motion spreadsheets.’ By my understanding, the question was — what is the best way to...
Is HOA Software Making Your Job Easier?

Is HOA Software Making Your Job Easier?

mm Many years ago when I started my HOA management company, we were using software that was designed for managing rental units. It was great software — adaptable, robust, and fairly cheap. But there were a lot of things that we wanted it to do that it just...
HOA Fees — Hated or Just Misunderstood?

HOA Fees — Hated or Just Misunderstood?

mm Nearly every homeowner in a condo or HOA has asked themselves at one time or another “What do the HOA fees pay for”. The answer is different for every community but the fact is the average homeowner doesn’t know where HOA fees are spent. Heck, you probably have a...
Who Runs the (CAM) World?

Who Runs the (CAM) World?

mm As I was completing a busy morning that began with a 6:00 AM meeting with my husband and business partner, Robert, I also attended to a sick pet, fed and watered four cats, sent a slew of e-mails, and started making breakfast (spinach omelettes with sun-dried...
Funding Reserves For the Common Good

Funding Reserves For the Common Good

mm Subdivisions, planned communities, and condominium owners are different types of communities and offer different types of amenities and surroundings. However, there is one common denominator that people living inside these communities are obliged to conform with to...
The Perfect Hire for Community Management

The Perfect Hire for Community Management

mm Common interest communities are growing rapidly and as a result, management companies are too. But with this growth comes an increased demand for qualified managers. Often community association management companies are required to recruit managers from other...
Enforcement Without the Force

Enforcement Without the Force

mm As an HOA manager, you walk a fine line. You need to enforce the rules, but you don’t want to alienate everyone. You need to stay professional, but your role demands friendliness. While it’s your job to point out when people are skirting the by-laws, you...
Amenities — Make Them Pay for Themselves!

Amenities — Make Them Pay for Themselves!

Adding amenities to HOAs, Coops, and Condos can actually pay for themselves while increasing property values. The question is: what amenities work best for your association? Also, how should they be structured in order to pay for themselves? This takes a lot of...
Dealing With a Mess in the HOA

Dealing With a Mess in the HOA

Dealing with Waste Issues as a HOA Waste problems affect everyone in a given area whether it is dog droppings or a mound of stinking refuse. They not only blight an otherwise lovely looking neighborhood, but they provide a real health and environmental risk....
HOA Renters are People, Too

HOA Renters are People, Too

mm According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 37% of households in the United States are occupied by renters. That’s a significant percentage that most HOAs cannot afford to ignore. Unfortunately, those who rent homes versus buying them often get a bad...
D&O Insurance — Uncovered

D&O Insurance — Uncovered

Homeowner Association and Condo boards have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the community as a whole, follow the law, and protect the assets and financial stability of the community. Proper insurance plays a major role in fulfilling that duty. But many...
Common Area Political Statement

Common Area Political Statement

mm The events of the past few days remind us how politically divided our country is on so many issues. It seems that in some cases opposing political parties disagree simply to be disagreeable. But in the United States it’s our right to express our views — heck, it’s...
The Holly Jolly HOA

The Holly Jolly HOA

mm From Halloween through the New Year, there are all sorts of opportunities to celebrate, decorate…and break every HOA rule in the book. But while you love the festivities as much as anyone else, you still have community standards to maintain. All too often, adherence...
Consider It a “Stop Smoking” Program

Consider It a “Stop Smoking” Program

mm Certain smells have a way of taking you back. Like the smell of school lunch or that cap gun you had when you were 6 years old. For me, the smell of cigarette smoke takes me back to family vacations and hotels with a musty stench of cigarette smoke, and going out for...
Who’s Running Up The Legal Bill?

Who’s Running Up The Legal Bill?

Every community association needs legal advice from time to time. When the need for legal help comes up, it’s often urgent. One common mistake that many community associations encounter is duplicating attorney work resulting in multiple attorney bills for the...
Should Owners Really Read The HOA CC&R?

Should Owners Really Read The HOA CC&R?

mm One of the most frustrating aspects of association management is the lack of interest by homeowners when it comes to knowing community rules and architectural standards. If you’re a manager or have ever been a board member you’ve probably heard someone in...
Making Smart Budget Cuts

Making Smart Budget Cuts

What about cutting costs? HOA Managers and Board Members are constantly struggling with increasing costs, which they have to pass on to HOA members. For this exercise, the reason why costs are increasing isn’t that relevant. The important point to remember when...
HOA Records — Save or Shred?

HOA Records — Save or Shred?

Many community associations maintain documents and records for many years, even decades. Most state laws require that owners be allowed to inspect records of the association under specific conditions, but the inspection right is broad. In some cases homeowners will...
New FHA Law & Your Rental Cap

New FHA Law & Your Rental Cap

If you manage or own a unit in a condominium association, you know how difficult it can be to obtain FHA certification. The volume of documents and ever-changing FHA guidelines can make the certification and re-certification process pretty daunting. One of the things...
Architectural Control Freaks

Architectural Control Freaks

Architectural Control, What Can an HOA Actually Enforce? Architectural Control is one of the key reasons people either choose to live in or run from an HOA. Some people appreciate the HOA’s ability to enforce architectural controls via an Architectural Control...
The Revenue Roller Coaster

The Revenue Roller Coaster

mm Increasing the HOA dues is a dreaded and painful event for everyone involved. Nobody likes to see dues increase — and that includes managers and board members — and yet, it can’t be avoided. With inflation, changing regulations, and maintenance demands...
No Need to Ignore the Elephant in the Room!

No Need to Ignore the Elephant in the Room!

Even at the earliest stage of conflict mediation offers an opportunity to resolve issues in dispute before filing a lawsuit. The simple approach to requesting mediation can come from your Attorney, on your own accord, from your Board, your neighbor or a vendor may...
The HOA Loan

The HOA Loan

mm Summer is the time for large maintenance and landscape projects and that means spending the big bucks. Too often, HOA discover that they don’t have the money to cover these large expenses. This usually leaves the association with the choice to either impose a special...
Heating Up and Cooling Down

Heating Up and Cooling Down

Summer’s Here and the Heat Is Going to Get Rough I think we can all agree that life can get hot and we like our air conditioned environment. And as a result, more people want to install air conditioners where there previously were none. Permission Required...
It’s Not Illegal to Live in Filth

It’s Not Illegal to Live in Filth

Is there a hoarding problem in your HOA? Is it affecting other owners’ living space and quality of life (smells, bugs, rodents, property values)? If so, you’re not alone. HOAs are being confronted more and more with hoarding, but when working with the...
Solar & HOAs — Who Has The Power?

Solar & HOAs — Who Has The Power?

Homeowners are increasingly recognizing both the financial and environmental benefits of installing solar panels on their homes and the solar industry is booming. You may be considering the benefits yourself; but, if you live in or serve on the board of a homeowners...
Mediation — And Your HOA

Mediation — And Your HOA

Oftentimes when someone mentions mediation, divorce instantly comes to mind, not how it applies to your HOA. Some states have adopted mediation as the “go to” standard in HOA disputes prior to entering litigation. The State of Florida Homeowners Association Act...
Doing “Online” Better

Doing “Online” Better

mm Homeowners nowadays expect to find the information they want, when they want it without too much effort. With almost all homeowners having access to the internet and email and about 75% using some form of social media, the way homeowners get information has changed....
Solving the Social Media Problem

Solving the Social Media Problem

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Jane lives in an HOA and creates a social media group for her community as a way for neighbors to get to know each other and to find out what’s going on. It works great… at first. But pretty soon this HOA social...
Are Your Reserves Protected by FDIC?

Are Your Reserves Protected by FDIC?

With the recent stress in the financial market, many boards and property management companies are beginning to more closely monitor the insurance of their funds. For many years now, leaders in the HOA banking and auditing industry have stressed the importance of...
Avoiding the Headlines

Avoiding the Headlines

Not surprising that in a random sample of newspaper and TV stories focusing on HOAs and condo associations, 13 of 16 stories were about disputes and controversies. Only 3 stories were positive Little has changed since that informal survey last July. Just the other...
Stop Playing HOA Rules Wack-a-Mole

Stop Playing HOA Rules Wack-a-Mole

mm You’ve read the news stories about the homeowner who was treated unfairly by their HOA. In fact, if you’ve worked in the industry you may have witnessed it first hand. Whether these stories are valid or just fodder for a good news story, is a discussion for another...
Poisonous  Clients

Poisonous Clients

Every company needs clients. Without clients, well, you don’t have a business. But is the customer always right? Most of the time yes, but there are times when the best course of action is to “kick the bums out”! Yes, I said it! Even if they are profitable! You...
Getting Rid of a Common Amenity

Getting Rid of a Common Amenity

The ultimate goal of a Homeowners or Condominium Owners Association is to maintain a beautiful and safe community. In order to achieve that goal, the board may ask if they can “close” or “abandon” an original amenity such as the pool, clubhouse, hot tub, weight room,...
Trendy for Politicians, Terrible for HOAs

Trendy for Politicians, Terrible for HOAs

Saying whatever comes to mind and slamming political correctness is trendy right now, especially for the self-described outsiders who are running for president. It’s their flavor of the day. Well, sorry to burst the politicians’ bubble, but the fact is…...
Fully Funded Reserves — Is it Possible?

Fully Funded Reserves — Is it Possible?

mm It’s well known throughout the HOA industry that a lot of associations don’t have enough money in reserves to cover the replacement of major components. An October 2013 report by Association Reserve showed, in an analysis of 30,000 reserve studies that 70% were...
CAM Licensing Survey Results

CAM Licensing Survey Results

mm For many, the need for states to require CAM licensing is obvious and necessary. While for others it is viewed as another burden on managers, with no benefit to consumers (the homeowner). In a recent blog article about the merits of CAM licensing, written by Sterling...
Invasion of the Drones

Invasion of the Drones

mm Yeah, you read that right: drones. Call it a sign of the times, but the rising popularity of remote-controlled drones means you’re likely to see this issue in your community in the future — if you haven’t already. Is this for real? While many would...
Do HOAs Hate Christmas?

Do HOAs Hate Christmas?

Personally, I find the “HOA vs Christmas display” stories fascinating. There are few topics that get homeowners more fired up than a story about an HOA that forces someone to shut down their awesome Christmas display. Chances are high that you feel the same… unless of...
Don’t Let Your Rules Violate Fair Housing?

Don’t Let Your Rules Violate Fair Housing?

It’s not uncommon for homeowner associations to adopt rules that violate federal and state fair housing laws, or the Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”). Violations of the FHA can bring severe penalties, as demonstrated in a recent case where an individual was awarded...
How to Avoid a PR Nightmare

How to Avoid a PR Nightmare

mm Public Relations and Your HOA Success in any business — including your HOA — involves a heavy dose of PR. Just as possession is nine tenths of the law, good PR makes up the lion’s share of effective marketing. For good or bad, publicity inside or outside your...
Meeting Minutes Matter™

Meeting Minutes Matter™

Nobody likes to take meeting minutes (or so I have been told). As an HOA Meeting Recorder and Parliamentarian, I take the meeting minutes for many associations. My method is easy and simple. Here are some steps that I hope you will find useful in taking proper...
Is Your Business Too Competitive?

Is Your Business Too Competitive?

We all want to succeed, but sometimes we sabotage ourselves by the way we choose to do it. This is exactly what happens when — in the name of getting ahead — we are antagonistic in business. Make the Pie Bigger It might seem counter intuitive, but...
Trial and Error Policies

Trial and Error Policies

mm Homeowners who aren’t happy with their HOA often cite inconsistent or changing policies as the reason. The fact is, it’s tough to create rules and policies that are perfect. You have heard the cliche “the devil’s in the details” – well in...
Social Media — Risk vs Reward

Social Media — Risk vs Reward

Seems like pretty much everyone is using social media. Finding someone who’s not on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram has become more the exception than the rule. Everyone from your grandma, to your kids, to big business is using it to connect to friends and...
Complaints Are Good

Complaints Are Good

mm Wait… what? Complaints are usually regarded as the biggest boil on the neck of every HOA manager. Nobody likes dealing with angry homeowners — even if their gripes are justified. But what if a simple change in attitude could change everything? While dealing with...
It Matters How You Say It

It Matters How You Say It

mm When was the last time you had a cake dumped in your lap? Ever had your birthday present delivered via slingshot to your face? Hopefully never. But if you understand the drawbacks of either of these scenarios, you’ll get the gist of this post. It’s all...
HOA Transparency Needn’t Be Scary

HOA Transparency Needn’t Be Scary

mm HOA transparency is a hot topic and a buzzword that we hear a lot. But what does it mean to be transparent? We all want homeowners to understand the goals and objectives of the association but to be completely transparent means we could be open to scrutiny and...
Leading Change in Your Community

Leading Change in Your Community

We’ve all done it. We walk through our community and see something that we’d like to change: a rule regarding hours of trash collection or maintenance, or a change to the facilities in a common area like the addition of a playground or swimming pool. So,...
Is Social Media Making Your HOA Less Social?

Is Social Media Making Your HOA Less Social?

mm Social media was invented to help people connect — and it works. No matter how many miles apart we are, websites like Facebook and Instagram help us stay in touch with those we care about, and to be honest, it works for a lot of people. What about the people who...
Your HOA Website Matters

Your HOA Website Matters

mm In the day-to-day operations of your HOA, you probably don’t think about your HOA website too much. I mean, aren’t you busy enough? You’ve got money to manage, maintenance to follow up on, and complaints to respond to. With all that other stuff, who...
Always Connected, But Never Connecting

Always Connected, But Never Connecting

mm How is the “now” culture impacting your community? Ahhh, technology. We love it — and for good reason. It makes life easier, gives us instant access to information, and it keeps us connected… at least in theory. Need to reach a group of people fast? Punch out a quick...
Animals and Your HOA — The Straight Poop

Animals and Your HOA — The Straight Poop

Your HOA probably has some pet restrictions in place. But what can you really expect? Your HOA has rules for a reason. They protect you. They protect the organization. They make your HOA a more beautiful, pleasant place to live — at least that’s the idea....
Why Homeowners Are a Pain

Why Homeowners Are a Pain

Homeowners are the greatest cause of pain for HOA managers. Sounds terrible, but it’s true. (See for yourself.) Are the homeowners themselves at fault? Or do we simply not know how to deal with them very well? The answer to this question is a big deal because it...
Why is Managing an HOA So Hard?

Why is Managing an HOA So Hard?

Hugged an HOA Manager Lately? Seriously. Managing an HOA is not an easy job. I’ve been an association manager before and it didn’t take long before I gained a high admiration for those in this profession. Don’t get me wrong, managing a community can...
Creating a Sense of Community in Your HOA

Creating a Sense of Community in Your HOA

How to create a sense of community If you don’t know your neighbors, you are missing out. A community can be a great source of friendships, networking and referrals for personal and professional opportunities. And when issues arise, your community’s connection will be...

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