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…because that sounds so much more official than mental illness.
By Wendy Benner Miller
"Mental health" is a somewhat ironic phrase because it is typically used when discussing the antithesis of a healthy mind and symbiotic emotions. While many may argue that the goal, when using this phrase, is to prioritize the need for society to focus on the importance of a person’s emotional health in the same manner as one’s physical health, this is rarely the case. All too often, when the term "mental health" is brought up in conversation on its own, it elicits a visible response in one’s body language, a shifting in a seat, or an actual bristle or uncomfortableness, which can sometimes conjure stereotypical assumptions, eye rolls, and slang references.
What might be the biggest irony of all is that for most of history, mental illness was not considered an illness at all, but a choice based on controllable feelings or "bad" attitudes. Historically, being...
By Ellen Schuster, Esq.
We talk a lot about the fines and other penalties associations can impose on members who violate the governing documents. What about the fines and penalties that can be imposed on associations? Associations that violate certain Civil Code sections may have to pay monetary penalties or fines (typically called "civil penalties") in addition to paying for actual damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
At a time when members are increasingly challenging associations and associations are under increased scrutiny, it is important to understand the common violations that can subject associations to significant fines and penalties.
Open Meeting Act (Civil Code section 4900, et seq.)
Associations that violate this act may have to pay attorneys’ fees, court costs, and civil penalties of up to $500 per violation. (Civil Code section 4955(b).) Common violations include failure to provide the required four days’ or two days’ notice of an...
Second in a series by Barry Robbins
It is widely acknowledged that elevators have significantly impacted architectural design and are an indispensable component of modern buildings, providing an efficient means of transporting people and goods between different floors. Interestingly, the story regarding the inventor of the elevator is that he never filed a patent and never realized the success of his invention, but his family name still remains one the most recognized in the world.
Elisha Graves Otis, a doll maker by profession, is credited with inventing the "Safety Elevator," which debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1853. Despite being 42 years old at the time of his invention, Otis did not live long enough to witness the widespread use of his creation, as he passed away at the age of 49. In addition to the elevator, Otis invented the steam engine, greatly facilitating the elevator’s vertical movement and making it faster.
The selection of the name "Safety...
A checklist for HOAs
By Donna Vingo
Having an excellent roofing system can help protect a property owner’s greatest asset. Throughout the year, the change of seasons brings different challenges to the roof of a structure. From the sweltering summer heat to the deep freeze of winter, from strong winds or powerful rains to the wildfire dangers throughout California, having a roofing system that can withstand any of these challenges, let alone all of them, is an important protection against losing everything. This article is focused on providing the HOA board, the HOA roofing committee, and HOA homeowners with information on the re-roofing process.
The HOA board is responsible for two major tasks: making decisions and spending money. HOAs are nonprofit corporations that have as their principal asset the land and buildings in the HOA common areas, which can be valued from hundreds of thousands up to tens of millions of dollars. The HOA board is usually composed of volunteers...
By Clifford Bates
Is a reserve study a science or an art form? I say it is both. The Cambridge English Corpus states, "Science shows the unity, while art shows the diversity of the riddle which we call the world." So now we have introduced a "riddle," which is defined as, "A baffling, misleading, or puzzling question presented as a problem to be solved or guessed." It appears that I am not making the concept of reserve studies any clearer to the reader, but stay with me and I will explain.
You do not have to look very far into the history of homeowner association management to see the birth of reserve studies. There was a time, not very long ago, when neither the governing documents nor the regulating agencies had any requirements that were to be adhered to regarding long-term maintenance, repair, or replacement. As the concept of identifying future, long-term costs for repairing and replacing common area components for aging facilities became more customary and accepted...
So, you have deferred maintenance, sharply rising costs, and the coffers are bare…
By Caroline McCormick, CAMEx, CCAM
Civil Code requires that HOAs disclose deferred maintenance, but many do not. Boards try to "save money" by waiting to perform maintenance or make needed repairs. This mentality, coupled with inflation, post-COVID19 labor and material price increases, and the notion that maintaining assessments artificially low is a benefit to the community, has created funding challenges for many associations.
WHERE DO WE START?
Robert W. Browning, PCAM, RS, and owner of Browning Reserve Group, believes that reserve studies are essential to the strategic planning of any community. "Having a professional study that’s reviewed annually just makes good business sense," says Browning. Start nine months before the fiscal year end by examining in detail the reserve study component list and funding scenario to make sure it is reasonable for your community. Make sure any...
…and Preparing for the Unknown
By Kumar S. Raja & Shelby D. Bennett
Throughout the state, many older common interest developments (CIDs) are struggling with costly repairs and large maintenance projects as buildings age. Is your CID prepared to replace major components without a special assessment? Do you have funds available to finance a roof replacement project? This article will review the importance of adequately funding reserves and identify future considerations that might impact current planning.
SETTING MINIMUM RESERVE REQUIREMENTS
California law requires that CIDs conduct reserve studies every three years – and yet it does not set forth minimum funding requirements for reserve accounts. This means that a CID can conduct a reserve study and still not be prepared for replacing major components, such as common area roofs and structural components. The law provides some direction regarding reserve account maintenance. In short, boards must...
By Laura Ravazza
This article first appeared in the Summer 2023 edition of The Communicator here.
I hope this message finds you all in good health and high spirits. I want to take a moment to address an important aspect of our organization’s well-being – financial management within our homeowners associations (HOAs).
Managing the finances of an HOA requires careful planning and collaboration with our business partners. It is crucial that we work together effectively to ensure the financial stability and success of our communities. To achieve this, I encourage each of you to be proactive in your approach to financial management.
First and foremost, I urge you to not hesitate in asking questions. Whether you are a board member, a committee volunteer, or a concerned member, never be afraid to seek clarification or further information. Financial matters can be complex; and it is our duty to understand and actively participate in the...
By Adrianne Bauer
This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition.
There is no product more commonly used than concrete.
We can’t exist without trees providing this little thing called oxygen.
Therefore, trees and concrete exist in the same environment – sort of like cats and dogs. Trees continuously grow both up and out as they become older, changing their footprint. Concrete is a finite object that is most often damaged by trees. So, how do we make it all work?
During development, landscape architects and developers put together their brilliant plan to create a beautiful community, knowing that eventually there will be issues. Most developers/landscape architects install fast-growing trees in order for the property to sell quickly. Unfortunately for us, these fast-growing trees with fast-growing root systems create future issues that we find in almost all communities.
(First in a series) By Barry Robbins
This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition.
Elevators remain a mystery to property owners and managers even after years of operation. Elevators are elaborate systems that require specialized knowledge and expertise to understand and maintain properly. Their mechanics involve electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems requiring regular inspection, maintenance, and repair.
These complex machines rely on various components to function properly. Each component has a specific role to play in the operation of the elevator; a failure in any one component can result in serious safety concerns. Understanding the different types of elevator components can help building owners and property managers to better manage and maintain their elevators and ensure the safety and well-being of building occupants. In the articles to come, we will provide an "Elevator 101" primary education of these various components...