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CAI and CLAC Celebrate Legislative Successes in 2024

By Amy K. Tinetti, Esq.

The following is a summary of the new laws for 2024 and how they impact community associations.

AB 572: LIMITATION ON REGULAR ASSESSMENT INCREASE FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS

This bill amended Civil Code section 5605. The new law prohibits regular assessment increases of more than 5% plus cost of living (capped at 10%) over the previous year for any deed-restricted affordable housing unit. The law only applies to associations with more than 20 units with original declarations recorded on or after January 1, 2025.

Takeaway: Board members, managers, and vendors who serve community associations should be aware of budgeting and funding challenges in post-2025 associations with affordable housing units.

AB 648: VIRTUAL MEETINGS

The law now allows associations to conduct meetings entirely by teleconference (including video conference) without a physical location. The notice of the meeting must contain technical instructions and contact information to...

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Well-maintained Fences Make Good Neighbors

By Brian Dutra

Fences in common interest developments (CIDs) serve many purposes. The most obvious use of fences is to delineate spaces, such as patios, pools, parks, gardens, parking lots, etc. Fences also offer privacy and safety; and they can be a decorative hardscape component adding depth and texture to the property’s landscape. Whatever the use of your fences, it is important to know the life expectancy of these critical components so that your community can always be prepared to maintain and/or replace them when it is time.

What is the common denominator of wood and metal fence deterioration? Sun and moisture damage. But, if you follow some simple tips, you will maintain your fences and give them the long life they deserve. There is an old saying, "Good fences make good neighbors." But, in my opinion, the full version of that adage should state, "A well-maintained fence allows fences to look good and be tall for a long time; and good-looking and tall fences...

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Aging Infrastructures: Changes in Insurance Underwriting

By Terri Guest, CIRMS, CMCA

It is no secret that the insurance industry, especially for common interest developments in California, is in crisis. After several years of wildfires and other natural disasters, carriers are not only charging higher premiums, but also revising eligibility requirements and giving greater scrutiny to insurance applications.

In previous years, questions regarding infrastructure items, such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC, have been answered by the board with homeowner responsibility, effectively calling out "not it!" to insurance underwriters. This answer is no longer accepted.

With respect to condominiums and townhomes, while electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC that serve a single unit are generally the maintenance responsibility of each individual owner, it is almost always included in the insurance responsibility for the association. While less common, the same can be true for roofs and exterior siding. Unit owners maintain, repair, and...

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Evolving Technology: Canโ€™t Live With it, Canโ€™t Live Without it

Managing Risks Associated with Data Security, Cyber Space, Technology, and the Internet of Things

By W. Meskin, Esq., CIRMS, MLIS, CCAL Fellow

A Few Things that everyone can agree on are that the Internet of Things ("IoT"), cyber liability, data breach, cybercrime, and technology are touching everyone’s life, both positively and negatively. Most people agree that all their devices and systems, including the required software and hardware, are expanding, changing, and growing faster than any of us can keep up with or understand. Most everyone communicates using smart phones and/or other smart devices. More and more, new homes are built as smart homes or existing homes are transitioned into smart homes. Many of us yearn for times gone by.

Community associations are not immune to the intended and unintended consequences of this brave new world. Some community association boards, community association managers, and business partners acknowledge the changing world, while...

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Armed Security Contracts

security the communcator Dec 02, 2023

Issues for the Attorney Advising the Common Interest Development Client 

By Kevin Mallett, Esq. 

In California, an armed security officer is authorized to carry a loaded firearm. Furthermore, an armed security officer is required to have additional certifications, training, and licensure over a security officer who is not carrying a firearm. By its very nature, armed security brings into play the potential for the use of deadly force. When a security officer draws a firearm, whether for the officer’s protection or the protection of others, it is an extreme situation with the very real potential for a death to occur. The concepts of "shooting to wound" or "firing warning shots" should be considered invalid; virtually all modern police agencies define any such practice as a violation of policy. If a security officer fires a weapon, that officer is responsible for ALL bullets that leave the weapon. Typically, security officers (like police officers) are trained to...

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De-escalating Conflict in a Violent World

conflict the communicator Dec 01, 2023

Gun Violence on the Rise in HOAs

By Melissa Bauman Ward, Esq., CCAL

The world has always been a scary place at times and lately it seems like we’re experiencing more violence in our communities, particularly gun violence. Recent high profile cases involving the murder of an association manager in Atlanta and an HOA board president and her husband in Florida by disgruntled residents using guns has heightened both awareness and anxiety with regard to gun violence in our communities, even as government statistics suggest that the rate of gun violence is actually not on the rise Given that HOAs have limited authority with regard to regulating guns, what steps can associations take to protect their boards, managers, and residents from violent crime? 

REGULATING WEAPONS IN THE COMMUNITY

Any rule or restriction contained in the governing documents must be reasonable. In California, the penal code already prohibits unlicensed people from carrying loaded firearms in...

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Neurologically Unwell

…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...

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Penalize This: Fines and Penalties Imposed on Associations

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...

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Elevator 101 โ€“ Elevator Inspection Liability (Part 2)

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...

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The Re-roofing Process

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...

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