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Timing is Everything with Asphalt Projects

By Mary Peterson and Erin Clark

There's a time and a place for everything and that includes your next asphalt project. Asphalt projects can be the most disruptive and daunting experiences for any community; they take timing, coordination, and community participation. However, they’re necessary to maintain or replace a surface that is used by everyone in the community.

The timing of these projects is critical to a successful outcome, and they also take preparation and must be heavily coordinated to ensure membership participation. The process starts with a conversation and a specific need. Are you ready for a maintenance coat, repairs, or replacement? Once this is determined, it’s best to work backwards from the end of the third quarter of each year. With so many pre-project details, it’s important to start your projects with enough time to prepare before commencing.

Asphalt is a conglomeration of aggregates, binders, and fillers. What looks to...

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An Exciting Year Ahead for BayCen’s Legislative Support Committee


When it comes to new Sacramento legislation that has the potential of affecting our industry, it’s fair to say 2022 was not the busiest year. Nevertheless, our chapter’s Legislative Support Committee (LSC), which supports the mission of CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC), has been busy planning several exciting events and fundraisers for 2023, as well as continuing to support CLAC in its ongoing work.

First up is a Virtual Town Hall, our "Getting Ready for Advocacy Week" planning meeting (April 11). Then comes the ever popular and always important "Advocacy Week" event itself (held virtually, April 24-27). During Advocacy Week, CLAC delegates, homeowners, and other industry professionals meet with legislators to discuss potential impacts of bills the Legislature is considering, as well as other issues and challenges currently affecting their communities. LSC will also help support CLAC in its ongoing "Buck-a-Door" campaign, in which...

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Specialization, Automation, Outsourcing: 3 Steps to Protect Your Time

By Rob Buffington

As the labor market continues to be the single greatest difficulty of our industry, companies are exploring new ways to increase their Direct Labor Efficiency Ratio (DLER). This is traditionally achieved through one of three means: specialization, automation, or outsourcing. Specialization is the process of narrowing job duties so that each position is working on the same few tasks and thereby becoming more efficient at each. Automation refers to the use of software and processes to replace man hours with machine hours. Outsourcing can be delegating the position entirely, such as hiring a third-party accounting firm, or hiring remote workers from staffing agencies at a lower cost than domestic employees.

Specialization is one of the most important changes our industry needs to practice in order to advance. The portfolio mindset of 20 years ago still endures, with the property manager being responsible for all activities related to a property. The goal of...

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BIAS in Our Communities: Strategies for Creating Stronger Communities and Avoiding Liability

By Melissa Bauman Ward, Esq., CCAL 

(Second in a two-part series)

In Part 1 of this article, we examined different kinds of bias and considered ways that we could recognize implicit and explicit bias in our communities generally and in the way we interact with each other. In Part 2, we consider specific areas of our written documents and governance procedures where bias may be found and look at ways to eliminate or avoid negative bias in these contexts.


Unfortunately, there are still many documents in use which contain explicitly racist restrictive covenants. These outdated, offensive restrictions often take the form of identifying racial groups that are prohibited from owning property, or even residing in a community. Obviously, such overt racism is a violation of federal and state law. Despite some progress being made around fair housing laws and practice, the issue of what to do with these odious documents remains.1...

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Report from the Trenches: Best Practices for Representing Associations in Small Claims Court

By Karen St. Onge, Esq.

This article first appeared in our Fall 2022 Communicator Magazine.

Although attorneys advise homeowner associations and community managers in preparation for appearing in small claims court and assist with appeals, more often community managers and board members go it alone since the amount in controversy does not seem to warrant the expense. (CCP §116.530, 116.540, Civil Code §4100). Here is what senior community managers in the Bay Area and Central Valley had to say about their experiences in small claims court.


According to a manager who has appeared hundreds of times in small claims court, the first sign that the association is going to get sued by a member of the association is a request for association records. The first thing she does is open a file and starts tracking everything that is requested and produced, in detail, and document every interaction with that member.


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What’s in Your Trash?

California’s New Composting Law

By Aaron A. Hayes, Esq.

This article first appeared in our Fall 2022 Communicator Magazine.

Green compost bins will soon join California’s familiar blue recycle bins along our curbs as the latest trend in waste management. While already familiar in some areas, Senate Bill ("S.B.") 1383 extends mandatory organic waste composting statewide as part of California’s comprehensive Short-Lived Climate Pollutants strategy.

S.B. 1383’s stated goal is to substantially reduce organic waste in landfills by requiring cities and towns to collect compostable waste separately from other refuse, then divert it to approved organic processing facilities. Although S.B. 1383 became effective January 1, 2022, local jurisdictions have until January 2024 to become fully compliant.


Planned Developments

Planned developments consisting of single-family homes will likely see little...

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Why Balance Sheets Matter

By D.W. Haney, CPA (Retired)

Most HOA disputes, dysfunctions, and disruptions are due to financial and standard of care stewardship issues. Who pays what, when, and why? And unfortunately, HOA financial statements produced today are misleading and fail to reflect the community’s economic reality.

In general, HOA directors, managers, and advisors do not have the skill sets necessary to understand, analyze, and respond to the financial statement stories contained in GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) compliant financial statements. These statements are a foreign language to most, who oftentimes do not seek the advice of financial translators and guides to help them on this important piece of the HOA journey.

One big piece in this puzzle is the Statement of Financial Position (balance sheet). Here we will examine the three different methods to tell the financial strength story: cash basis, full accrual, equity designation. (There is a fourth method on the scene...

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When to Re-pipe Your Community and How to Fund It

By Eric Lecky

As Every Community manager and community association leader knows, building components begin to fail as they age—and your pipes are no exception. Depending on the material, a building’s pipes may begin to develop age-related cracks and leaks within a few decades of installation, sometimes less.

The question then becomes: When do you repair the pipe and when do you replace the entire piping system?


Based on estimated useful life tables, some piping materials may begin to fail after 30 years, while others may not show signs of age until 50 years. Because pipe replacement is expensive, you could start assessing your piping systems periodically when your building reaches 20 years old, giving yourself time to reserve funds for a future re-pipe.

Unfortunately, most community managers and boards aren’t regularly testing their pipes, and so they first face the decision to repair or replace when their properties are already...

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Beyond the Water: Effectively Managing Lake and Pond Shorelines

By Trent Nelson

Imagine taking an evening walk as the sun sets across the beautiful lake or pond in your community. The sky is pink and orange, crickets are chirping, and a warm breeze blows across the water. Now, imagine looking down at the steep shoreline in front of you, finding that it’s bare, crumbling, and so unstable that you’re wary to venture to the edge. Not only is this an unsightly and even dangerous distraction, but it can make residents question the management priorities of their association and deter new homeowners from settling down in the community.

Even the most well-cared-for lakes and ponds are incomplete without regular shoreline maintenance. Preventive management is necessary to support the health and longevity of the overall ecosystem, and management efforts can vary for each part of the shoreline. However, before jumping into implementing proactive and ongoing strategies, existing erosion issues must be addressed.

The most effective solution...

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The CID Outsiders

Co-ops, Airspace Condos, Non-DS Elections, Lake Communities, Public Facilities, and More
By John D. Hansen, Esq. & Becky Jolly, CCAM 

This article is about the unusual topics that apply to common interest developments (CIDs), but are not often discussed in articles and presentations. Here we will share our knowledge and experience with those who deal with these "outsider" CIDs as we examine co-ops including mobile home parks, airspace condos, elections that do not use secret ballots, communities with water features that have unique issues, and CIDs that maintain public parks and facilities.


A cooperative (co-op) is one of four CID types in California. Members and subleases are approved by committee or board through an application process. Primarily mobile home parks, they can also include condo-style developments that are similar to apartments. A member has a membership in the corporation, coupled with a right to occupy a space or residence. Members do not...

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