All our managers are certified either by CACM or by CAI, or certified by both. Many of our managers have achieved the prestigious PCAM designation, which is the highest certified designation granted to Community Association Managers, and hold a real estate broker or agent license and various other licenses or certifications (contractor licenses, tax preparer registrations, notary public and registered process server designations).
WHY US – Verification of Member’s Reasonable Accommodation Request
From time to time, a condominium association member may ask to do something to accommodate his or her disability – what is known as a “reasonable accommodation.” For instance, a certified HOA member might claim to need a better parking space due to a physical handicap that makes walking long distances painful. Federal fair housing laws and well as the Americans with Disabilities Act require you to grant reasonable accommodations to the disabled. However, sometimes condo members who are not disabled try to take advantage of the law to get something they are not entitled to – a better parking space or an exception to your homeowner’s association rules.
The best method to find out whether a request is legitimate is to get verification from the condo member’s health care provider or other qualified professions, such a therapist or social worker. The law lets you do this when reasonable, but you must be careful how you go about it.
WHY US – Notify Members that Manager’s Corporate Affiliate Has Won Contract
These days, it is not uncommon for condominium association managers to create ancillary companies in a field related to their work as managers. For example, a management company might set up a landscaping company, and though the company names differ, the owner of both companies is the same. It is not unusual for these ancillary companies to bid for proposed projects at the HOA managers’ communities.
Although not necessary, notifying condominium members when the manager’s ancillary company wins a contract is a good idea. Being candid with members has many beneficial long-term effects, just as failing to do so can have negative effects. How you notify your members is up to you. Publishing an article in the community newsletter is one good way; another is to send a letter to the entire homeowner’s association community.
The letter should tell certified owners that the HOA has awarded a contract for work to a corporate affiliate of the condominium association manager’s company. The letter should explain the following: who got the contract; the winning bidder is a corporate affiliate of the homeowner’s association’s management company; and the bidding process. It should also emphasize that no favoritism was shown and that the decision to award the contract to the corporate affiliate of the management company was based solely on the best interest of the condominium property.
WHY US – Board Review of Overlooked Rules
If a predecessor board allowed HOA members to violate important property rules, those members might still believe that it is okay to continue to ignore those rules. A new board that fines or otherwise punishes condo members for engaging in behavior they have been led to believe was acceptable would be unfair. Also, if the rules were revived too abruptly, homeowner’s association members might refuse to comply. However, if the new board sent members a notice warning them that the board will be resuming enforcement of previously overlooked rules, the board will stand on firmer ground with its members and with the courts if disputes end up there.
Before trying to revive an overlooked rule, it is advisable to ask an attorney whether state and local laws permit it. Some laws do prohibit the enforcement of overlooked rules in certain situations.
The notice to owners should inform the HOA members that the board will be enforcing previously overlooked rules. The notice should stress the importance of community association rules and tell members that the current board will enforce rules that have been overlooked in the past. It should also tell members that rules will not be enforced retroactively and that the board will give members a grace period in certain circumstances.
WHY US – Rules for Records Review and Reproduction by Members
HOA members can have many reasons for wanting to inspect their homeowner’s association’s books and records. Many of these inspection requests are legitimate and take relatively little office time, but some requests – whether driven by legitimate motives or by a desire to harass the board or manager – can be very cumbersome and time-consuming.
Unless you place reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of inspection, a seemingly straightforward process can turn into a complicated and endless search of your HOA’s books and records, playing havoc with your day-to-day operations. To keep control over the operations of the condominium property, the board should adopt procedures for records and inspection that association members must follow.
WHY US – Conflict of Interest Waiver
Someone who is both a homeowner’s association manager and a real estate agent or broker may want to offer real estate services to HOA members who want to sell their units. However, there may be times when fulfilling one’s duty to one party violates one’s duty to the other party. In other words, acting in the condominium property’s best interest can run counter to acting in the ‘”member-seller’s best interest (and vice versa) – thus creating a conflict of interest. When acting for one party to the detriment of the other, the party that got hurt could sue for violating one’s fiduciary duty to it.
State law might require someone who is both a manager and a real estate agent or broker to disclose the potential conflict of interest to the condominium association and to the member-seller. Also, the Community Associations Institute’s Professional Manager Code of Ethics requires managers to disclose to their homeowner’s associations any possible conflicts.
Some states bar potential conflict-of-interest waivers. If your state permits potential conflict-of-interest waivers, get the waiver in writing.
A written potential conflict-of-interest waiver provides proof that the individual properly disclosed the potential conflict to the parties. With written proof, a party will not be able to claim that a manager hid his relationship with the other party. However, the waiver will not stop the condominium property association or member-seller from suing if a conflict of interest occurs and the manager does not try to remove himself from the conflict.