Filtered by author: Cariese Hinckley Clear Filter

Inheriting Old Violations

"Our Board Just Inherited a Host of Old Violations - What Should We Do?" 

We often get calls from new board members after transitioning from developer control. They have questions like this one: Some of the homeowners have added fences, above-ground pools, and sheds without getting approval from the Association. Many of these changes do not appear to meet the standards that are part of our documents. No action has been taken to correct these violations. How do we go about enforcing the covenants and rules?

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Can Your Community Pond Be Managed 100% Chemical Free?

When it comes to the lakes and stormwater ponds in a homeowners association, residents expect them to be healthy, beautiful, and functional. At the same time, they may be averse to the use of herbicides and algaecides for the management of these water resources. Though the pesticides used to eliminate aquatic weeds, algae, and toxic cyanobacteria are very low-risk, well-studied, and registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), residents sometimes prefer a 100% natural approach. With this in mind, property managers may find themselves in an uncertain situation. How do they meet the expectations of residents while keeping management costs as low as possible? 

 

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How to Crush the M-100 (Or Any Other Course)

If you’re intimidated about taking a Community Associations Institute test because the other students in your class look like they are fresh out of college, fear not! You can boost your confidence by developing your study skills!

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CAI Turns 50!

CAI turns 50!

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How to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is more than just stress—it’s how your mind and your body tell you a change is needed. Do you find yourself withdrawing from work and caring less about results? Are you working harder, often mechanically or to the point of exhaustion? Just going through the motions? Try a few of these tips for keeping burnout at bay.

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Snow Removal Tips Your Body Will Appreciate

Lower back strain is one of the most common injuries related to shoveling snow. The following measures can help you prevent injuries and keep your back healthy while shoveling:

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Striving for Architectural Compliance

Architectural control sets the “bar,” if you will, or expectation of design and structural aesthetics within a community. Maintaining architectural control within a planned community is critical for everyone – Think about it: you have owners trying to sell their properties at the highest values, you have buyers that want to purchase a well-maintained home surrounded by equally well-maintained homes and common areas. You also have professionals for hire and volunteers (Community Managers, Legal Counsel, Business Partners, Board and Committee Members, etc.) that are needed to aid in the operation of a community. If you are someone from the aforementioned groups, would you want to sell, purchase, or work with a community that has lost sight of maintaining architectural control and compliance? Probably not.



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What's Your Annual Plan?

What’s your annual plan?

As we begin another year, it’s important for associations and their business partners to have a clear understanding of what the coming year will look like. What are our goals? What strategies will we use to reach those goals? Did we meet the goals we had for the past year? Without a mechanism in place like an annual plan, it’s almost impossible for an association or business to know where they’ve been and where they’re going. The inclusion of an annual plan can help take the guesswork out of the process.

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Your Community Needs You! A Call to Service

Over the many years I have been practicing in the community association law field I have seen and dealt with many boards of directors.  In doing so I have seen considerable variation in the level of interest and commitment of community members to serve on the board of directors. Some communities have the assistance of professional management companies and others are self-managed.  While a community may have professional management, it is the board of directors that is given the power and responsibility in the governing documents to operate the community.  Regardless of the type of management, a group of homeowners actively participating on the board and on committees is essential for the successful functioning of the association. 

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SEVA-CAI's First Annual Holiday Pet Photo Contest

Enter your best holiday pet photo for a chance to win!
Dogs, cats, birds, lizards – pets of all kinds are welcome, but please, no people.  Be sure to have your pet dressed in their holiday best or in a cozy holiday wonderland scene!

One grand prize winner will receive a gift basket filled with goodies to help pamper your pet valued at $100, sponsored by USI Insurance. Two runner ups will receive a $25 gift card sponsored by myStreet Community Management and SOLitude Lake Management. 

The winning photo will also be featured in SEVA-CAI’s next pet-related blog article as well as the distinguished honor of being the mascot for next year’s holiday pet photo contest.
 
Email your pet photo to [email protected] by December  11th to participate. 

Photos will be posted as an album on SEVA-CAI’s Facebook page on December 12th. Voting for your favorite photo will be open between December 12th – 15th. Once the album is released, please feel free to share the post with colleagues and friends so all can enjoy the holiday cheer and vote for their favorite photo.
 
The photo with the most likes by December 15th, wins!!! The winning photo and runner ups will be announced on Friday, December 16th.

Toxic Neighbors, and the Association's Role When Anger Strikes

Neighbor to neighbor disputes seem to be at an all-time high right now. Many times, the neighbors are trying to bring the Association into these battles. In order to best utilize the Association’s assets, Boards and managers must recognize when it is appropriate for the Association to engage, and when to stay out of the conflict.

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Making Your List and Checking It Twice: Holiday Party Checklist for Virginia Community Associations

Tis the season for community association holiday and year-end parties.  With such festive and fun-filled events, come certain responsibilities and measures community association should consider. Below is a list of suggested items that should be reviewed prior to an association-sanctioned or association-hosted holiday party. 

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Video Doorbells - A Blessing and a Curse

While video doorbells seem to be ‘all the rage’ lately, they bring about quite a few concerns related to privacy, especially in common interest communities. The balance is between one’s right to the latest technology securing their home for package deliveries, for example, with the reality of a camera and audio recorder capturing additional footage of one’s neighbors. It is important to review the governing documents in place in your community to determine if the installation of such devices are a violation, missing from the governing documents entirely, or a regulated addition.  

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What’s in Your Email? How to Secure Your Company’s Inboxes From Being Scammed

Security threats can attack a company from all angles. You might have a security guard at the door to keep out unwanted visitors. Perhaps you have security cameras to keep an eye on things when you are not around. You likely have an anti-virus software to prevent a technical attack. But what do you do when a scammer tries to trick one of your employees into giving up sensitive information through an email?

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Dealing with Tricky Tree Issues

Disputes can arise between owners and their association regarding who is responsible for maintenance or removal when once healthy trees in the community begin to show signs of death or disease, especially when the trees are located near homes or other structures.  Whether the association or owner is responsible (and could be held liable for damages which result if the tree, or a part thereof, encroaches on neighboring property or falls and causes injury or damage) will often depend on whose property the tree is located on, whether modifications or alterations have been made to the property, and what the association’s governing documents provide. 

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Security Cameras, Electronic Locks, and Security Officers - Are Condominium Associations Liable to Unit Owners for the Criminal Assaults of Third-Parties?

For many condominiums, a secure and safe premises is the polar opposite of a liability: it is a feature and selling point to bring new residents into the community and increase the property value of individual units. From the perspective of condominium association budgets, most condominium association boards can easily defend, to residents, reasonable expenses on security in the common elements. Most if not all residents understand the need for security measures on the premises whether that expense includes merely exterior lighting in parking lots or a whole security suite of protections from video cameras and swipe-card locks to gates and guards. 

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Time Management...Is It Really That Easy?

Finding a strategy for time management depends on your level of self-discipline and most importantly your personality. If you incorporate some or all of the strategies, you can manage your time more effectively.  You may wish for more time, but you only get 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds each day.  How you use this time will depend on the skills you have learned.

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Why Are My Assessments Going Up?

There is a widespread belief among homeowners who live in associations, that if their assessments stay flat and do not increase, their community is in good shape and the Board is doing its job. And while it’s easy to understand the appeal of a historically flat budget, a lack of increases in an association’s assessments could be an indication of rough seas ahead. 

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Expanded Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia Gives Civil Litigants A Right of Appeal

Community associations should take notice that Virginia recently became the final state to allow civil litigants a right to appeal a trial court final order.  

Under prior law, for most civil cases, appeal was not an automatic right. Instead, if a party wanted to appeal a final civil judgment from a circuit court, that party had to petition the Supreme Court of Virginia to take the appeal. A writ panel of three justices and/or senior justices would consider the request, and only grant the appeal if at least two justices on that panel agreed.  The appellee, or non-appealing party, had the option to file a brief in opposition to the petition, but did not have to do so.  The appellee did not present oral argument unless the writ panel accepted the case.  

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Short Term Rentals with Airbnb and VRBO

What is Airbnb and VRBO?

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