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What's That Snake in the Water?

Back in the days when I worked for a pond construction company, one of my crew members told me that he needed some help identifying a snake that they had found on the job site. He said it was a water snake, and thought it was a cottonmouth. I asked if he had taken pictures of it, but instead, he presented me a burlap bag with the snake inside. Its head was smashed, and its body had been neatly cut into several pieces with the blade of a shovel. As an ecologist and lover of wildlife, the site of the demolished snake left me heartbroken and speechless. It was a large, beautiful, and HARMLESS northern water snake. All I could think of to say was, “That is NOT the way to identify a snake!”

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Earning Your PCAM Through CAI

PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGER (PCAM)

​The pinnacle of community association management. The PCAM designation is the highest professional recognition available nationwide to managers who specialize in community association management. Earn your PCAM and join the elite—the select—the best.

Recommended for experienced managers who want to demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge and who wish to be recognized as one of the best and most experienced managers in the nation.

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SEVA Chapter Recognized by CAI Headquarters

CAI announced the recipients of its annual awards at a ceremony on May 19th in Dallas, TX in conjunction with the 2023 CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW. The honors salute individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions to advance community association living, as well as individual Chapters who have contributed to the overall growth and betterment of the organization.

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Repairing Concrete to Make a Lasting Impact



Communities encounter many problems when trying to maintain safe and beautiful common area concrete.

Spalling or pitted concrete

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2023 Virginia Legislative Changes Affecting Community Associations

The General Assembly had a busy session that involved consideration of proposals for new laws that would affect community associations.  The Virginia Legislative Action Committee monitored dozens of bills.  In addition to supporting some legislation, many of the LAC’s efforts are expended in opposing bills that ultimately do not become law or suggesting modifications to proposed legislation.  The LAC’s lobbying team provides subject-matter expertise to legislators in community association policy and insight into how proposed legislation would affect associations and other stakeholders. 

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History of Community Associations

Community Associations are wonderful organizations benefiting millions of US residents every day. There are countless benefits to living in community associations. One of the beautiful things about people is that we have figured out that banding together in communities is generally beneficial offering clean, cohesive neighborhoods oftentimes with amenities such as parks and pools, further encouraging the idea of community. These inherent benefits have association living on the rise, providing homes for nearly 1 in 5 Americans. But where did it all start?

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Legal SPF: Summer Protection for Community Associations

We are on the cusp of Spring, which means Summer is just around the corner. And pool season is the hallmark of Summer. In addition to securing a pool service contractor and/or lifeguards, community associations should consider the broad spectrum of responsibilities and measures related to the pool. Below is our suggested checklist of items for community associations to review well before the start of pool season for maximum protection.

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Good Fencing

Property owners who are subject to covenants may want to install a fence for several reasons, such as keeping children in the yard, keeping a dog, keeping deer out of the yard or for aesthetic value.  However, your first stop should be the bylaws of your community which commonly contain restrictions on fences, whether it prohibits fences altogether or the type or design.

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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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