Category Archives: drainage

Duties of the Architectural Control Committee or ACC


Green Initiatives for HOA's

Are you getting ready to make an addition to your house or build a new shed or fence in your back yard? Before you break out the miter saw, make sure to get your plans approved by our association’s architectural committee.

While it may seem arbitrary from an individual homeowner’s standpoint, the architectural committee looks out for the entire community. Aside from stopping residents from painting pink polka dots on their houses, the committee’s job is to make sure that the size and style of the project, the type of building materials being used and the overall look of the new structure adhere to the association’s design requirements. Not only does this keep the community looking cohesive, it also helps to keep property values up by preventing individual structures from standing out. Of course, it’s also important to note that unapproved structures might legally have to be removed at the owner’s expense, so save yourself money and headaches by getting approval before building.

So when you’re ready to start your new project, or if the design of your project changes midway through building it, send your plans to the architectural committee first so that we can make sure they’re in compliance with the association’s design standards. If we do find any issues, we’ll let you know what they are and try to help you come up with other options. We appreciate all the hard work residents have done to make their homes and this community beautiful—help us keep this association looking great by keeping us in the loop of all your building projects.

Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia condo association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.  (678) 866-1436

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Duties of the Architectural Control Committee or ACC


Green Initiatives for HOA's

Are you getting ready to make an addition to your house or build a new shed or fence in your back yard? Before you break out the miter saw, make sure to get your plans approved by our association’s architectural committee.

While it may seem arbitrary from an individual homeowner’s standpoint, the architectural committee looks out for the entire community. Aside from stopping residents from painting pink polka dots on their houses, the committee’s job is to make sure that the size and style of the project, the type of building materials being used and the overall look of the new structure adhere to the association’s design requirements. Not only does this keep the community looking cohesive, it also helps to keep property values up by preventing individual structures from standing out. Of course, it’s also important to note that unapproved structures might legally have to be removed at the owner’s expense, so save yourself money and headaches by getting approval before building.

So when you’re ready to start your new project, or if the design of your project changes midway through building it, send your plans to the architectural committee first so that we can make sure they’re in compliance with the association’s design standards. If we do find any issues, we’ll let you know what they are and try to help you come up with other options. We appreciate all the hard work residents have done to make their homes and this community beautiful—help us keep this association looking great by keeping us in the loop of all your building projects.

Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia condo association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.  (678) 866-1436

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Get the Weeds out of the HOA Common Area.


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Some people call them weeds, other just say plants growing in the wrong place. They seem to sprout overnight and can grow flowers that emerge in a heartbeat. Recent rains have resulted in vigorous growth. If left unchecked can steal water and nutrients from neighboring plants. Where do they come? What can be done to gain control so that they do not take over your garden? Read on for tips to control these pesky troublesome creepers.

Weed seeds arrive in your yard either by wind or are carried in the birds. They could be brought to the playground equipment, grass seed, organic soil ground cover or cracks in cement.  They can also ride on shoes, clothes or even on the skin of pets.

The two basic groups of weeds are grasses and broadleaf weeds. Some seeds and shoots grow, flower, produce seed and die within a season. These are known as annual weeds.

Perennial weeds can live for several years.
The control methods you choose will depend on what type of weed in question.

If you only have a few weeds in a relatively small area, mechanical removal is often the most desirable. This can be accomplished with sharp hoes, shovels, or hand-trough. This exercise is good – even therapeutic. If herbicide applications are warranted, it is important to select one that will focus on the weeds in question and not to damage the surrounding vegetation. If you use grass murderer on crabgrass or nutsedge growing in the hybrid Bermuda grass, it won’t discriminate and will kill all the grass that the contacts. A broad spectrum herbicide can kill anything green it touches.

In gravel areas both annual and perennial weeds can be controlled by applying a post-emergent herbicide. Post-emergent which means that controls the weeds which have germinated and are growing. The most common application contains glyphosate or glufosinate as the active ingredients on the label. These herbicides work for translocation of the product through the roots to the leaves where they interfere with the growth process. Control is achieved best when applied to young plants. These two products are not selective, which means it will kill any vegetation growing in both grass and broadleaf plants.

In areas of lawn in the best control of weeds is healthy turf.  Any chemical weed control should be practiced only on well established lawns, as newly installed or seeded lawns are often injured by weed control agents. Spot treatment with glyphosate is effective especially in winter, on the dormant Bermuda grass.

Pre-emergents work very well in preventing weed germination and work best in areas of gravel. Do not use a pre-emergent if you plan to establish a Bermuda lawn from seed. The same occurs in the fall if overseeding the hybrid Bermuda grass or Bermuda – which will prevent the seeds of winter rye grass from germinating! Many pre-emergents are available at your local nursery store or home improvement  center. For example, a common pre-emergent herbicide has a chemical name: 3, 5-dintro-N4, N4-dipropylsulfanilamide. The chemical name is oryzalin. Ask the sales staff at your local hardware store or nursery for help if you are unsure which product is a pre-emergent.  Apply twice a year in April for summer weeds, and September for weed control in winter.  Ultimately, the climate and seasonality will be different in different regions of our country.

Caution: Some products are labeled to kill total vegetation. These products kill all existing vegetation, but also can remain in soil for many years and leach into surrounding areas and seriously affect or kill the plants there. If you have an area in your garden where nothing grows, a killer of vegetation  could have been applied in the past.

Be careful when using products containing 2-4-D. These are designed to be applied when temperatures are below 80 degrees or less. On warm days, this product volatilizes (becomes a gas) and can cause damage to surrounding vegetation, as it moves through the air.

Always follow label instructions exactly! We sometimes think that if a little is good, more is better. The average homeowner applies 9 times more chemicals to their property than that of a farmer on land the same size. With herbicides and insecticides, it can be deadly – to plants, pets and humans. Wear protective clothing and avoid skin contact with the product.

2011 – The Year of the Missing Money


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Published: 02 December 2011 – Written by JWW

If there was a single theme running through news stories and articles about condo and homeowner associations in 2011, it was the shortage of money to carry out their responsibilities.

First, the trend of owners not paying their association assessments due to a weak economy, continued strong, which meant that associations had less money to carry out their required operations.  Then, the foreclosure crisis also continued strong, again leaving associations short, as owners in foreclosure usually stopped paying assessments.  Those associations in states that gave them six month of assessments in a foreclosure process may have been a little better off than those in states without the lien priority, but they still found it was tough to collect.

Then, the mortgage banking industry started piling on, by slowing down foreclosures, so that they would not be responsible for a home’s assessments until the last possible minute.  This dragged out the time frame when associations were receiving no income from a unit, placing a tough burden on the owners who were paying, and on boards to struggle with reduced revenue.  Some states tried to help out associations, and some attorneys got creative in forcing foreclosures, but that was only in a few states.

The following news story leads from 2011 show a growing trend that is entirely preventable, but sadly, is often ignored:

  • FL: President of homeowners association accused of embezzlement
  • OH: Prosecutor’s filing indicates women may plead guilty to stealing $1.6M
  • NC: Parkwood president: Embezzler took at least $150K from HOA
  • WA: Former HOA president is headed to trial
  • IA: Muscatine woman gets probation for theft from homeowners’ association
  • FL: The former manager of a luxury Aventura condo building, accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, turned herself in to jail officials.
  • LA: Former president of Montz associations pleads guilty to theft
  • TX: HOA dues disappear in elaborate scam
  • NC: Theft of money from Parkwood involves ‘many thousands of dollars’
  • CO: Embezzler involved with HOA in Aspen called a ‘habitual criminal’ by DA
  • OH: Man pleads guilty to theft possibly totaling $200,000
  • NY: Ex-school board member admits stealing funds
  • CA: Neighborhood-association embezzler is sentenced
  • ME: Convicted condo embezzler arrested
  • CA: Diablo Grande embezzlement is news to sheriff
  • WA: Prosecutors: Issaquah HOA president bilked organization
  • FL: Charge: President bilked own homeowner association
  • MD: Grand Jury Indicts In Theft Scheme Case
  • WI: Franklin police probe suspected condo association fraud
  • WA: Former Olympia-area homeowners association worker guilty of theft
  • NJ: Former property manager in Freehold Twp. accused of embezzling $75K
  • GA: Former HOA treasurer arrested
  • CA: Former Palo Alto neighborhood association admin accused of embezzling $65K
  • GA: Manager gets 3 years probation for fraud
  • NJ: Three charged with thefts from Aberdeen condo association
  • OH: Woman gets prison for bilking condo associations
  • NJ: Mother, daughter charged in scam – Indictment: Condo funds misused
  • Toronto condo owners allege massive fraud
  • NY: Dare’s role in Pastures cost association $100,000
  • VA: Fraud at Koger may tally $2 million
  • WI: Treasurer of Kansasville home owner’s association reportedly forged checks
  • FL: Four charged in multi-million dollar fraud scheme at Hallandale Beach condo
  • NJ: Readington condo official admits stealing $200K
  • PA: $600K Swiped From Montco Condo Association
  • CA: Sheriff’s Deputy Who Took Money From HOA Sentenced
  • FL: Four charged in multi-million dollar fraud scheme at Hallandale Beach condo
  • FL: HOA bookkeeper confesses to embezzling
  • CA: Manager steals $70K from neighborhood group
  • SC: Woman charged with embezzling $14K in HOA funds
  • IN: Mishawaka embezzler to testify against co-defendant
  • IL: Regent Realty owners indicted in fraud
  • NY: Green Mansions Manager Indicted For $162K Theft
  • MA: Yarmouth condo office manager sent to jail
  • WY: Embezzler gets lengthy sentence in Fox Park case

When times are tough, people who need money will justify taking it from others. Every community association related blog and web site wrote articles about how to prevent theft, but, as with anything, there have to be people in place who will actually do the checks to see that everything is as it should be.

The result of all of this, was all too often, delayed or ignored maintenance, assessments increasing to cover revenue shortfalls, a lot of hard feelings and a lot of litigation, all of which will have long-term effects on associations. To be honest, I don’t really see any improvement in the short term, and for the long term, that is going to depend heavily on the economy, and whether or not the housing industry rebounds.

When I used to do seminars for association board members, I would tell them that it wasn’t their job to keep assessments low, but to spend the money wisely. After this year, I think I need to change that to:

It’s your job to collect the money efficiently, watch over it like a guard dog, and then, spend it wisely!

To all of you who donate your time and talents to keep your association going through these tough times:

THANK YOU!

Courtesy of: http://communityassociationsnetwork.com/wordpress/?p=332

With over 40 years of combined industry experience, the Executive Staff of Riverside Property Management  knows that the most successful communities are those where there is a sense of unity and pride among the membership; this unity and pride begins with a firm foundation comprised of:

Well defined policies and objectives
A strategic plan and future vision
A proactive Management team
Mutual team trust and respect
Timely and open communication
Excellent customer service
Industry knowledge
“Out of the Box” Thinking
Services designed to meet your needs

Give us fifteen minutes of your time and we can show you how to put your community on a fast track to success; if you don’t believe us, feel free to call upon any one of our satisfied clients. (678) 866-1436 or info@riversidepropertymgt.com

Old Ben Was Right


One of the earliest advocates of preventive maintenance was Ben Franklin. He wisely wrote: “A little neglect may breed mischief…for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost…” Old Ben nailed what happens when relatively small repairs. Little things have major impact on homeowner association assets. For example, a small lack of flashing can lead to major dryrot, structural problems and major expense. Ka-CHING!

Preventive maintenance is critical to managing an HOA’s assets. When executed properly, it extends the useful life of buildings, grounds and equipment. Stretching out useful lives means stretching member contributions and reducing downtime from component failures. Preventive maintenance involves fixing something before it breaks. Here are five objectives for a every preventive maintenance program:

  1. To perform maintenance that keeps the property safe and functioning.
  2. To promote the most effective and efficient use of resources.
  3. To estimate the human resources needed for proper operation and maintenance.
  4. To determine long range funding requirements and project scheduling.
  5. To evaluate the effectiveness of the maintenance effort.

Preventive maintenance programs are common with elevators, HVAC and pool equipment, usually because there is a service contract. Other components, like paving, roofing, decks and paint require monitoring and planning.

Functional obsolescence is also a legitimate concern. Lack of parts, improvements in efficiency, computerization and changes in fire and building code can make equipment obsolete even though it’s working just as designed. This is particularly applicable to elevators, boilers, pumps and HVAC. Buying new equipment is often a great investment in reduced operating costs. For example, by replacing all common area lighting with compact fluorescent bulbs, the light level will be significantly increased, the energy consumption reduced by 70% and the useful life of each bulb extended by 10-15 times thereby saving an enormous amount of labor costs. Within 12-18 months, the cost will be recouped in energy savings and then, it’s money in the bank.

So, what is the best way to address major preventive maintenance? Two words: Reserve Study. A Reserve Study identifies all the significant components that the HOA is responsible to maintain, assesses current condition, cost of repair and replacement and charts a 30 year maintenance plan to keep the components in their best condition.

The Reserve Study can provide for cyclical preventive maintenance so components achieve their optimal lives. For example If cracks, minor repairs and sealcoating are performed at least every five years on asphalt paving, major repairs will not be required for 20-30 years. If this relatively inexpensive preventive maintenance is not done, significant and costly major repairs will be required much sooner. Pay a little to save a lot.

A Reserve Study will also guide the board how to systematically accumulate funds without special assessments. A full funding plan will have all owners contribute a fair share relating to the benefits received. A fair contribution plan means no one will get a better deal than anyone else and the money will be there when needed. The Reserve Study is absolutely the best way to prepare for a future which will certainly come to pass.

Remember Old Ben’s nail analogy. Little things have a way of causing great things to happen. But rather than fail in the little things, plan for them and hit this nail right on the head.

by Richard Thompson

Keeping Children Safe at Play


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What would be more delightful or heartwarming than the sights and sounds of laughing and playing in your community?

 

Every effort should be made to ensure that the joys of childhood continue in associations, especially with the importance of putting community back into community associations.  From a child‘s perspective, “kid friendly” means fewer rules and restrictions. From the adult’s perspective, it means only implementing and enforcing those rules that are absolutely necessary to protect themselves, the children and association property.

 

The existence and enforcement of reasonable rules can protect an association from liability, but liabilities remain, especially when the association doesn’t or can’t enforce those rules all the time. Just as an owner might sue an association based on the board’s failure to enforce a nuisance rule, an owner also could sue if the association failed to enforce a rule that prohibits children from climbing common element trees or playing in common element parking areas. Theoretically, the association passed the rule because of the inherent danger associated with the activity, thus the association had a duty to enforce its rule to prevent the danger. Would such a theory hold up in court? Much stranger things have happened.

 

Summer Fun at the Homeowners Associaition Pool

Associations should pass only rules that are essential to the health, safety and welfare of their residents–and ones that they can and will enforce. But what rules are essential? Each association must answer that question based on the circumstances and needs of the community. However, let’s take a look at the tree-climbing and parking-lot rules mentioned earlier.

 

A rule against children climbing trees on common elements could recognize both that children occasionally fall out of the trees they climb and that the trees can be damaged. Often the tree is too small for the size of the climber or the climber has tried smaller and weaker branches. In both cases, the damage to the tree may be accompanied by injury to the child. These certainly are legitimate interests, but do they warrant a rule? The association should ask first whether it needs the rule as a warning. In my opinion, most courts will recognize that children are naturally interested in climbing trees and may be injured by doing so. The courts also will recognize that it would be difficult, at best, to keep children out of a good climbing tree. Moreover, every child and parent already knows that if a climber falls from a tree, he or she likely will be injured. Thus, the rule is probably not necessary as a warning

 

The association should explore next whether it needs the rule as a deterrent-preventing climbing through fear of consequence. If the fear of falling is not a natural deterrent, I suspect that the fear of a fine or sanction (which mom or dad would have to pay) is not likely to do the trick–at least from the child’s perspective. Nor will it have a deterrent effect on parents. Those parents who would keep their children out of trees even if no rule existed don’t need the rule. Similarly, those who feel it is OK for their child to climb trees probably would find the rule silly and would not be deterred.

 

Then, does the association need the rule to protect association or owner property, or limit association liability? As for the property issue, trees lose limbs and branches naturally, so the loss of a few to climbers probably isn’t a big deal. If damage occurs to a tree on a lot, the owner probably has the right to make a claim against the master policy as well as his or her homeowners insurance policy.

The liability issue is more problematic. The mere existence of the rule may invite liability because the association will not be able to monitor all trees all the time. In actuality, most associations will not watch their trees unless a board member or manager just happens along and sees a climber.

 

Although it might seem ludicrous, a litigant certainly could claim that he or she relied upon the association’s rule to keep his or her child out of trees, and thus out of harm’s way.

 

The real problem, of course, is that this rule is not kid friendly. And, if the association passes such a rule without one or more of the elements mentioned earlier being of primary concern to the welfare of the association, the rule is not likely to have a positive effect.

 

Similarly, a rule prohibiting children from playing in common element parking lots appears to be a no brainer because it benefits all. However, looks are deceiving. In this case, both children and parents should know that playing in the parking lot is inherently dangerous. Parents also know that smaller children must be watched because a passing motorist may not be able to avoid a child darting between parked cars. Motorists also know to drive cautiously in a residential parking lot. Accordingly, a rule against playing in the parking lots is superfluous for warning purposes.

This rule won’t deter children from playing in the parking lots. Presumably, smaller children will be kept from these areas by parents or older siblings. Older children probably will play there whether the rule is known to them or not. Kids have been playing ball and skating in streets and parking lots as long as there have been streets and parking lots.

 

Finally, the existence of this rule is likely to have little positive effect on the association’s liability in the event of a tragedy. Let’s say that a child is injured by a vehicle in the parking lot. The association’s liability for such an incident, if any, will probably concern the lighting level in the parking lot or perhaps poorly placed plantings that impeded the driver’s view. If these circumstances contribute to the likelihood of the injury, having a rule against playing in the parking lots will not protect the association from liability. And, as in the previous example, a grieving parent could claim that, had the association enforced its rule, the child would not have been injured or killed.

 

So what appear at first impression to be two reasonable rules really have no redeeming value; they are not kid friendly. They are difficult or impossible to enforce. If anything, they might add to an association’s potential for liability. In short, they’re unnecessary.

 

The only kid-centric rules associations must have are those related to the swimming pool. Some associations also have rules related to the minimum age for use of tennis courts. Associations with a workout facility may need to have rules about equipment use as well. Otherwise, the best rules for children are the ones imposed by their parents.  After all, the parents will be held responsible for damage done by children that is not covered by insurance.

 

Source: http://www.communityassociationmanagement.com/rules/violations-and-enforcement/2473-children-at-play.html

It’s a pleasure working with such a professional, competent and customer friendly staff.


Piedmont Heights

Beautiful Condominium Community

Our experience with Riverside to date has been fantastic! We found the transition to be almost seamless to the homeowners. Everyone at Riverside has worked diligently to get the transition completed as uneventful as possible. We love the service level we have received from all the staff, but especially from Lisa Robinson, Tamara Owen and the Accounting Staff. It’s a pleasure working with such a professional, competent and customer friendly staff. They are responsive. They do what they say they are going to do and always make you feel like a valued customer. I feel that switching to Riverside has been the best decision we have made all year!

Deborah Woolf – Treasurer

Piedmont Heights Condominium Association

Maintaining Your Residential Or Commercial Retention Pond


Brought to you by Riverside Property Management, Inc.
by Joe Archer

When a new neighborhood or office building is constructed, the natural flow of the land is disturbed. Most of the trees, natural grass and soil are destroyed and replaced with concrete, pavement, sidewalks and other unnatural structures. The topography of the land is likely altered and the former natural flow of water has now been dramatically changed.

Riverside Property Management

The direct result of all the changes is that rainwater that used to be soaked up by the natural land will now flow off the developed land at a much faster rate. The amount of water flowing out of gutters, down driveways, streets and parking lots is much larger then the land can handle. In order to handle the rapid rate of water runoff, both residential and commercial properties are required to establish and maintain retention or detention ponds.

In the State of Georgia and many other states, the Homeowners Associations (HOA’s) and property management companies are required to maintain the retention and detention ponds to ensure that all rainwater on any given property is collected in a manner that does not disturb the surrounding land.

All retention ponds are subject to annual or biannual city or county inspections. The inspector will want to see the retention pond is capable of running at full capacity and that the retention or detention pond meets most of the requirements that we discuss below.

Retention and detention ponds need periodic maintenance. If you are a property manager or part of a homeowners association, you will want to ensure that your retention or detention pond is cleaned out on a regular basis to ensure compliance with city and county codes.

Retention Pond or Detention Pond Maintenance Checklist

* Keep the earth and dam around your retention pond in good order. The vegetation around your retention pond will reduce the pollutants in the storm water; however, the vegetation should be well maintained and any overgrowth should be reduced. It is also a good idea to remove any new trees that may cause future problems.

* On a periodic basis remove any debris and any silt buildup from your retention pond.

* Communicate with the homeowners in your neighborhood or the tenants in your commercial space and make sure everyone understands the importance of reducing the chemicals, pollutants and waste products that make their way down the storm drains in the neighborhood or office park.

* Inspect the headwall, the weir, the exhaust and other key components of the retention pond on a regular basis to ensure the pond is operating as intended.

* Remove any silt or sediment that may have accumulated at the basin forebay on a regular basis.

* Inspect the storm water drains that are delivering water to the retention or detention pond and make sure they are free of debris and in good working order.

Items like grass clippings, pet waste and other various organic materials that find their way down the storm drains causes algae to grow at much faster rates in the pond and increases the maintenance needed to keep the pond in working order.

Taking great care of your retention and detention ponds ensures that the water we are returning to our streams and rivers is cleaner then it would have been had it just passed over a greasy pavement? If we educate people on the roll the retention or detention pond is playing in their neighborhood or office park; people will be more careful the next time they are going to blow their grass clippings or send their pet waste down the closest storm drain.

Most reputable landscaping companies are well equipped to work with the HOA or property management group to come up with a reasonable maintenance plan that will keep the retention or detention pond working as intended. A properly maintained retention or detention pond helps all of us.

Joe Archer is the owner of Mobile Joe’s Landscaping. Mobile Joe’s Landscaping is a full service landscaping and landscape design company based in Atlanta, GA. Joe’s company can help any HOA or property management group maintain their retention or detention pond.

Retention and detention ponds play a critical role in controlling and cleaning the water runoff from neighborhoods and office parks. A properly maintained retention pond helps all of us.

Contact the Riverside to Learn More About Detention Ponds