Tag Archives: Restrictive covenant

Association Boards, Things You Should Have Learned From the News


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Here are examples of a few lessons that should have been learned by reading the newspapers:

  • There is no substitute for good financial management and a solid reserve program.

The combination of foreclosures, budget deficits, embezzlement and the inability to continue with the maintenance was felt in Community Associations across the country. Those Associations which had to cut corners, or assessments, are often found in deeper problems, and in some extreme cases, in the street. This is the time to be smart.

  • Disasters happen – do not bet the HOA that you will be spared.

The last two years have seen not only a financial disaster hit the U.S., but also a string of natural disasters that have severely affected a large number of Homeowner and Condominium Associations. Many did not have flood insurance, or increased deductible or lower limits of their insurance coverage. Many canceled special policies that covered hurricane, earthquake, wind or other things that they hoped would miss them. Too often, it was the wrong bet. As a result, some organizations simply disappeared, owners forced to leave, the units condemned, without any hope of recovery. Some had to sell the buildings damaged at a great loss and move on. Others had to live for months outside the homes in hotels with only some or none of the costs covered, while the Board has wrestled with insurance companies, contractors and the courts. Insurance is one of the most important things that boards have to deal with.  Do not bet on the future of the Association, Mother nature may try to ignore you.

  • Find a way to deal with “going green“, without confusion, expense and visibility.

In nature (and often the CC & R), Associations,  are resistant to change. But this is not going away, and the Association is almost always going to come through to look bad when they resist any change. Clothes lines, solar panels, false grass, landscaping and other items are only the beginning. Start with an owners vote on how they feel about various issues and real information (not just rumors) about how they will help and what are the options. It can be a single owner that poses a problem, but you can expect many more to follow.

  • Flags cause problems – no flags allowed at all causes even more problems.

If you allow the U.S. flag to fly on holidays with a bracket attached to the unit / home, you can almost count on someone  pushing to do more. They want to fly the flag every day, on a pole 20 feet in front of your unit / home, or a service flag for the Navy or Marine, or the stars in the windows to show a family in danger, or flag college game day, etc, etc, etc. Someone will always push the envelope. Again, just survey the residents and see what is the general consensus, which the majority will support. This is not only an individual problem, the Board must decide and then publish.

  • If you’re not active on the internet, it is very likely you will be found “on” the internet.

The number of sites created by the owner of the individual to attack or publish less than favorable information about your Association has grown exponentially. You can get on the Internet for almost no cost and see what is published can  stay forever. Transparency of operations and multiple methods of communication must be a primary consideration of the board. Do not keep putting it off. Get connected now.

  • State legislatures will cost the HOA more money unless the owners SHOW UP.

Since there is very little actual data about Associations and owners available, state legislators often act due to the squeakiest wheel, usually one or two owners who have beaten their heads with the Board. Who is really to blame rarely counts.  It is what you can give a legislator in particular. The positive exposure usually results in bills that will cost money from the owners. Boards should be aware of how legislation will impact the potential of the Association and all owners and find a way to voice their position.

Riverside Property Management, Inc. is a leading provider of financial reporting, maintenance and governance, legal collection procedures and management consulting services for Homeowners Associations and Conominiums in the Atlanta Metro area..

Our clients include homeowners associations and developers of multi-family, owner-occupied housing throughout the Atlanta Metro area.

Our team includes certified Professional Community Managers (PCAM), Licensed Real Eastate Agents (RES) and a Board Certified Collection Attorney (ESQ), licensed in Georgia, who all specialize in maintaining property condition, collection of  assessments and enforcement of existing Covenants.  Individual consultations, management reviews and educational workshops for association boards, to help improve their community governance skills.

We also provide critical budget and financial planning tools that include reserve studies and budget projections for maintenance and repair costs of community owned assets.

Detailed reserve studies and maintenance plans prepared in conjunction with our consulting architect are one of the most valuable management tools available for any association. If you are interested in long range financial planning and supervised maintenance of community assets, our services will be of benefit to your association.

Developers will find our company invaluable when planning a new construction or conversion project. Reserve studies, maintenance plans and operating budgets required for all newly formed associations are available from our company.

For more information about Riverside Property Management and the services we offer please take the time to browse our website and feel free to call our offices to speak with a licensed representative of our company.

(678) 866-1436
info@riversidepropertymgt.com

How Do I Form an HOA in Georgia?


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Home Owners Associations (HOAs) bring peace and civility to shared communities. Condominium or single-family home complexes may create an HOA to determine how common areas will be maintained, for example. In Georgia, as in most states across the country, bylaws and a board of directors must be established before an HOA is official. Talk to neighbors within your development to garner support for the HOA and commence with an expeditious launch.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

    • 1

      Contact the Georgia General Assembly. Reach out to the offices of your House of Representatives and/or State Senator and ask for a copy of the Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (GPOA). Review the GPOA to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines of the state for creating an HOA. Log online and visit the official Georgia General Assembly website to find the contact information for your respective representatives.

    • 2

      Form the physical HOA. Assemble residents of your community. Elect HOA leadership representatives including a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Establish any committees necessary to the function of your HOA — planning or policy committees, for example. Write the bylaws for the HOA. State how shared community areas will be overseen, who is affected by the rules and the amount members will pay for annual dues. Title the bylaws “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.”

    • 3

      Reach out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ask an IRS representative for all necessary 501(c)(4) tax documentation for creating an HOA. Filing for 501(c)(4) status makes the HOA an official non-profit organization. Submit all necessary forms and supplemental documentation — a copy of the bylaws, for example — required by the IRS. Consult IRS agents and the 501(c) (4) forms for instructions.

The Three Main Components of Enforcement of the Covenants


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Implementation of the Pact is a key component to living the association. If you are a leader of the association, are you using business well when applying the provisions of the documents governing the association? Are deed restrictions inconsistent application? How will the legislation and implementing regulations?

Good Business Judgement

The houses are extremely personal to the owners. The community association is a company created to maintain common elements and enforce restrictive covenants. It is understandable why there may be dissatisfaction among the two groups. During the development of guidelines for implementing the agreement, members of the Council must consider the impact on residents.

Ask yourself these questions:

Thinking of the whole community and not just a single demographic group in the development of guidelines or standards and enforcement procedures?
How will you respond to the homeowners policy implementation?
What was the intention of the developers in the development of the original restrictions and enforcement procedures?

Uniform

Board members and managers should consider all the circumstances in which a uniform application of the documents governing the association. Remain neutral and refrain from inspecting a specific house or restriction only ignoring other houses and compliance requirements. It is easier to log on pact violations more houses near the entrance to a building or a dead-At the rear of the property. However, be sure to inspect any property, either during the same visit or on a rotating basis so that each section is visited often and regularly.

Besides the frequency, consider all the rules and regulations. Be sure to check and know the conventions before inspections. A restriction is not more important than the last. Weeds, trash cans, pets, and parking violations can be your most common, but are not more important to meet that improper storage of water hoses, building materials or boats. The Board is responsible for enforcing all the arrangements to be settled in accordance with procedures outlined in government documents.

Government Legislation and Regulations

Legislation and government regulations impact the application of single-family housing developments and condominiums. In fact, state and federal laws supersede the association agreements.

For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented OTARD (Over the air reception devices) Rules 1996, which prohibits associations from unreasonably impair the installation, maintenance or use of smaller antennas than a meter, TV antennas, wireless antenna cable, and wireless antennas. This particular rule continues to change and evolve. For more information about the FCC rules, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Other examples of government decisions to ignore the documents of the community associations’ governing the ongoing efforts of federal, state and local agencies to review and implement green initiatives. New laws in some states require associations approved solar devices, outdoor clotheslines and landscaping of the desert landscape. While the new laws may conflict with the conventions of an association, government regulations take precedence and supersede the governing documents of the association.

The application of the Covenant is more than just driving through a community and noting violations. Board members must use reasonable discretion in developing guidelines for their implementation, taking into account the impact on all owners and residents. Board members should put aside their personal feelings and opinions in a uniform manner so they can enforce restrictions in your community write whether they agree with them or not. They should also keep informed of new laws and changes that affect the association governing documents. How? By joining organizations like the Community Association Institute (www.caionline.org) and that your business requires management to assign a manager with the PCAM designation to your community.