It’s 2021, and while 2020 was a rough year, let’s try to keep 2021 as normal as possible. Like many Americans trying to set goals for the new year, HOAs and condominium boards should also. First, check on buildings’ health and other improvements for which the association is responsible for maintaining. Now might be an excellent time to see if delayed maintenance can be undertaken to the pool or amenities so they will be ready for use when the cold, wet weather subsides.
For newer communities (of which there are many since 2020 was a banner year for developers and builders), you may want to be sure that the common areas were deeded to the association. If not, the board may want to reach out to the developer to have the common areas deeded over. We have seen a number of instances where a developer inadvertently retains a portion of common areas, only to cause headaches years later, usually when a county tax assessor threatens to foreclose for delinquent taxes (common areas are exempt from real estate taxes, but tax assessors have little authority to waive taxes if the developer forgets to deed the common area to the association).
You might also take the opportunity to schedule a time to speak with the association’s insurance agent. As construction costs and the price of construction materials rise, and as the value of property increases, it may be time to increase insurance coverage. There may also be additional insurance coverage available for directors and officers, and it could be a good time to decide if the current coverage should be expanded. Unfortunately, it seems that Covid-related frustration is boiling at some communities, and we have seen an uptick in threatened lawsuits against boards (most of them unjustified), but it is always good to have extra protection in place.
And let’s not forget about the members – while in-person gatherings may be a long way off, boards or committees (while meeting virtually, of course) may want to set long-term goals for in-person parties or gatherings. Virtual meet-and-greet events may be a short-term solution to meet new neighbors or to catch-up with existing neighbors. It may be a good time to reach out to the community to ask for volunteers to serve on committees. The winter lull can be a good time to seek community volunteerism with planning or to help tackle troublesome problems. For example, a covenants committee can be appointed to recommend changes to the CCRs, or a social committee can plan events later in the year, Covid permitting.
We know that people are wary of another 2020, so put some of the pent-up frustration to positive use in 2021. If you want assistance with the appointment of committees or help addressing any concerns above, let us know, and we stand ready to assist.
ABOUT BEN KARB
In his HOA and condominium practice, Ben regularly advises HOAs and condominium associations across a broad spectrum of issues, including the interpretation of covenants, contractual matters, and collection of assessments. He routinely attends membership meetings and assists communities with the ever-difficult process of amending their governing documents. He has formed numerous HOAs and condominium associations, and regularly drafts and amends Declarations and corporate documents for his clients.
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