Have a problem in your association with homeowners not picking up after their dogs? Here are some ideas on addressing the issue, with commentary by NS President Ken Bertolucci. Ken Bertolucci is President of NS Management, a community association management company located in the north suburbs of Chicago. He often writes for industry-specific and news publications.
Ken Bertolucci, CMCA If you interact with 20 people in a business day, 19 may be pleasant encounters. But if just one is extremely disagreeable, that interaction will probably stick in your mind. You may replay it over and over throughout the day, while you think of the clever replies you wish you had said at the time. At worst, the encounter may gnaw on you after working hours and even disturb your sleep. It’s fair to say that you have allowed that person to take up space in your mind. And as a Community Association Manager, it should disturb you even more that they’re not even paying a fee for the precious real estate in your head. The High Conflict Personality When I started as a new CMCA dealing with homeowner issues, I was surprised to discover that some people didn’t seem to want a peaceful resolution. Instead, they appeared to enjoy conflict and try to increase or prolong it. Any attempt to bring the matter to a close brought resistance and caused them to raise new issues. Bill Eddy, a licensed professional as both a therapist and attorney, observed this phenomenon when dealing with such individuals in workplace or family disputes. He…Read more
Post responsibly: How to avoid legal risks and negative effects on social media in your community by Kiara Candelaria | CAI, May 14, 2019 Social media tools are a great way for community associations to increase engagement with their residents, but they can leave communities vulnerable to potential legal risks if managed inappropriately. Adopting a social media policy can allow communities to assign responsibility over its use and minimize abusive practices, says attorney Katrina Solomatina of Berding & Weil in Walnut Creek, Calif. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor, as well as websites, online newsletters, and email blasts, allow community associations to facilitate communication between homeowners, provide real-time updates, and give members the ability to offer instant feedback to the board. At the same time, social media can be abused by users through practices such as cyberbullying, defamation, and invasion of privacy, Solomatina notes. Comments made through social media can have a negative effect on a community. That’s why it’s important for communities to determine who will manage and update social media platforms, who will monitor and respond to comments, who can control or remove content, who can post, and what type of content is prohibited. Community associations should adopt a policy that…Read more
Ken Bertolucci, CMCA Sometimes it seems that homeowners think community association managers have superpowers. They are all-knowing, have x-ray vision, and are able to resolve all matters with a simple decree. But when you’re actually in the trenches of your job, you know superpowers aren’t exactly part of the package. Misunderstandings about the responsibilities of the manager, misconceptions about the roles of the board vs. management, and lack of knowledge about the proper functions of community associations often leave homeowners confused. Let’s face it, few buyers read — much less understand — the pile of association-related legal documents they receive at closing. You can’t really blame homeowners, especially newbies, for being a little fuzzy on the details. Sometimes even management could use a little refresher on what their roles really are. Let’s clarify some common misconceptions about the role of association management. New Rules and Policies — Who Decides? A medical doctor whose daughter was a resident in one of our communities wanted the association to be declared a non-smoking complex. When he contacted me (CMCA with the management company), I explained that this not a decision made by management. Rather, it would require an amendment to the declaration. He was not dissuaded, and…Read more
One of the great truths of the association culture is that the board shall not conduct its’ business behind closed doors or have “secret” meetings as this deprives the owners of their rights. In concept it sounds like a fine principled idea. In practicality, there are more exceptions than rules and more urban myths than exceptions. Beginning with the minimum legal obligation, we can dispel the biggest myth first. Illinois does have a law called the Open Meetings Act. It is set forth in Ch. 50 ILCS 120, et seq. of the Illinois Statutes. It requires open meetings for public bodies only. Public bodies are duly elected or appointed governmental bodies such as village boards, park districts, etc. It does not apply to private organizations such as condominium and homeowners associations. All of the scuttlebutt about violations of the Open Meetings Act at association meetings is not applicable. Associations are subject to certain “open meetings” requirements set forth in other statutes and often in their operating documents. The following requirements appear in the Illinois General Not-for-Profit Corporation Act, the Illinois Condominium Property Act and many declarations and bylaws: 1. All meetings of the Board where business is conducted are open to the members; 2. Notice…Read more