Manager's Mini Legal Symposium Delivers High Value Info at Low Cost

Nov 16, 2015
The Managers Breakfast and Mini Legal Symposium brought many questions and led to some very interesting discussions this past Tuesday. As a community manager, I see how important it is to keep up-to-date on the changing legal rulings of the courts pertaining to our communities.  It can be daunting to hear that rules suggested and used by managers just a few years ago can today bring the threat of legal action to the association.

Edward Hoffman, Jr., Esq. with Barrow | Hoffman, stated it best when he said, “Fair housing issues and related claims are escalating in associations. As a result, associations must proactively and properly handle these issues in accordance with the the law and with an eye on the community as a whole. Associations should therefore elicit the cogent advice of counsel before, instead of after, a fair housing claim is made." Ed navigated the hottest issues facing community associations today including service animals, age discrimination in reference to prohibiting children from the recreation facilities / common areas, and keeping up with the HOPA guidelines for age restricted "55 and better" communities.

Another very tricky area, rental restrictions was discussed in detail by Fran McGovern, Esq from McGovern Legal Services, LLC.  Fran reminded us that the Leasing Administrative Fee used as a deterrent could be troublesome. Fran's expressed take-away for all managers is “Depressed real estate prices and rental sites like airbnb.com have led many boards to consider implementing rental restrictions to preserve community feel and residents’ lifestyle.  Rental restrictions range from simple lease riders where tenants acknowledge their obligation to abide by the association’s rules and regulations, to rental prohibition for a fixed period after purchase, to a percentage cap on the number of units that may be rented, to an assignment of rents if the unit owner doesn’t pay assessments, to a total rental prohibition. Substantive rental restrictions require a declaration or master deed amendment passed by the required membership vote. As rental restrictions impact significant property rights and courts have reviewed them based on the particular facts of each community, it’s important to involve association members and association counsel early in the consideration process.” Fran offered attendees a sample “Amendment to the Master Deed” as a guideline.
 
It was heartening to hear Angela Maione Costigan, Esq, with Costigan & Costigan, LLC explain she is here to help the managers and associations during a lawsuit by offering to schedule depositions at the community if possible and trudging through paperwork right along with us. What manager couldn't use administrative help during a lawsuit? Angela reviewed the basics of handling the association lawsuit which is a great review for experienced managers and a must for new managers. Angela wanted everyone in attendance to know, ”It was great to see all the managers at the seminar! I hope that the information I conveyed was useful. Thanks for the invitation."

I would like to thank CAI and Business Partners that offer their knowledge and support.  I find these meetings to be invaluable. Truly thank you! 

CAI offers four manager education seminars per year, held at beautiful Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. The "Breakfast Club for Managers" programs occur on Tuesday mornings, include continental breakfast, coffee, tea, juices, and terrific educational information from some of the region's leading authorities on a wide variety of topics and issues pertaining to condo and community association management. In addition, the Manager Education committee plans several webinar programs, an hour each in length, throughout the year. These programs are specifically tailored to managers, are inexpensive to attend, and like the Breakfast Club programs, attendance at a webinar earns managers continuing education credit (one credit for each hour of programming) for use in obtaining or maintaining their CAI professional designations. Look for a list of 2016 seminars and webinars, which will be announced soon. 

I hope to see you at our next Manager Education program!   

Marianne C. Fein, CMCA, AMS
Community Manager with FirstService Residential

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