Condo-HOA Blog - Barker Martin
You Are Invited….
Join the attorneys from Barker Martin and register today for these exciting education and networking opportunities hosted by the Washington State Community Associations Institute (WSCAI): read more
Community Associations Day, September 26th
The Washington Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (WSCAI) is hosting its annual Community Associations Day, or "CA Day" for short, on Saturday, September 26. read more
That's an Association Issue… or is it?
It is a common misconception that community associations assume complete and exclusive authority over all people, property, actions and grievances within their community. Sometimes it's an owner misconception that their clogged sink or running toilet is an association issue. Sometimes it's the pure neighbor vs. neighbor dispute. But sometimes, it can be more serious. I was reminded of this recently when (allegedly) one unit owner intentionally threw a rock threw their neighbor's window while verbally harassing the occupants. Local law enforcement was called and decided… it was an association issue. Think about that for a minute. There was probably, almost certainly, a violation of the Association's governing documents but there was also a crime committed. A crime is no less a crime when committed within a community association and those best trained and suited to address such activity are law enforcement – not board members or homeowners and not the association manager. It's important that community association volunteers and service providers remain cognizant of this fact for the safety of everyone involved. Safety is of paramount importance but it's also important to consider the liability you assume if you do take on the role of "law enforcement." As legal counsel, we often help Associations evaluate their authority, options and obligations in difficult situations and, when needed, we're here to be their advocate. read more
Birds Chirping, Felix Pitching and Boards Changing
Spring is finally here! Along with the change in season come longer days, warmer weather, baseball (how about them Mariners!) and community association board elections. If you are a board member, or manager, of an association with a newly constituted board of directors you have an opportunity to take a simple step that will set up your community for success in the coming year. It is a one-time action that is guaranteed to continue to pay dividends for at least the next 12 months. Best of all, the process costs nothing (other than 3 – 4 hours of time). What is this magical elixir? A board retreat. I know what you're thinking, "Huh, we have monthly board meetings, why would we take time for yet another "bored" meeting?" Because this meeting is a workshop designed to set the vision, direction and goal of the board for the next 12 months. The board will designate three or four specific objectives to accomplish for the upcoming year, which will result in proactive, focused and results-oriented leadership. A board has numerous ways to set the agenda for the retreat. Here is one suggestion: • Create a vision/mission statement that is relevant to your community. • Use your vision/mission statement to identify and determine the validity of tasks taken on by the board. • Set specific short term and long term goals to be completed in the coming year (be focused—don't overreach). • Develop an annual agenda, parsing out the short term and long term goals to be completed throughout the year. • Determine if committees can be helpful. • Assign a single person to be responsible for each item with agreed upon reporting and communication protocols. Monthly board meetings can then follow the vision and plan established at the retreat, which results in focused and accountable management of the association. Annual retreats/workshops are a proven tool for success in the business and non-profit worlds that can work in community association governance. They are a no-cost, high yield instrument for success. With a season of change and transformation in the air, now is the time for your association to schedule and conduct a board workshop. read more
Association D&O Coverage
Typically, in order to trigger a Director and Officer's (D&O) coverage, a claim must be "made" within the policy period. This is commonly referred to as a "claims made" policy. Many D&O policies also require that the claim be reported during the policy period. These are commonly referred to as "claims made and reported" policies. read more