Avoid “Committee Anarchy”

Tips for Keeping Committees On Track

By Raymond Dickey
Publisher, AssociationHelpNow

Many associations have committees. These committees work on behalf of the board of directors. Social committee, architectural committee, newsletter committee —regardless of the type of committee, it’s function is to assist the board in gathering and reviewing information and planning and executing events and projects. However, one thing all committees should have in common is that they must work at the board’s discretion.

Committees encourage resident participation, provide a wide range of advice and viewpoints and free the usually overtaxed board members to concentrate on their dozens of responsibilities. But if a board is not careful, an out-of-control committee can become a major distraction. Many times this starts with one person, usually a committee chair, who doesn’t understand they serve to assist under the board’s guidelines, and not their own. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to the community, so keeping committees in check is an important part of safeguarding the association. A committee that’s gone rogue doesn’t just wreak havoc with the board and residents, they could create liabilities for the association.

The fear of committees running amok leads many boards to resist utilizing them — but that’s a mistake which hurts both the board and the community. Having unit owners involved in what’s going on creates support for the board as well as a harmonious community atmosphere. So how can boards enjoy the benefits of committees without the fear of “committee anarchy”? The first step is, of course, not to allow any committee to swerve out of control. So how is this done? Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • The board should clearly define, on paper, the goals and objectives of each committee.
  • Establish a board liaison for each committee. The board liaison should attend each of that committee’s meetings.
  • Have clear rules about how often and when each committee needs to meet and submit official reports to the board.
  • If applicable, make sure there is a budget for each committee, and confirm they adhere to it.

These simple steps can set an association’s committees on the path toward productivity and harmony. Any board with good committees should be proud of itself for establishing them as well. I always tell people, don’t discount the community aspect of community living. Communities aren’t just made of houses, roads and sidewalks. It’s the atmosphere — friendliness, fun and a sense of camaraderie — that make a community not just nice or good, but great.

Tell us about your experiences working with volunteer committees. What works for you? And, what doesn’t? Share your insights here.

The Community Association Management Industry Gets Stronger When Employers Offer Managers Support For Professional Development And Continuing Education

By John Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB Executive Director

Many employers offer some type of support for their CMCAs to earn the continuing education necessary to maintain their credential or the study time and preparation for non-CMCAs to successfully sit for the CMCA exam. While it may not be the first question that comes to mind when interviewing for a job – it’s important to ask what kinds of support system and benefits are in place.  Employees should also be sure to review the Employee Handbook as most employers will reimburse managers for successful completion of a professional management development program.

According to Robert Felix, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, RS, owner of the Felix Reserve Group, an Industry Consulting/Reserve Study business, and President of Verity Property Management, “I believe we get to negotiate two things: compensation – including education – and time.  Nothing speaks greater to a company’s support of their management team then allowing them to prepare for success. Permitting an employee to attend a preparatory class so they can pass the CMCA exam is a simple yet effective way to encourage professional development.”

Sandra Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, General Manager for Sienna Associations agrees.  “Giving employees paid time off to take a course and prepare for the CMCA exam puts them on a career path that benefits both the employee and the company.  And, research shows that managers with certifications and designations ultimately earn more money than non-credentialed managers.”

At Sienna Associations, Denton notes that encouraging and supporting education for the staff is critical to the company’s success. “The more they know about the industry, the better able they are to serve our customers and reduce our risks, while taking pride in their work. Every year we budget for at least one educational course per staff member and we pay for many industry related credentials and designations/certifications. Further, when they earn them, we provide a special bonus.”

From an employer standpoint, Felix notes it’s a competitive marketplace and companies want their employees to stay, which they will do when they know the company is investing in them. “One only has to look at the number of companies seeking qualified managers to understand that you need an edge to attract good managers. Offering a program that costs less than $1,000 plus some continuing education allows a company to market its professional edge over its competitors.”

Felix also notes the important distinction between a job and a career. “Education allows employees to decide whether they’re in a job or a career. I ask that of my employees before starting them on an education track and making sure they understand the difference. A career involves commitment, energy, focus and desire.  I want to see all of these in an individual before I invest in them.  And, once invested, I follow along and continue to mentor them on their professional path. Leaving a clear thumbprint of support and opportunity for those who have the desire and drive is one of my greatest pleasures.”

For more information on CMCA exam prep and continuing education resources, go to www.camicb.org.

 

 

CAMICB Awards And Recognizes CMCA #20,000

CAMICB reached an important milestone awarding CMCA #20,000! Since awarding the first CMCA credential in 1996, the community association management field has grown a tremendous amount and CAMCB has established itself as an integral component of the profession. The more than 73.5 million people in the United States who live in covenant-protected communities rely largely on CMCA certification as proof of ethical, knowledgeable, professional community association management.  It’s an exciting time for the profession and CAMICB sat down with one of its newest credential holders: CMCA #20,000 Christina Parker, PCM, CMCA from Reno, NV, who passed the CMCA exam in October.

 Excerpts from a conversation with Christina Parker, PCM, CMCA

“Before I entered the world of community association management, I was a supervisor in a call center where I was head of the data entry department. I’d advanced as far as I possibly could in that company and field, but I really wanted more. I saw an ad for a Concierge position at FirstService Residential, which really caught my eye. After researching FirstService Residential, I applied for the position. I spoke with an executive in the Human Resources department who told me more about the services they provide and the job responsibilities: customer service, record keeping and planning and executing fun events, to name a few. She also talked about the opportunity for growth and the importance of continuing education and how critical professional development is to FirstService. I started off as a Concierge at Regency at Presidio in Damonte Ranch – an active adult community with more than 500 single-family homes – and from that moment on, I was sold on the diversity of the industry.

“Later, FirstService Residential was looking for associates to take the state licensing class and my team there encouraged me to sign up in the summer of 2018. I received my Provisional Nevada Community Manager’s License and continued to find the industry fascinating and challenging. I was then promoted to Compliance Director at the Somersett Owners Association. I’ve learned so much working at a large on-site property with a wonderful supportive team. There are so many moving parts in community management and I really like that it keeps me on my toes!

“Being a Compliance Director for a community with over 3,100 homes is busy! I really enjoy traversing the neighborhood to make sure the community is in line with the wide range of governing documents and architectural requirements. In the process, I get to see the neighborhood come to life; homeowners walking their dogs or picking up their kids from the bus stops, with the beautiful landscaping as the backdrop. At many associations, the compliance role is a small part of a manager’s job duties.  I love that, for me, this is my number one priority – helping to uphold community values. It allows me to thoroughly understand the rules and their importance, as well as the uniqueness of this property.

“Earning the CMCA credential was a great personal accomplishment. In addition to taking the M-100 course which was terrific, I studied really hard for the exam and was ecstatic when I passed. Studying – and sitting for the CMCA exam – has helped me become much more well-rounded in my knowledge of community association management. Now that I have my CMCA and am a more accomplished community association manager, I can’t wait to take on more challenges and to eventually grow my career into managing a property of my own. I believe the CMCA demonstrates to homeowners and colleagues in the field that I take this industry seriously – and with a great deal of pride.”

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Preparing Your Manager For the CMCA

Hiring a new manager is a big investment for a management company. Giving your new manager time to adjust as he or she adapts to your company culture, gets to know your clients, and navigates the inevitable learning curve takes time and money. But often overlooked in the early part of this process is professional development. What can you do to help your manager succeed in your business and with your clients?

It’s widely known that the community association manager’s scope of responsibility is vast. A manager needs to understand contracting, property maintenance, reserves, and much more to properly manage a community association. That’s why the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential is designed to verify a community manager’s knowledge of industry best practices in these critical areas.

Many management companies have seen the value in the CMCA program and require their new hires to pass the exam as a hiring contingency. Certifying new managers as CMCAs will help them gain a valuable qualification not only to further their careers but their success for the company as well.

While certifying new managers as CMCAs is an excellent idea, many new managers may have either limited or no previous knowledge of the many facets of their position.

To set your manager up for success, it’s important to give them the time and resources they will need to fully absorb all the different aspects of the profession. Encourage your manager to visit the www.camicb.org website for resources designed to help prepare new managers to successfully pass their CMCA Exam the first time:


Encourage your new manager to enroll in The Community Associations Institute (CAI)’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Associations course, which also fulfills the educational prerequisite.
This course is designed as an overview of the community association management profession as a whole and will give your new manager the foundation of knowledge they will need to build on.

Give your managers time to review and study the exam prep materials available on the www.camicb.org website.
A list of all preparatory materials is available on www.camicb.org by selecting Get Certified >> Exam Preparation. From games and puzzles to glossaries and definitions, these study materials cater to a variety of learning styles.

Emphasize to your manager the importance of learning standardized test-taking strategies
Because the CMCA exam is designed to evaluate a community manager’s knowledge of industry best practices, more than one multiple choice answer may, on an initial reading, seem correct. From an industry best practices perspective, however, there is only one correct answer.

Develop study sessions for new managers that include experienced staff.
With so much information to take in, your manager will likely have many questions while studying for their exam. Consider pairing the new manager with other CMCAs in your office to give them the opportunity to ask specific questions and learn important skills they will need to apply their knowledge.

Offer the new manager up to a year to study and gain experience for the exam
The CMCA Exam tests both the manager’s knowledge and the manager’s understanding of the application of best practices.  That understanding will best be gained from hands-on experience.Giving the manager enough time to understand and apply knowledge in practice will dramatically
increase their chance of success on the exam

If your management company already has in place an avenue for managers to earn professional credentials, like the CMCA, tell us how you do it! Share your insights; what works and what doesn’t work to help other new managers find success.

Adequate Reserves – (FINALLY!) Defined

Robert M. Nordlund, PE, RS is the CEO/Founder of Association ReservesAssociationReservesLogo.

Many, if not most Governing Documents require the Board to set aside “adequate Reserves” to care for the common areas. But what exactly are “adequate Reserves”?

I was recently challenged to define the concept of adequate Reserves by a number of attorneys and D&O carriers. The attorneys wanted to know how to give liability exposure counsel to Boards to help them avoid claims of “inadequate Reserves”. The D&O carriers wish to understand what is and isn’t responsible behavior, as it affects their loss exposure from claims levied by disgruntled homeowners. So I enlisted a number of Reserve Study providers from other esteemed Reserve Study firms across the country (among them Mitch Frumkin from Kipcon, John Poehlmann and Ted Salgado from Reserve Advisors, Peter Miller from Miller Dodson Associates, and Bob Browning from Browning Reserve Group) to join me in crafting a long-needed definition. It is not yet endorsed by any governing body, but I’m excited to share our results with you:

“Adequate Replacement Reserves” is defined as a Replacement Reserve Fund and stable and equitable multi-yr Funding Plan that together provide for the timely execution of the association’s major repair and replacement expenses as defined by National Reserve Study Standards, without reliance on additional supplemental funding.”

This definition combines two concepts:

  1. The size of the Reserve Fund (measured by cash or Percent Funded); and
  2. A responsible multi-yr Funding Plan

It takes both for an association to claim they have adequate Reserves. A small Reserve fund which requires crippling high Reserve contributions may pencil out as “cash positive”, but one would not describe their situation as “adequate”. On the other hand, an impressively large Reserve fund in an association that is recklessly making inadequate contributions is also not “adequate”, as such a Reserve fund will soon require supplemental funds in the form of a loan or special assessment. In addition, our expectation is that the component expenses will be all reasonably foreseeable projects that meet the standard National Reserve Study Standards four-part test, not just a few carefully selected components in the next X years, or a short list of required components that barely meets a local statutory requirement.

So “adequacy” is not defined as a particular cash balance, Percent Funded, Funding Methodology, or Funding Goal. Adequacy it also is not defined by the type (or date!) of your most recent Reserve Study update. So I present to you the above definition of “Adequate Reserves”. Now Boards and industry professionals know what that means!

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments and thoughts on this topic.

 

 

 

Something to ponder as the end of the year looms: 6 career goals you should meet by ages 30, 40 and 50

In most companies, every quarter — or at least twice a year — you’re tasked with setting goals for yourself. As a way to manage your responsibilities, help you prioritize the most important deliverables and keep you tracking toward something, goals are often used as benchmarks of progress. If you meet ’em, you might earn a raise, a title change or bargaining power to ask for more vacation or flexibility. If you don’t — it’s time to work on improving your performance.
That’s what makes setting personal professional goals are bit trickier — since no one is holding you accountable, it’s tough to stay on track and pushing forward. That’s why long-term aspirations are recommended by career experts since you give yourself years — and hey, even a decade — to achieve them. As career coach and author Mary Camuto explains, these targets create focus, momentum, and markers of your success.“Goals should be tangible steps towards both your short-term needs/wants and your longer-term vision for your life Time will pass quickly whether or not you have set a direction or career course,” she shares.Here, some ideas for each decade of your career:

In your 30s

Once the day of your college graduation has come and gone, you’re running full-speed ahead toward that job you paid so much money to be qualified for. Your 20s and 30s are defined by climbing – up the ladder, up the ranks, up the SEO search pages, up, up and up. And if you’ve ever rock-climbed, you know how much strength and endurance it takes to keep pushing. What’s nice though? The semi-comfortable peak you should reach by 40, where you’ve created a name, a reputation and hopefully, a skill set that’ll propel you into the next phase of life and working.

Have a killer online — and offline — presence:

As a generation that’s redefining the metrics and requirements of working, challenging employers to think differently and more digitally, who you are online is arguably just as important as who you are face-to-face. Branding and career expert Wendi Weiner, Esq., stresses the importance of having an sharp presence in the interwebs. This pillar will help you reach where you want to be once those 40 birthday candles arrive. “Your 30’s should be spent building your network and growing your professional stature. Attend events with business cards, have a professionally written LinkedIn profile, and begin to pinpoint where you want to see yourself in 10 years,” she encourages. “Begin keeping a brag book that you can update every couple of months with key career wins and projects you are leading.”

Don’t forget to take that elbow-rubbing and quick wit offline, too. Camuto says by the time you reach the end of your 30s, you should be in a leadership position within the community or industry you’re part of. “Build and participate in at least two networking groups related to your career: join or lead a committee, volunteer at events. This goal has impact to both your current and future success in that your resources and contacts broaden as well as your professional reputation,” she explains.

Set yourself up for future success:

Money matters are difficult for most people to discuss — and even harder to do something about. Though discussing retirement in your 20s or 30s might feel way too soon, the earlier you begin prioritizing your financial health, the better off you’ll be when 65 (or 70 or 75 … ) comes. “You should plan to pay off some debt in your 30’s and open a 401K at your company to begin planning for your financial future,” she shares. The less you worry about dollars in your banking account, the more time you can spend wowing your manager.

In your 40s

For many, your 30s are a time of tremendous growth, whether it’s finally reaching a c-level title or starting and completing your family. With demands from every corner of your life, most people feel stretched thin, and well, really happy. Even so, it’s important to keep your career progressing as you inch through your 40s, navigating the process of aging mentally and physically. You never want to lose your competitive edge, considering you still have a good 20 years of work ahead of you.

Get an advanced certification:

This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, Weiner clarifies, but it does mean having a candid and open look at your skill sets to seek areas of improvement. You might fall off track as you become further removed from those college days, but a commitment to knowledge will allow you to keep up with recent grads. She suggests finding certifications — like Google Analytics or a coding course — that add another gold star for your resume.

Take executive leadership classes:

There’s a difference between a manager and a leader: even if you have ten direct reports, if you’re not inspiring them to greatness, you’re missing the mark. Not everyone is a natural-born trailblazer, so Weiner encourages 40-something professionals to acknowledge their weakness in this department. “Consider enrolling in an executive leadership or executive management program to enhance your leadership value and skill set, and start to get clear on where you will want to be for the next decade,” she says.

By doing this, you will be more qualified to go for keynote speaking sessions — or at least some sort of panel or conference — that adds more overall value to your brand. As Camuto explains, having a public image that others follow “not only impacts your recognition and success at your current organization but also lead you to a new path/new goals.”

In your 50s

As you reach mid-life, you’re probably going through a period of transition. Your children are getting older — as are you — and you could worry the best days of your life are behind you. Or more to the point: the most exciting times of your career have passed. Looking down the eye of retirement can produce a slew of emotions, but before you allow yourself to get carried away, remember there are still many years to shape your performance. Since most won’t retire until at least 65, discounting the last decade and some pennies will shortchange your career.

Strategize your retirement exit:

You can’t go over it, can’t go around it — you must go through it … with a plan in mind. Weiner says strategizing your exit will rest your angst and also put you in the best possible situation once your final working hour closes. So go on, ask yourself: where do you want to be — and who do you want to be — when that day arrives? Probably not over-exhausted to your bones, but in a happy place of balance and accomplishment. “You might be looking for a big shift in your career and where you want it to take you on the tail end of your final decade of work. By now, you are practicing more work-life balance and also realizing the importance of vacation days and time away to travel,” she says. Sit with your investment advisor and with your family, and determine your timeline so you stay the course—sans fear.

Serve as a mentor:

Workplace expert and industrial-organizational psychology practitioner Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. says professionals in their 50s will reap rewards (and hey, some karma) from giving back to budding workers. Not only will you be an important figure in their career, but it might ignite a renewed sense of optimism and creativity in yours. “One of the biggest gifts you can give to your field and community is to help those who are in need of mentoring. As you teach a mentee the tricks of the trade, you may even be inspired by your mentee’s enthusiasm and overall interest,” she explains.

By Lindsay Tigar for www.theladders.com

A Step-By Step Process For Studying For The CMCA Exam

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at CAMICB.org. Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge

cmca-study-graphic-2

8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at CAMICB.org on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or info@camicb.org.

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing!

 

Cable TV-Internet Contract up for Renewal?

What a Community Association Manager needs to know about technology.

Scott D. Haugland, Partner
Broadband Technology AdvisorsBroadBandTechLogo

Technology services-internet or broadband, cable TV, phone and Wi-Fi directly impact all communities and their residents. Outdated, poor or inadequate services lead to unhappy residents and can negatively impact future real estate values. Community Association Managers (CAMs) need to stay current regarding technology advances, trends and changes within all technology based services delivered to or desired by the community. The basics include:

  • Technology Advances-What’s new? What’s coming?
  • Service Delivery Options-Fiber? Coax? Wireless?
  • Industry Trends-Broadband Speeds? WAPs? 5G?
  • Services to Consider-Video Steaming, Smart Home Systems, Video Surveillance/Security
  • Service Provider Options-Who’s new? Who’s best? Who’s competitive?
  • Professional Representation-Do you need it? Who does it?

Technology advances at dizzying speed. CAM’s need to stay current to protect their residents and their properties. No one wants to manage the community with the slowest or most unreliable internet service or be the only property in the area without updated fiber connections. As services advance, infrastructure requirements change and every community needs to be prepared to future technologies now or at the time of the next service provider contract renewal period.

All too often CAMs are unaware of the available service provider options or pending future technologies. They are then unprepared to guide their association directors in making long-term commitments. Common missteps include failing to upgrade network infrastructure to fiber, extending or renewing agreements without a competitive bid process or failing to recognize what the community will want in the years to come. ‘Future Proofing’ communities is essential.

As technology evolves so do the services providers. Advanced new technologies require new service delivery method upgrades such as fiber to the unit or wireless access points. Most service providers are happy to leave everything as it while continuing to collect their monthly fees. CAMs owe it their communities to be aware of technology trends and the various options available or becoming available to the community in the future. Only then can they pressure the service providers for upgrades, help negotiate favorable terms and keep the residents happy in the years to come.

Reading articles, joining topical webinars, communicating with other local area CAMs or attending a CAMICB continuing education course are all good places to start. Up to date information is essential for effectively negotiating with service providers at time of renewal and the renewal process takes time so start at least 18 months out if possible.

Tell us about your experiences in your community. What worked well? And, what fell flat on the floor? Share your insights here.

An ongoing question: Can Short-Term Rentals Be Stopped?

One of the most frequently asked questions from our association clients over the last year or two is “What can we do about all of the short-term rentals in our community?” In a typical lawyerly fashion, we often respond with “it depends”. Unfortunately, the answer to this common question really does depend almost entirely on the language found, or not found, in your association’s CC&Rs. To further complicate the issue, the law was changed a few years ago making it more difficult for associations to regulate rentals and it does not appear that the state legislators will be reversing this trend any time soon. So, if your association is experiencing this problem, what can you do?

Start by reviewing your CC&Rs. According to current Arizona law, owners in an association are allowed to use their property as a rental property unless prohibited by the CC&Rs and owners are required to use their property in accordance with any rental time period restrictions found in the CC&Rs.[1] Therefore, in order to limit or restrict short-term rentals, you will need to search the CC&Rs for any applicable language. Common language, which is typically found in the “Use Restriction” section of the CC&Rs, will either prohibit rentals all together or will require a lease agreement be in writing for a certain minimum term. The association will be limited by whatever language currently exists in the CC&Rs. Please also understand that any language restricting rentals found in a governing document other than the CC&Rs (i.e. Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, etc.) is not enforceable.

Assuming you find language in the CC&Rs you can rely on, a violation of said language should be treated as any other violation of a restriction or rule in your community. Depending on the documents of your association, this may include sending notices of violation, imposing fines, suspending certain rights of the owner, or filing a lawsuit if the violation persists. If you are experiencing short-term rental violations in your community, you will need to document the violations as best as you can. You should look for and save the rental ad from websites such as Airbnb or VRBO. You can document the frequent turnover of tenants on the property. You should also save any and all communications with the owner regarding the violation. Hopefully, these violations can be resolved without having to resort to litigation as these types of lawsuits can be difficult to win and are expensive for the Association.

What if your association’s CC&Rs does not adequately address the issue of short-term rentals? The association does have other options it may consider. First, Arizona law allows the association to demand certain information from the owners renting their property. The owner can be asked to disclose the name and contact information of the adults occupying the property, the time period of the lease, including the start end dates, and a description and license plate numbers of the tenants’ vehicles. In age-restricted communities, the age of the tenant can also be verified. Realistically, with short-term rentals this may not be feasible and may not be helpful. Nevertheless, the association should enact this policy for all rental properties in the community.

The association may also consider amending its CC&Rs. This option is more realistic for planned communities than condominiums as a condominium association will likely need the approval of 100% of its owners to insert or amend rental restriction language in its CC&Rs.[2] Amending the CC&Rs can be a very difficult proposition due to the approval requirements, but if the problem with short-term rentals in your community is big enough, the option may be worth at least considering.

The association can also look to other restrictions in the CC&Rs that the owner and his or her tenants may be violating. It is very common with short-term rentals to experience problems involving traffic, parking, trash, noise, and other nuisances. Chances are your CC&Rs contains use restrictions that govern and or prohibit these issues. Associations can also look to see if an owner has registered the property as a rental with the county assessor. Failing to do so is a violation of Arizona law and may trigger language in the CC&Rs that requires owners to abide by the law. While enforcing these violations may not reduce the number of short-term rentals in your community, it may help with the negative repercussions of the underlying issue.

The current law certainly favors owners being able to freely use their property as a rental, despite the harmful impact short-term rentals can have on a community. Efforts can be made to try and change the law regarding rentals or change the law making it easier for associations to amend the CC&Rs. Residents of a community impacted by this problem can and should get involved in the legislative process. You can contact your local representative and make your concerns known. There is power in numbers.

The issue of short-term rental properties is plaguing many associations and meaningful solutions may not exist. However, if you are a member of your board of directors and your community is struggling with this issue, I would recommend you meet as a board and talk to your community manager and the association’s legal counsel to explore your options and see if the problem can be remedied.

 Quinten T. Cupps is a partner at Vial Fotheringham, LLP whose practice focuses on representing homeowner and condominium associations throughout the state of Arizona as general counsel and in the areas of enforcement, collections, and civil litigation.

[1] A.R.S. §33-1806.01 & §33-1260.01

[2] A.R.S. §33-1227(D)

Avoid “Committee Anarchy”

Tips for Keeping Committees On Track

By Raymond Dickey
Publisher, AssociationHelpNow

Many associations have committees. These committees work on behalf of the board of directors. Social committee, architectural committee, newsletter committee —regardless of the type of committee, it’s function is to assist the board in gathering and reviewing information and planning and executing events and projects. However, one thing all committees should have in common is that they must work at the board’s discretion.

Committees encourage resident participation, provide a wide range of advice and viewpoints and free the usually overtaxed board members to concentrate on their dozens of responsibilities. But if a board is not careful, an out-of-control committee can become a major distraction. Many times this starts with one person, usually a committee chair, who doesn’t understand they serve to assist under the board’s guidelines, and not their own. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to the community, so keeping committees in check is an important part of safeguarding the association. A committee that’s gone rogue doesn’t just wreak havoc with the board and residents, they could create liabilities for the association.

The fear of committees running amok leads many boards to resist utilizing them — but that’s a mistake which hurts both the board and the community. Having unit owners involved in what’s going on creates support for the board as well as a harmonious community atmosphere. So how can boards enjoy the benefits of committees without the fear of “committee anarchy”? The first step is, of course, not to allow any committee to swerve out of control. So how is this done? Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • The board should clearly define, on paper, the goals and objectives of each committee.
  • Establish a board liaison for each committee. The board liaison should attend each of that committee’s meetings.
  • Have clear rules about how often and when each committee needs to meet and submit official reports to the board.
  • If applicable, make sure there is a budget for each committee, and confirm they adhere to it.

These simple steps can set an association’s committees on the path toward productivity and harmony. Any board with good committees should be proud of itself for establishing them as well. I always tell people, don’t discount the community aspect of community living. Communities aren’t just made of houses, roads and sidewalks. It’s the atmosphere — friendliness, fun and a sense of camaraderie — that make a community not just nice or good, but great.

Tell us about your experiences working with volunteer committees. What works for you? And, what doesn’t? Share your insights here.