The Words That Successful Leaders Use

How you craft a message, and the power of certain words, make all the difference.

By Bobby Hoffman, Ph.D. for Psychology Today

Maybe you are writing a memo or planning a Zoom meeting. Perhaps even more intriguing and potentially stressful, you are charged with communicating unwanted news to your staff or need to address a lingering performance issue with a team member.

Regardless of the circumstances or your communication medium, your message should be understood, relevant, persuasive, and include a call to action if you hope to achieve desired results. However, leaders are often faced with a dilemma: They don’t know how to inspire motivated performance in others without instilling resentment or being perceived as inflexible and insensitive.

Ultimately, the goal of effective leadership is to promote organizational prosperity by coaching, influencing, and recognizing individual performance and giving people the tools to optimize growth while meeting strategic organizational goals. While most articles on leadership espouse what leaders should do to inspire an effective team, minimal research exists on how leadership goals can be accomplished from a behavioral perspective (Goleman, 2017; Newstead et al., 2021). Especially lacking is information on what leaders should verbalize to achieve results.

Optimal persuasion starts with consciously determining how to match your message with the intended audience. Motivational messaging (Joyal-Desmarais et al., 2022) means that your message is customized based on the situation and context and includes an appraisal of the values, beliefs, and dispositions of your audience–in other words, for the message to reach maximal effectiveness, it must resonate with the individual.

The messaging evaluation should include cultural considerations such as a group-focused appeal vs. a personally targeted message. The message purpose should distinguish between efforts directed toward compliance or increases or decreases of certain behaviors. Benefits or liabilities to individuals should be clearly outlined. Optimally, the most powerful messages indicate either advantages to the person for supporting the leader’s suggestions or consequences for lack of support, but not both.

However, research from psychology and education reveals that messages of all kinds must also help individuals satisfy some basic needs. I previously posted about how to empower individuals to enhance leadership effectiveness. Now it’s time to discuss how to actually get the job done.

What should you say?

Across cultures and contexts, communication should satisfy the basic human needs of autonomy and competence. Autonomy means the message recipient does not feel coerced or controlled by the request and believes they have some choices when implementing a message. Competence suggests that the person will feel a sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction when executing a persuasion effort. The probability of successful persuasion is enhanced by using “invitational language” (Reeve & Cheon, 2021), a label used to describe directives that consider the perspectives, desires, and emotions of others.

Communicating Unwelcome News

This situation is the perfect time to stress transparency and provide explanatory rationales. Instead of sidestepping the reality of undesirable communication with buzzwords and indirect language, tell exactly what is happening, but do so by explaining the decision-making process and what alternative outcomes were considered.

Don’t defend the choice or action but explain why the decision was made and who was ultimately responsible for it. Don’t forget to express your willingness to support the decision, even if it may not be your first choice. Say things such as “you can use this experience to…” and “this is the first step toward…” so others can see you have considered their perspective when describing the next steps.

Acknowledging Leadership Errors

The guideline here is complete accountability. Troublesome situations like unethical behavior, corporate irresponsibility, or just plain bad decisions happen to most organizations at one time or another. Error resolution can be made in need-satisfying ways by using the situation to do better next time. Express that these kinds of events are part of the learning process and do not focus on punitive aspects but instead emphasize how the person making the error might feel.

Acknowledge the severity of the situation and don’t minimize the consequences of the mistake. Say things such as “sometimes work is frustrating” or “feeling this way is expected” to show empathy and understanding that reflect the emotions of embarrassment or shame.

Confronting Performance Issues

Addressing potential conflict is one of the toughest jobs for any leader. Do not approach the situation as a confrontation, but instead focus on the issue as a team by outlining individual actions that can be assumed to correct any deficiencies. Avoid any “you” vs. “me” perceptions. Emphasize autonomy by asking, “In what ways do you think we can change the situation,” or “if you had a choice, what would you do?” Once the individual responds, first say, “if I understand you correctly, then…” followed by asking, “how can we make this work?” before giving your opinion or decision.

Implementing Leadership Decisions

One hallmark of the best leaders is making correct decisions based on limited evidence, which often means asking people to do what they might not want to do. First, acknowledge any resistance by saying, “I understand this may not be your first choice,” then carefully reflect on how you will communicate expectations. Avoid mandates and do not use the words “must” or “have to,” as these phrases cultivate controlling feelings, which thwart the basic need for autonomy. Instead, encourage initiative by saying, “you may want to consider,” or “what do you think about…” followed by describing the desired outcome without overemphasizing precise methods to achieve the outcome. Whenever possible, let the person exercise choice as to how the outcome is achieved.

Overall, being a persuasive communicator means avoiding the tendency to exercise power as the means to foster compliance. The most successful leaders realize that cultivating autonomy and competence in others is the key to mutual success, and the entire process starts and ends with the words you use when you open your mouth.

Maintaining High Ethical Standards

CMCAs’ Commitment to Following Strict Standards of Professional Conduct

An important – yet often overlooked – component of CAMICB’s Credentialing Program requires a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct. This means Certificants must comply with the 10 CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, which govern their professional activities.  

These Standards of Professional Conduct, detailed at, range from understanding laws applicable to community association management, to being knowledgeable on association policies and procedures, to carrying out fiduciary responsibilities, and participating in continuing education coursework. A violation of any of these Standards of Professional Conduct may be grounds for administrative action and possible revocation of the CMCA certification by CAMICB.  Abiding by these Standards of Professional Conduct help protect consumers and associations that hire or contract with community association managers. 

“When a community association manager earns the CMCA, they’re pledging to uphold a strict code of professional conduct which is critical to the profession,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group. “This is more than understanding the many facets of community association management and troubleshooting challenging situations, it brings about accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals the profession serves.”

Enforcing the Standards of Professional Conduct

In order to maintain and enhance the credibility of the CMCA Certification Program, the CAMICB Board of Commissioners adopted strict procedures that allow consumers and others to bring complaints concerning CMCAs to the Board. 

The CAMICB Chair of the Board appoints members of the Standards of Professional Conduct Compliance Committee which oversees the process and procedures for enforcing the Standards of Professional Conduct. Once a complaint – received in writing – is deemed valid and actionable by the Committee, it will be brought before a Review Panel for investigation and a determination of whether there has been a violation of the Standards. If the Review Panel determines a violation has occurred, an appropriate sanction will be imposed. This process, including the internal investigation, hearing, and timeline of activities, is clearly detailed in the Procedures for Enforcement of the Standards of Professional Conduct document available on the CAMICB website. 

The grounds for sanctions under these Procedures range from conviction of a felony, to gross negligence or willful misconduct in the performance of professional services, to fraud or misrepresentation and, where applicable, loss of state license required to practice community association management.

“These Standards of Professional Conduct are the foundation of the CMCA credentialing program,” added Marilyn Brainard, a public interest member of the CAMICB Board of Commissioners.  “We take them very seriously and are proud of the work our colleagues and managers do to uphold them.”

More information, including a set of Frequently Asked Questions, a list of the 10 clearly outlined Standards of Professional Conduct, complaint form and other pertinent documents can be found at

These 4 Mindsets Will Help You Rise to Leadership Working with a Disability

Bring your overcomer’s attitude to the table and boost your career.

By Nancy Solari for Entrepreneur Magazine

here’s no question: More of us are working with a disability or a limiting condition for a longer period than ever before. This means we must change our perspective on our own productivity and be willing to see ourselves leading with a limitation. Disabled people must be ready to reach for the brass ring as they make up more of the executive team.

In the era of the “big quit,” employers are more willing than ever to hire diverse candidates with exceptional needs and limitations. The reason? Many people with disabilities have already proven they can go above and beyond expectations in their personal lives — and on the job.

But are you ready to take the next big step and leverage your strengths gained through adversity to aim for a leadership role? Here are four mindsets you need to take the leap of faith and expand your vision beyond the invisible barriers holding you back.

1. Get creative

There’s no greater opportunity to demonstrate your creativity than the journey through progressive visual impairment, multiple sclerosis or autism spectrum disorder. Whatever your limitation, finding creative solutions is the key to every closed door, every blocked opportunity and every unaccommodating venue.

Many disabled people get up much earlier than workers without limitations; for a person with multiple sclerosis, getting dressed can take more than twice the time most people would need. A legally blind manager must listen to emails read through speech recognition technology, whereas most people would visually scan the most important messages and easily toss out the rest.

Since you’ve found creative solutions to navigate obstacles in your personal journey, you can take this creativity to the next level. If you’ve been considering competing for a leadership role, use your creative side to uncover new methods and embrace innovation. Your adaptability and willingness to explore new technology will propel you to a new level of efficiency. You can be a beacon for others who want more from their careers. You’re a hurricane of inspiration; you’ve learned to meet change with confidence rather than fear.

2. Bring your perspective

Now that you’ve proven that your limitation doesn’t define you, it’s time to capitalize on the level of mindfulness you have gained through your journey. Your natural mindset is an awareness of staff members’ stress as they go about their day. There will be decisions as to how work will be done. Accessibility and accommodation are already part of your wheelhouse. You will come into a leadership position with an edge. Look around your workplace and see what needs redefining. Can small changes make a big difference in how team members work together?

Perhaps living with a disability has taught you how to leverage strengths and weaknesses for maximum output. You can spot hidden potential and get the most productivity out of others because you have overcome the obstacles in your own life. You have learned to complement your team members’ traits, learning to demand more of yourself while stepping back to let others shine when the time is right. This is the essence of leading with empathy, guiding people toward accepting one another’s gifts and working with each other’s shortcomings. You will be the first to admit that we are all a blend of both. Other executives will want to study your leadership style when you take the next step.

3. Speak for yourself

Part of living with a limiting condition is learning to advocate for yourself and discovering strength in your vulnerability. You will excel in negotiations and motivating people because you can relate and empathize with those struggling and celebrating their victories.

You may think sharing your journey through disability or chronic illness might bring unwanted attention or put you in a weakened position in the eyes of others. If you’re aiming for a leadership role, you may fear that telling your story could risk everything you’re working for. What is intriguing is how often a person’s journey weighs heavily in hiring decisions. The ability to move people with your struggle and connect authentically with others who have walked through adverse circumstances is often the deciding factor when company executives are looking to fill leadership roles. Most important, you will be a source of inspiration for people of all levels in the company. Finding your voice is vital to relate to employees and help them feel a part of the corporate community.

For you, “speaking up” could be asking for the role you want or advocating for your ideas. Learn to talk your worth and make your mark on the team. Finding your voice is the best way to position yourself for opportunity. You should be able to explain why you should get the job, why your idea will succeed, and why your story is important.

4. Measure your impact

What is your legacy in your workplace? Are you known as an overcomer, an advocate, or a leader with a fresh perspective? You can gauge your worth to your workplace by taking stock of the impact, the “footprint” you have made in your company, no matter how large or small the business may be. It’s never too late to change your legacy. Perhaps, in the beginning, you were getting your feet under you, discovering your resourcefulness. Now, it’s time to expand your vision and think about how you can leave your mark in business and life. This is a chance to live what you have learned and be mindful of the legacy you leave for the future.

Think about how you can make a difference and become a force for good when you finally land in an expanded role. It’s good practice to mentally prepare to step into leadership. You’ve served and observed, taking notes and promising yourself that if you ever rose to a powerful position, you would advocate for those who needed it. Your tendency to recognize others’ strengths despite their vulnerabilities will allow you to comfortably take charge with a heart of compassion toward those who may also wish to rise above their circumstances and see their dreams come true.

Finally, go with confidence

If you’re aiming for a position in leadership, let your confidence shine. After all, you’ve gone up against greater foes than unmotivated employees or a sluggish sales report. You’ve battled for your life and come out on the winning side. Go into your new role with the same strength and bold attitude you showed everyone, the positive outlook that helped you stay in the ring, refusing to let pain, anxiety, or frustration take you out. The culture is shifting as businesses learn to celebrate exceptional people while they honor diversity in the workplace. As a disabled worker, you can lead confidently, charting a new course and breaking new ground for all those who dream of overcoming adversity and rising to new horizons in leadership.

Defamation Against Co-op and Condo Boards Is Hard to Prove

Andrew P. Brucker in Legal/Financial on February 2, 2023 For Habitat Magazine

A license to vent. Disputes between co-op and condo boards and their shareholders or unit-owners have become more vitriolic than ever, thanks in no small part to the Internet. People can complain viciously and broadcast it instantly while remaining anonymous. It’s a recipe for charges of defamation

That was the case in Brightwater Towers Condominium v. Vitebsky, Zilberman and Sosina. A number of unit-owners felt that the board was not handling the operations of the 700-unit Coney Island condominium properly. Three of them — Alexander Vitebsk, Leonid Zilberman and Irana Sosina — created a Google group, BWTUnitOwners, and sent out accusatory statements to the nearly 500 unit-owners who belonged to it. 

Initial emails stated that board members should not “harass, threaten or attempt any means to control” residents and that the board was “no longer functioning to benefit the owners but to…squeeze extra income from us.” Another declared that the condo had “reached a serious moment of crisis which, if not addressed immediately, will have grave consequences on all BWT owners.” 

Another email provided a list of actions board members should not take, including accepting gifts from owners, residents, contractors or suppliers, or spending unauthorized association funds for their own benefit. While the board was not directly accused of such improper behavior, one might get the impression that the board was guilty of such actions. Subsequent emails asked why board members were ignoring the condo’s bylaws and whether there was enough misconduct to warrant “removal for cause.”

See you in court. The condo board brought an action for defamation, claiming that all statements by the group were false. In addition, the board claimed that the group’s accusations were libelous. According to the board’s complaint, the statements were made with malicious intent to injure its reputation, and the defendants acted with knowledge of the falsity of the statements, and with reckless disregard for the truth

For the plaintiffs to prevail in a defamation action, the statements made must be false, which means they must allege facts and not opinions. The second hurdle is that the defamatory statements must be “published.” This traditionally means that the statements must be broadcast or sent in some manner to the public at large — for example, by placing an ad in a newspaper.

However, there is the so-called “common interest privilege,” which allows  statements to be made to a group of individuals who share a common interest, such as the unit-owners in a condominium. The Brightwater defendants invoked this privilege when they made a motion to dismiss the complaint, but it was denied by the court, which ruled their accusations could be read as “statements of fact, not opinion.” Further, the court felt that the defendants failed to prove that the common interest privilege applied. This decision was appealed by the defendants, and the Appellate Division reversed the lower court. The appeals court held that the statements constituted rhetorical hyperbole that could not be proven true or false. Further, the court held that a reasonable reader would have concluded they were reading opinions rather than facts.

A preemptive defense. So what can a board do to prevent a handful of dissidents from spreading nasty and often anonymous statements insinuating that it is acting improperly? Communication is the key. Quarterly newsletters are one way to keep residents abreast of the operations of the building and the decisions of the board. But the best way may actually have been provided by the pandemic — virtual meetings. The sniping by a few owners will most likely have very little effect if all residents hear directly, and frequently, from the board. Provided, of course, that the board is telling the truth. 


For Vitebsky, Zilberman and Sosina: Kenneth Michael Giancola, Sam J. Shlivko

For Brightwater Towers: Daniel Szalkiewicz

Andrew P. Brucker is a partner at the law firm Armstrong Teasdale. The statements and views in this article are his own and not necessarily those of the firm.


America, we have a problem. People aren’t feeling engaged with their work

NPR All Things Considered

When Tanvi Sinha first got into accounting 17 years ago, she worked from the office every day, even Saturdays in the busy season.

She enjoyed lunches out with colleagues and opportunities to learn just by listening and watching others. She grew professionally, aspiring to leadership roles.

Now that her company has made working from the office optional, Sinha wonders if newcomers to the field will ever feel as connected to their work as she has been.

“I’m pretty sure that their engagement would be affected,” says Sinha, now an audit manager with the accounting firm Matthews, Carter & Boyce in Fairfax, Virginia.

A new report from Gallup finds that large numbers of workers, especially Gen Zers and young millennials, are not engaged with their jobs. And that could make their climb up the career ladder harder, as well as hurt companies’ overall performance.

Employee engagement has fallen since 2020

The Gallup survey of roughly 67,000 people in 2022 found only 32% of workers are engaged with their work compared with 36% in 2020.

The share of workers found to be “actively disengaged” has risen since 2020, while the share of those in the middle — those considered “not engaged” — has remained about the same.

Engagement had been rising in the decade before the pandemic, following the Great Recession, but started to fall in 2021.

Younger workers have seen a bigger drop in engagement than older ones. Those under 35 reported feeling less heard and less cared about at work. Fewer Gen Zers and young millennials reported having someone at work who encourages their development and fewer opportunities to learn and grow.

“There’s a growing disconnect between employee [and] employer. You could almost equate it to employees becoming a little bit more like gig workers,” says Jim Harter, chief workplace scientist at Gallup and author of the new report.

Gig work by its nature doesn’t lend itself to loyalty or long-term relationships between employees and employers. Workers may feel less motivated to put their best selves forward.

“In the context of high-performance customer service, retaining your best people, that’s a problem,” Harter says.

Having actively disengaged workers can be highly detrimental to companies. Employees who aren’t getting most of their workplace needs met often share their negativity with other people, Harter says. That could bring down company morale.

Engagement is lacking among onsite, hybrid and fully-remote employees

Gallup measures a worker’s level of engagement based on a series of questions such as: Does the employee understand what is expected of them at work? Do their opinions seem to count? Do they have opportunities to do what they do best? Do they have a best friend at work?

While engagement dipped across a wide swath of workers, the biggest declines were among what Gallup calls “remote-ready onsite workers” — those who could do their jobs from home but are working from the office.

But Harter says there are troubling findings among those who are fully remote too.

More of them are falling into the middle category — somewhere between engaged and actively disengaged — which Harter equates to quiet quitting.

Meanwhile, workers across different categories — onsite, hybrid, and fully-remote — all saw declines in feeling connected to the mission or purpose of their organizations. Clarity of expectations was also lower across the groups.

And the share of workers who said their company cares about their overall wellbeing has fallen dramatically, from about 50% early in the pandemic, when many companies rolled out all kinds of accommodations for employees, to half that today.

Some companies are recognizing the importance of mental wellness

With elevated levels of quiet quitting and real quitting, Stephanie Frias believes companies are having a reckoning.

“I think companies are realizing that this is key — for people to feel engaged and connected at work,” says Frias, who is chief people officer at Lyra Health. “It’s not just about the work that people are doing. It is: how do you instill meaning in that work?”

Her company provides mental health services to other companies, focusing on individuals as well as organizations overall, and training managers to notice and respond to acute situations.

With all the disruptions of the pandemic, what worked in the past isn’t necessarily going to work now, and there really isn’t a playbook, Frias says. Workers today want to engage with work, but in a way that’s convenient and palatable to their lifestyles.

“It will be a journey and a ride,” she says.

Finding a balance when remote work is highly prized

As a manager at her accounting firm, Sinha has been trying to find the right balance.

She likes working from home and knows others do too. But she makes a point of being in the office two or three times a week, sometimes just for a few hours, and encourages her teams to find times when they can be in together, too.

“Pick a few days, come to work, mingle with people, talk to people,” she says.

It’s not just about being social. It’s about exposure to other parts of the business.

Sinha says audit teams used to sit in conference rooms together and go to client sites together, so everyone on the team knew every aspect of the audit. Now you may only work on your one part.

“That’s not a holistic picture,” she says.

Technology can help, Sinha says, and she does use video meetings to keep in daily contact with her team members. But there are pitfalls to not seeing people face-to-face, especially for those who have never worked in the office regularly.

“Some people who were hired during COVID — I mean, I went to work after a long time, and I couldn’t even recognize that this is the person,” Sinha recalls with a laugh, noting that was bad on her part.

Gallup scientist Harter says the the role of managers has gone up significantly in the pandemic. They’re the ones who can make sure employees know what’s expected of them and help employees feel cared for.

“Managers will figure out the idiosyncrasies of each person they manage,” he says. “They’re the only one that’s close enough to do that.”

Greg Smith Begins His Term As Chair of CAMICB

James Magid Named Vice Chair; Board Elects Two New Members

Falls Church, Virginia – January 30, 2023 –The Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) announced its 2023 Board of Commissioners welcoming Greg Smith, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, to the role of Chair and Jim Magid, CMCA, PCAM, to serve as Vice Chair.

Greg has been a commissioner on the CAMICB Board since 2019. He has additionally served CAMICB as a member of the CAMICB Standards of Professional Conduct Committee and the CMCA Exam Development Oversight Panel.

“I’m honored and thrilled to serve as Chair of the Board of Commissioners,” said Greg Smith. “Now that we have a new exam blueprint, following the detailed Job Analysis study, our focus in my two-year term is to bring this updated exam to fruition. The new blueprint truly reflects the current practice of community association management – both domestically and internationally – and I’m really excited to carry out the necessary steps to update the exam content, ultimately getting the updated exam into the field in 2024.”

“Greg brings an extensive knowledge of the community association industry as incoming chair of CAMICB,” said outgoing Board Chair Sandy Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM. “He’s very thoughtful and forward thinking in his approach to leading and I’m certain he’ll serve the Board well.”

“I’m looking forward to working with my fellow Commissioners on a thoughtful succession plan for our Board members,” said Vice Chair, James Magid, CMCA, PCAM. “It’s important that we both maximize the talents and experience of current Commissioners as well as focusing our recruiting efforts for new Commissioners to ensure we have specific expertise or backgrounds that complement or bolster the current composition of the Board.”

Greg Smith has more than 20 years of community management experience and has served in several positions, including portfolio manager, vice president, and president. Greg has been a valued member of Associa, the industry’s largest community management company, since 2010. He currently serves as Director of Leadership Development where he is responsible for the training and development of Associa’s branch leaders, community managers, and board members across North America. Greg is a former CAI President and a current faculty member and has spoken at numerous CAI Annual Conferences and Chapter events.

Two new members of the Board of Commissioners, each elected to a three-year term, begin their term this month:

Yasmeen Nurmohamed, RCM, CMCA, AMS

Yasmeen Nurmohamed is currently the President of Royale Grande Property Management Ltd., an ACMO 2000 and ISO 9001:2015 certified boutique condominium management company in Toronto where she oversees the management of more than 6,000 units. A passionate educator, Yasmeen was an instructor for the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario from 2005 to 2022. She taught Physical Building Management and Condominium Administration and Human Resources courses at Humber and Mohawk Colleges. She developed the new Building Operations and Maintenance course for the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario and currently teaches the course online at Humber College.  Yasmeen has written numerous articles for various condominium publications and is a founding Director, Past President, and current Treasurer of CAI Canada. 

Wendy Taylor, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM

Wendy Taylor has more than 30 years of community association management experience, including service as an independent consultant to communities, developers, and attorneys on various issues. Before Wendy transitioned to her consulting role in January of 2023, she served as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at South Riding Proprietary, a homeowners association with over 6,500 homes all managed under the master association, located in South Riding, Virginia. Wendy led a management team of 16 staff and multiple contractors in that role. She annually developed and managed an operating budget of over $9 million while maintaining assessments at the lowest in the market and fully funding $12 million in reserves and capital funds. Wendy takes great pride in her time serving as a steward of the association’s natural resources and a visionary for future projects while building community through events and effective communication.

“I’m excited to rejoin the CAMICB Board this year,” said Wendy, who previously served on the CAMICB Board of Commissioners from 2012 to 2018. “The organization has grown so much over the years, and I’ve remained passionate about this credentialing body. I look forward to bringing my enthusiasm and past experience as a commissioner to the Board. I’m particularly interested in exploring new approaches to providing and expanding our services to CMCA credential holders and exam candidates.”

Board of Commissioners

CAMICB is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners. Eight commissioners are community association managers or industry stakeholders. One public interest member represents the interests of the constituencies served by the community association management profession. In addition to Smith, Magid, Taylor and Nurmohamed, other CAMICB Commissioners include:

Rob Felix, CMCA, PCAM, RS (Secretary/Treasurer)​

M. Katherine Bushey, Esq.

Noelle Hicks, Esq.

Michael Hurley, Sr.

Michael Traidman (Homeowner)


Established in 1996, the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) is an independent board that sets the standards for community association managers worldwide. CAMICB (formerly NBC-CAM) administers the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination, a rigorous test that measures managers’ knowledge of community management best practices. Passing the CMCA examination and maintaining the standards of the CMCA certification is proof that a manager is knowledgeable, ethical and professional. CMCA-certified managers have the skills to safeguard the assets of homeowners’ associations, giving homeowners peace of mind and protecting home values.

The CMCA credential is the only international certification for managers that is accredited by the US-based National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the globally recognized ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). This dual accreditation underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential and is a mark of quality. For more information, go to

A victory for rooftop solar against homeowners’ associations

By Joseph Winters for The Beacon

North Carolina’s highest court made it harder to prohibit rooftop solar.

The North Carolina Supreme Court delivered a victory to clean energy advocates in a recent ruling that will make it easier for homeowners to install rooftop solar panels.

In a 4-3 bipartisan decision, the court ruled in favor of solar companies, environmental groups, and a Raleigh resident named Tom Farwig, whose rooftop solar panels had faced opposition from the Belmont Association. Despite a 2007 solar access law that prevented North Carolina homeowners’ associations from banning the “reasonable use of a solar collector” on single-family homes, Belmont argued that an exception in the law allowed street-facing panels like Farwig’s to be prohibited on aesthetic grounds.

The Supreme Court disagreed, claiming that Belmont couldn’t stop Farwig and other residents from installing rooftop solar panels without explicitly forbidding them in its community covenants.

Blue Raven Solar, which installed Farwig’s panels, celebrated the decision. “[W]e are vindicated in our support of our customers and in our fight to make rooftop solar available and affordable to everyone,” the company said in a statement.

Although the decision doesn’t entirely prevent homeowners’ associations from restricting street-facing solar panels, it will at least provide clarity to those who have been unsure whether rooftop solar is allowed in their communities. Statewide, 40 percent of North Carolinian homeowners are members of more than 14,000 homeowners’ associations, which will now have to write specific rules on street-facing solar panels if they wish to prohibit them. (Though clean energy advocates are trying to stop associations from being able to even do that, through a bill that passed the state House last year and has now moved on to the Senate.)

“There are now dozens of our clients who are excited to get the ball rolling on their solar projects,” Bryce Bruncati, director of residential sales for the solar company 8MSolar, told Energy News Network. “It opens the door to a good chunk of people.”

These Are the Biggest Upsides of Buying a Home With a Strong HOA

by Christy Bieber | For Ascent, A Motley Fool Service

Key points

  • Many neighborhoods have homeowners associations.
  • HOAs usually charge fees that add to monthly housing costs.
  • There are benefits of HOA living despite the fees and restrictions.

When you are buying a house, you’ll likely come across many neighborhoods where there is a homeowners association. HOAs often impose rules about what you can do with your home, and they also charge fees you’ll have to pay each month on top of your mortgage payment.

While the added cost of an HOA may seem undesirable, there are actually a few big benefits of living in a neighborhood with an association. In fact, here are some of the biggest upsides of living someplace with an HOA.

1. The HOA protects your property values

Your property values are affected by the quality of your neighborhood and by how your neighbors maintain their houses. After all, no matter how nice your own property is, no one will want to buy it if it’s next to a slum.

Homeowners associations set and enforce rules related to the upkeep of property in the neighborhood. They may also set other restrictions such as requiring approval before painting a house or adding lawn ornaments. These rules help keep the neighborhood looking nice, which in turn keeps property values higher.

2. The HOA maintains the neighborhood and amenities

HOAs usually maintain common areas, and some neighborhoods with strong associations have lots of amenities such as pools or golf courses.

These features can add value to your home since they are desirable to buyers, and they can also make it nicer for you to live in your neighborhood since you can take advantage of them.

3. Fees may include common utilities and maintenance tasks

In some cases, HOA fees include things like internet service, pool maintenance, or lawn care. When that is the case, it’s convenient to pay one common fee to get many different services rather than having to arrange for them individually and contract with companies to pay for them separately.

In some situations, you may actually end up saving money because it can be cheaper for internet companies or landscaping companies to provide their services to an entire neighborhood rather than to just individual households. The fees you’re paying could actually be a better value than paying for these services privately.

4. The HOA can deal with neighborhood disputes

When people live in close proximity to one another, it’s often inevitable that disputes arise. There could be issues for a huge number of reasons, from barking dogs to lawns that aren’t maintained to loud music playing and more.

When you live in an HOA neighborhood, you don’t have to directly deal with a neighbor who is causing you problems in your enjoyment of your own home. The HOA most likely has regulations related to common nuisances or issues that come up regularly. They’ll take care of addressing the issues that arise among neighbors so you don’t have to sour your relationship with those living near you or cope with the stress of a confrontation.

For all of these reasons, it’s worth considering an HOA neighborhood when you buy a property. Just remember you need to be comfortable with the rules the association sets as you’ll have to live by them too.

Co-op Board Sues, Claiming Absent Shareholder Is a Hoarder

Upper East SideManhattan

Habitat Magazine:; The co-op board at 31 E. 72nd St. has sued a shareholder, claiming she’s a hoarder.

Responding to every co-op and condo board‘s worst nightmare, the board at 31 E. 72nd St. is suing 86-year-old shareholder Joan Disse, alleging evidence of hoarding, a rodent infestation and a water leak that damaged the ceiling, The New York Post reports.

Disse has owned the one-bedroom apartment since 1965 but has not lived in it for years. Documents filed in the lawsuit include a “friendly hand-written note” by the co-op board’s president, Guy Maitland, who is also Disse’s neighbor on the floor, “inquiring if the defendant needed assistance to remedy the situations at issue in this lawsuit.” Other court documents include photos of the interior of the apartment showing stacks of books, boxes of clothing and household goods and other possessions that make the rooms virtually impassible.

Maitland’s note says the ceiling has “extensive damage from leaks,” and the unit is “in a very unsanitary and unhygienic state. Sooner or later, there will most likely be an intervention by the fire department, which has gotten more intensive in its enforcement measures over recent years.”

The co-op’s lawyer, Deborah Koplovitz, a partner at Herrick Feinstein, did not return messages seeking a comment.

Maitland’s note went unanswered by Disse last summer, the lawsuit says. It claims that Disse, who has “apparently left the apartment vacant for many years,” is required to maintain the interior in good repair, but is instead “keeping it as a quasi-storage facility.”

The board wants to send its own crew to clean up if Disse won’t — and is also seeking access for quarterly inspections. But a building’s super or staff, even if they have keys, cannot enter and clean up without the owner’s permission unless there’s an emergency, says Adam Leitman Bailey, a real-estate lawyer not connected to the case.

Disse says she has kept up with maintenance payments and assessments, but has not lived full-time in New York for at least a dozen years, having returned to her native St. Louis to care for her elderly stepfather and mother, both now deceased. Her mother died in 2010 at age 97. After that, Disse said, “I would go to New York for a day or two and that would be all. A day in New York would make you really happy if you live in the Midwest.”

Providence Village HOA’s Section 8 ban would be illegal if Texas bill passes

By Amber Gaudet Staff Write for KPVI

A bill introduced in the Texas House last week would prohibit homeowners associations from restricting what forms of payment landlords can accept, including Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher payments.

Filed by Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, the bill would amend Section 202 of the Texas Property Code to prohibit associations from enforcing provisions that limit, or have the effect of limiting, allowed forms of payment. The bill explicitly includes payment made in whole or part by a voucher or any other federal, state or local housing assistance or subsidies.

The bill would have big implications for associations such as Providence HOA in Denton County, which passed leasing rules restricting Section 8 renters last June.

The controversial rules originally set would fine landlords with Section 8 tenants $300 weekly until the renters were ousted, but after public backlash, the association announced tenants would be allowed to finish their leases.

Implementation of the Section 8 ban and other provisions of the leasing rules were halted altogether in August pending an investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development into whether the rules violate the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race and other factors.

More than 157 majority-Black households in Providence Village stood to be impacted by the rules, with at least one family saying they were forced into a motel in anticipation of the ban.

In the last legislative session, Turner was chair of the Texas House’s Business & Industry Committee, which traditionally handles landlord-tenant relations, HOAs and real estate. After following the developments out of Providence Village, Turner brought up the issue during an interim committee hearing last September relating to the implementation of Senate Bill 1588, which also governs homeowners associations. Turner gauged any possible opposition to a future bill with a representative for the Texas Legislative Action Committee, which represents homeowners associations, and none was anticipated by the representative.

“HOAs have a valuable role to play in a lot of neighborhoods — I live in an HOA, and I think my HOA does a good job — but an HOA should not have the ability to interfere in a property owner’s private lease agreement with a renter,” Turner said. “We have in Texas, unlike in other places, a shortage of housing, and affordable housing in particular. So if someone qualifies for a housing voucher through HUD, they have the right to use the voucher to live where they want to live, provided they can cover the expenses.”

Other HOAs also could stand to be impacted by the bill if it passes — Savannah has had a similar ban on the books for years. Proponents of the bans in both neighborhoods say an uptick in violent crime they associate with voucher recipients has underscored their support for the leasing rules.

Once the House speaker appoints committees around early February, the bill would move to a hearing and committee vote before it could be scheduled for a House floor debate. Though most bills never make it into law, Turner hopes his colleagues will agree the issue is a straightforward one.

“This is, I think, a very simple bill; it’s very clear-cut,” Turner said. “It’s a private property rights issue — you can’t have a third party dictating to a property owner what sort of payment they can accept or not accept to lawfully rent their property. If we saw this practice continue, it sets a dangerous precedent, and I think it’s contrary to federal law — I think it would be very problematic for our state.

“I hope that my colleagues will see this bill is simply a matter of common sense and one that safeguards the rights of not only tenants, but also property owners.”

If passed, the law would take effect Sept. 1.

No updates have been released by HUD or Providence HOA as to whether the investigation remains ongoing. A July lawsuit brought by High Opportunity Neighborhood Realty, which leases 21 properties in the neighborhood including to voucher recipients, is also ongoing. Mediation is set to be complete by Feb. 20, and a final pretrial conference is set for Aug. 31.