Condominium, homeowner (HOA), and townhome community association members have been impacted by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

 

Association leaders, board members, and property managers have been forced to adjust community operations, fiduciary duties, and governance. Board meetings, common area maintenance, elections, and social activities have been affected by social distancing, safety precautions, and public health guidelines. Economic effects induced by the coronavirus pandemic have also produced significant budgetary, assessment collection, and reserve funding challenges.

 

While every community is unique, associations are being confronted by very similar concerns, including:

  1. Operations
  2. Budgeting
  3. Governance
  4. Meetings
  5. Elections

 

If you’re a board member or property manager, take some time to ask yourself the checklist questions below covering all five common concerns.

 

Operations

  • Has it been difficult keeping up with executive orders, eviction moratoriums, public health, state, and city guidelines?
  • Has it been difficult keeping up with keeping up with federal guidelines and legislation (ex. CARES Act, CDC, FHA)?
  • Is there concern about cleanliness and safety levels in common areas?
  • Have issues arise from more owners staying at home, including:
    • Community amenities wearing out quicker due to increased use?
    • Recycling and trash over capacity?
    • Noise complaints?
    • Home-based businesses?
  • Has your association experienced vendor issues due to understaffing, slower response time due to increased precautions, etc.?
  • Have planned association construction, repair, maintenance, or capital improvement projects been delayed or cancelled?
  • Has your association seen an increase in owner and third-party requests for association documents and information due to increased real estate sales and/or refinancing?
  • Has the board considered mitigating virus spread with air filtration or ventilation systems?
  • Has your association suspended amenities or adapted rules to limit capacity?
  • Have there issues in managing association employees (ex. door staff, maintenance)?
  • Has limited package storage caused an issue due to more frequent use of delivery services?
  • Is the association using social media more to communicate with owners?

 

Budgeting

  • Are there any budgetary shortfalls due to unplanned expenses, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff or extra disinfectant?
  • Have utility expenses increase due to residents being at home and using community amenities more than usual?
  • Does your association have an above average number of delinquent assessments, unpaid fees, and/or fines?
  • Has the board considered increasing assessments or levying special assessments to balance budget shortfalls, delinquent assessments, or fund necessary projects?
  • Has your association dipped into reserves to cover operational expenses?
  • Is there a concern that reserves are not adequate to cover emergency expenses?
  • Has the association experienced a reduction in income due to loss of moving fees, conference room rentals, and activity fees?
  • Have rates increase for the association’s general liability, fidelity, master policy, directors and officers insurance?

 

Governance

  • Is there concern that association rules and regulations are not up-to-date, leading to liability exposure and lawsuits?
  • Is there uncertainty around balancing caution with enforcement of standard association rules?
  • Is there a need to address the association’s assessment delinquency policy?
  • Has the association implemented a mandatory mask-wearing policy in common areas?

 

Meetings

  • Has your board cancelled and/or delayed board meetings and/or annual meetings?
  • Has participation and engagement recently decreased in board and community meetings?
  • Have you started using virtual meeting technology (ex. Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting)?
  • Have issues arisen with using technology to conduct board meetings?
  • Have new rules and regulations been adopted that address the need for virtual meetings?
  • Have your board members determined how to address roll call, proxy delivery, and other voting procedures prior to calling a virtual meeting?
  • Do you offer attendees the option of attending the meeting via an audio dial-in only option?

 

Elections

  • Has your board cancelled and/or delayed elections?
  • Have has association started using electronic voting or e-voting technology?
  • If you’re using e-voting, has the board found secure and reliable methods to confirm owner identities?
  • Are owner electronic voting records being safeguarded and stored appropriately?
  • Has the association adopted new rules and regulations that address the need for electronic voting?

 

Our law firm has received an unprecedented number of questions regarding rules enforcement, assessment collection, and liability concerns during the current COVID-19 crisis. We certainly understand and empathize with boards, property managers, and owners alike.

 

KSN is very aware of the board’s delicate balance between fulfilling the legal obligations to their association while assisting their fellow owners. If KSN can answer any legal questions for or assist your Board, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Please call 855-537-0500 or visit www.ksnlaw.com.

 

Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. We have four office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Our attorneys are also licensed in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri.

 

Please note the material contained on the KSN Podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by your review or receipt of the information contained on the KSN Podcast. You should not act on the information discussed on the KSN Podcast without first obtaining legal advice from an attorney duly licensed to practice law in your State. While KSN has made every effort to include up-to-date information on The KSN podcast, the law can change quickly. Accordingly, please understand that information discussed on the podcast may not yet reflect the most recent legal developments. Material is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up to date. KSN reserves the right to revise or update the information and statements of law discussed on the podcast at any time, without notice, and disclaims any liability for your use of information or statements of law discussed on the podcast, or the performance of the podcast generally. The KSN Podcast may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under applicable law/s and/or ethical rules/regulations. © 2021 Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, A Professional Corporation.