Friday, February 26, 2016

Hоw tо hаvе a рrоduсtіvе HOA Bоаrd Meeting

Hоmеоwnеrѕ Aѕѕосіаtіоn (HOA) bоаrd Mееtіngѕ саn bе сhаllеngіng іn tеrmѕ оf оvеrсоmіng lоgіѕtісѕ. Aѕ аlwауѕ, thе kеу іѕ tіmе іnvеѕtеd іn preparation аnd organization. Plеаѕе соnѕіdеr thе "рrоfеѕѕіоnаl mееtіng ѕkіll tірѕ" рrоvіdеd bеlоw thаt mіght assist уоur Cоmmunіtу іn соnduсtіng a ѕuссеѕѕful HOA bоаrd Mееtіng. 


Seat аll уоur Bоаrd mеmbеrѕ аt a hеаd tаblе. Thе tаblе ѕhоuld bе аrrаngеd іn a ѕеmісіrсlе wіth thе Prеѕіdеnt аt thе сеntеr. Plасе thе Bоаrd mеmbеrѕ оn еіthеr ѕіdе оf the Prеѕіdеnt. Have name саrdѕ рrіntеd lаrgе еnоugh tо bе rеаd bу thе соmmunіtу mеmbеrѕ рrеѕеnt. Sеаt thе Cоmmunіtу Mаnаgеr and other ѕtаff оn оnе еnd оf thе tаblе. Sеаt thе Cоunсіl to thе Aѕѕосіаtіоn аnd others whо аrе guеѕtѕ (реrhарѕ аn ассоuntаnt) оn thе орроѕіtе ѕіdе fоr bаlаnсе. In thе сеntеr оf thе ѕеmісіrсlе рlасе a роdіum fасіng thе Prеѕіdеnt. The mеmbеrѕhір should bе ѕеаtеd fасіng thе Bоаrd mеmbеrѕ. Nаmе саrdѕ, wіth роѕіtіоnѕ оr tіtlеѕ, ѕhоuld bе рlасеd in front оf еасh реrѕоn. In еvаluаtіng thіѕ аrrаngеmеnt, hоmеоwnеrѕ wіll rеаlіzе іmmеdіаtеlу thаt thіѕ іѕ a buѕіnеѕѕ meeting, nоt a ѕосіаl еvеnt. 


Keep уоur аgеndа limited tо thе buѕіnеѕѕ аt hand, ѕmаll іtеmѕ thаt аrе еаѕіlу accomplished fіrѕt, соntrоvеrѕіаl оr complex іѕѕuеѕ next. 


At thе еntrаnсе tо thе rооm, рlасе thе аgеndа аnd ѕummаrу оr ѕіgnіfісаnt іnfоrmаtіоn соnсеrnіng еасh agenda іtеm. Bу thе tіmе thе mееtіng соmmеnсеѕ, thе attendees wіll be іnfоrmеd аѕ tо аll іѕѕuеѕ thаt thе mееtіng will аddrеѕѕ. 


Thе Prеѕіdеnt оf thе Cоmmunіtу ѕhоuld run thіѕ mееtіng. Aftеr еасh аgеndа іtеm іѕ presented, thе Prеѕіdеnt ѕhоuld аѕk thеіr ԛuеѕtіоnѕ, thеn ask Cоunѕеl (attorney) fоr іnрut іf thеrе was a lеgаl іѕѕuе аnd then аѕk thе Bоаrd mеmbеrѕ fоr іnрut. All rеѕроnѕеѕ ѕhоuld bе dіrесtеd tо thе Prеѕіdеnt, nоt thе аudіеnсе. 

Aftеr Bоаrd mеmbеr іnрut, thе Prеѕіdеnt ѕhоuld аѕk thе рublіс іf thеrе аrе аnу ѕtаtеmеntѕ. (Plеаѕе сhесk уоur іndіvіduаl ѕtаtе ѕtаtutеѕ tо ensure hоmеоwnеr раrtісіраtіоn іѕ rеԛuіrеd. Thеrе аrе ѕtаtеѕ whеrе іѕ іt rеԛuіrеd and ѕtаtеѕ whеrе іt is ѕіmрlу rеԛuеѕtеd tо ѕоlісіt іnрut frоm соmmunіtу mеmbеrѕ.) Thоѕе іn thе аudіеnсе whо hаvе a dеѕіrе tо ѕреаk ѕhоuld bе asked tо ѕреаk frоm thе роdіum. Agаіn, thе роdіum faces thе Bоаrd, nоt thе аudіеnсе. 

Aftеr еасh ѕtаtеmеnt, the Prеѕіdеnt mау аѕk other Bоаrd members іf thеу hаvе аnу ԛuеѕtіоnѕ. Aftеr hеаrіng рublіс input, thе Prеѕіdеnt mау ask the Board Mеmbеrѕ іf thеу hаvе anything tо add.
Nеxt thе rеԛuеѕt fоr mоtіоn ѕhоuld bе mаdе іf nееdеd аnd асtіоn оn thеm. Aftеr thе vоtе thеrе ѕhоuld nо further dіѕсuѕѕіоn аnd thе Prеѕіdеnt will thеn move tо thе next аgеndа іtеm.


Your Bоаrd mееtіng wіll run more ѕmооthlу аnd еffісіеntlу whеn gооd mееtіng рrоtосоl іѕ fоllоwеd. Thе роѕіtіоn оf еасh Bоаrd mеmbеr іѕ сlеаr оn еасh іѕѕuе. Thе President hаѕ соmрlеtе control оf thе mееtіng аt аll tіmеѕ. Bоаrd mеmbеrѕ ѕhоuld bе wеll іnfоrmеd іn аdvаnсе wіth fасt ѕhееtѕ, аgеndаѕ аnd оthеr necessary dосumеntѕ. Thе рublіс is allowed іnрut аnd thе Bоаrd hаѕ thе орроrtunіtу tо соnѕіdеr аll рublіс іnрut рrіоr tо dесіѕіоn making. 

1. Dissemination оf іnfоrmаtіоn: hаndоutѕ аt the dооr. 

2. Logistics: A lеnѕ hаѕ a fосаl роіnt. Hоldіng a mееtіng wіth thе аudіеnсе іn a curvature рlаnе thаt fосuѕеѕ оn thе Prеѕіdеnt аnd board асhіеvеѕ аn еnd rеѕult: kеер еуеѕ fоrwаrd! 

3. Bеhаvіоr: Thе Prеѕіdеnt оbvіоuѕlу nееdѕ tо bе ѕtrоng enough tо tаkе соntrоl аnd tо hаvе еxеrсіѕеd ѕоmе grоund rulеѕ fоr whісh аll bоаrdѕ mеmbеrѕ аrе аwаrе оf аnd аbіdе. 

4. Publіс Inрut: Opinions аrе ѕроkеn, undеrѕtооd аnd tаkеn іntо ассоunt. Mоtіоnѕ are mаdе аftеr Board аnd рublіс іnрut.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Are We Ready For The Growth of Elderly Homeowners?

With millions of Baby Boomers approaching retirement, it is important that we address the challenges associated with meeting the nation’s elderly housing needs.

Your HOA board will be facing pressing issues with the rise of elderly homeowners. In past generations, those 65 or older would eventually move into assisted living or retirement homes. But the modern day is seeing more elderly folks deciding to live out more of their older years in their own homes. Seniors are living healthier lifestyles, having better medical care and are active in their retirement years. Seniors are buying homes and taking out mortgages. With this comes new challenges and decisions for those running homeowners associations.

Here are four areas that HOA's need to consider when dealing with elderly homeowners.

1.  Accidents on Common Property

A major concern with the rising number of elderly residents means there’s increased chance of  accidents. Elderly residents can lose their balance, trip and fall or hurt themselves on common property in the community. HOA's insurance usually covers issues happening on common area property.

2.  Driving

There’s also the possibility of elder residents being a danger to themselves or others, such as if they have sight issues driving in a community with children and pets. Elderly residents could endanger the lives of walkers on the streets if driving becomes a problem. Elderly residents are also at risk of hurting themselves by driving into objects, light poles or even their house structures.

3.  Home safety is a primary concern

If adult children are not maintaining homes of senior citizens, who is? Home maintenance and home repairs are key to seniors being able to stay safe in their homes. Homes with needed repairs may be unsafe. If adult children do live nearby and have nor designated a caregiver of home maintenance, elderly residents could be injured because unsafe structures.

4.  Access to needed services 

For senior citizens to remain in their homes they need availability to services such as meals and in home nursing services. The elderly residents need to be in communities that are accessible for elderly service providers.

There will be a growing number of concerns as the number of elderly homeowners increase. Between 2000 and 2050, The number of older people is projected to increase by 135%. And the population of people 85 and over is projected to increase by 350%.  With this increase will come the problem of meeting the enormous housing need.

Senior citizens are now living healthier lifestyles and having longer lifespan. Elderly people are not moving into assisted living homes they are buying homes or condos.  Many seniors moving into communities are just not able to deal with the fact that they cannot effectively care for themselves as they age. And as a result, they turn to their condo association for help when they get lost or forget that they have left the tub water running.  So what is a condo association board of directors to do when they find an elderly resident wandering the halls, unable to determine where they live? Obviously, the condominium association has an interest in ensuring that these seniors are able to care for themselves so that they don't create a burden for management or the board.  They also concerned about an unhealthy or unsafe situation for themselves and their neighbors. 

The question is are community associations ready for the growth of elderly homeowners?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Critical Component: Insurance—Ours and Yours

Of the many things your association assessment pays for, insurance is one of the most important. Association governing documents and state law require the association board to purchase adequate insurance as part of a comprehensive risk-management program. Our association has two types of commercial insurance coverage—property and liability. Property insurance covers loss of or damage to any common structures or physical property caused by fire, flood, storms or other natural events. For instance, if high winds uproot a tree that damages a common roof, the association’s property insurance would cover the cost of repairs. 

Property insurance may also cover what we call “human perils” (such as theft) and “economic perils” (such as stock market fluctuations) that might impact our association’s investments. Liability insurance covers losses that would result if someone took legal action against the association for an injury, financial loss or other type of damage. For example, one important type of liability insurance, called Directors’ and Officers’ insurance, covers volunteers like board and committee members so they’re not jeopardizing their personal assets to serve the association. 

The association’s insurance does not cover owners or residents, their homes or belongings. Each member should have his or her own insurance policy. If you need information about homeowners insurance, talk to a licensed insurance agent who specializes in homeowners associations. Or you may want to talk to the association’s insurance provider; this person will know exactly where the association’s master policy coverage ends and where yours should begin. This prevents you from over or under insuring yourself.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

10 Ways to Save on Energy Costs This Winter

Whether you're hoping to ease your impact on the planet or just want to save a few dollars, reducing your energy use can help you get there. In fact, 10 percent of renters in a recent survey said that utilities are their biggest monthly expense, coming in third after monthly rent and groceries.Heating and cooling your apartment, especially those in regions with extreme temperature shifts, can be among the more expensive components of your utility bill. Luckily, making some easy adjustments in your home can dramatically reduce how much you spend on energy.
Here are several tips to reduce energy consumption and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home this winter:
1. Use the sun for free heat. That bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.
2. Bundle up with warm accessories. This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.
3. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, you have more control over ventilation than you know. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.
4. Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets and a warm comforter for your bed and keeping your apartment cooler when you sleep.
5. Only heat the rooms you use. If you have rooms that you never use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most. Energy bills run, on average, $183 per month. By using a space heater in the rooms where you need it and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees, you can save approximately $200 each year.
6. Keep your furnace clean and unblocked. Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your furnace filter monthly, and replace it when it gets dirty.
7. Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air. The air inside your home can become very dry. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature. You can also increase the humidity in your apartment with a collection of house plants.
8. Invest in insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat and cold air in homes without proper insulation. Get some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store, and cover up all those areas where heat might escape. Start with foam weather stripping for your doors and windows; it's cheap and is extremely easy to apply.
9. Decorate with LED lights for the holidays. Buy new LED holiday lights, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. In addition to consuming less energy, LED lights don't emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them a safer alternative. Bonus tip: Always unplug your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house. As with all appliances and electronics, your holiday lights will continue to draw power even when not in use, which adds unnecessary expense to utility bills.
10. Only use exhaust fans when necessary. Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air that rises to the ceiling out of your apartment. Use exhaust fans sparingly, and shut them off when you are done with them.

This article taken from:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

5 Tips for Preparing Your Lawn for Spring

Spring is one of the most important times to perform maintenance to your lawn. By following these 5 steps you can help prevent your beautiful lawn from being overtaken with weeds, stressed by drought, and heat. 

  1. Remove any debris that has accumulated. This is a perfect time to also rake up any matted areas of the lawn, which can harbor Snow Mold. Raking these areas and removing debris will encourage better air flow throughout the turf grass and prevent any disease and insect infestation. It will also allow new grass blades to grow without struggle.
  2. Applying a pre-emergent crabgrass control in early spring is very important! Timing is critical as it must be applied prior to the soil temperatures reaching 55-60 degrees. After this point the weed seeds will have begun to germinate and the pre-emergent will no longer be effective. An important thing to note is that crabgrass is VERY difficult to get rid of once it has germinated.
  3. Fertilizing in the spring jump starts your lawn from its winter slumber. It provides a nutrient build up that will give it the strength to withstand heat stress and drought through the summer months.
  4. Core aeration is a great thing to do to your lawn in the spring. It is important, because it allows water and air to reach the root zone faster. Resulting in new growth and increased root development. In the spring however it is important to core aerate before the soil temperature reaches that 55-60 degrees, because after this point the voids created in the lawn will only be an invitation to aggressive weeds seeds.
  5. Winter can wreak some havoc on our lawns and come spring there may be some repairs needed to areas damaged by salt and snow plows. If weather permits spring can be a great time to re-seed any damaged turf areas, however if you are applying a pre-emergent weed control there is care to be taken. The pre-emergent weed control is non-selective, so it will prevent ANY seed from germinating. Our turf specialists recommend that if the weather permits, hold off the crab grass control to the latest point possible.  Then perform the turf repairs needed as early as possible so that the seeds have enough time to germinate and somewhat establish prior to the pre-emergent being applied. If this is not possible, don't skip the pre-emergent weed control. It is better to wait until fall to perform any turf repairs.
 Take from LawnCare by Walter, Inc.