Tree Laws Differ Among the States

If the roots of your neighbor’s tree are causing damage to your property, what legal rights do you have? Unfortunately, it depends on where you live. Over the centuries, our country has grown from a largely agricultural setting to an urban civilization. As a result of these changes, different states have adopted different rules regarding…

Why Get Involved?

Q. I have lived in my community association for a number of years. Unlike the horror stories we occasionally read about regarding bad Boards or illogical enforcement of covenants, our community seems to be working fine. We have a good board of directors and a competent manager. One of our long time board members plans…

Housing Counsel: The Future of Community Associations

What do drones, copyrights and mold have in common? According to USI Insurance Services, a national insurance company with over 150 offices throughout the country, these are some of the emerging trends that associations are – or will be — facing in the years to come. They all impact the financial well-being – and the…

The “Ps” of Community Living (Rules Enforcement)

Q. We live in a nice community, but every so often someone breaks one of our rules. Sometimes the infraction is minor — such as washing their car on the public street. Other times, the violation is more serious, such as yelling, arguing and even threatening people. The violators may be unit owners or tenants.…

Architectural Control Committees Serve a Need

Q. We live in a homeowner association and I have just been appointed to the architectural control committee. Some of the homeowners do not want such a committee, and many owners just ignore the process when they make exterior changes. Our declaration of covenants requires advance approval before any such changes or additions can be…

Defining Who Owns What is Critical

Q. I am on the Board of Directors of our homeowner association, and as winter is around the corner, we know we will start getting calls from owners to make repairs to such things as the streets, our tot lot, and the community recreational facility. However, we often get requests to repair (or replace) such…

The New District of Columbia TOPA Law

The District’s 30-year-old Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, or TOPA, is designed to prevent tenants from being kicked out by landlords planning to sell their properties. It gives renters an opportunity to buy the properties, at least the right of first refusal. In July, the D.C. Council revised the law – exempting most single-family homes,…

Community Living Rules Enforcement

Question. We live in a nice community, but every so often someone breaks one of our rules. Sometimes the infraction is minor — such as washing their car on the public street. Other times, the violation is more serious, such as yelling, arguing and even threatening people. The violators may be unit owners or tenants.…

There Are Tax Benefits With Home Ownership

Homeownership has always been the “great American dream”. And Congress — with one exception — did not take it away when it passed the tax reform bill last December. To foster and encourage this dream, Congress has consistently enacted — or preserved — tax legislation which favors homeowners. Indeed, much has been written that our…

Understanding the “Tax Free” Exchange

Residential homeowners have a number of tax benefits, the most important of which is the exclusion of up to $500,000 profit made on the sale of the principal residence. Fortunately, that was not impacted when Congress enacted the latest tax reform bill. But real estate investors — large and small — still have to pay…

What Kinds Of Mortgages Are Available?

Once you have signed a contract for the purchase of your new home (or condominium or cooperative apartment), and assuming you do not have all of the cash in your bank account, you will need to obtain a mortgage loan. There are many different loans on the market – and many different loan programs from…

There are Different Kinds of Community Associations

A large number of American homeowners now live in a community association. But do you know that there are several different kinds of community organizations, and each has a different set of laws, and different legal structures. Oversimplified, the three main types of community associations are condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner associations. Although all three types…