Using Independent Contractors

Question: It has been the practice at our condominium for the Board to permit independent contractors to work on our common elements without proof they are licensed or that they are properly insured (workers comp. and liability coverage). Everything I have read makes it clear it is important that the association not operate in this…

Insurance and Animal Bites

Question: My condominium association is overrun with dogs. We are concerned that someone will be injured, and we will be sued because we did not impose the proper precautions. What should we do? Answer: Over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) almost…

Termites: A Gnawing Problem

Termites — or other so-called “wood boring insects” — can wreck havoc to both your home and your pocket book. Many parts of the country are affected by termites, and every homeowner — or potential homeowner — must be aware of the problems and the solutions. Since the late 1980’s, when environmental concerns stopped the…

Condo Property Assessment

Question: I read your column faithfully and was hoping you could address a small issue/question I have. Recently, I received from my association a bill for property tax assessment challenges. It appears the association took it upon themselves to hire a property tax attorney, without notice to the homeowners (or at least, I never received…

Housing Counsel Public Condo Law vs. Private Condo Law

Question: I am the President of a mid-size condominium in Washington. Our Bylaws specifically prohibit short-term rentals of any kind. The board – and most of our members – agree that cutting out short term rentals and subleases of less than a year helps cut down on the move in and out traffic that creates…

Written Contracts are Important in an HOA?

Question: I am a Board member of our Association, and am responsible for landscaping, grounds maintenance and security. Over the years, our Association has had a number of contractors who render service to us — whether this be in the form of snow removal, landscaping services, or trash removal. Some Board members are not happy…

Understanding Adverse Possession

There is an ancient legal concept in the law known as “adverse possession.” If we go back to our history books, this is also known as “squatters rights.” The theory behind adverse possession is that a person who holds or uses property adversely against the rightful owner should ultimately be entitled to clear title. But…

Pro-Active or Reactive Architectural Review

Question: I recently heard the terms “pro-active” and “reactive” as it applies to Architectural Review. Apparently, pro-active is when the community announces walk-throughs to look for problems, and reactive is when the community relies on reports by neighbors who see alleged violations. What are your views on “pro-active” enforcement? Answer: Several years ago, I wrote…