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Memorial Day Side Dishes To Pair With Your Favorite Meals

Memorial Day is coming soon, and families all over the country are preparing to celebrate the occasion, which marks the beginning of summer. For many, this means having a cookout or feast with the family. What Memorial Day side dishes can you prepare for the holiday? Let’s find out.

 

Best Memorial Day Side Dishes

A simple meal is usually enough to celebrate holidays like Memorial Day. However, if you want to plan a more special holiday for the family, preparing Memorial Day side dishes is an easy way to add variety to your meals. The recipes are often easy and do not take up much time.

What are the best Memorial Day side dishes you can prepare? Here are our top recommendations.

 

1. Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is both nutritious and delicious, and it is sure to be a crowd favorite at your neighborhood Memorial Day BBQ!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 7 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
  • 8 slices of bacon, drained, crumbled, and crisp-cooked
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower kernels

 

Directions:

  1. Stir the onions, sugar, raisins, vinegar, and mayonnaise in a large bowl.
  2. Add the broccoli and stir it to coat. Cover and chill for 2-24 hours.
  3. Stir in the bacon and sunflower seeds before serving.

 

2. Corn Salad With Stone Fruit and Herbs

One of the simplest Memorial Day sides is a fresh corn salad with stone fruit and herbs. It mixes sweet, sour, and savory flavors in one multicolored dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 pita bread rounds, horizontally split
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 ears corn, silks and husks removed
  • 2tbsp and 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 nectarines, peaches, and/or plums, chopped or sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts chopped

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Get a baking sheet and place pita bread rounds on top. Brush with 2 tbsp olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes. Break into small pieces.
  2. Cut the kernels off the corn cobs. Toss the corn with sweet onion, green onions, and fruit in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp salt. Add pita pieces and herbs, then toss. Season with additional vinegar and/or salt. Serve immediately.

 

3. Grilled Potato Slices

Grilled potato slices are some of the best Memorial Day BBQ side dishes. They are flavorful and add carbs to protein-filled BBQs, making the meal a bit more balanced overall.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 pound russet, red-skin, or sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp snipped oil-packed dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup purchased creme fraiche
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp drained capers
  • 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup dairy sour cream
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

 

Directions:

  1. For the creme fraiche, stir the sour cream and whipping cream in a small bowl. Cover using plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for 2-5 hours. Let it chill in the refrigerator until serving time. Stir then serve.
  2. For the grilled potatoes, scrub them and cut them into half-inch slices. Brush either side of each slice with oil. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.
  3. Place potatoes onto a grill rack over medium heat using a charcoal or gas grill. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning once.
  4. Arrange slices on a serving platter. Sprinkle with capers and dried tomatoes. Spoon the creme fraiche into a small bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve the slices warm with the creme fraiche.

 

4. Loaded Creamed Corn With Bacon and Tomato

Eager for something creamy and salty? This recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings this Memorial Day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup of light cream
  • 4 12-ounce packages of frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup large opinion, chopped
  • 5 thick bacon slices
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut up
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh Italian parsley

 

Directions:

  1. Combine the light cream and corn from one package in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Combine the mixture, onion, butter, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt, parmesan cheese, butter, and remaining corn in a 4-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on low heat.
  3. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, turning once. Let it crisp up, and then drain the bacon on towels. Cool the bacon and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Sprinkle the bacon and cheese over the corn in the slow cooker. Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir the vinegar, tomato, parsley, and 1/8 tsp sugar in a small bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture over the corn in the cooker before serving.

 

5. Ricotta and Parmesan Spread

Do you need Memorial Day cookout side dishes? Spread is one of the best appetizers to serve at a cookout, and this cheesy appetizer is sure to delight your taste buds!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 15-16 ounce container of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper, cracked
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 8-ounce loaf of baguette-style French bread, cut into slices

 

Directions:

  1. Beat the ricotta on medium for 2 minutes. Add parmesan and beat to combine. Stir in the basil, oregano, chives, salt, and black pepper. If the spread is dry, add olive oil. Chill for 1 hour while covered (up to 12 hours).
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn the slices and bake for 3 minutes. Let the bread cool. Serve the spread with cooled bread.

 

6. Zucchini, Summer Squash, and Chicken Salad

What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than with a simple salad? This zucchini, summer squash, and chicken mix offer a variety of nutrients with a bit of sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 of a cousa squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 ears of fresh sweet corn, silks, and husks removed
  • 12 ounces of skinless, boneless halves of chicken breasts
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes

 

Directions:

  1. Juice and zest the lemon into 1 tsp of zest and 3 tbsp of juice. Reserve the lemon halves.
  2. Place the chicken and lemon halves in a medium saucepan. Add water and 1 tsp kosher salt. Cover the chicken by one inch. Simmer over medium-high, but do not boil. When it starts to simmer, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the chicken cook for 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut into slices.
  3. Slice the yellow squash, cousa squash, and zucchini into thin, long strips.
  4. Cut the corn from the cobs and halve the cherry tomatoes. Arrange the tomatoes, corn, squashes, and chicken on plates.
  5. Whisk the lemon zest and juice with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and dill in a small bowl. Drizzle it over the salad and let it stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with additional dill.

 

Get Ready for Memorial Day

Memorial Day officially marks the beginning of summer, so many people want to celebrate the occasion. By preparing these delicious Memorial Day side dishes, you can make the day more memorable for your family and friends. They’re sure to be popular no matter who you serve them to!

 

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Solar Panels In HOA: Homeowners Should Know This First

Solar panels are an eco-friendly and affordable energy source homeowners can use to power their homes. However, while they provide many benefits, installing solar panels in HOA communities can be tricky. Homeowners must understand state law and follow specific rules to avoid being penalized by the HOA.

 

Solar Panels in HOA: Do I Need HOA Approval for Solar Panels?

First things first: can an HOA deny solar panels? If you’ve lived in a planned community before, chances are you know the consequences of making architectural changes without HOA approval. Often, it results in penalties and having to remove the thing you’ve already constructed.

With that in mind, are there rules for solar panels for homeowners association communities? Can the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) prohibit them entirely? Unfortunately, this question has no straightforward answer as it depends on the HOA’s location. Certain states have laws that limit an HOA’s ability to impose restrictions on solar panels. Meanwhile, some states have no such laws and provide the HOA free rein.

In addition, it’s important to review the governing documents to verify precisely what the HOA can and cannot allow. These two factors—state law and the governing documents—determine whether homeowners can install HOA solar panels.

 

HOA Solar Law

HOA Solar LawAs of the time of writing, no federal law protects homeowners’ rights to install solar panels in HOA communities. In 2009, the American Clean Energy and Security Act aimed to do just that on a national level. Homeowners associations would not have been able to enforce rules that prohibited solar panel installation. However, it did not pass.

As such, homeowners must turn to state solar access laws for legal protection. Two solar access rights protect people’s ability to install solar infrastructure: solar access laws and easements.

 

Solar Access Laws

In some states, solar access laws limit restrictions on installing HOA solar panels. This means that, legally, the association cannot prohibit homeowners from installing solar infrastructure on their property. However, these laws still allow HOAs to restrict the way homeowners install their solar panels.

For example, the homeowners association might require flush-mounted panels and prohibit ground-mounted solar panels. Some HOAs may also prevent homeowners from installing panels on rooftops visible from major roads. These rules preserve the HOA’s aesthetic uniformity and enhance curb appeal. However, they also make installation costly and cumbersome for many citizens.

Regardless, homeowners should check the specific solar access laws in their state. Regulations may vary as some states have more exhaustive laws than others. For instance, California has enacted a Solar Rights Act that limits the authority of HOAs to prevent solar installations. The Solar Shade Control Act also prohibits tree branches from casting shades over solar panels.

Meanwhile, the Texas Property Code Section 202.010 allows HOAs to regulate where and what kind of solar panels homeowners can install. Homeowners associations can also prohibit solar devices during the development period of a residential neighborhood with less than 51 units.

 

Solar Easements

Laws on HOA solar infrastructures protect your installation rights, while solar easements safeguard people’s right to access sunshine. If the state has solar easement regulations, homeowners can ask their neighbors to limit obstructions to sunlight. They can negotiate anything that might cast shade on their solar panels, such as trees and sheds.

However, solar easements are considered a voluntary act. They are not considered law, so they must be done in writing. Homeowners must write a thorough description of where the easement must exist. It must include the dimensions of the easement, including height restrictions. In addition, solar easements may consist of termination conditions, compensation for easement maintenance, and fees for easement violations.

 

Exceptions to Solar Laws

Most solar access laws include exceptions to the rule. For instance, historic districts can usually reject solar panel infrastructure as they can change the neighborhood’s notable character. However, some landmark districts may still allow solar panels if they’re hidden from public view.

As a homeowner, reviewing the solar access laws and exceptions in your state is vital. The rules may vary per location, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with local laws before you install solar energy devices.

 

No State Protections: Can You Still Install Solar Panels?

If you live in a state without solar access laws, you can still use solar technology. It’s worth noting that while some locations don’t have state-wide legislation, many towns and cities still have local policies that protect homeowners. Look into these policies and ask a lawyer to help you understand what you can and cannot do.

Apart from this, it’s best to check your HOA bylaws and CC&Rs to understand the association’s rules. Many will allow solar panels as long as they follow specific guidelines. However, if the HOA prohibits solar devices entirely, it may be worth convincing the board why solar panels benefit the community. Solar panels allow people to save money, ultimately reducing the number of delinquencies. Moreover, they increase property values and positively impact the environment.

If others in your community share your sentiments, consider banding together and convincing the board as a group. With enough people on board, the HOA may even be able to amend the governing documents to allow solar panels.

Some homeowners associations may be okay with alternative technologies, such as solar shingles, if all else fails. This will provide some of the benefits of solar panels without significantly impacting neighborhood aesthetics.

 

How to Get Permission

solar panel approval in HOAEven with state laws in place, homeowners association solar panels can still be restricted by most HOAs. As long as the restrictions are reasonable and given authority by the governing documents, the HOA can still control what homeowners can do.

Typically, the HOA will have an application and approval process in place. Homeowners will need to submit a detailed application for their desired solar installation, which must follow the restrictions within state law and the governing documents. The Architectural Review Committee (ARC) will then review these architectural requests and have the board approve them.

Undergoing this process may be difficult as solar installations are technical and often require extensive knowledge of the technology. Hence, it may be helpful to gain assistance from your solar panel provider. Many solar panel companies assist homeowners in making sure their purchases are in line with HOA guidelines.

 

Good for Everyone

Solar panels in HOA communities are good for everyone. They provide financial and environmental benefits for residents and homeowners associations. However, HOAs may still place certain restrictions to preserve aesthetic appeal. Understand state law and your HOA’s rules before installing solar devices.

Condo Manager is a HOA management software streamlining operations for self-managed communities and HOA management companies. Give us a call at (800) 626-1267 or reach out to us online to book a demo!

 

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Drainage Problems In HOA: What To Do?

Whether it’s due to rain, snow, or simply improper sewage systems, drainage problems in HOA communities are not unheard of. In fact, they can be fairly common in low-lying or poorly constructed neighborhoods. What do you do when it happens? Let’s find out.

 

The Impact of Drainage Problems in HOA Communities

Drainage problems in HOA communities can have a significant impact on community living and property. The following are the most common consequences of improper drainage:

  • Poor Aesthetics. Improper drainage can lead to unsightly standing water in the community’s yards and common areas. They can be unappealing to onlookers which can reduce the HOA’s property values.
  • Pest Infestations. Standing water is a breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes. As a result, homeowners may suffer from infestations and pest-related illnesses.
  • Water Quality Problems. Poorly managed stormwater runoff can carry pollutants like trash, oil, and sediment that can lead to poor water quality in local resources.
  • Erosion. Improper drainage can cause soil erosion which is bad for the environment. Moreover, it can compromise the structural integrity of nearby infrastructure such as homes, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Flooding. Insufficient or poor drainage can cause flooding, leading to property damage for the HOA and its residents. It can also be inconvenient as flooding prevents people from freely entering and leaving certain areas.

 

Common Causes of Drainage Problems and How to Fix Them

There are several causes of drainage issues in homeowners association communities. Here are the most common causes to watch out for.

 

1. Blocked or Clogged Basins

Blocked or Clogged BasinsPoor drainage in HOA communities can result from something as simple as clogged drains. Remember to check the catch basins and storm drains in the HOA’s private roads. Make sure they’re unobstructed to keep the stormwater away.

Clean up all the vegetation, debris, and trash around the area. If the community is large, consider adding public trash cans so community members can dispose of their garbage properly.

If your community has problems with clogged drains, it’s likely a result of poor maintenance. The community should allot enough money to clean the streets and remove debris from drainage systems. It’s a relatively simple solution, but it works wonders for fixing drainage problems in HOA communities.

 

2. Improper Slopes

Proper slopes in driveways and roads can cause chronic flooding in HOA communities. This is a design problem related to the developer’s original construction. For example, if the streets were paved higher than the ends of driveways, the developer didn’t consider stormwater drainage. It could also be a landscaping issue if landscapers don’t consider the drainage system.

You’ll know there’s an improper slope in the community if water pools only in certain parts of common areas or homeowner yards. In some cases, homeowners associations can fix this by repaving the streets. However, severe cases may require the help of an HOA contractor, such as a design engineer. The engineer will assess the issue and recommend ways to enhance the drainage system to accommodate the design flaws.

 

3. Improper Landscape Grading

A stormwater drainage problem in HOA communities can be caused by improper grading. Grassy areas and other landscaping must be graded properly to facilitate the drainage of stormwater. Otherwise, it can lead to flooding and other issues. After it rains, consider observing any low-lying landscapes to see whether there is ponding or areas of standing water. This indicates a drainage problem that could be caused by improper grading.

Fortunately, HOA drainage problems like these are easy to remedy. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as reworking the areas to add a stormwater management solution. For example, the HOA could add a grassed swale or mulch to the landscaped bed areas to drain the stormwater.

Adding a grassed swale creates a channel where the water can collect and drain out. Often, these contain vegetation made to guard against soil erosion. Meanwhile, mulching is great for compacted soil. It boosts the soil’s ability to absorb water and prevent it from collecting on the surface.

 

4. Lack of Stormwater System Maintenance

Lack of Stormwater System MaintenanceSome HOAs may have a stormwater management system that hasn’t worked well. This is often due to the lack of maintenance and regular inspections.

HOA board members should stay on top of routine inspections to quickly identify problems before they start. Doing so also prevents sidewalks, roads, driveways, and landscaping damage that could lead to more maintenance work.

Stormwater system maintenance is especially important before the rainy season. Otherwise, the community may have problems with ponding and even flooding. This could lead to devastating damage to the community’s common areas. It could also damage individual homes, leading to homeowner frustration and dissatisfaction.

How do you mitigate this? Firstly, the HOA board should install an effective stormwater management solution if the community doesn’t already have one. If they do, the board should take charge of the following maintenance responsibilities to keep their stormwater management system in check:

  • Common area and easement inspections
  • Debris removal and cleaning in catch basins and drains
  • Creating slopes in open lawns for proper drainage
  • Restoring eroded or compacted soil
  • Repair of damaged or cracked concrete

Referring to the community’s original site plan and the CC&R’s maintenance guidelines might be helpful. Past drainage reports can also help the association pinpoint potential problem areas within the community. If the board can no longer access these documents, they can hire a drainage engineer to fix the community’s stormwater drainage system.

 

Additional Stormwater Management Tips

What stormwater management solutions can HOAs use to prevent drainage problems? Here are some long-term projects communities can undertake to manage stormwater runoff better.

  • Green Roofs. HOAs can cover roofs with vegetation to reduce the flow of rainwater and delay the rate at which it flows down.
  • Permeable Pavements. HOAs can use permeable materials for surfaces like walkways and roads to allow stormwater to seep into the soil. Instead of using concrete or asphalt, consider using porous asphalt, grid pavers, and pervious concrete.
  • Rain Gardens. HOAs can install rain gardens that facilitate runoff to ponds in specific areas, allowing the water to filter through the plants and soil.
  • Vegetated or Dry Swales. HOAs can use vegetated drainage paths to transport stormwater, slow runoff, facilitate infiltration, and filter pollutants.
  • Constructed Wetlands. HOAs can create constructed wetlands to collect and filter stormwater.

 

Stay on Top of Stormwater Management

Many things can cause drainage problems in HOA communities. HOA boards need to stay alert and prevent any issues from arising. Otherwise, the community’s residents might think the board is not properly maintaining the community’s common areas. This could lead to conflict and even legal or financial liability when the damage is extensive enough.

Condo Manager is a convenient HOA management software that can assist HOA management companies and self-managed associations. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to book a free demo!

 

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Enforce HOA Parking Rules To Avoid Parking Issues In Your Neighborhood

No matter how pretty or well-maintained a community is, improper or haphazard parking can hamper an HOA’s curb appeal. Poor parking habits can also obstruct entrances and roads, inconveniencing the neighborhood’s residents. For these reasons, communities should enforce proper HOA parking rules.

 

What HOA Parking Rules Should You Have?

If you live in an HOA, you might know that parking issues in neighborhoods can cause many headaches. Homeowners may buy too many cars than their garage can fit. Meanwhile, some homeowners might not even have a garage to begin with. They might park their cars on curbs or use other people’s parking spaces.

These issues make the HOA look unkempt and can also be a source of conflict within the community. Hence, the HOA board should implement a few HOA parking rules to maintain order. What HOA driveway rules or common area parking rules should you have? Here are some things to consider.

 

common area parking rules1. Permitted Vehicles

Many homeowners associations will restrict the type of vehicle that can enter the premises. For example, it may be wise to prohibit commercial vehicles, boats, trailers, and RVs. These are often too bulky to fit well in the common areas or parking spaces. Moreover, they may be unappealing, which can harm curb appeal.

 

2. Parking Time Limit

There are many overnight parking issues in HOA communities. Some homeowners may even abandon their vehicles in a common area or shared parking space. To prevent these issues, HOAs can impose a time limit on how long a homeowner can park their car somewhere other than their property.

For example, an HOA may only allow cars to park in guest parking lots for one or two days. Meanwhile, other communities may allow recreational or commercial vehicles to park for 24 hours. In some HOAs, the board may implement window hours for particular spaces. For instance, the HOA may allow vehicles to park in the guest parking lot only from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

3. Parking Locations

It can be hard to regulate parking locations if an HOA is not a gated or private community. Nonetheless, if the HOA can regulate parking locations, they may allow or disallow cars from parking in the driveway. Some communities might also have HOA guest parking rules that indicate where visitors can park.

However, keep in mind that homeowners associations generally do not have authority over public roads. Hence, they cannot penalize homeowners for parking violations on government-maintained roads. On the other hand, HOAs mostly have control over private streets as long as the rules do not conflict with state law or the governing documents.

 

4. Number of Cars

Generally, homeowners associations cannot dictate how many cars a resident can own. However, they may be able to dictate how many cars they can park within the neighborhood. Many HOAs restrict the number of allowed cars to two, compelling homeowners to find other parking spaces for their extra cars.

 

How to Enforce an HOA Parking Policy

HOA parking enforcement can be tricky, mainly because the board can’t always track the parked cars in the community. Plus, homeowners do not always comply with the rules even when aware of them. How should the board enforce the homeowners association parking rules? Here are some guidelines for your HOA.

 

1. Update the Residents

It’s crucial to update the residents on all the existing HOA parking rules. The HOA board should notify them by posting the rules on social media or sending them through mail or email. The HOA should post the rules there if there is a community bulletin board or website. It might be helpful to include the rules in the HOA’s welcome packets for new residents.

 

no parking sign2. Post Signs

HOAs should post clear signs around the community to remind the residents of the parking rules. Post these in places where people often park, like guest parking lots or curbs. Moreover, remember to paint fire lanes red so the residents know not to park in those spots.

 

3. Implement Guest Registration

HOAs can have guests register for parking to prevent overcrowding and abandoned cars. This is especially useful for condominium communities or mixed-use associations. Consider issuing parking permits to make it easy to track guest vehicles. It’s also a good idea to use an online registration system so guests can track their parking duration and how much time they have left.

 

4. Issue Violation Notices

Homeowners who violate the parking rules should receive an HOA parking violation notice. This is often enough to warn the resident of the violation and prevent repeat offenses. It also allows the residents to fix their mistakes before things escalate.

 

5. Issue Fines or Revoke Privileges

HOAs can penalize habitual offenders by issuing fines or revoking the homeowner’s parking privileges or right to use certain amenities for a period of time.

 

6. Tow Vehicles

Towing Vehicle in HOAHomeowners associations may tow vehicles that violate the parking rules. However, make sure this is permitted by state law and the governing documents. For example, HOAs in New Jersey might need to hire a towing company as required by the Predatory Towing Prevention Act.

It’s also important to notify the homeowner properly and inform local traffic law enforcement before towing the vehicle. Without proper authorization and procedure, the HOA may get into a lawsuit over illegal towing.

Remember to use this method only as a last resort. Towing can be especially aggravating for homeowners, which can cause more tension within the community. It’s also an expensive enforcement method as the cost of towing can be high.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can homeowners associations charge guest parking fees?

Yes, some homeowners associations charge guest parking fees. It’s a valuable tool to prevent overcrowding, mainly if the HOA has limited parking spaces. However, this should not conflict with any provisions in state law or the governing documents.

 

Can HOAs issue parking tickets?

In most cases, HOAs cannot issue parking tickets like law enforcement. However, they may use the documented rule enforcement process, including fines for parking violations.

 

Make HOA Parking Rules Enforcement Easier

Homeowners associations must create reasonable HOA parking rules that maintain order and curb appeal. They should also take every measure to inform the community of the rules and adopt a fair enforcement process.

Do you need help with enforcing the rules? Condo Manager is an HOA management software that makes violation management much easier. Dial (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to request a demo!

 

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Neighbors Tree Disputes: Who’s Right Or Wrong?

What should homeowners do if a neighbors tree is overhanging, encroaching, or has caused property damage? Let’s explore how neighborhood trees can cause conflict and what to do about them.

 

Neighbors Tree Disputes in HOAs

Many homeowners plant trees on their property to beautify their yard’s landscaping. Some even plant trees for privacy from neighbors. However, as people do, trees do not follow the governing documents or encroachment laws. They grow tall and wide and do not obey property lines. This is why conflict regarding trees is one of the most common sources of disputes in HOA communities.

 

Property Encroachment

Often, HOA neighbor’s tree disputes involve property encroachment. It’s not uncommon to find overhanging tree branches in the HOA community. This can be a nuisance for neighbors whose view from the front yard might be blocked. Tree overhangs can also pose a security risk, as trespassers can use the overhangs to climb over fences. Overhanging branches can also cause a mess as tree leaves and fruits may fall onto the neighbor’s property.

Encroachment issues may also involve tree roots or the way the tree grows. Let’s say the tree’s trunk or roots grow into the neighbor’s yard or property. Who owns the tree? Moreover, who has the right to eat its fruits and is responsible for tree trimming and maintenance? These can be tricky to navigate as it may vary between states and communities.

 

Property Damage

HOA tree lawA neighbors tree can also cause damage and it can be hard to know who to hold responsible. There are many instances wherein these accidents are deemed as “Acts of God.”

In these cases, the property owner is responsible for repairs and maintenance, even if the tree isn’t theirs. The same applies to homeowners associations. If the HOA’s sidewalks or common elements are damaged by homeowner trees, the HOA is often responsible if it is an act of God.

However, there are times when the tree owner is responsible for property damage. This often happens when the tree owners can’t properly care for the tree to prevent it from causing harm. It also applies when the tree owner knows that their tree poses a threat yet does nothing to remove or prune the tree.

 

The First Question to Ask: Who Owns the Tree?

Before identifying who is liable for various tree-related issues, it’s important to establish who owns the tree. This can shed much light on who may be held responsible for damages, encroachment, or upkeep. It also determines who can prune or cut the tree down.

As such, reviewing the community’s plat or map to determine property lines is essential. If a tree resides on the HOA property, the tree will likely belong to the HOA. Meanwhile, if a tree resides on a resident’s property, the resident is responsible for the tree. This usually applies regardless of who planted the tree in the first place.

Apart from this, the state’s tree law often determines ownership. For instance, California determines ownership based on where the tree trunk stands. If the tree trunk stands wholly on a neighbor’s property, then the neighbor owns the tree.

However, if the tree trunk stands partly on the land of two or more properties, it’s usually deemed a boundary tree. In many cases, all the property owners jointly own the tree. Hence, they are all responsible for caring for the tree. Moreover, if the tree is healthy, no one property owner can remove the tree without the permission of the other owners.

It’s also important to note that, depending on state law, tree roots typically do not determine ownership. Even if the tree’s roots grow well into a resident’s yard, that resident still does not own the tree. Ownership determines where the tree trunk stands, not where the roots grow.

Finally, it’s also crucial to review the governing documents. Special provisions may outline who is responsible for tree maintenance, trimming, and property damage. The HOA may also have a tree policy that the board and the other residents must follow.

 

How to Deal With Neighbors Tree Disputes

What can homeowners and HOAs do when it comes to tree disputes? Let’s address the most common questions and concerns homeowners have.

 

overhanging tree branches in HOA communityCan I Trim a Neighbor’s Trees Overhanging My Property?

In many states, homeowners can trim limbs and branches that exceed property lines. However, homeowners have to trim only up to the boundary. They cannot go onto their neighbor’s property to trim the tree.

Moreover, it’s never a good idea to destroy the neighbor’s tree. This is because harming the tree will likely lead to liability and monetary penalties.

 

Can I Eat the Fruit From the Neighbor’s Tree if It Overhangs My Yard?

It depends on the state. Fruits belong to the tree owner, so it’s best not to pick fruits if the tree does not belong to you. However, state laws and courts are divided on whether or not homeowners can eat their neighbor’s fallen fruit. It’s best to check local laws and ordinances before eating the fruit. Otherwise, you may incur penalties.

 

Who Is Responsible if the Neighbor’s Tree Damaged My Property?

“A neighbor’s tree damaged my fence, what do I do? What are my options if the neighbor’s tree damaged my house?” In these cases, it depends on what caused the damage. The court will likely turn to the reasonable care standard if the tree fell due to a storm or natural disaster.

This means that if the neighbor took reasonable care of the tree and maintained it properly, the neighbor is likely not responsible for the damage. It may be deemed an “act of God.” In this case, the property owner is responsible for repairing the fence or the home. However, if the neighbor did not properly maintain the tree or knew its branches were a threat, they may be liable for the damages.

Apart from natural disasters, growing tree branches and roots can also cause damage. In most cases, the homeowner cannot sue the neighbor for the roots or branches. Hence, trimming the tree’s branches and roots is the safest option to avoid potential damage.

On the other hand, some states do allow homeowners to sue if certain conditions are met. For example, some states allow lawsuits if the invading branches or roots cause serious harm to the homeowner’s property. They may also be able to sue if the encroaching tree is planted and not “wild.” Regardless, it’s best to check state law to verify what you can do if the neighbor’s tree branches or roots cause property damage.

 

What Can I Do if the Neighbor’s Tree Looks Like It Will Fall on My House?

Homeowners are responsible for making reasonable inspections and taking care of trees to ensure safety. If the neighbor does not remove or cut the tree and it causes damage, the neighbor may be liable for it. Make sure to speak to the neighbor about the potential threat. If you do, the law may be able to protect you.

Apart from this, you can call your municipality, as most city ordinances forbid homeowners from maintaining dangerous conditions, including dangerous trees, on their property. The municipality may remove the tree or order the neighbor to remove the tree.

Dangerous trees may also pose a threat to utility companies. If the tree threatens the utility company’s equipment or is a fire hazard, the utility company may help you remove the tree.

Finally, you can file a nuisance claim as the tree may interfere with the use and enjoyment of your property. If the court thinks the tree is a nuisance, they may order the neighbor to remove or prune it. You must file a lawsuit in regular court, but be ready to present evidence that the tree is hazardous.

 

Can I Be Compensated if a Neighbor Killed My Tree?

Yes. Those who hurt, remove, or cut down trees without the owner’s permission are often liable to the owner. The tree owner may ask for compensation or file a lawsuit to enforce that right.

 

Do I Have a Good Nuisance Claim if the Neighbor’s Tree Leaves Blow Into My Yard?

No. Leaves are often considered natural products. Hence, the homeowner cannot file a legal claim against their neighbor even if they damage the property by clogging pipes or gutters.

 

Do I Have to Trim My Tree if the Neighbors Complain About Its Height?

hoa neighbor's tree disputesIt’s best to talk to your neighbors to understand how much trimming would be enough. If they’re not asking for too much, and trimming doesn’t affect the tree’s health or aesthetics, it’s best to consider trimming it.

This can help you avoid conflict with your neighbor and maintain a peaceful community. They may even agree to cover or split the cost of tree trimming. However, hire a professional neighborhood tree service to do the job. A neighbor tree service can ensure the tree is trimmed without affecting its health or visual appeal.

On the other hand, if you do not want to trim the tree, it’s important to review local tree ordinances. Let’s say the tree is hazardous to your neighbor as its branches dangerously overhang their property. You may violate a local ordinance by not trimming the tree in this case.

Apart from this, some laws may impose height limits, view ordinances, or property line limits. Make sure your refusal does not violate any local laws. Otherwise, you may find yourself in court over the tree dispute. It’s also important to check the HOA’s governing documents. The community might have restrictions regarding tree heights or rules about tree trimming that you need to follow.

 

Navigating Tree Disputes

Trees are often a point of tension within private communities. That’s why communities need to know how to deal with disputes involving a neighbors tree. They must understand how ownership works, what they’re responsible for, and what they cannot do.

Are you in need of reliable HOA management software? Condo Manager offers the best tools for self-managed communities and HOA management companies. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or reach out to us online to book a demo!

 

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Does Your State Have A Bad Bug Problem In Spring?

It’s no secret that many states have a bug problem in spring. After all, insects usually die off during the winter and increase in number during the springtime. As such, HOAs must watch out for bug infestations in their common areas during the season.

 

Bug Problem in Spring: The Buggiest States

According to search data, the pesky bug problem in spring is more prevalent in certain states. Let’s examine which states have the most online monthly searches regarding pest control.

  • California. Each month, the residents of California log roughly 47,000 searches for pest control. The predominant insect is bed bugs, with over 17,000 searches. Meanwhile, termites follow closely behind with 10,000 searches, while ants generate 8,000.
  • Texas. Texas logs around 42,000 searches related to pests. Like California, bed bugs are the most concerning as residents look for solutions 15,000 times monthly. In second place are termites, with over 9,000 searches. Meanwhile, ants have become somewhat problematic, with 6,000 monthly searches.
  • Florida. The Sunshine State sees over 33,000 searches a month for pests. However, bed bugs only account for 8,000 searches, unlike the previous states. Termites top off at 12,000 searches, while ants get around 4,000 searches monthly.
  • New York. The residents of New York log 23,000 searches on pests. Like California and Texas, bed bugs are the predominant concern with 8,000 searches. Ants come in second with around 4,700 searches. Finally, there are over 3,000 termite-related queries.
  • Pennsylvania. There are approximately 16,000 queries in Pennsylvania. Bed bugs are in first place with 5,600 searches. After bed bugs, ants have roughly 4,300 pest-related searches. Lastly, termite searches account for 2,500 of those queries.
  • Illinois. Over 15,000 pest-related monthly searches are done in Illinois. Again, bed bugs are the highlight, with roughly 7,000 searches. Ants come at 3,600 searches, while termites generate 1,600 queries.
  • Georgia. The state of Georgia generates roughly 14,000 monthly queries for pest concerns. Like most other states, bed bugs are the primary concern, with over 6,200 searches. They’re followed by termites and ants at 2,500 and 2,100 queries, respectively.

 

The States Each Bug Bugs the Most

Which states do certain insects bother the most? Let’s examine which states are most concerned about bed bugs, termites, mosquitoes, etc.

  • Bed Bugs. These pesky insects are causing the most sleepless nights in California and Texas. They’re a big concern because they cause itching and can travel anywhere by someone who picks them up.
  • Termites. It’s looking like Florida, California, and Texas have the biggest problems with termites. Florida is humid, California has many wooden structures, and Texas has a diverse climate. Termite bites also carry the risk of infection.
  • Mosquitoes. Florida, Texas, and California take the lead regarding mosquito problems. Their climates create a perfect environment for mosquitoes. Moreover, Florida has a lot of standing water in the Chain O’Lakes and the Everglades. Mosquitoes bring many diseases, including Dengue, Zika, and Malaria.
  • Ticks. The most ticked-off states are Texas, California, and New York. They have their large outdoor areas, warm climates, and varied ecosystems to thank for this. Ticks carry and transmit diseases like Tularemia and Lyme Disease.
  • Spiders. These multi-legged creatures are most concerning in California, Texas, and Florida. Their climates are humid, warm, and mild, perfect for various spider species. Spider bites are toxic, causing skin lesions and systemic illnesses.
  • Cockroaches. Roaches are unwelcome, mainly in California, Texas, and New York. They have bustling cities and perfect climates with just the proper humidity to welcome cockroaches. Roaches can cause salmonella, E. coli, and urinary tract infections.
  • Ants. These hard-working insects are the most problematic in California, Texas, and New York. They’re pervasive and come in all kinds of species. Most people also don’t know that ants can transmit food-borne disease organisms, causing salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella.
  • Wasps. California, Texas, and Washington are the most annoyed by wasps. Their stings cause allergic reactions and can be fatal. Along with hornets and bees, these pesky insects account for 72 deaths a year.

Bed bugs are the peskiest pest most Americans want gone. They generate a whopping 154,240 queries monthly. Meanwhile, ants and termites pose a significant concern as they are prolific and damaging to homes.

 

Dealing With a Bug Problem in Spring for HOAs

bug problem in springHomeowners associations are generally in charge of common area maintenance.

Depending on state law and the governing documents, this may also include pest control. This is true whether the association is in charge of a single-family home, townhouse, or condominium community. However, it can be hard to manage the pest population when you don’t know which ones to target.

Therefore, homeowners associations should use the above information to know what to focus on. If your HOA is in a state that has the biggest bed bug problem, then concentrate on bed bug control might be the best idea. Meanwhile, if mosquitoes are the most prolific in your area, using anti-mosquito pest control methods might be wise.

For many HOAs, this means hiring a vendor familiar with the target insect. HOA boards must also learn more about the bug in question. This can help them re-evaluate their common areas to control the infestation. For instance, do the insects breed on still water? Consider covering the community pool when it’s not in use. Do the insects love certain types of flowers or plants? Consider replanting or replacing the plants in your community garden with other plant species.

 

Working With Homeowners

Homeowners associations are often only in charge of maintaining common areas. Hence, individual residents are responsible for pest control in their own homes. They’re also typically in charge of controlling pests in exclusive-use common areas.

However, pests don’t usually live in a vacuum. If a specific pest infests one home, they can easily migrate to other homes or the common areas. As a result, it’s best to educate the community about the habits of these pests, their dangers, how to keep them away, and how to exterminate them. The HOA can also help by letting them know who to call to address the issue.

 

Be Prepared This Season

It’s not uncommon for HOAs to find a bug problem in spring. HOA boards must examine the data and understand which pests will likely pose the biggest problem. Afterward, it’s only a matter of contacting the right vendors to do the job.

Do you need help managing a planned community? Condo Manager is the best tool around for self-managed communities and HOA management companies. Contact us online or call us at (800) 626-1267 to request a demo!

 

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HOA Sidewalk Maintenance: Whose Responsibility Is It?

HOA sidewalk maintenance is often a topic of debate in planned communities. But, who is really responsible for sidewalks? Is it the HOA, the homeowner, or the city? Let’s find out.

 

Who Is Responsible for HOA Sidewalk Maintenance?

Is the sidewalk in front of your house your property? If not, is HOA responsible for sidewalks or is the city responsible for sidewalk repair and maintenance? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this because it varies depending on the circumstances. In fact, HOA sidewalk repair and maintenance can even be shared responsibilities in some communities.

How do you know who repairs sidewalks in a homeowners association? The first thing to do is to check state law and local legislation. In large cities, the city is typically responsible for HOA sidewalk maintenance when they’re located on public roads. Meanwhile, if the road or sidewalk is private and located in a small town or suburb, it’s usually not the city’s responsibility.

In fact, some states have concretized this. For example, in the case of Qian vs. Toll Brothers, Inc., the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that private sidewalks are the association’s responsibility because they’re part of the common areas.

 

Check the Governing Documents

If the city is not responsible for HOA sidewalk maintenance, then the burden falls on either the HOA or the homeowner. To verify which of them holds responsibility, it’s imperative to check the governing documents. More specifically, homeowners and board members should check the community plat or map.

The governing documents may consider sidewalks as part of the community’s common areas. In that case, the association is responsible for the HOA sidewalk maintenance. The board needs to hire vendors for cleaning and snow removal to ensure they’re in good shape.

On the other hand, if the community plat considers sidewalks part of the owner’s separate interest, then the homeowner is in charge of maintaining them. They will need to hire vendors separately or maintain the sidewalks themselves.

 

Cause of Damage and Special Cases

hoa sidewalk repairSometimes, the lines may blur if someone else is directly or indirectly responsible for the damage caused to the sidewalk. For example, let’s say a homeowner planted a tree that damaged the sidewalk as its roots grew.

The sidewalk is considered part of the common areas and is the HOA’s responsibility. However, is the HOA still responsible when the homeowner was the one who planted the tree?

It also depends, again, on state law and the governing documents. Either of these may specifically address damage to HOA or a neighbor’s property. If they don’t, the outcome could change based on many different variables.

For instance, if the homeowner planted the tree on private property, the HOA may have grounds to pass the burden of responsibility to the homeowner. However, if the homeowner planted it in a common area with the board’s approval, it may remain the HOA’s responsibility.

On the other hand, it may not always be that simple. If the HOA left the tree alone for a long time without taking action against the homeowner, the resident may have a defense against the HOA. They could say the HOA sat on their rights for too long and that the homeowner has been prejudiced.

In the end, it will be on a case-to-case basis. If things are unclear, it’s best to consult with an attorney who specializes in these issues.

 

Why Is Clarifying Responsibilities Necessary?

It’s always important for homeowners and board members to clarify maintenance responsibilities in any community. Leaving it ambiguous could cause disputes in the HOA down the road. Moreover, if the residents think the HOA is responsible when it isn’t (or vice versa), the sidewalks can fall into disrepair. This could affect the community’s curb appeal and even compromise safety.

In addition, it’s best to clarify responsibilities to avoid legal liability. For example, let’s say it often snows in the community. An HOA responsible for sidewalks should maintain it regularly. But if the board is misinformed and believes it is the homeowners’ responsibility, they may face legal liability if someone slips and falls.

The same is true in the reverse. If the homeowners are unaware of their responsibility, they may face a surprise lawsuit if an accident happens. They may blame the HOA without knowing they are, indeed, the ones responsible. This could lead to conflict and multiple lawsuits that could have been avoided.

 

Maintaining HOA Sidewalks

If the responsibility falls on the HOA, it’s best to stay on top of sidewalk maintenance. As long as the homeowners association does its duty, it shouldn’t face too much liability if someone has an accident. Maintaining the sidewalks will also keep the homeowners happy.

What can the association do to maintain the sidewalks? Firstly, the board will have to inspect the community’s sidewalks for any cracks, damages, or landscaping issues. They need to address these problems as soon as possible to avoid accidents.

Afterward, the HOA must be proactive and schedule regular maintenance activities. They can hire cleaning services or snow removal vendors to regularly maintain the sidewalks. Moreover, they need to set aside a budget for sidewalk maintenance and adjust the assessments accordingly.

On the other hand, if the responsibility is on the homeowners or it is shared, the HOA should clearly communicate this with the community. The board should send reminders to the homeowners and work closely with them to keep the sidewalks in good shape.

 

Creating a Safe and Harmonious Community

hoa responsible for sidewalksHOA sidewalk maintenance is often a source of conflict in common interest communities. However, HOAs can easily prevent fights from breaking out if they clarify who is responsible for what. This way, everyone is on the same page and knows what their responsibilities are.

Are you an HOA management company or a self-managed homeowners association having trouble with community management? Condo Manager is your key to success. Our HOA management software has all the necessary tools you need to manage a planned community. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to learn more!

 

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How To Remove An HOA Board Member Or Officer?

How do you remove an HOA board member? Homeowners might ask this question when board members aren’t fulfilling their duties. While the process may be challenging, it’s not impossible.

 

Can an HOA Board Member Be Removed?

At first, removing an HOA board member may seem out of the question, especially since the community elected them. However, it may be possible depending on the reason. The governing documents and state law may outline various acceptable grounds for removing HOA officers.

Many governing documents will allow the community members to remove a board member if they fail to meet certain requirements. For example, if someone doesn’t attend the required number of board meetings, the governing documents may allow the community to remove them. However, removal usually requires approval from a majority of the members. At times, it may require approval from all of the members. Hence, it may be difficult to proceed without support.

Also, state law may allow the community to remove HOA board members or officers under certain conditions. For instance, Florida law states that board members are automatically removed from their position if they’re convicted felons or charged with theft or embezzlement of community funds. They’re also automatically disqualified if they’re delinquent in paying HOA fees.

In some states, the community members can even remove a board member without cause. The law will usually allow this if the HOA meets membership approval requirements. However, checking the governing documents and state laws applicable to your HOA before proceeding is best.

 

Who Can Remove an HOA Board Member?

If state law and the governing documents allow, the community members can often remove HOA board members. But who else can remove HOA board members aside from the membership? Can an HOA board remove a board member?

It depends. If the HOA Bylaws or Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) allow it, the rest of the board can remove a board member. They will often do so by a majority vote of the remaining directors. The conditions for removal will, again, depend on state law and the governing documents. However, most HOAs only allow the board to remove officers from their positions.

Apart from this, the court can also remove directors. This usually happens as a response to the director’s dishonest or fraudulent actions within the HOA. Depending on state law, they may also be able to remove the board member if they’re convicted or declared to be of unsound mind.

Finally, if the developer or a designator appoints a director, they can often be removed by the person who appointed them.

 

When Can You Not Remove an HOA Board Member?

There are instances wherein communities cannot remove an HOA board member. For example, the community members might not recall the HOA board member the developer appointed. Community members are also not allowed to remove board members appointed by the court. Usually, only the one who designated them can remove the HOA board officer.

 

How to Remove an HOA Board Member

Is one of the board members in your HOA community unqualified, negligent, confrontational, or causing more harm than good? Depending on the situation, removing the board member from their position may be wise. If this is what you must do, here’s what you must know about removing a board member from an HOA.

 

1. Check State Law and the Governing Documents

Removing HOA board members is a serious action, and homeowners must proceed cautiously. It’s best to consult the governing documents first, as there may be a specific procedure homeowners must follow. Homeowners should also check applicable state laws to avoid potential violations and penalties.

When in doubt, you can ask a lawyer specializing in homeowners associations. They should be able to help you understand the proper grounds for removal and identify the next steps.

 

removing an hoa board member2. Express Your Concern

Homeowners should voice their concerns about the board members before proceeding with the removal. Consider attending a board meeting or writing a letter to the HOA board.

How do I write a letter to remove a board member? First, it’s wise to gather support from fellow homeowners by obtaining signatures for a petition. Make sure to include these signatures in the letter you submit. Also, remember to include the reasons for removal as required by state law or the governing documents.

 

3. Allow the Director to Respond

The director in question should have an opportunity to respond. They may respond by holding a hearing or simply choosing to resign. The board must notify the homeowners properly if the HOA pushes through with a hearing. During the hearing, the board member can be heard and defend themselves.

 

3. Hold a Special Meeting

If the board member is to be removed, homeowners usually need to conduct a special meeting to address the removal. The governing documents should outline how homeowners can hold a special meeting and what notices are necessary. They may also indicate how many votes the HOA needs for the motion to pass.

 

grounds for removal of hoa officers4. Replace the Director

After voting, the homeowners should have a plan to elect a replacement board member. This prevents the HOA from having any vacant positions. Consult the governing documents to ensure you follow the community’s election procedures.

 

Difficult, But Sometimes Necessary

HOA board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the community’s best interest. However, not all board members align themselves with the HOA’s goals. Some are antagonistic, self-serving, negligent, or even downright dishonest. If peaceful resolutions fail, the community may need to remove an HOA board member.

Whether you’re a self-managed HOA or an HOA management company, it can be hard to oversee a community without the right tools. That’s where HOA management software like Condo Manager can come in. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to book a demo!

 

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Should You Or Should You Not Have An HOA Pool Lifeguard?

Is hiring an HOA pool lifeguard necessary for safety? Homeowners associations must act in the residents’ best interest. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean every community with a pool needs one. HOAs must consider several factors before they hire an HOA pool lifeguard.

 

Should You Hire an HOA Pool Lifeguard?

Do HOA pools have to have lifeguards? It often depends on the specific circumstances of the community. A dedicated lifeguard has its pros and cons. Before your community rushes to make a decision, consider these factors first.

 

1. Safety

Drowning is always a big problem when it comes to communities with pools. After all, it’s one of the leading causes of death for young children. That’s why it may be wise for communities with families to hire an HOA pool lifeguard.

A lifeguard can patrol the perimeter, prevent accidents, and save swimmers in case of an emergency. This protects the members from drowning. It also shields the HOA from liability.

 

2. Training and Certification

An HOA pool lifeguard has to have proper training and certification. Don’t hire someone who claims to be a lifeguard without the proper credentials. Otherwise, you may face liability down the road if a problem arises.

If you’re hiring lifeguards through a vendor, ask the vendor for the lifeguard’s certification. The same is true if you choose to employ an independent lifeguard.

 

3. Insurance

It’s best to hire a lifeguard with proper insurance coverage. This can keep the homeowners association from encountering legal trouble if something happens.

Often, vendors that provide lifeguards do have insurance coverage. If you hire through a vendor, chances are they’ll be able to give you indemnification when issues occur. However, if you choose to hire independent lifeguards, seek separate lifeguard insurance. It may cost more, but it’ll save you from trouble later on.

 

4. Cost

Hiring an HOA pool lifeguard may be the best option in some cases. However, certified lifeguards are often quite expensive. This could raise the community’s assessments and increase the residents’ financial burden.

Professionally trained lifeguards for HOAs are also not always available. They may be quite hard to find. Even if you do find one, chances are they charge a high price. You might even be tempted to hire an uncertified lifeguard instead.

When in doubt, only hire a lifeguard if the budget can accommodate it. Don’t hire someone untrained or uncertified, as that could cause more problems down the road. Furthermore, remember to factor in not only the cost of the lifeguard’s compensation but also the cost of insurance, if any.

 

5. Liability

hoa pool attendantAn HOA pool lifeguard is supposed to save swimmers when they drown. However, if the lifeguard doesn’t have the right training or skills to do so, they might fail at this very task. The HOA may face liability if it hires a lifeguard with no certification. That’s why it’s important to hire someone with training.

Moreover, it’s best to consult with an HOA attorney about potential risks involving lifeguards. Does your association need to hire one? Or is it best to forego the lifeguard? Some residents may take legal action if an accident happens. Consult with your attorney to ensure the HOA is prepared for potential lawsuits.

 

6. Size of Community

If your HOA consists of only a few homes, a lifeguard may be unnecessary. Smaller communities are often easier to manage and pose fewer safety risks. However, if your HOA has a large population, it may be worth considering. Larger communities are more difficult to manage. It’s not easy to ensure the safety of all residents without one.

 

7. Legal Requirements

Some states may require the presence of lifeguards under certain conditions. Review the relevant local and state laws with your attorney to ensure compliance. You don’t want to get into legal trouble because you didn’t hire a lifeguard when you were supposed to.

Moreover, remember to review the community’s governing documents. If the CC&Rs or Bylaws require a lifeguard, the HOA board must hire one.

 

8. Enforcement of Pool Rules

Most communities will have pool rules. These could include implementing pool hours, age restrictions, and rules on swimming alone. However, enforcing these rules is difficult as the board members aren’t always stationed around the pool.

This is where an HOA pool lifeguard can come in handy. These lifeguards can serve as authority figures who can enforce these rules. The residents are less likely to commit violations when someone is watching.

 

What if the HOA Cannot Afford a Lifeguard?

If the association can’t afford to hire a lifeguard, there are alternative measures the board can take to ensure safety.

 

1. Hire a Pool Attendant

The board may consider hiring an HOA pool attendant instead of a lifeguard. These attendants may not have the right training to jump in and save lives when someone drowns. However, they can keep an eye on pool activities and keep it clean.

With a pool attendant, residents and their guests can easily find what they need. They know who to turn to when they have questions. Moreover, the pool attendant can enforce the pool rules in place of the lifeguard.

 

2. Post Clear Signs

Most state laws and governing documents require the HOA to post clear signs around pools. These can include signs indicating pool rules and usage hours. Post them in a visible spot and make them easy to read. This can keep the HOA from facing liability later on.

These requirements may be in place whether or not you have a lifeguard. However, signs become even more vital when there’s no lifeguard. Apart from posting the pool rules, post signs indicating no lifeguard is on duty.

 

3. Put Flotation Devices Nearby

It’s best to put flotation devices near the water. This can help save the life of a swimmer in case of emergencies. It can make a huge difference in terms of pool safety.

 

4. Tighten Security

do hoa pools have to have lifeguardsConsider adding lockable gates around the area if your HOA has a pool. This can help the board better regulate pool hours. Make sure to lock the gates during hours when the pool cannot be used. Also, remember to lock the gates when it’s not safe to use the pool, such as during the winter or when there’s an impending thunderstorm or natural disaster.

Alternatively, the HOA can also provide keys or passcodes to gain access to the pool. The HOA can limit the number of people a passcode allows inside the pool area. This can help tighten security and ensure safety.

 

5. Provide Waivers

Residents should sign waivers annually to ensure they understand the risks of swimming in an unattended HOA pool. This can help the HOA avoid liability if they choose not to hire a lifeguard. Residents may also be more cautious knowing they signed a waiver beforehand.

 

A Careful Decision

The choice to hire or not can come with its pros and cons — and both can lead to liability in some cases. That’s why homeowners associations must carefully consider all these factors before hiring an HOA pool lifeguard.

Condo Manager is an industry-leading HOA management software that can help both management companies and self-managed communities. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to book a demo!

 

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HOA Disaster Management: Preparing For The Worst

HOA disaster management is a vital part of running a community. The board has to create an emergency plan in case natural disasters or calamities strike. Doing so can help the community navigate the aftermath and quickly get back on its feet.

 

How to Create an HOA Disaster Management Plan

Natural disasters come and go every year. They can come in small calamities like thunderstorms or larger ones like tornadoes and blazing wildfires.

The most common ones in the United States come in the form of severe thunderstorms. However, certain parts of the country are more prone to specific disasters than others. For example, Alaska has seen the strongest earthquakes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

Regardless of which calamities are more likely to hit your location, they are nearly impossible to prevent. Nonetheless, there are ways HOAs can prepare for them. Here’s how to prepare for natural disasters in HOA communities and what to do when they strike.

 

1. Identify Potential Disasters

Part of your HOA emergency preparedness plan should be identifying potential disasters. This means assessing what kind of emergencies will likely impact your community based on location.

For instance, if the HOA is located in a wildfire-prone area, the community must specifically have an HOA disaster management plan for wildfires. Meanwhile, locations prone to hurricanes should have an HOA hurricane preparedness plan.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean homeowners associations should not create plans for rarer disasters. They should still plan for threats that are less common but still possible. For example, HOAs should also prepare for pandemics or terrorist attacks. While these disasters don’t always happen, the community won’t be left completely vulnerable in case they do.

 

2. Consider the Community’s Age and Languages

Some communities primarily comprise young families, while others have more elderly members. Remember to consider the age and demographic of the community members and factor them into the community disaster plan. For example, if the community mostly comprises older people, it’s best to think about mobility and accessibility issues.

Apart from this, it’s vital to consider the languages the community speaks. If the community is diverse, the HOA should consider publishing the HOA disaster management plan in different languages.

 

3. Create an Emergency Plan

Emergency Response PlanOnce the community has identified the potential threats, the HOA board should create various disaster emergency plans. It should contain all the necessary plans, including evacuation, recovery, and insurance policies.

Moreover, the board members should clearly outline their responsibilities during the emergency. This will allow all the residents to understand the board’s role during a disaster. It should also help the community understand what to do before, during, and after the calamity.

 

4. Communicate the Plan to the Members

The community members must be aware of the HOA’s disaster management plan. Otherwise, the residents may not know what to do during an emergency.

To do this, the board should organize meetings to educate the members. They should also disseminate the information through the HOA website and newsletter. They can also send them emergency plans through email or post them on social media.

Additionally, larger communities with ample funds may consider using electronic emergency alert systems. These systems can send emergency texts and emails to residents about emergencies. This keeps residents informed of emergencies as they happen. Just make sure to keep the contact list updated.

 

5. Inspect the HOA

Disasters might not be preventable, but the degree of property damage can be mitigated. The HOA must regularly inspect the association’s equipment and common areas to ensure they’re in proper working condition. Doing so can minimize injury and further damage.

Moreover, doing this due diligence allows the HOA to reduce legal liability. Many homeowners file lawsuits against their homeowners association on the grounds of negligence. However, they may be unable to accuse the HOA if the board regularly conducts community inspections.

 

6. Plan for Repairs

Natural disasters bring damage to community common areas and equipment. The HOA must be prepared to shoulder the cost of repairs, reconstruction, and replacements. The board must conduct a proper reserve study and ensure the reserves are well funded. This reduces the community’s financial burden and limits unwanted special assessments.

 

7. Build a Budget

disaster fundsEmergencies cost a lot in repairs and replacement projects. Therefore, the board should set aside funds as part of the community budget to account for potential disasters. Moreover, the board should answer a few key questions related to budgeting, including:

  • When should the HOA provide financial assistance to its members?
  • Do the HOA fees cover community amenity repairs and replacements?
  • What is the repair and replacement process after a disaster?
  • How will the HOA earn enough money to cover the emergency budget?
  • Which items should the HOA prioritize during an emergency?

 

What to Include in an HOA Emergency Plan

An HOA disaster management plan can be difficult to create. There are too many things to prepare for and write down. However, there are some key issues that every HOA must address and include in their emergency plan.

 

1. Emergency Contact List

Every homeowners association should have a list of contacts for emergencies. This helps the residents know who to call during certain situations. Consider including the following:

  • HOA point persons, including the HOA manager, board members, and maintenance staff
  • Local authorities
  • Nearby medical facilities
  • CERTs or community emergency response teams
  • Vendors
  • HOA attorneys or law firm representatives
  • Insurance agents
  • Homeowner emergency contact information

Make sure to include their mobile and landline numbers. The HOA should also include alternative communication methods if there is no reception during the emergency. For instance, the board can also include information about communicating with handheld radios.

 

2. Area Maps

The residents of an HOA should know where to head in case of emergency. Thus, including a map of the area and highlighting designated meeting places is vital.

The board can also consult local authorities to identify the safest meeting places. Moreover, the HOA should include where to find shut-off points for electricity, water, and gas to prevent further injury and destruction.

 

3. Evacuation Plan

Each HOA disaster management plan must include an evacuation plan. It should include specific directions and conditions wherein an evacuation is necessary. The plan should include nearby shelters, stores, and generator-powered gas stations. Moreover, they should outline how HOA members will be accounted for.

 

4. Recovery and Response Plans

Recovery and Response PlansOnce it’s safe, the HOA should assess the damage to the community as soon as possible. As such, the community must plan how to recover and rebuild the neighborhood.

The HOA must have plans for displaced residents. Moreover, it must indicate when and how residents can enter damaged homes to salvage their valuables. The HOA must also outline the professional inspections required for residents to return home.

Finally, the association must have arrangements with partner engineers, contractors, vendors, and architects to help the community rebuild. They should also be in contact with a professional debris management company to clear scattered objects.

 

5. Insurance Policies

Any responsible HOA board will have the proper insurance policies to help the community rebuild after a disaster. This reduces the community’s financial burden when the HOA needs major repairs.

Remember to check the community’s insurance policies and ensure they’re updated. Keep a copy of them securely or reproduce them digitally for safekeeping. Moreover, remember to write down the claiming process so the HOA can file insurance claims quickly.

 

Don’t Neglect Emergency Planning

Calamities can strike at any time. They do not care about what an HOA is going through physically or financially. Hence, it’s best to stay prepared and draft an HOA disaster management plan before things get ugly.

It can be hard for the board to prepare for disasters and juggle community responsibilities. Why not consider HOA management software like Condo Manager to lift some of the burden? Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to schedule a demo!

 

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