CIC Info Bytes


CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates that provide educational and engagement opportunities to help your community thrive!  Subscribe to receive CIC Info Bytes updates by emailJoin us on Reddit at r/HOA.

ISSUE # 81

CIC Info Bytes 12/21/23

CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates providing educational and engagement opportunities that help your community thrive!  Please forward and share this newsletter with your peers, neighbors and colleagues so they can connect and joinOur goal is to curate content that provides a robust basis for contextual understanding to support practical takeaways for you and your association.  Please consider following us on Twitter and Reddit. 

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CIC Info Bytes Newsletter 12/21/23 - PRINT EDITION


We've made our list and checked it twice!

CAI is always NAUGHTY.  Why not nice?

Does your association need advice?

Don't roll the dice!

Think thrice!


CAI and its industry LACkies are coming for your legislators!

2023 Naughty List

Want to send a message?  Email KPT attorneys and let them know your thoughts.

Dear KPT Attorneys,

Your most recent blog post is a head-scratcher.  Why does the industry you represent (that's the community association business industry helmed by CAI) consistently provide a false narrative about exactly who you represent?  Your HOA profit center revolves around protracted client engagement that comes from liens, litigation and foreclosure.

Given the excellent reporting by The Charlotte Observer and The Sun Sentinel, it appears that legislators not only listened to your input, but also acted on it.  Else, bills such as HB542 and HB311 wouldn't have been picked apart and subsequently relegated to yet another topical "review" committee. Why is telling the truth so difficult?  Do blog posts like yours inure homeowners to your cause and/or increase your business?

Attorneys like yourselves work from the sidelines while homeowners -- the folks paying assessments, fines and legal fees and even losing their homes (!) -- are firmly on the front line trying to make sense of the overly permissive regulatory environment that provides ample opportunity for predatory practices.  The community association business industry -- of which you are decidedly a part -- has proven it will stop at almost nothing to keep its profit going by shamelessly advocating for itself while claiming to represent the homeowners whose existence is reduced to a revenue stream ready to be maximized.  Claiming that you're being ignored by legislators evidences a lack of authenticity one might otherwise expect from a toddler.  The very least you can do is accept a modicum of responsibility for your role in CAI's business-centric advocacy that continues to sideline progressive homeowner-focused legislation. 

Here’s the less than transparent reality about WSCAI’s LAC (that’s Washington State CAI’s Legislative Action Committee):

“CAI believes crafting regulation should always take place in an open and transparent manner, providing the opportunity for comment by all interested parties.”

“The LAC meetings are not open meetings, given the time-sensitive and confidential nature of the discussions.”

Those who engage will discover that the LAC is dedicated to the outcomes CAI wants. 

2023 Community Association Naughty List

VIEW: 2023 “State of the Industry” Survey results

P.S.  Don't forget to mention the Community Associations Institute (CAI)’s role driving the industry.  Major threat?  You decide!

P.P.S.  Please share this message with your friends and neighbors!


Colorado DORA HOA Homeowners' Rights' Task Force — October 24, 2023

Colorado DORA HOA Homeowners' Rights' Task Force — November 21, 2023

Colorado DORA HOA Homeowners' Rights' Task Force — December 20, 2023

Colorado DORA Notifications

Trials and Tribulations of a Volunteer Director - Part VI

PART VI: 2023 Recap + 2024 Preview


Our Board Directors & Officers page includes a link to The Real Qualifications Needed On Your Board Of DirectorsGolden concepts for Board members (directors):

Board directors must be able to think for themselves to ensure they are carrying out their fiduciary duty of care and loyalty…

The ability to tactfully debate against the group and ask tough questions is an art-form...

The ability to make high quality decisions based on thoughtful deliberation and due diligence instead of impulsiveness…

Paula Franzese’s timeless quote from her 2005 journal article Privatization and Its Discontents: Common Interest Communities and the Rise of Government for "the Nice":

"The problem is that good governance, whether in the public or private sector, depends on the initiative and leadership of good people. Having the time and the desire to serve is not the same as having the common sense, judgment, and character to serve well. Lapses in the vetting process, coupled with the absence of any competition for the job, can produce "governors" who, at best, are uninspired and, at worst, draconian (if not morally deficient) in approach."


Software does not replace human beings.  Software might help you accomplish specific tasks, but if you're not paying a human being to do XYZ that means one of two things: XYZ isn't getting done -OR- XYZ is being handled by a volunteer.

 There's no 'EASY' button for community association operations and governance, BUT adopting technology can improve access, communication, and so much more.  Just remember that compound and complex ideas require meetings, not email.


All 50 states and the District of Columbia need improved statutes.  Individual associations can and do change based on advocacy from even one homeowner, but 350,000+ associations will not all adapt of their own volition.


Many homeowners suffer from acute cost amnesia which leads to an unwillingness to accept the cost of operating a community association.  Property insurance is expensive.   Snow removal (even in the absence of snow) is expensive.  Roofing is expensive.  

Community association homeowners are responsible for a number of expenses they might otherwise defer or avoid entirely if the decision was entirely their own.  Moreover, community associations probably aren’t going bankrupt.


We’re not being billed hourly.  >>> YES.  YOU.  ARE. <<<   Read Great Expectations.

While not obvious to many homeowners, management companies offer consulting.  Portfolio management is a mixture of “production support” (software parlance) and other forms of consulting.  Unlike consulting operations in other business verticals, management companies often offer a fixed fee for a nebulous minimum level of service and then charge fixed and/or hourly rates for additional service.  That’s why CAI advertises helping management companies “identify untapped revenue sources.”  Your association IS that revenue source.  

The cost of your fixed price management service contract is a calculation of hours by the management company. If you're paying $800/month, you’re probably getting 4-5 hours of service on a monthly basis.  Associations that pay $5,000 may only be getting 15 to 20 hours of service (with a bit of additional time for bookkeeping).

Whatever service exceeds the unadvertised hourly threshold gets pushed to the next month and the next month and so on.  That's why items that seem like they should take a week or two can take months or even years

WHY is this so important to understand?  Because terrible service is expensive and 5 to 20 hours of service every month only goes so far.



House Bill 542 as originally drafted would have prevented HOAs from foreclosing on homes for debts of less than $2,500. This provision would have put North Carolina in line with several other states - including Georgia, California and Arizona - that have passed laws to prevent HOAs from foreclosing over tiny amounts.

A later version of the bill would have prohibited nonjudicial foreclosures, a relatively quick and easy way for HOAs to foreclose on homeowners. In nonjudicial foreclosures, HOAs get the approval to foreclose from a court clerk rather than a judge. 

After appeals from the HOA lobby, those provisions were stripped away. In July and August, leaders of the HOA industry “vigorously pursued improvements to the legislation to minimize the damage” the bill would have done to associations, the industry’s legislative action committee reported. 

The latest version of the bill no longer sets a minimum dollar amount for foreclosure and no longer bars nonjudicial foreclosures. But it would require HOAs to wait until an account is delinquent 180 days — twice the current waiting period — before moving to foreclose.

…The legislative action committee for the CAI’s North Carolina chapter has opposed even that pared-down iteration of the bill. After the Senate passed that version in September, the committee asked CAI members to urge House members to hold the bill for further study, the committee reported.

…The same thing happened to House Bill 311, homeowner advocates say. Its original version would have set up a division within the state attorney general’s office to oversee HOAs. But after lobbying by CAI, the HOA advocacy group, that provision was removed from the bill.

When North Carolina HOAs want to block or pass legislation, they often get their way — Ames Alexander | The Charlotte Observer | December 14, 2023


The history of ongoing concerns with community associations is telling.  Here’s 300 pages of documentation (!) from a single legislative presentation in 2008.

Select Committee on Condominiums and Homeowners Association Governance Packet — Florida House of Representatives | February 9, 2008

Jackson, a 49-year-old registered nurse, bought her one-bedroom condominium in 2007. For years, she said, she never failed to pay her HOA dues. 

Her ordeal began in July 2018 when she got a notice from her HOA, the 400 Queens Road Condominium Association, that the heating and air conditioning unit on the balcony of her fourth floor condo was dripping onto the balcony below hers, she said. 

An air conditioning contractor checked the unit and concluded it was working properly. A plumber hired by the HOA subsequently determined that the problem appeared to be in a copper drain line that the association was supposed to maintain at the 1960s-era complex, a January 2019 invoice from the plumber shows. 

But starting in October 2018, the HOA began fining Jackson $100 a day for having “improper drainage,” according to billing records. 

In March 2019, the HOA’s plumber fixed the problem. But for more than a month after that, the HOA’s $100-a-day fines continued for reasons Jackson doesn’t understand. The total eventually climbed above $18,000, the records show.

As fines over leak mounted, Charlotte HOA member fought back — Ames Alexander | The Charlotte Observer | December 14, 2023

..Homeowners need accessible remedies when associations violate the law. Homeowners shouldn’t have to shell out for lawyers to hold boards accountable. The law should mandate electronic record keeping by HOAs, open to owners. It should provide for executive and judicial remedies to overcome willful nondisclosure and other misconduct by boards…

For NC homeowners, 2 important things are lacking in our state’s state HOA laws — Timothy Hinds | The Charlotte Observer | December 19, 2023

My hoa has a rule that you can not park in your driveway. I had to buy a new car so it fits in my garage. I see another neighbor put up this sign (which I love) and I think we can get a lot of petitioners.


That was a rule in our community when we first moved in, and like you, we had to purchase a new vehicle that fit in the garage. 

After a couple of years, there was a vote to change it, so we were allowed to park in our driveway, but they substituted it for not allowing street parking! This caused another set of issues. 

It was changed again to allow daytime parking on the street, but no overnight street parking. Those overnight hours were between 11 pm and 6 am. So then, we actually had a neighbor tell their guest to park in front of OUR house so WE would receive the violation letter even though it wasn’t our car! Thank goodness we had security cameras to prove it. 

All of this makes it really difficult to live peacefully. After nine years of living with chaos and uncertainty, not to mention selective enforcement, we FINALLY sold the home we loved.  Life is not supposed to be this difficult!

All I Want for Christmas — r/HOA | December 11, 2023 

All I Want for Christmas 2023 HOA Edition

…“Defendants knowingly told the SBA and participating lenders that they were qualified entities to receive PPP loans, even though they are all not-for-profit homeowners associations, condominium associations, or country clubs that do not qualify as qualified entities under Congress’s act, according to the lawsuit. “They also all knowingly misrepresented their need for these loans.”

Riner’s complaint also argues there was a good reason Congress excluded clubs —because unlike businesses struggling during the pandemic, associations can file property liens for members who don’t pay dues.

“Defendants’ members are particularly wealthy, often with net worth of tens of millions of dollars, and it would not have been a hardship to raise their assessments and/or dues and fees in order to continue operations even assuming the highly doubtful proposition that the pandemic represented a hardship on these defendants,” the suit contends…

Dozens of Florida country clubs and HOA's are being sued over alleged PPP fraud — Tony Winton  | WLRN | December 19, 2023

The Pickleball Courts Outside Our Townhouse Are TOO LOUD! — Jill Terreri Ramos | NYT | December 09, 2023

The Pickleball Courts Outside Our Townhouse Are TOO LOUD!

View more foreclosure coverage in Issues# 80, 78, 75, 74, 72 and 71.

..Lawyers who represent homeowners in such cases say HOA foreclosures are ripe for abuse because just about anyone with a few thousand dollars can become the high bidder on a house — and then try to take advantage of owners.

Many HOA foreclosure homes are sold for less than $10,000, Charlotte attorney James Galvin noted. And at that price, schemers can sometimes make a profit by persuading the original homeowner to pay them more than what they paid or bid for the house. 

“You can’t extract $100,000 from the typical homeowner,” Galvin said. “But you can extract $5,000 or $10,000 or $20,000”…

Deceit, rigged bids and extortion: How HOA foreclosures can open the door to predators — Ames Alexander | The Charlotte Observer | December 14, 2023


In a first-of-its-kind investigation, the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer found that HOAs here have filed to foreclose in more than 5,500 cases since 2018, against owners of houses, condominiums and time shares. In more than 600 cases, owners lost their property or time-share stakes.

Homes foreclosed by NC HOAs, sometimes for small debts — Ames Alexander and David Raynor | The Charlotte Observer | December 14, 2023

Can an HOA sell your home? What NC law says, and how to challenge foreclosures — Mary Ramsey | The Charlotte Observer | December 14, 2023


Home foreclosures in the U.S. dropped last month, but financial experts don't expect the numbers to continue in that direction in the new year…

There were 32,120 U.S. properties at some point in the foreclosure process in November, down 7 percent from October, according to ATTOM, which compiles land, property and real estate data. Overall, completed foreclosures were down 32 percent from last year, with lenders repossessing 2,558 properties in November.

Some states had far higher foreclosure numbers than others. Delaware, Maryland and Ohio had the highest rates of completed foreclosures, while Bakersfield, California, and Cleveland, Ohio, were the two metropolitan areas with the highest rates…

The highest rates of foreclosure filings were in Texas, California and Florida, with each state having somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000. More than 20,000 properties started the foreclosure process in November, marking a 4 percent decline from last month but an 8 percent jump from a year ago…

Home Foreclosures Surge in These 3 States — Mary Ramsey | Newsweek | December 14, 2023

At the Silver Coast Citadel, an investment group has control of the building. The owners who live there feel stuck…

South Shore Condo Owners Allege Hostile Takeover of Building — Emeline Posner | South Side Weekly | July 24, 2023

Share of Homes Built in Community Associations Edges Down Again — Ashok Chaluvadi | Eye on Housing | December 07, 2023

Share of Homes Built in Community Associations Edges Down Again

UPDATE: 105% increase in fees — _mahbloy | r/HOA | December 11, 2023


A thoughtful article, BUT empathy is NOT a balancing factor for the realities of what it costs to operate your community association. The association is required to carry insurance and to provide certain services and to maintain, repair and replace the common elements, etc.  Those requirements should drive the budget.

PERHAPS empathy is a way of framing an approach to communicating changes in the budget or to considering how to fund an expensive project (perhaps offering an amortized long-term loan option instead of an up front payment), but that seems like empathy's upper limit.  Empathy is perhaps best summarized by "I'm a member, too.  My assessments are increasing along with everyone else."

"It’s about ensuring the financial stability of the association while empathetically considering the community's needs and capabilities."

Raising HOA Dues: A Balanced and Fair Approach — Jessica Allen | Neighborhood.Online | November 14, 2023

Over 150 condominium owners are calling for the removal of the owners association board of one of Dallas’ largest condo complexes after its directors bid millions on a next door property without the approval or knowledge of many owners.

In an August 15 letter obtained by The Dallas Morning News, an attorney from Riddle & Williams P.C., a firm retained by two owners fed up with the condo’s board, notified the board and property management that 156 owners, 26.2% of the complex, signed a petition to hold a special meeting to remove the board. The letter said owners will vote to remove each board member individually during an upcoming meeting, once all signatures are verified and a date is set.

“The stated purpose of the Special Meeting is for the removal of Board members,” Attorney Julie Dupont wrote in the letter. “This vote could potentially lead to the removal of all or a majority of the Board.”...

One of Dallas’ largest condo boards faces removal vote; bid on property at issue — Jason Beeferman | The Dallas Morning News | August 21, 2023

…An inspection revealed a building containing units 1561 to 1575 on Swallow Drive was not safe. Residents said they received a letter around 3 Tuesday afternoon and had to be gone by 6 that evening. 

The letter came from the community manager, on behalf of Brentwood Forest Condominium Association and Community Property Management, which took over the property this year.

The letter said there were plumbing issues at the building a couple of weeks ago and there were cracks in the back foundation wall of the building…

Residents at Brentwood condo complex vacated with sudden notice — Justina Coronel | KSDK | October 19, 2023

My tenant had to sleep in his car after his condo association abruptly kicked him out… — Emma Crabtree | The US Sun | October 26, 2023

A little over a month after the Globe published a story about the Federal National Mortgage Association‘s condominium blacklist, the mortgage purchasing giant also known as “Fannie Mae” announced Thursday that it will make its secret “Condo Unavailable Projects and Phases Report” public. 

Previously, the information was available only to lenders, who were sent a spreadsheet with the header: “Fannie Mae Confidential and Proprietary — Subject to Non-Disclosure Obligations.”...

Fannie Mae to make its secret condo blacklist public

— Jim Morrison | The Boston Globe | December 07, 2023

2023 Profile of the Legal Profession — American Bar Association | November 30, 2023

Coverage: 1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25


New York City opens 8,500 acres of parking lots to solar canopies — Michelle Lewis | Electrek | December 08, 2023

The Cost of Net Zero

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation Tuesday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s existing buildings as part of its goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Seattle City Council unanimously passes emission standards for existing buildings — Staff | KING 5 | December 13, 2023


Do your homework before switching to a heat pump!

“A problem is that electricity from the grid costs 32 euro cents ($0.35) per kWh, whereas gas costs about 9 euro cents per kWh, so it's not guaranteed that the expense of installing a heat pump will pay for itself,” research co-author, Ray Galvin, told pv magazine. “Another step is to add rooftop photovoltaics, which reduces the energy coming into the building even more, and provides more or less free electricity for the times when the sun is shining and the heat pump is pumping.”

The researchers also explained that a change in heating patterns is crucial for the advice of a household in terms of energy costs. “The most usual practice in the UK is to base the estimate on existing bills or the heating requirement stated on the dwelling Energy Performance Certificate,” they stressed. “In either case this heat demand is for the heating pattern with the old heating system, leading to an underestimate of the electricity demand for the heat pump.”

Cambridge scientists recommend careful cost assessment before switching to heat pumps — Lior Kahana | PV Magazine | December 13, 2023


In a cavernous theater lit up with the green shapes of camels and palms at COP28 in Dubai, ecologist Thomas Crowther, former chief scientific adviser for the United Nations’ Trillion Trees Campaign, was doing something he never would have expected a few years ago: begging environmental ministers to stop planting so many trees.

Mass plantations are not the environmental solution they’re purported to be, Crowther argued when he took the floor on December 9 for one of the summit’s “Nature Day” events. The potential of newly created forests to draw down carbon is often overstated. They can be harmful to biodiversity. Above all, they are really damaging when used, as they often are, as avoidance offsets— “as an excuse to avoid cutting emissions,” Crowther said…

Stop Planting Trees, Says Guy Who Inspired World to Plant a Trillion Trees — Alec Luhn | WIRED | December 13, 2023


Big Oil faces a tiny foe on the streets of Asia and Africa. The noisy, noxious vehicles that run on two and three wheels, carrying billions of people daily, are quietly going electric — in turn knocking down oil demand by one million barrels a day this year.

In Kenya and Rwanda, dozens of start-ups are vying to replace oil-guzzling motorcycle taxis with battery-powered ones. In India, more than half of all new three-wheeled vehicles sold and registered this year were battery-operated. Indonesia and Thailand are also encouraging electrification of motorcycle taxis…

Tiny Electric Vehicles Pack a Bigger Climate Punch Than Cars — Somini Sengupta, Abdi Latif Dahir, Alex Travelli and Clifford Krauss | NYT | 12/09/23

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

The department of housing and urban development is the agency responsible, one would imagine, for housing and urban development. Over the past two decades, America has done far too little urban development—and far too little suburban and rural development as well. The ensuing housing shortage has led to rising rents, a surge in homelessness, a decline in people’s ability to move for a relationship or a job, and much general misery. Yet the response from the federal government has been to do pretty much nothing.

What is happening with housing might not seem as dramatic. But that is only because the crisis has been brewing more slowly. Despite the unemployment rate sitting at record lows and household wealth sitting at record highs this year, an also-record number of Americans were experiencing homelessness: 653,104 in just one night this January…

Why Isn’t the Government Doing More About the Housing Crisis? — Annie Lowrey | The Atlantic | December 17, 2023


Record (but unlikely peak) homelessness in the United States:

Homelessness in the U.S. jumped to record level in 2023, government says — April Rubin | Axios | December 15, 2023


America is short around 3.2 million homes, a big reason why prices are still high…

America's housing shortage explained in one chart — Sami Sparber | Axios | December 16, 2023

Homelessness in the U.S. jumped to record level in 2023, government says
America's housing shortage explained in one chart

Canada is leaning from the past to help protect the future:

[The Canadian]  government is moving forward with a catalog of pre-approved home designs to reduce the cost and time it takes to build housing. The idea dates back to the 1940s when thousands of soldiers returned from the Second World War and needed a place to live.

“We are living in a housing crisis, but it’s not the first time Canada’s been here,” said Housing Minister Sean Fraser at a news conference on Tuesday.

…The new program will differ from the wartime strategy in some key ways, however…Fraser said his government is seeking designs that add density, such as multiplexes, mid-rises, seniors’ homes, student housing, garden suites and lane-way homes. The catalog will feature multiple designs in each category to give communities flexibility…

Canada Revives Wartime Home Strategy to Address Housing Crisis — Laura Dhillon Kane | Bloomberg | December 12, 2023


Homelessness is an American tragedy, but it’s not hopeless. In a recent column, I explored how Houston has become a national model by reducing homelessness by more than 60 percent.

One takeaway is that homelessness, above all, reflects a shortage of cheap housing. So I’m intrigued by an approach to providing such housing that’s gaining ground around the country. It’s an idea so old, it seems new: converting single-family houses to rooming houses.

Rooming houses, boardinghouses or single room occupancy (S.R.O.) hotels used to be ubiquitous. President Thomas Jefferson stayed in a boardinghouse for several months before moving into the White House. At the seedier end, S.R.O.s largely disappeared over the past half-century, partly because of zoning and economic development projects…

The Old New Way to Provide Cheap Housing — Nicholas Kristof | NYT | December 09, 2023

Infrastructure + Insurance

Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968 as a way for the federal government to bear a risk that private companies wouldn’t. Since then, Uncle Sam has backed the vast majority of flood insurance policies in the United States.

Yet it is impossible to buy or renew such plans directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, which administers the program. Instead, the government relies upon a network of private companies to sell and service its policies — and hands them nearly one-third of the premiums the program brings in. Lately, that’s come to almost $1 billion a year.

There's a Billion-Dollar Industry Between You and FEMA’s Flood Insurance — Tik Root | Gizmodo | December 12, 2023


California is learning that property insurance isn’t a one-way street.

When he campaigned to be California’s insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara warned about the risk of climate change. Insurers agreed, so they tried to jack up rates and cut back on coverage.

When Lara blocked their rate increases, insurers, including Allstate, State Farm and Farmers Insurance, stopped or restricted new home-insurance business. That put Lara in the middle of the biggest insurance crisis in the country.

“For many Californians, this is an insurance emergency,” Lara told state legislators this week. 

…With his pledge to “defend all Californians from the threat of climate change” seemingly in tatters, the 49-year-old regulator is trying to make deals to bring insurers back to the state. 

The Man at the Center of America’s Biggest Insurance Crisis — Jean Eaglesham | WSJ | December 15, 2023

Policies Issued by California's Fair Plan 2018 to 2023

Seeing is believing.  Climate change is real and it’s causing chaos.

Climate Abandonment Areas Webinar Recording | Climate Abandonment Areas Slide Deck — First Street Foundation | December 19, 2023

45 Iona Street in Staten Island

Click “see more dates” to see changes at the corner of Iona Street in Staten Island

Housing Market

...Before the Fed started raising rates, a person with a monthly housing budget of $2,000 could have bought a home valued at more than $400,000. Today, that same buyer would need to find a home valued at $295,000 or less…

The Math for Buying a Home No Longer Works. These Charts Show You Why. — Gina Heeb | WSJ | December 11, 2023

The Math for Buying a Home No Longer Works. These Charts Show You Why.

…To date, 240 contracts have been signed in the city for homes priced $10 million or more; last year, there were 235, according to data compiled by the broker Donna Olshan, who publishes a weekly luxury market report. “This year just shows you that the rich are still very rich,” Olshan says. 

And all of them, except for a townhouse on East 71st Street, according to Olshan’s data, were condos. “It’s the same old story,” Olshan says. “Uber-luxury condos sell, and they just stay above the pack.”

Co-op sales this year were nowhere near the top of the market; they make an appearance only as the 25th entry on Olshan’s list. Rich buyers’ preference for condominiums over co-ops is “not part of a cycle,” she says. “Co-ops have been on the decline for quite some time, which is not to say they’re not beautiful—they are, and many have some of the best architecture ever built,” she continues. “But the shareholders [of co-ops] are suffering. They accept lower-than-true-market value for the privilege of being in a dysfunctional club.”...

The 10 Priciest NYC Home Sales Show Market Doing 'Pretty Darn Well' — James Tarmy | Bloomberg | December 19, 2023

Built Environment

When it comes to commercial real estate, a lot of attention is obviously paid to offices. But it's not the only sector facing strains. Apartment buildings — or multifamily residential — may also be in for trouble. For years, rates were falling and rents were rising, and owning and operating apartments was a moneymaker. Then things went into overdrive with the pandemic, thanks to plunging rates, surging rents and an explosion in new household formation. But all of that is reversing. Rates have surged. Insurance costs have surged. Operating costs have surged. The household formation boom didn't last. And in some areas of the country — particular in some Sun Belt markets — rents are actually falling.

Why Multifamily Is the Next Stress Point in Commercial Real Estate — Tracy Alloway, Joe Weisenthal, and Aashna Shah | Bloomberg | December 07, 2023


South Africa has around 70,000 community associations accounting for “27% of the total value of residential property in South Africa”.  Wow!

“Many trustees have not even begun to comprehend the legal implications of being a trustee. In other words – the personal liability for your work as a trustee is great. Many have not gone to explore that.

“Sometimes when I have to make findings in terms of an adjudication, I find myself having to tweak an order in such a way that my explanation for getting to the order does not result in somebody following further on that order by taking legal action against a trustee, because it can easily happen.

“The implications of your conduct as a trustee are immense to you personally, and many don’t think seriously about that”...

Warning for trustees in complexes and homeowners associations in South Africa — BusinessTech | August 19, 2023

Condo Connection's financial coverage is indexed to our Dollar$ and $ense page dedicated to all things CIC finance.

The Federal Reserve pivoted toward reversing the steepest interest-rate hikes in a generation after containing an inflation surge so far without a recession or a significant cost to employment.

While Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday policymakers are prepared to resume rate increases should price pressures return, he and his colleagues issued forecasts showing that a series of cuts would be likely next year. Powell said the topic came up at their meeting, where the Fed decided to keep rates at a 22-year high for a third straight time.

Moreover, Powell’s lack of pushback during his press conference against growing investor expectations for 2024 rate cuts helped spark a massive rally in Treasuries and sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average of stocks to a record high…

Fed Pivots to Interest Rate Cuts in 2024 as Inflation Heads Toward 2% Goal — Craig Torres and Catarina Saraiva | Bloomberg | December 13, 2023


US consumers’ near-term inflation expectations dropped in November to the lowest level since April 2021, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey released Monday.

Median year-ahead inflation expectations declined for a second month to 3.4%, down from 3.6% in October. Expectations for what inflation will be at the three-year and five-year horizon held steady at 3% and 2.7%, respectively. 

Inflation Expectations for Year Ahead Drop to Lowest Since April 2021 — Alexandre Tanzi | Bloomberg | December 11, 2023

US Inflation Expectations Stabilize

Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, in 2001 when a debt crisis prompted default, riots and a devastating depression. A dazed middle class suffered ruin, as the International Monetary Fund insisted that the government make misery-inducing budget cuts in exchange for a bailout.

Watching Argentina unravel inspired Mr. Guzman to switch majors and study economics. Nearly two decades later, when the government was again bankrupt, it was Mr. Guzman as finance minister who negotiated with I.M.F. officials to restructure a $44 billion debt, the result of an earlier ill-conceived bailout.

Today he is one of a number of prominent economists and world leaders who argue that the ambitious framework created at the end of World War II to safeguard economic growth and stability, with the I.M.F. and World Bank as its pillars, is failing in its mission….

The Debt Problem Is Enormous. Experts Say the System for Fixing It Is Broken — Patricia Cohen | NYT | December 16,  2023

Cashing In

US households are now sitting on an 'unprecedented' $18 trillion in liquid assets — Matthew Fox | Insider | December 12, 2023

US households are now sitting on an 'unprecedented' $18 trillion in liquid assets

Even the Florida Bar Is Concerned

“It doesn’t matter who you talk to, nobody thinks this process is set up to help unit owners” 

— Florida Senator Jennifer Bradley

“People ask, could it really be that bad? Yes, it is that bad. I believe that there are major problems that need to be addressed,” Perikles said.

...But Perikles, a 34-year prosecutor, said the law does little to force bad actors to comply with records requests.  “It’s based on the noble premise that elected board members will always do what’s right. Unfortunately, I find in my job, that’s not always the case,” he said.

Perikles said one condominium resident spent $162,000 in legal fees to obtain association records.

“There are no consequences for those people who are hiding the records,” Perikles said, adding that lawmakers should consider criminal penalties.

“I’m not talking about the death penalty. We’re talking about building blocks,” he said. “Then we can try to get to people that are actually trying to commit fraud.”...

Despite recent reforms some call for more condo association restrictions — Jim Ash | The Florida Bar | November 15, 2023

Stop Hallucinating

Terms related to artificial intelligence — such as "AI bias," "generative AI" and "hallucination" — are some of the top legal words and phrases that emerged in 2023, according to Burton's Legal Thesaurus, which on Monday released a list of new expressions it will add to its lexicon of law.

'AI Bias,' 'Hallucination' Among Top New Legal Terms Of 2023 — Jack Karp | Law360 | December 11, 2023

How To Manage The Hallucination Problem Of Legal AI — Niels Martin Brochner | Forbes Technology Council | December 14, 2023

As the sun set on Seacliff State Beach on Wednesday evening, the coastal pedestrian path teemed with runners, strollers and dog walkers. For those who approached a colorful row of 27 beachfront townhomes, they were abruptly cut off from that scenic path by a makeshift and unwelcoming barricade of bright orange traffic medians and metal fencing, sloppily wrapped in orange netting. 

The homeowners association governing most of those townhomes believes the path is private, and a Santa Cruz County judge agreed last year. The California Coastal Commission, the über-powerful agency that oversees land use along the state’s coast, has long argued that the path is public. Now, the commission is threatening penalties unprecedented in Santa Cruz County. 

Unprecedented, here, is spelled $4.7 million. That’s how much the state agency wants to fine the Rio Del Mar Beach Island Homeowners Association, and homeowners Gaurav Singh and Sonal Puri, for years of what it says is violations related to blocking that path. The commission will gather at Santa Cruz’s Dream Inn on Thursday to weigh whether to levy the fines and issue cease-and-desist orders aimed at re-publicizing the pedestrian path. 

The Coastal Commission has cited the HOA for 12 violations, including putting up walls to block the walkway, privatizing the walkway with patio furniture, allowing the retaining wall between the walkway and beach to be overcome with invasive plants, and failing to submit reports to the state on the health of that retaining wall. Most of the townhomes are used as vacation rentals, and the commission criticized the homeowners for profiting off the public right-of-way by offering the private patios as an amenity of their rentals…

Coastal Commission weighs $4.7M fine for Rio Del Mar homeowners — Christopher Neely | Lookout Santa Cruz | December 14, 2023

Google Street View Adjacent to Rio Del Mar Beach Island Homeowners Association


One of the things I thought about a lot when I was reading the briefs is that there’s this asymmetry here.  Investigative reporters can dig up the real facts of a case and expose the lies. 

BUT there are all of these norms and conventions around how we litigate cases and how the court deals with cases.  And the idea that one of the justices would, during oral arguments, say, “Hmm, Mr. Grossman, everything you’re saying is a lie”—that would never happen. 

So, there’s a strange way in which we have to deal with the facts as they are briefed, not as journalism reveals them to be true. The real facts don’t penetrate the chamber.

Oops! The Supreme Court Heard Another Case Built on Shameless Lies. — Dahlia Lithwick and Joseph Stern | Slate | December 11, 2023

Disciplinary Action

Holiday Spirit

(Un)Boxed Poll on r/HOA

...The story of Rubin's brother's $500 sandwich illustrates the power a homeowners association wields, sometimes in ways that irk its residents.

Rubin doesn’t dispute that the pool regulations at her building, Commonwealth Plaza on Diversey Avenue, stipulate that no food is allowed, or that as they entered the pool deck, she and her brother passed a sign that reiterates the rule.

“What’s preposterous,” Rubin says, is that “they went straight to the $500 fine, with no warnings.” Rubin, a semi-retired reporter who spent 25 years at the Chicago Tribune, checked with 10 condo buildings and found that in every one, “there’s a series of warnings before you ever get fined, whether it’s for eating by the pool, smoking weed in the halls or playing loud music.”

Rubin appealed the fine at a Nov. 21 meeting of the Homeowners Association board and a week later received a reply that the board was holding firm. “No negotiation, no reduced fine,” Rubin says. She was able to set up a payment plan, $50 a month for 10 months, beginning with the new year...

HOA fines condo resident over a sandwich — Dennis Rodkin | Crain's Chicago Business | December 19, 2023

SHOULD monetary penalties have limits?  Members of this association think so: 

Poll: SHOULD monetary penalties have limits?

To determine whether the original CC&Rs give sufficient notice the court will “apply an objective inquiry” to determine whether the amendment was within “a homeowner’s reasonable expectations” based on the language of the original CC&Rs. 

A general amendment provision in the original CC&Rs, with nothing more, cannot provide proper notice. 

The original CC&Rs need not “give notice of the particular details of a future amendment,” but must provide “notice that a restrictive or affirmative covenant exists and that the covenant can be amended to refine it, correct an error, fill in a gap, or change it in a particular way.” 

An amendment cannot be “entirely new and different in character.” “[A]ny doubts [are] resolved against the validity of a restriction.”

An HOA Amendment that was not Reasonably Foreseeable under the Original Declaration may not be Enforceable Without the Consent of 100% of the Owners

— Daniel Miske | Association Alert | June 20, 2023

Governing a residential Owners Association is a business, not a social function. Condominium and Homeowners Associations are corporations structured similarly to well-known public and private companies in which the Board of Directors has specific responsibilities and obligations.

Your Board is an elected group of owners responsible for making decisions which protect the interests of the Association as a whole.

Holding such a position of trust and responsibility requires specialized education and training to competently fulfill the duties attached to being a Director of the Association…

The 1st Step in becoming an association board member? Education — Christopher Carter | Islander News | October 4, 2023

Lacey City Council on Thursday voted to expand and extend a contract the city has with the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County, an organization that offers mediation services. 

The original contract between the city and DRC was created to address disputes between landlords and tenants. But after members of two homeowners’ associations, including the 127-home Aldea Glen HOA, recently came to the city with concerns, the council weighed whether to offer HOAs mediation services, too. 

“It makes a lot of sense to open this up to HOAs,” said Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder. Complaints about HOAs include a perceived abuse of power, lack of transparency and general dysfunction, according to comments shared by city staff during the meeting…

Frustrated with your homeowners' association? Lacey produces a possible solution — Rolf Boone | The Olympian | December 15, 2023

…The Jungle Den Villas Recreation Association voted to cut the tree down, Adams said.

So Adams hired Above the Rest Tree Service to do the job. He said the owner of the company, Jeff McAfee, assured him he didn't need a permit and only needed an arborist report.

Adams said he believes the county should penalize the tree service company instead of having property owners foot the bill.  As for the county's replacement costs, Adams said, "They're more vigilantes than they are environmentalists."

McAfee said the customer is responsible for permitting, which is noted in the agreement provided to Adams. He said in working with residential properties, getting an arborist to assess the tree before removing it is usually sufficient. But he said he didn't say a permit wasn't necessary.

Lack of a tree-cutting permit could cost Astor condo association more than $20,000 — Sheldon Gardner | The Daytona Beach News-Journal | May 08, 2023

We live in a Chicago suburb in a community with 26 single-family homes. The town that we live in has told us that we could turn over responsibility for the two retention ponds that we have to the town and get rid of our HOA. They did mention that this would raise our property taxes, but then we would have no HOA fees.

This is probably harder to do with a townhouse development, but it is just a thought…

Residents in some areas could benefit from trading HOA costs for an increased tax bill — Baltimore Sun | November 30, 2023

Conflict of interest or business as usual? Resident questions HOA president's multiple jobs — Ryan Poliakoff | The Palm Beach Post | October 08, 2023

Can association force lone holdout in building to get hurricane shutters? — Ryan Poliakoff | The Palm Beach Post | September 17, 2023

What can residents do when the HOA or condo board hasn't posted audit or held elections? — Ryan Poliakoff | The Palm Beach Post | July 02, 2023

What Legal Remedies May Be Available to Condominium Associations When Criminal Conduct is Committed? — Adams and Reese | September 27, 2023

Forced Servitude

QUESTION: I am a new Board member of a condo association. First, on the day I was elected I was told I must work in the office one day a week from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. I told them I would not be doing so, but offered alternative ways of contributing. A couple of days ago I was told Board members must serve as “Block Captains” and today at a meeting there was a Board vote on that. I am a volunteer, elected by members. Can the Board require Board members to work (outside of typical duties of attending meetings and voting)? --B.C., New Port Richey

ANSWER: Simply put, the answer is No. The Board cannot mandate that directors work in the office or serve in other capacities in order to serve on the Board. With that said, it is typical for directors to serve on committees and perform other functions outside of attending Board meetings, but you cannot be forced to do so.

Can Board members be required to work outside of attending meetings and voting? — Richard D. DeBoest | TC Palm | September 02, 2023

Condo association is responsible for damage caused by a burst water pipe — Howard Dakoff | Chicago Tribune | February 12, 2023

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