Volume 100 No. 106
You and Governing Your Community
Note We realize this little editorial is preaching to the choir...but, we want you to have it. Use it strategically within your community...to get back to basics! Now is the time to target and initiate those who would make good leaders for your community.
Community associations thrive on representation. They need to hear from the people they represent. Representative government is founded on the principle of elected individuals representing a specific group of people. Much of our country is based on the principles of representative democracy. It starts with organizations like community associations and progresses through our school boards, city governments, county governments, state governments -- all the way to the federal government. In building communities, we vote for a person, or persons, who will act on our behalf. Together, they are the Community Association Board of Directors.
In order to assure that community boards are aware of the needs and wants of their community, meetings are generally open to the community so people can express their concerns and provide feedback on specific issues. Representative governance begins at the community level. It really does not matter whether you live in a housing development, townhouse or condominium community. It is important to contribute and help guide your community. Don't leave your community with limited leadership options. You may find that the quality of decision making may be lacking. If so, you should consider the possibility you only have yourself to blame.
When community members share responsibilities and ideas, the administrative workload is more fairly and evenly distributed and issues more thoroughly researched. The quality of the leadership and decision making process is elevated and more representative of the community as a whole. These are the principles behind successful self-governance. After all, no community automagically
runs itself. You
are the community. It is your responsibility to maintain it for the benefit of all stakeholders...including you
It is up to you
to attend meetings, serve on a committee, manage a project or serve on the board. Apathy is destructive and not an acceptable culture for any successful community...and please do not complain unless you
intend to be part of the solution. You
might also want to thank those who have and are currently making substantial contributions of time and effort.
When the season for community association annual meetings and annual board elections approaches, consider carefully which candidates you select -- including yourself. You might want to consider running for the board to help shape the future of your community. It is and will be what you make it.
Landlords in Community Associations
If you are an owner who leases your unit within a community association, there are steps you can take to make the leasing experience successful and positive for everyone. The relationship you establish as a landlord/owner with both your renter and the community association is important.
Your tenants may not be familiar with common-interest community living. You will need to explain that living in a community association is very different from living in a traditional all rental apartment building. Specifically, your tenants, like all residents, are subject to the rules and regulations of the association. It is your responsibility to educate them and be sure that they comply. The association will assist you in this area, but the responsibility lies with you.
This begins by providing your tenants with written copies of all policies and rules before the lease is signed. They can then determine if the community is still the right one for them. If the community is still a good fit, advise them on the proper use of the association's facilities. Your property manager should be able to provide you with a resource for obtaining copies of the community's rules and regulations and other useful documents.
You should have a written lease agreement with your tenant. As a lessor (landlord) of a home in a community association, the lease you use must require tenants to comply with the association's governing documents. In the event your tenant fails to comply with the bylaws or the rules and regulations, a representative of the association will first contact your tenants in an attempt to remedy the problem. The association will send you a copy of any notice sent to your tenant.
If the tenant does not correct the violation, the association will contact you and expect you to remedy the violation using the recourse available to you through your lease agreement. If you are unable to correct the violation, the association may pursue appropriate legal action against the tenant and possibly against you. Many associations have rules and regulations that give them the power to evict an owner's tenant. This is a protection to the community. If a tenant becomes a nuisance or endangers the community, the association should have the power to act.
The association should ask that you provide the manager with the names and contact information of your tenants. It is important that the association have an email and telephone number for every resident living in the building regardless of whether they are a renter or owner. Every resident living in the building is part of the active community. This is also a matter of safety in the event of an emergency. The association will add your tenant to its mailing list and they will receive the newsletter, invitations to participate on committees, notices of social activities and general association-related information. Renters may not be able to vote but they can participate and make contributions to the community in almost every other way. Allowing them to participate in their home increases the quality of their living experience.
Follow these simple steps and you, the tenants and the association will all have a positive community association experience:
- Provide your tenants with copies of association rules.
- Educate tenants about the need to follow association rules and see that they comply.
- Advise tenants on the proper use of association facilities.
- Use a written lease agreement.
- Make sure your lease requires tenants to comply with all association governing documents.
- Provide the association with contact information for your tenants.
Renters: If you don't have a copy of the association rules or you'd like more information about the association, please contact a board member or the property manager.
Do you know what efflorescence is? Even if you don't know what it is, you have probably seen it, especially if you live in a brick building. It is that white powder like material you sometimes see on brick or masonry walls. The wall has become incrusted or covered with salt crystals as a result of evaporation or a chemical process. Salt contained in water inside the wall migrates to the surface. The water then evaporates leaving the white powdery salt behind and stuck to the wall.
Besides being unsightly, if not removed the salt can erode the brick over time so it needs to be removed. Three conditions must exist in order for efflorescence to occur:
- Water soluble salt must be present in the wall.
- There must be enough moisture in the wall for the salts to become soluble in the water.
- There must be a path for the soluble salts to migrate to the surface of the wall.
Alkaline salts can often exist in older clay brick and mortar in older brick walls. New materials are designed to contain less salt and are often treated with a sealant. It is not always easy to prevent water from penetrating into masonry and brick walls. Good design and construction helps. The use of overhanging eaves, copings and flashings can protect walls from water...and be careful where you place lawn sprinklers.
If the natural pores in the wall can be reduced, the channel for water soluble salts to flow to the surface can be eliminated. Consolidating the grout using mechanical vibration reduces voids in the grout. It also improves the bond of the steel and masonry wall. Dense tooled mortar joints will also reduce the porous nature of a wall. Grout admixtures that inhibit efflorescence call also be used.
Once the problem exists, it is best to identify the salts to determine the best way to remove them. A dry brush can remove basic water soluble salts. If only small areas are affected, hand washing with a mild detergent and a stiff bristle brush will work. The traditional method of removing the salts is sand blasting. The problem with that is that the abrasive action of the sand can also remove the surface of the brick. If this method is necessary, be sure a trained professional does the work. After sandblasting, the masonry should be sealed with a waterproofing material.
If it appears you have a sick wall, have compassion. Let your Cagan property manager put you in touch with professionals who can help. You will love the improvement in the fašade of your building.
|Leadership Seminar |
Let us know what topics you would like presented at our next leadership seminar, Monday, October 15th. Of course, if it is not already on your calendar, please add it. We don't want you to miss it and we don't want to miss you!
Send topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Cagan Bookkeeper Olimpia Tudor. She and her husband, Razvan, were recently blessed with a beautiful daughter, Antonia Abigail. Just a reminder there is beauty, hope and joy in this world.