The 42 million Americans who live in community associations deserve plain-language rules, alternative dispute resolution, equity in tax treatment and increased scrutiny of reserve funds, keynote speaker Evan McKenzie told attendees at the Community Associations Institute 45th National Conference in Arlington, Va., Oct. 29-31. A longtime critic of community associations, the noted University of Illinois professor called on CAI leadership and more than 1,000 attendees to be a force for reform of condominium, cooperative and homeowner association governance.
During CAI's first 25 years, community associations were been plagued by inexperienced homeowners, non-specialized managers and governance structures ignored by academics and government, McKenzie said. Despite much progress, community associations still suffer from conflict. McKenzie believes that community associations are "a utopian ideal worth aspiring to," providing affordable, cost-effective housing with a strong sense of community. But McKenzie believes that society is expecting too much from community associations without providing institutional support, especially the lack of homeowner education. He called on CAI members to overcome an over-reliance on contract law, "command and control" governance tactics and a lack of hard data on community associations through partnerships with public agencies.
The Community Associations Institute is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to educate and represent the nation's 205,000 community associations—condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and related professionals and service providers.
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