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CAI@Home E-Newsletter


Welcome to CAI’s e-newsletter!  



Less than a decade ago, CAI began tracking short-term rental legislation impacting community associations. At that time, only a handful of states were addressing the issue legislatively. Fast forward to 2019, CAI is tracking 79 rental-related bills in 29 different states

Online platforms that facilitate short-term rentals have exploded in popularity. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO connect homeowners or “hosts" with guests to arrange the listing and booking of homes for long weekends, summer breaks, and more.


Forbes reported on a new short-term rental trend over the summer. Miami-based condominium developer Newgard Development Group partnered with Powered by Airbnb to open high-rise condominium towers in Miami and Austin. Powered by Airbnb is the home-sharing platform's consulting business for new buildings. Owners are encouraged to rent out their units, and a subsidiary of the developer will receive a 25% cut of the rental income. The buildings will have hotel licenses allowing the owners to rent out their units as often as they like.

Some community association governing documents have leasing restrictions prohibiting rentals for transient purposes—usually defined as less than 30 days. The nature of short-term rentals is not always intuitively harmonious with the community association housing model, which focuses on bringing people together, strengthening neighborhood bonds, and promoting a sense of community and belonging.

However, CAI recognizes there are some communities where short-term rentals are appropriate and desirable by residents. Any local or state regulations regarding short-term rentals need to be consistent with the community association housing model of self-governance, where residents determine what is best. Community associations should be allowed to tailor policies that meet the character, culture, and desire of their homeowners.

>>Learn more about CAI's short-term rental policy. CAI also has developed a guide for homeowners interested in listing on Airbnb and VRBO. Share this guide with residents in your community.​




The holidays are just around the corner, and it’s important that residents hosting celebrations be considerate of their neighbors but also take note of the community association’s rules. 

With their celebrations, gifts, and good wishes, the holidays are a time to be thankful and festive. Often, that means decorating your home, office, and even car. But in some community associations, a resident's seemingly innocent act of holiday cheer can be interpreted as a malicious disregard for association rules.

How can your association avoid a dispute over holiday decorating? By considering both your residents' right to celebrate and your association's ability to institute rules that protect and enhance aesthetic values. Developing a policy doesn't have to be a complicated or controversial process.

The rulemaking process should involve the entire community.

As for how your association handles decorations on common areas, amenities, or community buildings, you might consider the following:

  • If your decorations include religious symbols, make sure that every religion is represented, so as not to alienate or upset anyone.
  • You don't need to overdo the tinsel and plastic figurines. Sometimes less is more. It's hard to pull off loads of decorations tastefully.
  • If your decorating plan includes draping outdoor trees with lights, be sure the lights don't shine in anyone's windows, and set timers so they're not on night and day. Consult with your residents before you start stringing. ​

​Whatever your community decides, don't lose sight of what's really important: Celebrating the holiday season. This time of year offers great opportunities for your residents to get to know one another and become involved in association operations. It may seem like a lot of work for a bunch of lights and some tinsel, but developing and communicating a reasonable decorations policy can help avoid disputes and keep everyone in the holiday spirit.





It might sound strange, but community associations interested in long-term planning can take a few cues from composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who developed a formula for living together in harmony through vibrational energy. Bach's principle, while intended to relate to the creation of music, illustrates how community associations that implement inclusive long-range plans can create a sense of community harmony.

Individuals often flourish when they are part of a group, just as notes grouped together can create wonderful melodies. The Bach Principle proves that inclusion is the key to a successful planning process. After all, a small committee of residents does not successfully undertake comprehensive long-range planning; it takes orchestrated community involvement.

CAHOct600pxStratPlanning.jpgUltimately, the strategic plan should build and strengthen a community by helping residents understand they will be developing and implementing a roadmap for their future. No plan will succeed if residents don't understand why it's important and how they can contribute to the process. In fact, their input is critical.

Every community has stakeholders, including residents, board members, committee members, and staff members. The purpose of community development and long-range planning is to juxtapose the elements in the community so that a fluid relationship exists—otherwise known as harmony. In healthy communities, stakeholders operate with enlightened self-discipline and support a desire to serve others.

There are three opportunities to involve residents: completing a community needs assessment baseline survey; participating in a focus group; and participating in a three-hour working group session. Once the issues the community needs to address are determined through the survey and focus groups, residents should be asked to brainstorm solutions during the working group session. Survey and focus group data are only reported in aggregated form, so comments can never be pinpointed to a specific resident.

Harmony isn't always a constant in an ever-changing society. At times, harmony is disrupted by conflict or apathy.

When that happens, there's no progress toward community development. For long-range planning to move a community forward effectively, everyone must believe they can participate at some level. If your community association dedicates itself to the process, the in-depth, time-consuming steps may guarantee it has a healthy, stable, carefully mapped path forward. The sum creates the good for the community commonwealth, just as separate and combined melodies create concertos and symphonies.

>>Read more about the Bach Principle and long-range planning in “Another Worthy Venture" from Common Ground​TM​​​


9 critical elements of an hoa collections policy 

Since association boards have a fiduciary duty to ensure that assessments are levied and collected, the best thing a community can do to avoid serious financial issues related to assessment delinquencies is to be—and stay—proactive. A formal collection policy is the first step.​

As an association member, your regular assessments pay for common area maintenance, amenities, and other shared expenses. If you don't pay on time, the burden for paying your portion of the association's bills, like water, electricity, and trash removal, falls on your neighbors. The Foundation for Community Association Research's ​Best Practices Report: Financial Operations provides that an effective collections policy should be established by a formal resolution of the board that:CAHOct600pxCollectPolicy.jpg

  • Specifies the problem to be solved (e.g., collection of delinquent fees)
  • Delineates the procedures to be followed
  • Designates the circumstances under which the procedures are required or permitted
  • ​​Specifies only actions that are within the power of the community association and its board
  • Sets a firm due date for assessments.
  • Outlines the steps to be taken by the person(s) responsible for collecting assessments when a payment is late, with a specific timeline for each step of the process.
  • Allows for discretion in special cases. The burden of requesting special consideration should be placed on the owner. The discretionary power should be under the control of the board.
  • Specifies when a delinquent assessment should be referred to legal counsel. This step should be automatic once a delinquent assessment reaches a specific age or amount.
  • Provides for the amount of any costs associated with collecting delinquent assessments.

Once a collections policy is adopted, it must be distributed to every owner in the community. Following distribution, the collections policy must be uniformly enforced. Consistency is critical to effective enforcement, so the board must ensure that the policy is utilized and followed for every delinquent owner in the community.

>>Being proactive in assessment collections also means pursuing any and all available legal remedies (which vary by jurisdiction).​




meetings mastered

Some say that community association owners' meetings are the truest form of democracy, similar in nature to the town meetings held in 17th and 18th century colonial America. However, the democratic process in associations requires order and rules of procedure and behavior. You can master your meetings by:


>>Need more guidance? Make a motion for more help.​ 






WEBINAR | OCT. 30 | 23 P.M. ET

breaking news: how to fight bad press and promote the good **limited seats available**

Don't let negative press coverage make your community association or company look bad. This one-hour webinar will teach you how to stay positive, anticipate public relations problems before it's too late, work with the media, and handle the social media buzz. [Re​gister here​​]

CAHOct600pxNovWebCollections.jpgWEBINAR | NOV. 30 | 23 P.M. ET

past due: what to do when owners stop paying assessments

Debt collection is a thankless and frustrating task. In this live webinar, we will help you navigate the best path and outcome for assessment delinquencies. Learn how to improve your community’s financial health by applying new technologies and advancements designed to increase cash flow. [Re​gister here]​


EVENT | JAN. 15–​18​ | LAS VEGAS

2020 community association law seminar

The College of Community Association Lawyers presents the 2020 Law Seminar, the industry's premier event exploring case law and emerging trends impacting the community association housing model. Early bird registration ends Dec. 5. [Register here]​

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