Representation of Community Associations
Today, many residential communities (and some commercial communities) are organized as Condominium Associations or Homeowners Associations. Homeowners in these communities are members of an Association, which manages common property for the benefit of all residents.
The attorneys in the business group at Baratta Russell and Baratta are experienced with all aspects of Community Association law and have represented numerous Associations with the transition process and also as general counsel on operating issues, corporate governance, interpreting governing documents, contracts, dispute resolution and collections.
Community Associations are typically structured as nonprofit corporations, and face legal issues which are similar to traditional businesses. Like a traditional corporation, they are run by an elected Board of Directors or Trustees. The Board has a fiduciary obligation to manage the financial affairs and operations of the community.
At the same time, Associations must deal with other matters which are unique to their status as governing bodies for a residential community. In addition to the state laws governing nonprofit corporations, Associations are governed by state statutes which specifically empower and regulate Community Association developments. Just as important are the governing documents for each community, such as a Master Deed or Declaration of Covenants, which contain recorded obligations of the Board and the owners and set forth the responsibilities of each. Bylaws and Rules and Regulations will contain more detailed rules about the day-to-day operations of the community. For any community, interpreting and enforcing these governing documents is essential to a well-run Association.
Once built, a new community will undergo a process of transition from the control of the developer who builds the community. A transitioning association has the right to take control of a community where engineering and financial affairs are in good order.
After the residents gain control of the community, their elected Board of Trustees will, with the guidance of experienced advisors, manage the accounting and financial affairs for the community, administer contracts with various vendors such as landscapers or maintenance personnel, coordinate and communicate with residents, and oversee the collection of common expense assessments.