November 22, 2010

How to Protect Your Condominium’s Pipes From Freezing Temperatures

It’s cold out there, and it looks like it's going to get colder over the next few days. Condominium and homeowners associations in the Seattle area thankfully do not have to deal with extremely cold weather very often, but they should be aware of five simple steps that can help prevent the inconvenience of frozen pipes.

1. Disconnect hoses.

2. Insulate exterior pipes and faucets.

3. Insulate pipes and faucets in attics, basements, garages, and crawl spaces.

4. Drain irrigation and sprinkler systems.

5. Caulk around incoming pipes.

Boards should also encourage owners to leave their taps running slightly on particularly cold nights. If pipes freeze despite these measures, damage can be minimized by promptly shutting off the water until a licensed plumber arrives. Stay warm!

November 5, 2010

Should Your Association’s Attorney Be a Hired Gun or a Legal Navigator?

Community associations and the owners in them hire attorneys for many different reasons, but they often fall into one of two camps in terms of how they view attorneys’ primary purpose. Some view them as Hired Guns, while others view them as Legal Navigators.

The Hired Gun listens to the stated goal of the client and aggressively pursues that goal without questioning the goal, the likelihood of attaining the goal, or the method advocated by the client to attain the goal. This type of attorney resembles the classic “yes man” found in some corporate board rooms. Clients who want the Hired Gun want an attorney who will charge forward as they instruct with thoughts of nothing but success.

The Legal Navigator seeks to guide the client out of the wilderness it finds itself in by way of the most effective and efficient path. This type of attorney is quite willing to aggressively pursue the client’s goals using its preferred method when the situation calls for it, but he or she will also not hesitate to tell the client that it has made mistakes in the past that require compromise or that its favored plan of action is not the best one under the circumstances. In other words, the Legal Navigator will not shrink from telling clients things that they do not want to hear. In some cases, a well-timed “No” or “I advise a different approach” can result in lower legal expenses and better outcomes.

The “Charge!” approach of the Hired Gun is appealing to many. However, the clients of the Legal Navigator are much less likely to charge off cliffs.