October 31, 2013

Scary Halloween Thoughts for Community Association Boards

I am looking forward to taking my younger son (costume: kung-fu student; price: free!) trick-or-treating tonight.  I am also thinking about two temptations that community association boards must confront - the temptation to rely on property managers for legal advice and the temptation to rely on public sources of information for legal guidance.

Association boards understandably want to keep legal budgets as small as possible.  This sometimes leads boards to ask their property managers to provide legal advice or to rely on legal advice offered by property managers.  This can lead to scary results.  Property managers do not have the training and knowledge that are necessary to provide associations with legal advice.  If association boards want to fulfill their legal responsibilities and avoid liability, then they should only seek and accept legal advice from attorneys.

It can also be tempting for association boards to rely on public sources of information like articles, blogs, and seminars rather than seeking legal advice from attorneys.  Such a do-it-yourself approach to legal issues can lead to scary results as well.  Public sources of information usually provide broad overviews of subjects, which necessarily involves omitting numerous details and exceptions.  In addition, there is a substantial possibility that boards will misinterpret public sources of information regarding legal issues.  It is often said that a person who represents himself has a fool for a client. Boards should not put their associations in that position.

Happy Halloween!