2020 is around the corner. Does your 2020 budget reflect an increase to monthly assessments? If the answer is no, your may not be adequately planning for your operating expenses and funding your reserves for long-term needs.

Keeping dues flat is often seen as an indication that the board is doing a good job, but there are valid instances where raising dues could be the right decision for the long-term prosperity of the community.

When it comes to operating expenses, the budget should at least increase to keep up with inflation and rising costs for the services and amenities provided by dues. Incrementally raising dues can help ensure a sufficient flow of funds into the operating budget in anticipation of those rising costs.

When it comes to reserve funds, industry sources cite that over 70% of community reserves are underfunded, primarily because monthly dues are not adequately allocated to the reserve budget. Incrementally raising dues to allocate adequate contributions to the reserve account allows the board to fund major expenses without imposing special assessments.

It is a challenging task for boards to strike the right balance between containing costs and enhancing communities. However, boards that realistically evaluate the state of their association’s finances are best able to manage their communities without financial surprises.

Learn more here.

Board members are often tasked with making the most difficult decisions for their community association. These decisions can sometimes lead to confrontation if there are differences of opinion.

Below, we have listed several ways to avoid upset, confrontational, or unruly homeowners during an association meeting.

  1. Ensure that proper notice of the meeting is sent well in advance and encourage owners to submit all questions or issues in advance as well.
  2. Hold meetings in a respectable location that fosters respect amongst homeowners.
  3. Provide a concise meeting agenda that homeowners can review in advance. Be sure to include ground rules in the agenda to focus expectations.
  4. Arrange the room so that board members sit in front of the homeowners, facing the attendees.
  5. Holding a homeowner forum will allow time to address any issues. The board should set and explain the rules and regulations of the forum in advance.
  6. When the homeowner forum is finished, the board should formally convene the open meeting and begin discussing association business.
  7. Unit owners should be advised to submit legal issues in writing for the board’s review so as not to delay or postpone meetings.

To read more, click here.


68% of US households own a pet. So, it is advantageous for landlords to allow pets if they do not want to miss out on over half of their prospective tenant pool. However, landlords who are renting out a unit in a condominium building are bound to the pet policies that exist for the association. Landlords should consult their association's governing documents prior to allowing any tenant to have a pet, as a condominium board can take legal action to evict any tenant that is not in compliance with the association's documents.

The following are good guidelines for establishing a pet policy, whether for the entire condominium association or by individual landlords residing in condo buildings that do not have an established pet policy. Landlords and condo boards should be mindful when it comes to pets, as they can both enhance and detract from neighbors' living experience.

If pets are allowed, a pet policy and screening process should be established. The policy should do the following: 

  1. Identify the types of pets allowed. If you will only allow certain kinds of animals, such as cats and dogs, but not others, like reptiles or birds, that should be clearly outlined.
  2. Identify the number of pets allowed per unit. Consider the size of the units and their outdoor space when setting the appropriate limit.
  3. Identify the size of pets that is allowed. A weight limit per pet can vary depending on unit size to best avoid property damage.
  4. Specify the costs associated with pets. You can choose to charge pet fees, rent, or security deposits to counterbalance the possible risk of damage. Specify if extra insurance will be required to cover pet-related incidents.
  5. Specify the course of action if an accident involving a pet occurs. Outline policies for inappropriate pet behavior in the same way policies are created for tenants.

To learn more, click here

Unless an association’s governing documents require it, a homeowner’s association is not responsible for using common funds to provide a translator during meetings.

However, non-English speaking community members should still be able to participate. So, what are the best ways to help them?

  1. Have bilingual community members volunteer to translate meetings and documents.
  2. Use technology to translate web pages and other documents without charge or need for volunteers.

To learn more, click here.

Haus Financial Services is proud to sponsor the 6th annual Chicago Children's Business Fair on November 17. We are excited to promote a program that encourages children to become entrepreneurs!

Hosted by Greenfields Academy, the fair allows children ages 5 - 15 learn about entrepreneurship by developing a brand, creating a product or service, building a marketing strategy and selling to customers at this one-day marketplace. 

With over 70 vendors, you'll be sure to find unique holiday gifts, delicious goodies, home goods, pet supplies, handmade art and jewelry, and more. 

The fair will take place on Sunday November 17, 2019 from 3 - 5 p.m. at the Artifact Events Space. Join us as we support these talented kids in pursuing their business dreams. 

Learn more here

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