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Question: Our condominium has two storage rooms which are auctioned off to the highest bidders at the annual meeting each year. No rental agreement has been required of the winning bidders. Should there be?

Answer: Yes, it's a good idea to have a written year to year rental agreement for the storage rooms. Conditions should include:

  1. No storage of flammables or toxic chemicals
  2. Renter responsible for insuring personal property
  3. Payment. Recommend one annual payment due in advance to simplify bookkeeping.
  4. No using HOA electricity (if applicable)
  5. Hold HOA harmless for all uses of the storage room.

Question: One of our directors has designed two websites for our homeowner association. One she proposes to be "official" with governing docs, agendas, minutes, etc. and one will be of community interest with garage sales, for rents, local merchants and restaurants, etc. Some of us would prefer to contract with a professional to design and maintain our HOA website with content approved by the board. We are concerned about security and privacy.

Answer: There is a section of www.Regenesis.net dedicated to HOA Websites. Go there and review Recommended Content & Layout. There is also a list of HOA Website Services with nominal costs and template formats that can be updated by the HOA without the need for a paid programmer. The HOA's website should focus on HOA business and steer clear of local merchants, for sales, for rents, garage sales, etc. Such take an enormous amount of time to keep current and accurate. The board has plenty to do just to provide appropriate HOA information to owners and buyers.

Question: We are trying to determine how to handle an insurance claim caused by an overflowing toilet flood. Is this a case of negligence and, if so, should the unit owner of the toilet in question pay for the damage?

Answer: “Negligence” in insurance terms means the occupant somehow caused the problem, like leaving the bathtub running, as opposed to a spontaneous pipe break. If there is negligence, the unit insurance may pay for damage to the common area or other affected units.

However, normally each unit owner is responsible to repair his own unit’s damage. The HOA's insurance is typically broad and will often pay for this kind of claim, however the board should set limits on which claims the HOA will pay because if the HOA files too many claims, it may get its insurance cancelled or premium increased substantially.

All HOAs should enact a Maintenance and Insurance Areas of Responsibility Policy that defines common elements and who (HOA or unit owner) is responsible for maintenance, repair and insurance. This policy will guide the board in handling repairs and claims. The HOA’s insurance agent should be provided a copy of the Policy so there is no misunderstanding.

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