2023 CAI Law Seminar Review

CAI Law Seminar Review

    This year’s CAI Law Seminar was held back in January 11-14, 2023 in New Orleans.  While some time has passed, the issues addressed are still relevant.  Although I was of course not able to attend every session,  I thought there were several different “take-aways” that could be of interest to those involved in the community association industry.  Here are just some of the many:

  1. “Disaster-Proofing Your HOA”:
    1. Association Boards should share with their members aspects of insurance, including the amount, what is covered, the deductible, and encourage members to contact their insurance providers to make sure members have the coverage they need.
    2. At Board discretion, it may be a good idea to put a method of contacting members in a timely manner in place.
    3. Have a discussion with the members that the Board will be needing to be making decisions in time of emergency as allowed in what they believe is the best interest of the Association, within the confines of the CC&R’s.
      1. The Board may want to evaluate current CC&R’s to see if they have sufficient decision-making powers in time of emergency.
    4. It may be a good idea to check the Association’s CC&R’s for any Force Majure clause allowing a party to get out of the contractual relationship upon emergency/disaster, and whether the members and/or the Association will still be required to perform their responsibilities.
    5. Suggest the creation of a Disaster Preparedness Committee, with the more members the better.  This Committee would be in charge of creating a Disaster Preparedness Plan to be approved by the Board, and the Board would delegate any decision-making powers involved in the plan to the Committee.
  2. “Hire Power”:
    1. For Board members and other volunteers to remain considered as “volunteers,” not only can they not be paid, but the Association should not compensate them in some other-than-monetary way, such as allowing them “perks” other members do not have.
    2. It is advisable to contact the Association’s insurance to ensure that volunteer committees are covered as well as the Board.
    3. Generally, if a member is going to do something for the Association, the action should first be designated as an action of the Board or relevant committee.
    4. For D&O claims, the relevant question for coverage is: “Was the Board Member acting in the scope of their duties as Board Member?”  Board Members should therefore know the scope of their duties and act within the realm of such.
  3. Guns in Community Associations:
    1. FIRST AND FOREMOST, an Association cannot prohibit members from keeping firearms in their homes, and from carrying to and from homes, as long as the manner in which they carry is in accordance with the law.  It has already been ruled unconstitutional to ban guns in a community.
    2. Associations, however, should seek legal counsel before taking a stance on whether or not they may restrict gun carry of a manager of the Association.  The Association should also contact insurance to be aware of any effect a manager carrying a gun on Association property might cause.

While there was a vast amount of other useful information, these points are what I found particularly relevant…I hope you do too.

Stephen K. Aina