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is first duty of the insured; second is to protect the property from further damage or loss. The insured is obligated to make any reasonable or necessary temporary repairs required to protect the property.” Curry clarifies that while you don’t want to make unnecessary claims that could potentially affect your future insurability, notifying your agent is different from making a claim. If a loss is under, or very near to, your deductible, a claim can lead to increased premiums that may exceed the cost of repairs. However, you are much more likely to have your claim approved if your insurer is aware of the loss from the beginning, than if they are only involved a month later when you get invoices and realize your deductible was exceeded. Always document any possible claims with photos before beginning any work. This is especially important if an adjustor will not be inspecting right away. If you work with a professional restoration vendor, they will know what kind of samples, photos, reports and other documentation will likely be needed by your insurer. If there’s water everywhere causing more damage, or if the sprinkler and fire alarm system that protects fifty occupied units in the building is in need of repair, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to address it immediately.

What’s the consequence?

Waiting – whether to notify your agent, or for an adjustor to arrive – can frequently cost the association more money. “When damage hits a multi-unit community, time itself can be even more destructive than the actual loss…In as few as 24 hours, mold can begin to take hold in the now perfect conditions for growth,” informs Jim O’Callaghan of ACR, Inc, a property restoration company in Wheeling, Illinois. “Time often plays a role in categorizing water condition which can also impact the cost of recovery…When allowed time to filter through structural elements into a unit below, the water leaches out soils and chemicals within building materials and is now considered gray water.” O’Callaghan explains that gray water, or “Category 2” water, has a more extensive, and therefore more expensive, recovery process than “Category 1” clean water; there is also “Category 3” black water that requires specialized mitigation. Other considerations: If a loss is not reported immediately and is then not covered, an association could have to pay for everything out of pocket; if a damaged property is not secured, there’s a liability issue in addition to the property damage. A proactive association will have a plan in place, including preferred and back up remediation contractors, before a loss occurs. This will ensure that all necessary parties can be contacted as soon as possible to minimize any damage or loss.

“The Board President can’t vote unless they are breaking a tie.”

This is one of the most pervasive community management myths, reoccurring as new board members are elected. The board president is a member of the board of directors, and all members of the board may vote if they are present at the

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board meeting where the vote is held (unlike homeowners meetings, there are no proxies at board meetings). The only time a board member cannot vote is if they must recuse themselves from a decision that personally affects them, such as a vote on waiving a fine or on a contract for a company they have interest in.

What’s the consequence?

Many boards that believe this myth feel the president must not only abstain from voting, but must also remain neutral, which frequently precludes a board president from participating in discussion. Most community association boards are small, and input from all of the board members is important for perspective and decision making in the best interest of all the homeowners. Lively discussion and respectful dispute between decision makers leads to great association leadership.

Being proactive in understanding your community association’s governing documents, contracts, and other obligations, as well as in responding to problems and communicating on issues that arise are keys to successful governance of every community association. Do your own research and consult with your professionals to determine if the myths and rumors you hear are truths, or just something to lead you down the wrong path. Here’s hoping all your consequences are happy ones!

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