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Attorney Charlie Perkins would like readers to know the Community Associations Institute’s position on the current tax bill making its way through Congress and that there is a way to take some action. He forwards the article below with more information:

Parts of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act advancing in the U.S. Congress modify existing mortgage and homeownership provisions of the tax code to eliminate or restrict access to homeownership incentives. This is simply not good for the economy or the community association housing model.

Take action to tell the United States Senate to protect community association homeowners in the tax reform proposals.

Two areas of tax reform are significant to the community association housing model-the mortgage interest deduction and deduction of local property taxes.

1.     CAI strongly supports the existing mortgage interest deduction, a national policy that makes homeownership a reality for millions of households. The mortgage interest deduction protects homeowner equity and supports new household formation by ensuring tomorrow's families can follow the same path to homeownership as those before them.

2.     Removing a taxpayer's ability to deduct local property taxes from their federal tax liability is a strong disincentive to homeownership and is a federal tax increase households. Eliminating or limiting the deduction for local property taxes will have a profoundly negative impact on housing affordability in the community association housing model, which is already burdened by dual taxation.

CAI calls on lawmakers to oppose these areas in the current reform proposals and craft legislation that provides tax relief for American households, ensures the competitiveness of American enterprise, and maximizes the macroeconomic and household benefits of homeownership.

Thank you for acting on this important issue! If you have any questions, please contact us anytime.

Sincerely,

CAI's Government & Public Affairs Team

 

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Attorney Charlie Perkins forwards this article by Dawn Bauman of CAI chronicling the HAM Radio antennae debate in the senate:

 

Last week, The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to mark-up S 1534 The Amateur Radio Parity Act (a.k.a. HAM radio legislation) when it was withdrawn from the docket.  Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz cosponsored and filed an amendment with their fellow Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee.  The original Senate bill sponsors, Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and Missouri Senator Roger Wicker are said to have disliked the amendment to their bill, so the bill was pulled from the docket and will be rescheduled for November.

 

The HAM radio lobby has been pursuing legislation that would pre-empt community association covenants for the installation of HAM radio towers and antennas.  In 2016, CAI worked with Members of the House of Representatives offices (Eschoo (CA) and Wicker (OR)) to represent the interests of residents living in homeowners associations and to protect their private property rights and private contracts with their community association.

 

CAI members do not support federal legislation to preempt the private contracts and agreements that bind property owners who have voluntarily opted to purchase a home in a community association – also known as condominiums, housing cooperatives, and homeowners associations. This view is consistent with the verified, long-term views of the overwhelming majority of community association homeowners who have responded in multiple national surveys they do not believe their community association should be subjected to additional government regulation or intervention.

 

Senators Nelson and Schatz are uniquely positioned to speak about the impact of the legislation as they serve states with an approaching majority of the residents living in a community association.   They have a keen understanding of the condo and homeowner association housing model and a keen understanding of this legislation.

 

As such, the Nelson-Schatz amendment to S. 1534 is a measurable improvement to residents living in community associations as it provides important clarity that will mitigate the need for jurisprudence.

 

CAI has been involved in dialogue on this issue for the past few years and will continue to engage in the important dialogue to represent the interests of the 68 million people living in community associations.  For history and background on the issue, visit www.caionline.org/hamradios

 

HAM Antenna Symbol

 

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Attorney David R. Chenelle has forwarded the thoughts of credit expert Kim Carpentier on how to monitor the situation and changes, warranted or otherwise, to your own credit. 

 

Equifax Hurricane

 

Here's a follow up to my announcement yesterday regarding the recent data breach at Equifax. Not everyone will be a victim of identity theft, as a result of this breach, but keeping informed can help you mitigate risk when dealing with any data breach. However, I do recommend that whether your information has been compromised or not, some, if not all of the following steps, should be taken. This is a fluid event and information will be changing as time goes by. I will attempt to keep everyone informed through postings on my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimcarpentier/

 

    1. Stay alert: This applies to everyone, whether comprised or not. Chances are, as usual, the original figure of 143 million consumers being hacked is probably only going to grow as future investigations move forward. Pay attention to and retain any mail you receive that is unfamiliar to you, such as notices from the IRS regarding your taxes or any bills from unknown lenders.

    1. Initiate a fraud alert: You can set a fraud alertwith Experian. When you request a fraud alert be added with any of the three major credit bureaus, the bureau you contacted will notify the other two and alerts will be added with those bureaus as well. A fraud alert or initial security alert will warn lenders that you may have been a fraud victim. This extra precaution will notify the potential lender that they should contact you before granting any new line of credit in your name. This fraud alert will stay on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew the fraud alert when it expires.

    1. Monitor your financial accounts: Visit your online bank and financial accounts, and set up any alert features they may have, if you have not already done so. This could help save some time and keep you notified of any unusual events when they occur.

    1. Monitor your credit reports: I know that you can get a Free year of monitoring through the Equifax owned company TrustedID but I'd rather use a different provider. I use Credit Check Total www.creditchecktotal.com for myself and clients. It is owned by Experian. (FYI - most credit monitoring services are owned by the credit bureaus....Think about what that says about this industry).  They offer credit report updates on a 30 day basis.  Please update your report every 30 days and review it to ensure that no fraudulent or incorrect information is being reported.  If anybody needs assistance reading these sometimes confusing credit reports, please feel free to reach out.

    1. Freeze or lock your credit file: This, I believe, is going to be the new normal. You can add and remove a credit freeze very easily through the credit bureaus website. A security freeze will prevent potential lenders and fraudsters from accessing your credit report. Your credit report will only be accessible by unfreezing the account. Here are the links for the 3 credit bureaus:

 

This is something that will affect the American credit system for years to come.  I don't want to get into Why it happened or How

 

it happened, that's well above my pay grade. But it did happen and we need to protect ourselves from any future personal fallout.

 

 If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

 

 Kim Carpentier, Credit Builder  www.valleycreditbuilders.com

 

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Attorney Perkins would like to forward this narrative of the situation in and around Houston along with some suggestions for how to help.

https://advocacy.caionline.org/harvey/

Texas

 

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Attorney Charlie Perkins and staff at P&A would like people to be aware of the opportunities and of the dangers associated with viewing a total eclipse. Many people are moved to extreme emotion when the moon passes in front of the sun and claim can it can be a life changing event.  However, it should not be a change for the worse which is what could happen when viewers use the wrong equipment.  We have attached a link with information about counterfeit glasses that may not be suitable.  Enjoy the totality even if it is on television.  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dont-fall-for-phony-eclipse-glasses/

solar eclipse 1999 4 nr 2

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Perkins & Anctil is pleased to support our managing partner Rob Anctil, attorney Rhonda Duddy and special project manager Pia Anctil as they ride in the Pan Mass Challenge this weekend.  Joining them on the ride will be Attorney Kim Alley’s husband, Chris Alley and Attorney Scott Eriksen’s father in law Hyung Park.   Paralegal Joanne Smith will be volunteering along with Rob Anctil’s daughter, Kendra.

Riding bicycles, jogging and walking in exchange for charitable donations has become a popular interest but the Pan-Mass was among the first to leverage the idea in 1980 and remains one of the most successful ones ever.   This year the PMC goal is to raise 48 million dollars and will mark Rob’s 10th consecutive ride of 194 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown on Cape Cod.  This will be the first ride for Chris, Hyung,  Rhonda and Pia.  Readers who would like to donate to Rob, a perennial “Heavy Hitter” in terms of fund raising, can click here: http://profile.pmc.org/RA0055.   100% of your donations go to Dana-Farber.   The P&A group hopes to raise $40,000!

Harrings

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Attorney Charlie Perkins would like readers to know there has been progress in granting relief to storm-damaged community associations and is forwarding the story below.

A Month into Hurricane Season U.S House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan Disaster Assistance Bill

By Colleen Willard, Esq. on Jun 28, 2017 09:00 pm

Unless a major natural disaster has hit your community, you may be unaware that under current law homeowners in community associations are not eligible for FEMA assistance to repair common areas in their buildings. Further, associations are routinely denied disaster assistance for activities like debris removal after storms. This is particularly frustrating for association homeowners as they pay the same taxes as eligible, non-association homeowners.

Thankfully, association homeowners are one step closer to qualifying for assistance. On June 26, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017, H.R. 1684. This bill, sponsored by Congressman Nadler (D-NY), instructs FEMA to provide assistance to common interest communities to help them identify ways to become eligible for disaster assistance. Further, the bill instructs FEMA to provide a legislative proposal to Congress that would qualify community common areas for disaster assistance.

Congressman Nadler’s constituents, like many others, have experienced the repercussions of this inequity in disaster assistance. He noted that in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, “Seniors in high-rise condo buildings could get assistance to repair their floors and repaint their walls but nothing to fix the elevators they needed to reach their units. Families in co-ops could replace their furnishings and make some repairs, but the halls of the buildings remained covered with mold and uninhabitable. Almost every district in the country has condos, and homeowners in those condo communities will continue to face the same terrible realization in the wake of new disasters.”

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), forecasts an above-average hurricane season. NOAA estimates 5-9 hurricanes, of which 2-4 will be major hurricanes (meaning wind speeds more than 110mph). It only takes one storm to have devastating effects on a community. Without FEMA funding to aid in the recovery process, communities can be saddled with millions of dollars of recovery costs, impeding their entire recovery process.

Congressman Sanford (R-SC) plans to introduce another piece of helpful legislation, the Disaster Assistance Equity Act. This bill expressly qualifies common interest communities for disaster assistance.

 

FEMA

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Attorney Charlie Perkins is concerned about new regulations and asks readers to respond to the Community Associations Institute inquiry below:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reviewing state and local laws that may slow consumer access to high-speed (broadband) Internet service. The FCC is prepared to pre-empt state and local "impediments" to the installation of the communications infrastructure necessary to bring broadband Internet service to all households.

CAI recognizes Americans want greater access to faster and more reliable broadband Internet service. However, we believe the infrastructure can be developed without having an adverse impact on community associations. To achieve this balance, we are asking you to share your community's experience with broadband infrastructure development.

It is important the FCC know about your community's experience with broadband Internet access by June 12, 2017.

Has your community collaborated with a communications service provider to install towers, utility poles, or subterranean conduit to expand or improve broadband access?

Have communications service providers obtained access to rights of way and installed infrastructure (i.e., towers or poles) without regard to homeowner concerns?

Does your community own and operate broadband cable or fiber infrastructure?

Your community's experience, positive or negative, can have a direct impact on FCC policy.

To tell your community's story, follow the links below.

FCC Study on Wireline (underground or pole-strung cable or fiber) Broadband Infrastructure

FCC Study on Wireless (towers and antennas) Broadband Infrastructure

Thank you in advance for helping Community Associations Institute (CAI) tell the Federal Communications Commission how broadband infrastructure may impact condominiums, housing cooperatives, homeowner associations.

 

Cell Tower

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017 is the date for the next learning opportunity for condominium board members, property managers and unit owners. 175 exhibitors will have their wares and services on display including roofers, accountants, pest control experts and contractors of all types. Perkins & Anctil’s attorneys will be scheduling short consultations during the day for those who sign up before the event. Contact Samantha at sgray@perkinslawpc.com to schedule your session today.

 

2017 Expo logo

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Natural disasters can cause damage only the federal government can afford to clean up. Most people suffering in those situations benefit quickly from such action, whether it is damage by hurricane, flood, earthquake or drought. However, residents in community associations and condominiums are not currently eligible for these reparations. That is, unless a bill currently circulating in the House of Representatives is passed. H.R. 1684 would direct the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance to community associations and condominiums after a natural disaster. Senior Partner Charlie Perkins would like to direct readers to the Community Associations Institute website where there is more information: https://www.caionline.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairsBlog/Pages/Hr1684.aspx

 

FEMA

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Perkins & Anctil, P.C. is proud to announce that Attorney Charles A. Perkins, Jr., a College of Community Association Lawyers fellow, has been awarded the 2017 Business Partner of the Year Award from the New England Community Associations Institute. This award is presented to an individual who provides exemplary service to his client associations as well as to the broader community association industry through his involvement with education and legislative initiatives.

Thank you Charlie for your ongoing dedication as well as your time and resources that you volunteer to the community.

 

CharliePerkinsBooks

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The case against a Kentucky man being sued in federal court by a neighbor for shooting a drone from the sky has been dismissed due in part to the court’s nebulous view of “Aerial Trespassing” and the associated and still-developing legal concepts surrounding drones. The Federal Aviation Administration, the agency typically responsible for regulating flying machines of all kinds, did not involve itself in the matter, thereby leaving the federal judge to his own opinion of this new type of trespassing, which is that it is best adjudicated at the state level. Attorney David R. Chenelle, a drone enthusiast, has sent this link with more information: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/03/judge-rules-in-favor-of-drone-slayer-dismisses-lawsuit-filed-by-pilot/

 

Drone Assassin

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We want to thank all of you who took the time to participate in our recent survey regarding copyrights and condominiums. While I had some concern that this topic may seem obscure to many of you, my fears appear to have been unfounded. We tallied the most responses that we have ever received for a single survey, with input from over one hundred participants!

What Does This Mean?

Well, it confirms that the intersection of copyright law and community association living is a subject worthy of discussion and understanding. Of our participants:

Almost forty percent (40%) indicated that their association has hosted or authorized a resident to host a function in a common area facility at which recorded or live music was played. 

Just about a quarter of participants (24%) indicated that they have hosted or authorized a resident to host a “movie night,” book club/reading or other performance of copyrighted materials in common areas.

Another forty-four percent (44%) indicated that they play or allow residents to play music in common areas such as pool areas or fitness facilities.

In addition, twenty percent (20%) of respondents reported that their associations use images or artwork in their webpage or other materials without knowing whether they own the rights in such media.

Chart Images

Overall, these numbers are higher than what we would have anticipated and may suggest that a number of associations have unwittingly exposed themselves to potential infringement liability.

Your feedback and comments were also informative. Many respondents wrote that they only allowed individuals to play music from CDs, iPods or similar devices; however, this alone would not necessarily absolve the association from copyright infringement. Other respondents indicated that no money was charged in connection with the events, and thus, they did not anticipate any issue. Again, while the exchange of funds may be a contributing factor in an infringement finding, there can be infringement without any ticket sales, contributions or donations.

What Is Infringement Again?

To understand the potential liability facing community associations with respect to potential infringement claims, it is important to understand the protections that the Copyright Act affords to copyright owners. The Copyright Act (17 USC §104) provides that a copyright owner has five basic rights in a copyrighted work:

1. The right to reproduce the work;
2. The right to prepare derivative works;
3. The right to distribute copies or phonorecords;
4. The right to perform the work publicly; and,
5. The right to display the work publicly.

While not all of these rights are likely to be problematic in the association context, many associations inadvertently run afoul of the restrictions prohibiting unauthorized reproduction, public display and performance or even distribution of copies.

Pursuant to 17 USC §501 (a): “Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner ... is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author, as the case may be.” In the case of community associations, infringement most frequently manifests itself in the form of unlicensed or unauthorized public or semi-public displays or performances of copyright protected works. The Copyright Act requires that an association have the appropriate license(s) in place for any public performance of protected works.

Penalties for infringement are significant. A copyright owner can receive either actual damages and profits, or statutory damages in the amount of up to $150,000.00.

Why Does This Matter To Me?

It may not. Of over one hundred respondents to our survey, only one replied that he had received a notice of infringement or other communication from a Performance Rights Organization (“PRO”). This is not particularly shocking. By and large it seems that PROs would not necessarily make community associations in New England their top targets for infringement claims. We suspect that restaurants, bars, hotels and other such facilities are much more likely to end up on the receiving end of a PRO demand.

However, that is not to say that community associations should not be mindful of these issues. For those associations who regularly allow or host displays or performances at their common facilities, best practice would be to obtain licenses directly from the PROs, to negotiate with performers to ensure that they have proper licenses in place, or to attempt to ensure that any displays or performances of copyright materials are otherwise covered by appropriate exceptions to infringement.

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This one concerns community associations and the interplay of copyrights and intellectual property law and infringement. He inquires of unit owners, managers and board members about whether or not they have played live or recorded music at social events, shown a movie or hosted a book reading on association property. Repercussions may be more than the hosts bargained for if they did not adhere to protocols for obtaining permission to share the copyrighted materials. Readers can respond to the survey by going here:  http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07edudpeptiza1c9g7/a0190izh62g8h/greeting

 

IP Collage

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The Community Associations Institute New England Chapter’s Association Achievement Award categories include Community of the Year, Creative Solutions, Manager of the Year and others which are handed out to industry professionals and community leaders. The Annual CAI-NE Banquet will be held on March 24, 2017 at the Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA. Those wishing to attend can sign up at https://www.caine.org/. The nomination form is available at http://www.caine.org/_documents/Newsletter/Attachment/NewsletterAtt384.pdf.

 

CAI logo

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Attorney Charlie Perkins notes that the HAM Radio Bill, which may impact community associations’ ability to regulate antennae construction has been elevated to the Senate. The CAI blog post on the subject is below.

On Jan. 13, 2017, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) reintroduced the HAM Radio bill that failed to make it out of the Senate at the end of the 114th Congress. Cited as the Amateur Radio Parity Act, the Act was considered in 2015-2016 under H.R. 1301. That bill passed the House with compromise language CAI members advocated for in order to protect the best interest of community associations. The Act was reintroduced with the compromise language and will receive consideration as H.R. 555 in the 115th Congress.

Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon), a HAM radio operator and Chairman of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee where H.R. 555 was introduced. H.R. 555 was ushered to the House Floor on the suspension calendar earlier this week. The suspension calendar is for bills deemed non-controversial and where a congressperson moves to have the normal rules related parliamentary procedure suspended. Debate is limited to 40 minutes and two-thirds of the members present and voting must vote in the affirmative for the rules to be suspended and agree to the measure. Continue reading on CAI's Governmnet Affairs Blog at https://www.caionline.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairsBlog/Pages/default.aspx

Ham Radio Anetnna

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The website Bettercondolife.com has some ideas about what new issues unit owners and associations will be facing this year. Our readers will remember older posts about the coming of drones as a community association concern but there are others as well. Marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts recently and will become a topic of conversation as will the increase in short term internet based property rentals. You can read more here: http://bettercondolife.com/three-condo-association-predictions-2017

Condo Life

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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins has forwarded a post from the CAI Government Affairs blog that describes some legal issues communities will face in the coming year such as the potential for legislators in Washington to curb association controls on HAM radio antennae construction and the possibility for congress to grant a $5,000 tax deduction for association fees for some condominium owners. CAI Also expects a bill to be re-introduced that will make condominium unit owners eligible for certain FEMA funds in the case of a natural disaster. Readers can see the CAI blog post at: https://www.caionline.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairsBlog/Pages/2017Preview.aspx

Lisbon Disaster

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Attorney Scott Eriksen has some thoughts on how community associations can deal with potential infractions of intellectual property law on their property. He believes many are not even aware they are in violation and so has drafted an article for our newsletter on the subject. Readers can view by going to our website and clicking on the Publications tab at www.perkinslawpc.com.

Small Bliss

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Attorney Daniel Lopez has authored an article detailing the requirements that include having detectors on every habitable level of the residence; On the ceiling outside of each separate sleeping area; On the ceiling at the base of each stairway; and several others. The full article is available on our website under the Publications tab at www.perkinslawpc.com.

Smoke detector

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