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Please consider joining Attorney Scott Eriksen on November 8 from 1-230PM for his workshop “Governing Documents and Roles & Responsibilities.”  Scott will start you on the right path to help you understand the legal authority for your association.  He will also clarify the duties and responsibilities of each board member as well as the role of professionals available to assist the board.  This is one of a four-part Webinar Series taking place on four consecutive Tuesdays on November 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2022, that will also cover financial management, communications and meetings and association rules.  To sign up with CAI, click here:  CAI New England Chapter - CAINE

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Perkins & Anctil Senior Partner Charlie Perkins is asking CAI members to have their U.S. Representatives support U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden's effort to revise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac condominium and housing cooperative safety mortgage guidelines that require boards or their managers to answer questions about condominium safety outside of their scope of knowledge.  The link to notify your elected officials is here:  https://www.votervoice.net/CAI/Campaigns/98220/Respond

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The following article was written by Phoebe E. Neseth, Esq. of Community Associations Institute on Sep 29, 2022 and comes recommended by our Senior Partner Charlie Perkins:

 

I joined 10 members of the CAI New Jersey Legislative Action Committee (LACs) in Trenton this week to lobby state legislators to support condominium safety and other community association related legislation. CAI’s LACs monitor state legislation, educate lawmakers, and protect the interests of those living and working in community associations. Each committee is comprised of homeowner leaders, community managers, and community association business partners who graciously volunteer their time.

Currently, New Jersey is in the first of a two-year legislative session, and several dozen bills were introduced to date impacting the approximately 1,459,000 New Jerseyites living in 545,000 homes in nearly 7,000 community associations in New Jersey. At the forefront of this week’s CAI New Jersey Lobby Day is legislation introduced on behalf of the NJ LAC on condominium safety. The bill addresses both reserve studies and funding and structural integrity and building inspections.

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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins has reviewed the article below, written by Dawn Bauman, Senior Vice President at Community Associations Institute, and suggests it as informative to condominium unit owners, managers and trustees:

Summary

  • • Following the June 24, 2021, collapse of Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac implemented temporary emergency underwriting guidelines requiring lenders to assess the safety of condominium and housing cooperative buildings. The temporary guidelines are having a negative impact on condominium and cooperative homeowners residing in safe buildings.
  • • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recognize the negative consequences of the temporary guidelines and in May 2022 submitted policy revisions to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for approval. FHFA has delayed implementation of the proposed revisions.
  • • CAI requests Senators contact FHFA and urge Director Thompson to expeditiously complete the agency’s review of the enterprises’ policy recommendations and to approve the revisions consistent with key policy principles outlined below.
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This article was written by Dawn Bauman, CAE and C. Scott Canady, of Community Assciations Institute, on Jul 21, 2022.  It comes recommended by Senior Partner Charlie Perkins:

The House Financial Services Committee yesterday received testimony from Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Sandra Thompson. In a memo, CAI urged members of the committee to ask Thompson about ways to improve access to mortgage credit for condominium and cooperative homeowners and homebuyers residing in structurally safe buildings.

We pointed out the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac condominium and cooperative policy directive is disrupting access to mortgage credit for homeowners in safe buildings. In a survey of the condominium industry, 72% of respondents were impacted by the new guidelines, 45% reported mortgage closing delays, and 28% indicated the guidelines caused loan denials in condominium projects with no identifiable structural or financial integrity issues. Read the full memo.

We shared our work with other stakeholders, including the National Association of Realtors, Mortgage Bankers Association, and the Community Home Lenders of America who also requested FHFA suspend and revise the new guidelines.

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The following was written for the Ccommunity Associations Institute Advocacy Blog by Dawn Bauman, CAE and Phoebe E. Neseth, Esq. on Jun 24, 2022 and comes as recommended reading by Perkins and Anctil Senior Partner Charlie Perkins

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association in Surfside, Fla. CAI and our Southeast Florida Chapter are attending the Surfside Remembrance event in Surfside to honor those who lost their lives, the loved ones of the victims, and the survivors who lost their home and neighbors in the tragic collapse.

The tragedy took 98 lives. CAI members and staff are committed to pursuing best practices, education, and public policy to make sure this heartbreaking tragedy never happens again.

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The following is a Community Associations Institute press release dated 5/27/22 and comes as recommended reading from Senior Partner Charlie Perkins:

CAI applauds the Florida legislature for unanimously passing comprehensive and meaningful condominium safety measures to support the 9 million Floridians living and working in community associations.

Last week, the Senate voted 38-0, and the House voted 110-0, to support the legislation after a powerful and heartfelt standing ovation for state Rep. Daniel Perez (R-Miami-Dade County), the bill's sponsor in the House. Governor DeSantis signed the bill. CAI representatives were in Tallahassee during the legislature's special session and were the only ones to speak on behalf of the new bill.

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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins would like to share the following CAI blog post:

CAI applauds Representatives Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D- Fla.) for introducing H.R. 7532, the Securing Access to Financing for Exterior Repairs (SAFER) in Condos Act, the result of months of close collaboration with CAI representatives. This legislation will make it easier for condominium owners to afford special assessments for structural and safety repairs. Owners would be able to obtain low-interest loans to fund repairs through two programs guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Perkins & Anctil, P.C. is proud to announce that Partner Kim Alley raised $30,000 for Dana-Farber with her Boston Marathon this year.

Kim was recognized as an elite “26.2K Pacesetter” on Marathon Monday – which is a recognition given to only Dana-Farber’s top fundraisers. In just 6 months, Kim has raised a grand total of $53,000 for Dana-Farber with her 2 Boston marathon runs. Congratulations Kim!

Thank you for your overwhelming support of Kim’s marathon runs for this life-saving mission! Our firm is grateful for the generosity of our clients, colleagues and friends in helping us make great strides toward the ultimate finish line - a world without cancer.

Kim Alley Marathon Finish 2022

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This article was written by C. Scott Canady for the CAI Advocacy Blog on Apr 19, 2022 and recommended by Senior Partner Charlie Perkins. 

Yesterday, April 18, 2022, U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Broward, Miami-Dade) introduced the Securing Access to Finance Exterior Repairs (SAFER) in Condos Act of 2022. The legislation, a response to the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., on June 24 in which 98 people died, allows condominium homeowners to finance critical building repairs with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

CAI has been working with Crist’s and Wasserman Schultz’s offices since last summer to introduce meaningful and practical legislation that will provide access to government-backed low interest loans to support critical repairs in condominiums. CAI is very pleased to have the legislators’ full support for condominium safety.

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The following was written by Dawn Bauman, CAE on April 14, 2022 and recommended by Senior Partner Charlie Perkins:

Updated lending questionnaires from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with new project requirements for condominiums and housing cooperatives to ensure structural safety have caught community association boards, managers, and business partners by surprise, as we reported in February. CAI continues to have conversations with the government-sponsored enterprises and their conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), to urge changes to the lending requirements and timeline for implementation.

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The following was written by Dawn Bauman of CAI and recommended by Senior Partner Charles A. Perkins, Jr.:

 

Guidance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac introduced in late 2021 brings new project requirements for condominiums and housing cooperatives to ensure safety and

structural stability following the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla., last June. However, the short timeframe of implementation and updated lender questionnaires have caught community association boards, managers, attorneys, and document providers by surprise, and they are now seeking to address the new requirements while keeping real estate transactions in their communities moving forward.

Today, CAI sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) requesting that implementation of the temporary guidelines be suspended by at least one year. Recently, CAI members shared that creditworthy borrowers have been denied credit to purchase homes and refinance mortgages in condominium and cooperative projects with no safety, soundness, structural integrity, or habitability concerns because of the temporary guidelines.

CAI supports the intent of the new requirements and understands the need for the government-sponsored enterprises to assess and mitigate risks associated with their respective condominium unit and cooperative share mortgage portfolios. CAI respectfully recommends a delay in implementation to support this outcome by reducing uncertainty; allowing associations, their managing agents, and service providers to produce documentation materials more efficiently; and accounting for state and local government enactment of appropriate condominium and cooperative project safety and financial solvency standards.

CAI continues to engage in conversations with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac representatives, realtors, mortgage bankers, and others to find solutions that can help avoid a regulatory bottleneck and loss of capital and liquidity to the condominium and housing cooperative mortgage market.

We also are collecting data to better understand the impact of these new requirements on condominiums and housing cooperatives. If you are aware of a real estate transaction in a condominium and/or housing cooperative community that has been delayed, disrupted, or stopped because of the new guidance from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, please complete the survey.

In addition, CAI has released a new guide for our members to help them navigate the new requirements, including an FAQ section, that can be downloaded www.caionline.org/condosafety We also hosted a webinar on Jan. 26 with representatives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as community association attorneys Edmund Allcock and Todd J. Billy, fellows

in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers. The webinar will be available on-demand soon at www.caionline.org/webinars.

Find more resources at www.caionline.org/CondoSafety.

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Partner Kim Alley was recognized by the Jimmy Fund as a featured Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) runner.  Kim’s charitable marathon efforts raised nearly $23,000 for Dana-Farber last year.  She is currently training for her 2nd Boston Marathon® for DFMC in April.  Click here to see more:  Dana-Farber runner feels privileged to be able to run again - Jimmy Fund Blog

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The following article was written by Dawn Bauman of Community Associations Institute and comes as recommended reading from our senior partner Charlie Perkins:

Condominiums and housing cooperatives must meet updated structural safety requirements to secure loans for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government-sponsored enterprises released new guidance in late 2021 after the partial collapse of Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Fla., in June, generated concerns about aging infrastructure and deferred maintenance.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac secure loans for mortgages issued by credit unions, banks, and other financial institutions. The updated requirements apply to condominiums and cooperatives that contain five or more attached units. The new requirements are in addition to, and do not supersede, any of the previous lending conditions.

Community association board members and managers are expected to gather details and prepare reports to share with appraisers and lenders.

Freddie Mac

In December, Freddie Mac released guidance related to property eligibility and appraisal requirements for condominiums and cooperatives in need of critical repairs as well as buildings with special assessments. The guidance goes into effect Feb. 28.

Buildings in need of critical repairs will be no longer be eligible for Freddie Mac-backed loans. Mortgage providers are expected to determine compliance with the new requirements.

Freddie Mac is not changing its stance on community association reserves; it will continue to allow new buildings with less than 10% in reserve funds to secure loans if the most current reserve study is provided. It also is requiring documentation that at least 95% of any special assessments budgeted are being collected.

Fannie Mae

The new requirements, released in October, went into effect Jan. 1. They include:

  • Unsafe conditions: Building projects that have received a directive from a regulatory authority or inspection agency to make repairs due to unsafe conditions will be ineligible until such repairs are made.
  • Significant deferred maintenance: Buildings with deficiencies that meet one or more of the following criteria will be ineligible:
    • Buildings that require at least seven days of full or partial evacuation to complete necessary repairs.
    • Buildings with damage, deficiencies, or defects severe enough to affect safety, soundness, or structural integrity; and/or those where substantial repairs and rehabilitation are required; and/or those where one or more of the major structural or mechanical elements (such as the foundation, roof, load-bearing structures, plumbing, electrical system, or HVAC) are impeded.
  • Special assessments: All current or new special assessments will be reviewed for acceptability under the following criteria:
    • Reason for the special assessment.
    • Assessment amount and repayment terms.
    • Demonstration of no negative impact to financial stability, viability, condition, or marketability.
  • Reserves requirements: Ten percent budget reserves are required, regardless of reserve study assessments (and in addition to any special assessments that may be in place).

These requirements place a heavy focus on structural and financial stability. Documentation also is important; community associations must carefully maintain and make available to appraisers and lenders all pertinent paperwork (appraisals, most recent six months of meeting minutes, financial statements, engineering reports, inspection reports, and reserve studies). Review the full Fannie Mae requirements.

CAI is working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on educating communities about the new requirements to secure loans for mortgages issued by credit unions, banks, and other financial institutions. CAI also is engaging with management companies and attorneys to further advise our members on high-rise safety.

>> For additional resources, visit www.caionline.org/CondoSafety.

 

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Written by Attorney Charles A. Perkins

COVID-19 and its variants have been at the forefront of concerns for condominium associations for the past twenty-two months. However, anyone involved in the industry should be aware of other concerns in the form of changes recently announced in a statement issued by Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae has notified lenders of new/updated requirements it has implemented that will impact the financing eligibility of condominium and certain co-op projects. These new requirements may come as no surprise to some considering the tragic collapse of the Champlain South Tower in Surfside Florida earlier this year. The problem, however, is the method that will be utilized to assist banks and other institutions with making their lending determinations.

The changes announced by Fannie Mae include a list of specific disclosures required as part of the process to determine loan eligibility. This information will be vetted through questionnaires requesting information relative to special assessments, deferred maintenance, and information on code violations. Answering these questions may or may not be something that board members and managers can, or should, do, and we recommend that all associations proceed with caution when completing these questionnaires. 

If you would like additional information, utilize this link for more information about the latest announcement from Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2021-14)

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance.

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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins forwards this post form the Community Associations Institute blog and would like readers to ask members of Congress to support H.R. 5298:

Community Associations Institute is pleased to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation that expands access to FEMA disaster assistance to community associations. We are writing to ask you to contact your Member of Congress to urge them to cosponsor this legislation that helps community associations with disaster recovery efforts. 

About the Disaster Assistance Equity Act
The Disaster Assistance Equity Act will correct current inequities in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster response system. Under the current law, community associations affected by a presidentially declared natural disaster—blizzard, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado—are NOT given the same FEMA financial recovery support for debris removal and other efforts as their neighbors.

  • Condominiums & Housing Cooperatives:  If this bill passes, individual owners in condominiums and housing cooperatives will be reimbursed for their fair share of repair or replacement of critical major common area elements like boiler rooms, elevators, roofs, etc.
  • Homeowners Associations:  If this bill passes, homeowners associations with privately-owned roads will be able to rely upon the locality (city, county, town, etc.) to remove debris from the private roads resulting in huge savings for association residents.   

Residents and taxpayers just like you, living in community associations pay the same federal taxes as residents living in non-deed restricted neighborhoods. The current system is flawed and unfair, but this legislation recognizes and improves these inequities for the 74 million people living in community associations. Click here to read the full bill text.  For a link to the CAI blog post, click below:

 

H.R 5298 — The Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2021

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Written by Charles A. Perkins, Esquire

On June 22, 2021, a portion of the Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Florida, collapsed and caused substantial destruction, loss of life and was a tragedy that impacted hundreds of people. This event has galvanized leaders across the nation including lawmakers and members of the condominium industry and has brought to the forefront the need to reevaluate certain practices to implement changes to help prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again.

Community Association Institute (CAI) published the Condominium Safety Public Policy Report in October 2021.[1] This publication by CAI is a must read for all those in the condominium industry. There are many individuals and groups who contributed their insight and recommendations to this report which could lead to substantial changes in the way condominiums operate throughout the country. An example of the topics discussed in this report include the following:

  1. Mandatory reserve studies during the pre-construction, active construction, and post-construction phases. It is recommended that these studies be performed by a reserve specialist or other qualified individual.
  2. The authority for a board to fund projects for safety improvements without a vote of the unit owners.
  3. Mandatory building inspections with a structural engineer over definitive time periods.
  4. The requirement that mortgage holders inquire about building issues and that a question about deferred maintenance and other disclosures be included in the uniform questionnaire. Examples include issues concerning maintenance effecting safety, soundness, and structural integrity of the condominium.
  5. Mandate disclosure to new purchasers of reserve studies and reserve plans.

This is just the beginning of topics being discussed on the local and national level and will undoubtedly have an impact on how boards and community associations operate in the future.

We will continue to monitor this topic and provide an update of any changes.

 

[1] A complete version of this report is located at https://www.caionline.org/HomeownerLeaders/DisasterResources/Documents/CAI.pdf

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Saturday, October 23, 2021 is the date for the next learning opportunity for condominium board members, property managers and unit owners.  Numerous 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.   Interested parties should email Perkins & Anctil  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their name, company name and address for complimentary admission to the Expo, no later than October 18th, 2021.

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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins is interested in sharing this press release from the Community Associations Institute regarding the current disaster assistance bill in the House of Representatives:

Bipartisan Legislation Expands Access to FEMA Disaster Assistance to Community Associations Falls Church, VA, Sept. 21, 2021—Today, Community Associations Institute (CAI) applauds Representative David Rouzer (R-NC) for co-sponsoring the Disaster Assistance Equity Act (H.R. 5298) with Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); a show of bipartisanship that is rarely seen in today’s politics. John Garamendi (D-CA), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Paul Ruiz (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) are additional cosponsors on the bill.

Currently, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) inconsistently interprets regulations in a way that prohibits community associations, commonly referred to as condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives from qualifying for federal disaster response and recovery programs. The Disaster Assistance Equity Act will allow FEMA's Public Assistance Program to reimburse costs related to disaster debris removal from community association roads and waterways and allow FEMA's Individuals and Households Assistance Program to provide assistance to condominium unit homeowners for critical common element repairs after a natural disaster.

“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers and other Americans were shocked to learn that FEMA's eligibility rules left them with no way of restoring their homes simply because they shared walls and floors with neighbors and lived in a homeowners’ association," said Representative Nadler. The bipartisan support is indicative of how this issue impacts so many Americans that have dealt with a natural disaster. In a Congressional briefing, CAI’s chair of the Government and Public Affairs committee Peter Kristian, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, general manager of Hilton Head Plantation in South Carolina explained that bill is not only for coastal communities hit by hurricanes, but also interior states that experience mudslides, fires, and tornados. He remarked that “Everyone across the entire United States can potentially be affected by one of these types of natural disasters.”

“As severe summer storms, wildfires, and hurricanes plague the lives of Americans across the country, the devastation highlights the inequities of the federal disaster recovery system for the 74 million people living in condominiums, homeowners’ associations, and housing cooperatives,” said Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, Community Association’s Institute’s (CAI) chief executive officer. “After a disaster, these communities deserve federal support. We applaud Chairman Nadler and the bipartisan sponsors of this important legislation.”

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The following was written by C. Scott Canady, originally posted the Community Associations Institute Advocacy Blog (www.advocacy.caionline.org/) and is recommended reading by Attorney Charlie Perkins:

Anyone who has lived in or worked with community associations knows that planning and preparation for natural disasters matters. That is why it is encouraging to see policymakers in Washington, D.C., take steps to make disaster recovery less complicated for common interest communities.

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