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Snow Removal Reminders

Snow Removal Reminders

It has not been a typical snowy Minnesota winter, yet. However, we would like to take a minute to remind everyone about factors that may come into play during a snow event.

Trigger Depth
Most HOA contracts will state an accumulation total that must be met before snow removal services will commence. For most places, the trigger depth is between 1-2 inches of snow.

Accumulations
Your contract’s definition of “trigger depth” is extremely important. Depending on the wording, trigger depth can be met when all of the snow on the ground is at or above a certain amount. In other cases, trigger depth might only apply to “single-event” storms; this method disregards how much snow is already on the ground and only measures how much new snow has fallen. If the amount of new snow is less than the trigger depth, snow removal will not occur. It is important to know the difference between these plans and which one you have; if there are 5 consecutive snowstorms where less than 1-inch falls and you have a single-event contract, snow removal services will not be triggered. Most contracts are written “by event.”

Timing
The second most important clause of your contract is when the snow removal service must be completed. In most cases, “final cleanup” is required somewhere between 6 – 12 hours after the snow has stopped falling. In some cases, the timeline can change based on how much snow has accumulated. The more snow that falls, the more time is allowed for cleanup.

Open-ups
Open-ups are another clause in the snow removal contract that is put into action after the snowfall exceeds a particular total. For example, if 4 inches of snow has fallen and there is still a forecasted 4 inches, the snow removal company will perform an open-up. They will perform a single pass through the roadways with a plow so that vehicles can enter and exit the complex. One important section of the open-ups clause to look over is whether open-ups include driveways or just the main roadways. Typical language will state that an open-up will occur prior to ___ AM and/or after ___PM.

While we hope we don’t get any major snowfalls, it is always good to be prepared.

Winter in Minnesota

Winter in Minnesota

Now that we’re in February, Minnesota’s winter is roughly halfway over. Whether you love the cold or hate it, it is part of everyday life in the northland.

If you’ve recently downsized into a smaller townhouse or condo, you might be dealing with a worse case of cabin fever than normal. To help cheer you up, here are some fun ways to get through the rest of winter

Stay Active
While it might not look like it, there are tons of fun outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the winter. For the thrill seekers, Afton Alps has skiing, snowboarding, and downhill tubing. If you like to run, visit Theodore Wirth Park at 1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway, Golden Valley, MN. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, this expensive park has miles of trails ranging from flat and paved to steep and winding; it is perfect for every type of runner. Theodore Wirth Park is also pet-friendly, so your favorite pup can get in some exercise too.
While helping your pet get exercise during the winter can be challenging, there are a multitude of pet-friendly parks in the area. Also, remember to pick up after your dog. While no one likes to be out in the cold for longer than necessary, parks and the common areas of your association are used by all.

Get Organized
While a single-family home has room for anything and everything, condos and townhomes traditionally have less square footage. Especially around the holidays when people are getting gifts and buying sale items, it is very easy for the clutter to build up. One way to help stay on top of it and keep from being buried in a pile of stuff is to stay organized. For some great tips, check out this blog entry we did called “Simplify Your Space.” https://sharpermanagement.com/2017/04/simplify-your-space/

Taking a Vacation?
A vacation to somewhere warm is always a nice change. If you do decide to leave town for a while, remember these important tips:

  • Always leave your heat ON, set no lower than 55 degrees.
  • Inform your management and neighbors that you will be leaving, and give someone emergency contact information and/or instructions to get into your unit in case of an emergency.
  • Contact us about doing winter maintenance checks if you’re planning to be gone for an extended period of time.

We hope these tips will help make the rest of your winter more enjoyable.

Sharper Management’s Associate Director of Community Management, Josh Reams, Earns PCAM

Sharper Management’s Associate Director of Community Management, Josh Reams, Earns PCAM

Sharper Management is pleased to announce their Associate Director of Community Management, Josh Reams, has earned the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) designation. The PCAM is the highest designation possible awarded to community management professionals.

Earned by only an elite group of community professionals nationwide; the PCAM is a pinnacle achievement for community management professionals.

Requirements for earning the PCAM include:

  • Five years of direct community association management experience.
  • Successful completion of all six M-200 level courses (with the last PMDP course completed within the past five years). These courses cover topics such as risk management, financials, and board members and their roles.
  • Completion of the PCAM application case study and earning a minimum total of 125 points. The case study consists of a two-day intensive experience learning about an example association and then completing an 80-100-page case study essay.

The PCAM is awarded by the Community Association Institute, an international membership organization dedicated to building better communities.

Congratulations, Josh!

Sharper Staff Recognized for Multiple Awards at Industry Event

Sharper Staff Recognized for Multiple Awards at Industry Event

Sharper Management is pleased to share that in November, seven nominations for the Community Association Institute – Minnesota (CAI-MN) annual Vision Awards were received by our staff.

The ceremony was held on December 6, 2018 at CAI’s annual Vision Awards and Holiday Gala. This event is an opportunity for community association managers, business partners, homeowner leaders and other various industry professional to come together and celebrate with one another for a very special night. 

Sharper’s seven nominations were received for the six categories that recognized individual efforts or collective community association achievements.

Nominees Included:

  • Miguel Pariona and Matthew Vitek (finalist) for Rookie of the Year
  • Sam Nichols for Excellence in Service (finalist)
  • Natalie Martynow for Excellent in Service  
  • Miguel Pariona for Financial Impact (finalist)
  • Michael Miller for Financial Impact  
  • Michelle Waldroff for Above and Beyond
  • Bearpath Homeowner Association for Outstanding Community Building by an Association (finalist)

“What an amazing honor to have so many nominees at this year’s Vision Awards,” said director of community management, Candy Lee. “The community association industry is not an easy career path. We work so hard to support our managers and provide them with the tools they need for success. But to be honored by industry professionals for these prestigious awards is a reflection of their hard work, passion for their field and their amazing content of character. We are so proud that these managers are getting the recognition they so richly deserve.”

Miguel Pariona took home the award for Financial Impact. 

Board Tips: Make Your Meetings Matter

Board Tips: Make Your Meetings Matter

In previous issues we’ve discussed the importance of a strong meeting facilitator; we’ve suggested agenda formats to create better meeting efficiency; and recently we wrote on the principle that meetings should be regulated to making decisions. There’s no denying that we live in a culture of meetings. In this issue’s Board Tips, we offer one thought for you to consider regarding meeting frequency, and one tip for you to try to make your meetings more meaningful.

Meeting Frequency – how often are you meeting as an association Board? This will certainly vary. Your Governing Documents may dictate a number of meetings to be held within a calendar year. The size and complexity of your community may require more or less meeting regularity. And situational issues or projects may dictate the volume necessity for a “meeting of the minds.” Consider the notion, however, that the more often you meet, the less productive you may be. Fewer meetings force focus – and therefore motivation to have tangible outcomes and measurable initiatives.

Consider evaluating your meeting productivity. If you find that decisions are often times delayed or tabled, if your meetings are more social than business, and certainly if you have a limited number of items on your docket, consider having fewer meetings. See how it goes. The results might surprise you!

Action List – to ensure that the meeting was, in fact, constructive with measurable outcomes, it is helpful to have a summary at the end of the meeting to identify and assign action items. Make a list! These can even be incorporated into the Meeting Minutes if it reflects a new business decision or resolution of the Board. Towards the end of a meeting, it is natural for people to just want to get home. Verbally summarizing and capturing, in writing, all action items is imperative.

Make your meetings matter by ensuring they are productive and with measurable results.

Sharper Offers Board Training Session – January 15th

Sharper Offers Board Training Session – January 15th

Sharper Management will present a free Board training seminar on Tuesday, January 15, 6 p.m. at the Bell Plaza office building in Bloomington (3800 American Blvd W). All Board members from community associations managed by Sharper are welcome to attend. “Board Basics: An Orientation for Board Members” will be led by Sharper’s two directors of community management, Candy Lee, CMCA, AMS, PCAM and Josh Reams, CMCA, AMS. Topics covered will include:
* Defining “Association”
* Roles & Responsibilities of the Board
* Financial Fundamentals
* An Overview to Governing Documents & State Statutes
* How to Run Effective Board Meetings
* Insurance Basics
* Property Management Practices
If you are interested in reserving your spot, please email info@sharpermanagement.com
Insurance: So Why Does the Association Have to File a Claim?

Insurance: So Why Does the Association Have to File a Claim?

There are few things trickier and more complicated in the operation of a community association than that of insurance. What types of policies must the association have? What is the scope of coverage? How does the “master policy” work with the individual homeowner’s policy (“HO6”)? There are many components and questions. Perhaps the most seldom understood, and sometimes hotly debated, topic on insurance is when and why the association must file a claim on the master policy.
In scenarios of massive losses like a hail storm, tornado or fire – or in cases where damage is limited to common areas such as a condo building hallway or a party room – it is pretty clear that the master policy should kick in and cover damages. But what about when a townhome wasn’t properly winterized and pipes freeze? Or what about the resident on the top floor of the condo building that let the bathtub overflow, flooding the units below, and causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage? Many Boards don’t understand why the association’s master policy would cover such losses where there is perceived negligence and/or the damage is inside of a unit, and therefore “not the associations responsibility.” It’s a natural reaction.
While the scope of coverage from association to association will vary, it is pretty common that the governing documents are going to require the master policy covers “the replacement costs of the building AND units.” In fact, if the association falls under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA” or 515B), state statute requires that the master policy covers the “total amount of not less than full insurable replacement cost of the insured property.” It goes on to say “in the case of a common interest community that contains units, or structures within units, sharing or having continuous walls, siding or roofs, the insurance maintained under subsections (a) (1) shall include those units, or structures within those units, and the common elements.”
What does this language mean? It means coverage is extended far beyond what many might expect the master policy to cover. Unless the association’s documents say otherwise, the policy might not cover finishing items such as carpeting, wall paper, or paint; but the subflooring, sheetrock, ceiling, framing, insulation is, in fact, insured by the master policy. Should there be a loss (such as those frozen pipes that burst in a townhome or the units affected in that condo building bathtub overflow) AND THAT LOSS EXCEEDS THE MASTER POLICY DEDUCTIBLE, there IS coverage for that loss.
You may be asking; “Why should the association’s policy cover it?” There is a very simple answer. By state statute, the master insurance policy is PRIMARY. 515B states “(4) if at the time of loss under the policy there is other insurance in the name of a unit owner covering the same property covered by the policy, the association’s policy is primary insurance.” You can read the entire statute on insurance here – https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/515B.3-113
The association does not get to decide what is and isn’t “coverable.” Additionally, the association doesn’t get to decide and assign “negligence.” If there is a loss and damages exceed the master policy’s deductible, a claim should be filed and coverage should be awarded per the governing documents. Insurance agents know the game. If there is a loss, the homeowner’s HO6 agent/policy is going to ask the question – how much damage? If more than the deductible, they know the master policy has to kick in and the HO6 will cover the owner’s personal property, non-covered items such as finish work like carpet, wallpaper and structural coverage up to the deductible.
What the association does get to decide is how the deductible should be handled. It can be absorbed as a common expense, or, more advisably, can be assessed against the owner(s) responsible or those that are benefiting. However, that’s an entirely different newsletter article.
At the end of the day, the role of a master policy to the association, and the fiduciary duty of the Board to the members of the association, is to protect property values. Master insurance policies, state statutes and governing documents put in place comprehensive insurance requirements to ensure that property losses are handled and property conditions restored – thereby maintaining property values.
Sharper Holiday Greetings

Sharper Holiday Greetings

All of us at Sharper Management would like to take a moment to thank you for a wonderful 2018.
We experienced another incredible year of growth, adding a number of new clients from all over the metro area. We find it a tremendous honor to be entrusted to work with Boards to help manage homeowner associations and make them the best they can be.
To help us provide the services necessary to do so, we continue to add more staff; continuously look for, and implement new ways, to improve our tools and technology; we strive to stay on top of industry trends; and find ways to stay connect to our Minnesota community. All of these things make up our core values and we feel we dove in to each in 2018.
From company growth, staff development, wining industry awards, leadership involvement in industry organizations, community outreach initiatives, and more, you can read all about our fantastic 2018 on our website’s News section here – https://sharpermanagement.com/blog/
Again, we want to sincerely thank you for making 2018 a remarkable year and we look forward to all that 2019 has to offer. All of us a Sharper wish you and your family a wonderful Holiday Season!
Miguel Pariona Takes Home Financial Impact Industry Award

Miguel Pariona Takes Home Financial Impact Industry Award

Eden Prairie, MN, (December 10, 2018) – Sharper Management community manager, Miguel Pariona, is the proud recipient of the Financial Impact Award from the 2018 Vision Awards, held December 6, 2018.

The Community Association Institute’s (CAI-MN) annual Vision Awards and Holiday Gala is an opportunity for community association managers, business partners, homeowner leaders and other various industry professionals to come together and celebrate with one another for a very special night. There were eight award categories and 51 total nominees. Pariona was a finalist with two other qualified managers for the award category of Financial Impact. The award is given to an individual who has positively impacted a community in a significant manner from a financial standpoint. Budget management, capital improvement navigation and insurance claim management, being some of the examples.

“We are so proud Miguel for taking home this illustrious award,” said owner Dan Cunningham. “In a relatively short period of time, Miguel has taken his portfolio of community associations to a much better financial place than he inherited them in. From getting reserves studies done, to making a significant impact in collections, to special assessing for large capital projects, he has done amazing things the past two years. To be recognized in front of over 200 industry professionals – and with all 20 of the assistant and community managers we had in attendance from Sharper – it was a very special night for all of us.”

Founded in 2010, Sharper Management is a locally-owned, mid-sized property management company offering a full suite of premiere services to homeowner’s associations of all sizes. Sharper Management currently provides services to the Minneapolis-St. Paul seven-county area.

For more information on Sharper Management services and employment opportunities, call 952-224-4777 or email to info@sharpermanagement.com.

Resale Disclosures

Resale Disclosures

Even as we enter the winter months in Minnesota, the housing market is still good. If you’re selling your home within an Association, it’s important to provide a resale disclosure package for prospective buyers.
A resale package is a packet of vital information provided to those purchasing a condominium or a home in an association. The package includes a complete set of recorded documents that govern your association. Typically, the documents included are: Annual Financials, Articles of Incorporation, Budget, Bylaws, CC&Rs, Insurance Declaration Page, Regular Meeting Minutes, Resale Certificate/Demand, Reserve Report, Rules and Regulations.

 

If you’re in the process of selling your townhome or condo, you may find resale disclosure documents via the Sharper Management website. Visit us at sharpermanagement.com. Look for the Resale Disclosures link in the menu bar. Or, click here.