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Author Archives: Jason

Superhero or Supervillain?

Is your community’s declaration ready to save your financial reserves or is it fighting against your collection attempts?

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L&J’s Jonathan Benator Named Super Lawyers Rising Star

Jonathan Benator, a partner working on the L&J general team, has been honored as a 2022 Georgia Rising Star by the research team at Super Lawyers.

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L&J’s Bradley Griffin Selected as 2022 Georgia Rising Star

Bradley Griffin, a partner at L&J on the community associations collections team, has been selected by the research team at Super Lawyers as a 2022 Rising Star. Only the top 2.5 percent of lawyers in Georgia for the year receive the honor of making this list.

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Winning Collections

Winning collections requires clear communication, staying alert, and commitment to a shared goal.

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Top Tips for Entering, Enforcing & Exiting Vendor Contracts

L&J Morning Break:

Our expert attorneys give you the top tips for entering, enforcing and exiting vendor contracts.
Topics include:
• Get What You Pay For – Pay when they have finished!
• Indemnification and Insurance – Protection for when things go wrong.
• Time to go separate ways? – Make sure there is a clear exit path.

Key Terms and Provisions for Vendor Contracts:

Scope of Work – One of the main areas that often ends up in the center of a contract dispute is the scope of work or services covered under the contract. When it comes to defining the scope of work in a contract, less is definitely not more. It is vital to detail the exact expectations of the parties with respect to the work or the services to be provided. Avoid language that is vague or allows room for interpretation. The scope of work should be fully identified to specify expectations as to the level of service, quality of materials and quality of work. Specifications often can be obtained from product manufacturers, and, in some instances, hiring a professional to develop the scope of work is invaluable.

Payment and Payment Terms – Pay attention to payment terms. Look for hidden or additional fees. Many contracts will include provisions addressing additional fees for items that may be expected as part of the scope of work, but not
included in initial pricing.

When possible, the contract should state the total price for all the labor, materials and services expected under the agreement. When fixed pricing is not possible, try to negotiate for and specify price caps and requirements of written approval before vendors incur these unknown expenses.

If the contract calls for scheduled payments, then, other than reasonable down payments for project start-up costs, the remainder of the work performed under the contract should always be ahead of the payments. This will give the association leverage over the vendor to ensure quality and completion of the work. If a down payment is required in order to acquire materials, the contract should list, where possible, the materials that will be acquired with the down payment.

Term and Termination – When it comes to service contracts, such as pool vendors, landscape companies or cable providers, the term and termination provision can be the most important provision of the contract. In most cases, the term and termination provision is not favorable to the customer and makes it very difficult for the customer to terminate the contract and end the relationship. Contracts for the provisions of services should always be subject to termination without cause with a short notice period, such as 30 or 60 days. This allows an association to get out of a
contract for any reason, and will allow for better ease in terminating a bad relationship. Project contracts should have a detailed procedure affording a fair right to terminate if a vendor is not performing.

Insurance – Require the vendor to carry liability insurance to cover any claims against personal injury and property damage from the work or services being performed. Obtain a certificate of insurance directly from the vendor’s insurance agent showing the proper insurance coverage prior to the commencement of the work. Specify that the vendor must maintain the insurance for the term of the contract. If the vendor is not properly insured or not insured at all, the association could be held responsible for any claims of damages or injuries caused by the vendor.

Indemnification – The indemnification provisions go hand-in-hand with insurance provisions. Require the vendor to indemnify and hold harmless the association and all related parties from damages and claims that are caused by the vendor or the vendor’s employees or agents. An indemnification provision basically requires the vendor to cover the association if the association is sued because of the actions of the vendor. Often, the indemnification is covered by the vendor’s insurance carrier, so it is important to ensure that there is insurance to cover the indemnification obligation. Otherwise, the indemnification obligation is only as good as the worth or assets of the vendor.

More Information:

Check out our article on contracts. Also, take a look at our YouTube channel for the full L&J Morning Break archives and other educational videos.

A Succession Plan for Transitioning Boards

Did new members get elected to your association board? Having a comprehensive succession plan can make the transition in leadership smoother.

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Mind Your Manners

Whether you are a professional management company or a self-managed community, here’s a quick refresher on annual meetings and collections.

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The COVID-19 Merry-Go-Round

Join L&J as our attorneys break down current topics surrounding COVID-19 as it relates to community managers and associations. The discussion includes: revisiting CDC mask guidelines, associations requiring vaccines, owner notifications of positive COVID-19 residents and more.

See a full list of documents and articles related to COVID-19 here. Also, head to our YouTube channel to watch all of the L&J Morning Break archives and our other educational videos.

Lessons from Surfside

Our experienced attorneys talk about the lessons to take away from the Surfside tragedy. They share hands-on, practical solutions to use when managers are faced with a community association disaster. Jamie, Jay and Rob address general maintenance obligations, paying for repairs and maintenance in the building, disaster planning and practice, adequate property insurance coverage, directors and officers liability insurance, general liability insurance and how to handle an insurance claim after it’s submitted to the insurance carrier.

For more information, take a look at our Resources tab to see related documents and articles. To see our full L&J Morning Break archives and other educational videos, check out our YouTube channel.

The Real Answers about COVID-19 & Amenity Openings

We answer your questions about COVID-19 and amenity openings. Our expert attorneys address how to safely open and operate community amenities under current COVID-19 guidelines.
Topics include:
• Georgia Governor Kemp’s Empowering a Healthy Georgia Executive Order
• Updates to CDC COVID-19 Guidelines
• Local & Private Mask Requirements
• Vaccination Requirements

See a full list of documents and articles related to COVID-19 here. Also, head to our YouTube channel to watch all of the L&J Morning Break archives and our other educational videos.

Opening Your Community Amenities in 2021

Can we safely open our amenities in 2021? This is the question on the mind of every community association director, manager and member.

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A Community’s New Year’s “Resolution” Tool for Keeping It Civil

Many communities are creating a civility resolution to define an expectation of civility, decorum, and courtesy within their communities.

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My Condo Unit is Wet, and My Dog is Not a Pet!

What to do when an owner reports that their condo unit is wet or they tell you their dog is not just a pet? In this L&J Morning Break, we share the latest info on a new water insurance law and how to respond to service and emotional support animal requests.

Check out the L&J YouTube channel for access to the Morning Break archives and our other educational videos. For documents and articles related to this video, take a look at our Resources tab.

Political Signs – Regulating to Keep the Peace

L&J attorneys answer the your questions about regulating political signs in community associations.
Including:
• Can Community Associations Ban or Restrict Political Signs?
• Should Associations Allow Political Signs?
• How Can Associations Fairly Allow Political Signs Without Losing Control?

Watch our other L&J Morning Break webinars by checking out our YouTube channel. Also, visit our Resources tab for access to related documents and articles.

Effective Virtual Board and Membership Meetings

How can you conduct effective virtual board and membership meetings as a community association? L&J instructors discuss strategies and procedures for conducting director elections outside of annual meetings, holding virtual informational annual meetings, and conducting virtual Board meetings. The session covers notice, quorum and voting requirements for various meeting types and platforms or methods to conduct voting.  

For more information, take a look at our Resources tab to see related documents and articles. To see our full L&J Morning Break archives and other educational videos, check out our YouTube channel.

New Community Association Laws Going Into Effect

New community association laws are going into effect. L&J attorneys offer guidance on how community associations will be impacted by new laws adopted by the Georgia legislature in 2020, including the COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act and a new law for water damage insurance claims in condos.

See a full list of documents and articles related to COVID-19 here. Also, head to our YouTube channel to watch all of the L&J Morning Break archives and our other educational videos.

COVID-19: There’s Light at the End of the Tunnel, But is it Sunlight or a Train?

How has COVID-19 impacted the Georgia court system? Our expert attorneys address the issue in the latest L&J Morning Break. Topics include:
• Georgia courts are reopening. How to move forward with covenant enforcement and collections
• Defending homeowner claims for assessment reductions or reimbursements due to amenity closings

See a full list of documents and articles related to COVID-19 here. Also, head to our YouTube channel to watch all of the L&J Morning Break archives and our other educational videos.