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Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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Archived Newsletters

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, and answer frequently asked questions and let you know what is happening with the company.  Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page. 

February 2017
eNews Monthly
Volunteer Spotlight
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Aviara PUD Homeowners Association Volunteers

Each month we like to take a moment and spotlight a volunteer from one of our communities.  It’s always a difficult task to narrow it down to one.  This month is no exception, so we are making an exception.  The volunteers in Aviara pulled together for a massive landscaping project to help save their community money for many years to come.  One of the volunteers took the time to put together a video of the project and all the volunteers that made it possible. 

So this month, here’s to ALL the volunteers that make our communities wonderful places to call home!  Check out the video.

85th Texas Legislative Session
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They Are Back

The Texas legislature meets every two years and convened its 85th session on January 10th and will be in session for 140 days until May 29th. Senators and representatives were able to start filing bills for consideration in November. Things have been relatively quiet for property owners associations (POAs) with only a few bills filed so far.  Here is a summary of the significant filings.  Our thanks to attorney Sharon Reuler who freely distributes summaries and her perspectives throughout the session.

  • HB 923 (Shaheen - Plano) - This bill requires fines to be reasonable based on the (1) nature of violation, (2) frequency of violation and (3) violation’s effect on the entire subdivision.  Published fine structures will need to be more flexible and decisions on amounts will need to be made on a case-by-case basis.  There could certainly be difficulties in uniformly implementing fines under this law.  However, the intent of the law is good.
  • HB 755 (Parker - Flower Mound) - This bill only affects associations with special fees due on sales such as capitalization fees, enhancement fees, etc.  This bill clarifies that the fees collected can be used by the association to fund educational and cultural programs in schools that serve the subdivision.  This is a nice clarification of the law.
  • HB 522 (Schofield - Katy) - In 2011 a law was passed that protected the right of an owner to place a religious item on the door or frame to the entry of their home.  It was narrowly crafted to ensure that a small mezuzah (a tenet of Judaism) could not be prohibited.  This bill would broadly protect "any religious item the display of which is motivated by a person’s sincere religious belief" placed anywhere on the property and of any size.  This seems to be a law for a problem that doesn’t need to be solved.
  • HB 1341 (Munoz, Jr - Mission, Hidalgo County) - This is an omnibus bill with 6 parts.  So first the small items. There is a clarification to the meeting notice in advance of member meetings.  There is an attempt to make it easier for an owner to gain access to association records.  There is an attempt to make personnel financial records available to owner inspection. There is a provision that any request from an owner in any way related to a board meeting be documented in the meeting minutes.

The bill would also allow the Texas attorney general, district attorneys or county attorneys to sue the HOA for violating Chapter 209.  Although this adds incentive for associations to comply with state law, it is a great concern about how this could be used by owners to bludgeon their association.

The worst provision of this omnibus bill is to require that every owner be allowed to speak for at least 30 minutes at any board meeting. Under current law, owners may attend board meetings to observe the board’s deliberations but have no right to speak. Most associations welcome owners and provide an open forum on the agenda for homeowner input.

So that’s a wrap-up of the early filings.  The deadline for filing bills is March 10th (with emergency bills allowed until the end of the session).  Texas has a great online resource for reading and following bills through the legislative process.

Visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us/ to follow your favorite.

Fun Times
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Hockey Night
by Roseann Ashe

It was a beautiful evening as the San Antonio Rampage took on the Ontario Reign. This year was our 9th Annual Hockey Night with the San Antonio Rampage as our enthusiastic fans cheered them on! Our guests were treated to our turquoise 9th annual collectible cowbells and t-shirts.

Jessica Brown,Administrative Assistant from the San Antonio office, was selected to ride on the Zamboni during intermission!

The action of the game was exciting! Within the first 6 minutes of the game, the Rampage scored the opening goal. Ontario tied the game 59 seconds later, 1-1! The Reign then scored a second unassisted goal at 12:55 into the game. The Rampage battled back to tie up the game right before intermission, 2-2. In the second frame, Ontario regained the lead and added another to lead 4-2 as the clocked ticked down. With 24.7 seconds left in the game, the Rampage scored to edge within 1. The Rampage won the next face-off and spent  the final moments battling in front of the Reign net to try to tie the game.  Time ran out and the Ontario Reign took the game at 4-3.

More excitement came after the game in the halls of the AT&T Center.  David Herrera, the longtime boyfriend of Kaela Melchor, Administrative Assistant in our San Antonio office, asked for her hand in marriage. “She said Yes”!

We look forward to Hockey Night 2018 and hope to see you there!

Click below to see photos of the fun from the last eight years.

2017    2016     2015     2014     2013     2012     2011    2010    2009

The Collections Process
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For the majority of associations, assessments are due by January 1st and overdue after January 31st of each year. Although most owners pay on time, the delinquent collections process begins for the rest in February. So now is a good time to review our standard collection procedure.

Annual Statements.  The process begins when the annual statements are mailed to all owners. This is done soon after the annual budget is adopted by the Board of Directors. Draft budgets are reviewed as early as August and approved as late as November. The annual statement mailout includes a cover letter summarizing how the assessment will be used, a copy of the operating budget and a statement with coupon and return envelope. Many communities also include our popular "multi-payment option" which has more coupons and return envelopes that allow the owners to make 2, 3 or 4 payments by January 31st.

February.  In February, a late fee and interest is added to each account not on a formal payment plan. A past due notice is mailed with a statement. The owner is asked to contact our office to setup a payment plan if needed. The notice notes the next step that will be taken if necessary. Setting up a payment plan is easy. We work with the owner to establish a manageable monthly payment. We document the plan in a letter which the owner signs and returns with their first payment. All plans are monitored for compliance and we follow-up with a reminder if needed.

March.  Another late fee is added and a statement and notice is sent by certified mail in March as required by the Texas Property Code. The owner is again encouraged to contact our office for a payment plan if needed. The letter notes the next steps that will be taken if necessary.

April.  A lien is filed by an attorney in April and a fee is added to the account for the legal cost of preparing the lien and the subsequent release along with the county filing fees. Once we receive the recorded lien back from the county, we mail it to the owner with another letter offering a payment plan and noting the next step, if needed. Since the lien is filed in the public records, this debt is picked up by the credit reporting agencies.

May/June.  In May or June, accounts are presented to the Board of Directors for approval to send to an attorney for a demand letter. Once approved, a current title search is performed to verify ownership and a fee is added to the owner’s account. The cost of the attorney demand letter is also added to the owner’s account.

Next.  While this procedure is highly effective, there are situations that will require additional legal action.  For a comprehensive discussion of the steps described here and what comes next, please attend our upcoming seminars on Understanding Collections and Financial Reports seminar and Advanced Topics for Board Members.

Seminar Series
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We always enjoy presenting the C.I.A. Services Seminar Series. Each seminar concentrates on the practical aspects of the topic and provides board members with background knowledge to help them in their decision making. We consistently receive positive feedback on the content and presentation.

Last month, we announced we were working on some other new and exciting features for this year.  We have successfully moved the Community Website Administrator training to a webinar format.  We want to test this idea on our other seminars and determine if we can accomplish the same success with more advanced topics and audience participation.

On Tuesday, February 28th at 6:00 p.m., we will be conducting Meetings & Records - The Legal Requirements seminar. However, rather than us asking you to come to us, we will come to your computer screen!  The seminar itself will be taking place at our San Antonio location; however, we will be broadcasting the event live so anyone anywhere can join in.  We believe this is the most convenient way for community volunteers to be able to participate. 

Because the live seminar is in San Antonio, we have the added bonus of the presenter being Ralph Troiano, our company president.  If you have never had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Ralph, you are in for a treat!  Ralph is a dynamic speaker with a true passion about what we do.

We’ll still ask participants to register in advance so that we can get the log in information to you in advance. To register, please send an email to seminars@ciaservices.com.

If this new direction is as successful and popular as we think it will be, all of our seminars will be broadcast live.  Here’s a list of our other seminars and when they are presented.    

  • February - Meetings & Records - The Legal Requirements
  • March – Understanding Collections & Financial Reports
  • April – Board Member Orientation
  • May – Practical Deed Restriction Management
  • June – New from the Texas Legislature
  • July – Essentials of Architectural Control
  • August – Advanced Topics for Board Members
  • September – The Super Budgeting Process
  • October – Board Member Orientation

The final schedule will be set once we determine if this new direction or our traditional classroom setting is the way to go. Stay tuned!  

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Meetings & Records - The Legal Requirements

This is a critical seminar for understanding the legal responsibilities of board members and their associations under the laws enacted in the 82nd legislative session. This seminar deals with board and members meetings and how those meetings must be announced, conducted and documented. We’ll review what can be done in board executive sessions and unannounced meetings. We’ll cover elections and voting. And finally, we’ll explain members’ access to Association records. This is an extremely important seminar for all board members.

Space is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, please send an email to seminars@ciaservices.com. Please specify if you will be attending in person in San Antonio or via webinar.

02/28/17 - Tuesday

6 – 8 pm

San Antonio & Webinar

Community of the Month
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Steeple Chase Townhouse Association

We are proud of every one of our communities so it is always hard to find just one to highlight. We start by having each of our Community Managers write a nomination for one of their communities. We then read them and take a vote. Here are our most recent selections:

  • January - Plantation at Woodforest Community Assocation - Humble Office - Brenda Ellington
  • December - Cinco Ranch Commercial Association - Humble Office - Laura Tate and Kimberly Cowart
  • November - Dancing Bear Ranch - San Antonio Office - Brandi Brack 
  • October - Rancho Verde Community Association - Humble Office - Jennifer Northington
  • September - Deerfield Owners Association - San Antonio Office - Ralph Troiano
  • August - Kirkmont Section II Association - Southwest Houston Office - Catina Hunter

To see the full story on these communities and to see the past winners, visit the Community of the Month page on our site.

Community Anniversaries
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Community Anniversaries

Every month we appreciate the communities that are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Here are the clients that started with us in February.

  • Oak Hollow Homeowners Association — 16 years
  • Eastpoint Subdivision Homeowners Association — 14 years
  • Greensbrook Community Association — 11 years
  • Eilan Property Owners Association — 3 years
  • Eilan Condominium Association — 3 years
  • Colonial Lakes Office Park Owners Association — 2 year 

Our goal has always been to create a positive, long term relationship with all of our client communities. We are very proud to be managing all of these communities.

Read Past Issues of eNews Monthly

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.