rise to every common ownership challenge
Lerch Early’s community associations attorneys provide practical counsel to board members and managers of common ownership communities throughout Maryland, the District, and Virginia on governing and managing effective and thoughtful associations.
Board members and property managers from more than 350 associations rely on Lerch Early attorneys for advice on how to govern appropriately and manage effectively. Our knowledgeable and responsive attorneys serve as general counsel, prepare and review association documents, enforce covenants, represent the association in transition from developer control, defend the association against all claims, undertake and defend litigation matters, and collect delinquent assessments.
One client notes that Lerch Early’s energetic community associations attorneys “are very knowledgeable, provide sound advice on legal issues and have been very helpful in keeping my staff updated on issues affecting community associations…They are very practical in their approach.”
Our attorneys regularly advise our clients on a variety of legal issues facing community associations, including covenant enforcement, Fair Housing issues, insurance claims, assessment collection, and document creation, review and amendment. Our straightforward approach gives clients the information and guidance they need to make decisions. We work with boards of directors and their management agents to avoid problems and minimize risk.
Clients value the personal attention and responsiveness they receive from our attorneys. We realize that important issues often arise outside of normal business hours, so one of our attorneys is always available for consultation, either in the office or by phone or e-mail.
We don’t dabble in community association law – we have significant knowledge of the laws and regulations that govern community associations. Our attorneys and paralegals spend 100% of their time on the strategic and day-to-day issues that face property managers and board members. Our attorneys also are leaders in the community association industry, so our up-to-date knowledge allows us to advance issues important to our clients and keep them informed about pending matters and changes to the law that may affect their organizations.
The architectural and environmental control committee of a Lerch Early homeowners association client approved construction of a fence. A neighbor challenged the approval before the association’s board of directors, which upheld the committee’s approval. The neighbor then filed a complaint before the Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities.
Lerch Early demonstrated that the association acted properly and the board of directors rendered its decision without fraud or bad faith. We asked that the CCOC abide by the business judgment rule, by which a court will not interfere in the internal affairs of a corporation, absent fraud or bad faith.
The CCOC ruled that the association had the discretion on how and to what extent to enforce its rules and dismissed the complaint.
Board members and homeowners of one of Lerch Early’s HOA clients were subjected to excessively long and argumentative board of directors and membership meetings.
Lerch Early’s community association attorneys regularly provide training to board members on how to run effective meetings. In this case, we scheduled training for the board of directors on Robert’s Rules of Order. Board members learned the benefits of a well-run meeting, the differences between running large and small meetings, how to construct an agenda, voting methods, and what to include in meeting minutes. We then conducted a meeting using what they learned at the next board meeting.
Using what they learned and saw demonstrated, the board was able to cut board meeting times significantly. For the subsequent membership meeting, the board chair distributed an agenda to the owners prior to the meeting and explained the procedures at the meeting’s outset. The annual meeting ran smoothly with a minimum of disruption. When a resident with a perpetual grievance raised a complaint, there was no second, so the meeting proceeded. After the meeting, several owners commented that it was the best meeting they had attended.