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Archived Newsletters

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.

April 2021
eNews Monthly
Company News

Humble Office Construction Update

Our last major building update came in the January eNews when we celebrated the completion of the structure of our new building with a "Topping Off" ceremony. Since then, lots of progress has been made and our building is coming along great! 

The outside walls and windows are now nearly complete, as well as the installation of our solar panel system on the roof. We’ll soon start to see more progress on the inside of the building and the outside detention pond and walking path.

It is very exciting for us as we get closer and closer to the finalization of this office, especially since C.I.A. Services’ first “office” was in a spare bedroom of the home of our President, Ralph Troiano! We have made a lot of progress in the 37 years we’ve been around, and cannot wait to move into our new building this summer near many of our communities.

Check out these great photos of the progress, including some awesome drone shots from our general contractor O’Donnell/Snider! Use the arrows on the photos below to shuffle through the pictures.

Humble Office Construction Update
Texas 87th Legislative Session Update
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The 87th session of the Texas Legislature convened on January 12th and will continue its 140-day regular session until May 31st.  Every two years, there are typically more than 6,000 bills filed that could affect our daily lives.  After going through the legislative process, about 20% make it into law. 

There are always bills that affect Property Owners’ Associations.  None have passed yet but here is a recap of what’s on the table.  We give our thanks to Paul Gaines and Clinton Brown from Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey for sharing their insights and to Texas Community Association Advocates (TCAA) for monitoring everything happening in Austin.

  • Annual Meetings – This bill concerns electronic annual meetings for POAs as we’ve been doing throughout COVID-19 (HB 1467).  The Texas Business Organizations Code already provides for electronic meetings but HB 1467 places the language in the Texas Property Code with other POA affairs.  The current draft does not get into details of how meetings should be conducted but we can expect more clarity in any final law.
  • Short Term Rentals – A bill has been introduced to allow associations to regulate short-term rentals of 30 days or less (HB 1963). This will be a tricky balance between an owner’s right to use their home for residential purposes and an association’s desire to prevent offensive activities that can come with frequent occupancy changes in a rental. 
  • TPC Chapter 204 – Chapter 204 of the Texas Property Code passed in 1995; it was a great addition to the TPC to help associations in their governance.  To get it to pass, the proponents bracketed its applicability to the Houston metro area.  A bill has been introduced to apply the chapter statewide (HB 3367).  This would be a good thing overall, but the bill also adds some difficult provisions.  (1) Board members would not be able to serve on the ACC – often there aren’t enough volunteers for both the Board and the ACC.  (2) The cost of resale certificates would be capped at $250; management companies must provide resale certificates if requested to assist in a home sale. Reasonable fees make sense but if capped, the base monthly management fee borne by all owners would probably need to increase. (3) At least 10 days in advance of any hearing with the Board, the association would need to provide an “evidence packet” to the owner.  The language has changed from the productive and successful spirit of a “meet and resolve” setting to a confrontational “trial” process.
  • Collections Lawsuits – This one is a challenge (HB 2387).  It first requires that any collection lawsuit must be filed in JP court.  It requires mediation to be free to the owner which means the association must pay the full cost.  The owner can assert a counter-claim and request it offset anything owed.  It limits attorney fees against the owner to $500 which means any higher cost must be absorbed by the association. If a judgment is awarded, the court can mandate a payment plan.  Any amounts not awarded by the court would be uncollectible. A lien may not be recorded against a property unless the association has first been awarded a judgment under this process.  This bill would greatly increase the association’s cost of collecting delinquent amounts and that increased cost would be borne by all owners.
  • Religious Displays – Current law protects certain religious displays around entry to the home based on the association’s guidelines.  Two bills would change this, with the most extreme of the two removing any regulatory authority by the association. This means there would be no limits on placement, size, quantity, duration, or any other factors other than safety or municipal code. 
  • Chickens and More – Each session in recent years has seen bills advocating for raising food at your property.  The current version (HB 1686) would allow up to 6 fowl, 6 rabbits, 3 beehives, and “cottage food production.”  All are reasonable activities but the difficulty has always been in the details – how many, where, sanitation, etc.  Today these topics are potentially regulated under city ordinances or association documents.  We’ll see if something makes it into state law this year and if it supersedes local authorities.
  • Assistance Animals – This would establish a state-certifying authority for assistance animals. This would prevent someone from buying a certification online and claiming rights.  However, the current bill does not provide any regulatory authority to most associations.  An over-55 community could require assistance animals to have state certification.
  • Discriminatory Documents – There are several bills aimed at removing discriminatory language from documents. Although discriminatory language is unenforceable under state and federal law, the existence of the language can be offensive. The impact on associations would be minor and the intent is good.
  • Fair Housing – Several bills have been introduced to prohibit discriminatory practices in housing on the basis of age, gender identity, income, and other factors not clearly defined today.  The impact, if any, on associations will depend on the specific language of any law that passes.
  • Suits Against Association – HB 2912 would allow any member to sue the association in JP court for any alleged violation of Chapter 209 of the TPC or any association dedicatory instrument by a board member or group of board members.  A judgment could remove the person(s) from the Board and award monetary damages to the owner. If passed, this would provide an easy way to harass board members and have a chilling effect on volunteers.

If you are interested in tracking any of these bills, check out the Texas Legislature Online website.

Volunteer Spotlight
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David Lee of the Community Association of Crockett Park
by Russell Upp

When David Lee, President of Crockett Park’s Board of Directors, found out his neighbor broke her foot while getting her mail due to the uneven ground around the old community mailbox, he and the rest of the Board of Directors decided they needed to update the area to make it safer for everyone retrieving their mail.

Mr. Lee took initiative and called the City of Baytown to completely renovate the area. He requested a brand new mailbox, a wheelchair ramp, and even a safety handrail. Topped off with new concrete and grass, the safety and beautification project of the mailbox was complete. Mr. Lee’s next goal is to give this same attention to all of the mailboxes in Crockett Park and complete numerous restoration projects.

Crockett Park’s Board of Directors is a special group of people who are always coming up with new projects to update the looks, safety, and functionality of the community. Recently, they have worked to revamp a water-retention area into a community park for the residents to enjoy.

Just in my short time working with Crockett Park, I have learned that this community reminds me a lot of the old TV show “CHEERS,” where everyone knows each other’s names and has a friendly demeanor. This is thanks to the likes of Mr. Lee and the Board of Directors for maintaining this positive atmosphere in Crockett Park.

Earth Day 2021
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Thursday, April 22nd marks Earth Day 2021, an annual event that began in 1970 to demonstrate support for greater environmental protections.

At C.I.A. Services, we care about our impact on the environment. Many facets of our S.P.E.C.I.A.L. core values relate to taking care of the earth; we must be stewards of the earth and use resources wisely, act with empathy and integrity when making decisions that impact our environment, and maintain a greener, healthier community.

Our efforts to live green include online forms to reduce paper use and shred-it recycling boxes in each of our offices.  Based on the amount of paper we have recycled this year, we have saved more than 10 trees in three months!  We are also installing an expansive solar panel system for green energy in our upcoming Humble office, and participate in many more energy savings inititaves.

Check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s tips for greener living, or EARTHDAY.ORG to learn more about Earth Day 2021, its history, and to take action yourself. We should all do our part to take care of our Earth.

Fun Times
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International Art & Kite Festival in City of Sugar Land
by Kim Moore & TraNeshia Williams

C.I.A. Services, Inc. is proud to manage so many great communities in and near the City of Sugar Land on Houston’s southwest side; RiverPark on the Brazos, The Highlands, Colony Grant, Lakes of Williams Ranch, Bridlewood Estates, Oak Hollow, and Eldridge Park.

When we saw that the City of Sugar Land was hosting an international art and kite festival, we knew we wanted to try and engage with our community members by letting them know about this wonderful event.  If you did not know, Sugar Land is made up of a multitude of cultures that include; Turkish, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Tegulu, Egyptian, Filipino, Lebanese, Somali, American, Rwanda, Spanish and so many more.  We knew this would be a wonderful spring event for the whole family; young and older alike.  So, we sent out an eBlast featuring this event to those communities.

The event took place on Saturday, March 27th at the scenic Sugar Land Brazos River Park and included a multitude of events celebrating art and food from around the world. The entertainment featured cultural dance routines and kite flying.  There was a costume contest for those who dressed up to represent their culture.  Kite enthusiasts were encouraged to decorate and soar their kites at the event. 

We hope that everyone who was able to attend this wonderful event enjoyed this beautiful spring day in Sugar Land with their families.

Community Spotlight
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We are proud of every one of our communities, so it is always hard to find just one to spotlight. Each month, one of managers writes a few words about one of their communiteis and why they are special.  

San Antonio

  • April - S.A. Stonecrest at Lookout Canyon Homeowners Association - Tera Rond

Here are our most recent selections:

  • March - Legacy Trails Cell-3 Homeowners Association Tori Irwin
  • February - The Summit Mutual Amenities Association, Inc. Valerie Flinn
  • January - Bridlegate Ranch Property Owners Association Tina Jameson


Houston
 

  • April - Several communities featured in Fun Times - Kim Moore & TraNeshia Williams

 Here are the most recent selections:

  • March - Atascocita Trails Homeowners Association Jennifer Northington
  • February - Cross Creek Ranch Community Association Renea Miksch & Kristen Craig
  • January - Plantation at Woodforest Community Association Jennifer Northington

 

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

  • Parkway Forest Property Owners Association — 35 years
  • Ridgepoint Community Improvement Association — 31 years
  • Pine Forest Village Community Association — 28 years
  • Sonoma Ranch Homeowners Association — 18 years
  • Telfair Commercial Association — 15 years
  • Southwinds Commercial Owners Association — 2 years

We have a lot of large numbers this month! Thanks to all for being a part of our success.

Employee Corner
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Employee Anniversaries

Rhonda Duffield is celebrating her 31st anniversary with C.I.A. Services! Rhonda is a Maintenance Assistant out of our Humble office. In her free time, Rhonda enjoys sports, traveling (especially cruising), crafting, and spending time with her husband and bird.

Congratulations to Angela Douglas on her 14th anniversary! Angela is a Customer Service Manager at our Humble office, and was just recently promoted to a Vice President! Outside of work, Angela enjoys family time with her two sons, and time outdoors traveling.

Congratulations to Kristen Craig for reaching the 10-year milestone with C.I.A. Services! Kristen is a Community Manager our of our Humble office. Kristen is a Journey Fellowship Worship Team member and enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids as well as her fur babies!

Robert Pampell is a Maintenance Coordinator in our West Houston Office and is celebrating 8 years with the company!  Robert takes care of many of our Houston communities and manages to keep everything on task. During his personal time, Robert enjoys adventuring with his wife and rescue dog.

Congratulations to our stockholders with anniversaries this month!

Seminar Series
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We offer each of our seminars in the form of a recorded webcast on demand for you to watch at any time! If you are interested in one of our seminars, they are available on our YouTube channel. The following seminars are now available:

To watch any of the webcasts, simply click on the links above.

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Associations in Practice Series

Our Associations in Practice Series is an offering of short videos with very specific topics. Super-Budget Concepts is a great introduction (or refresher) to our Super-budget and a nice refresher or opening to the full webinar offered in our Seminar Series. 
 
In our video, Short Term Rentals, we offer insight into short-term rental properties. We have an expert panel on board discussing everything from what a short-term rental is, to potential problems and possible solutions.
 
All of our Associations in Practice Series videos will be available on our YouTube channel. We will send updates when new material is added. You can also subscribe to our channel for news on the latest additions.
Find Us on Social Media!
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C.I.A. Services, Inc. has a long and proud history of providing up-to-date news on our company happenings, industry news, and association governance.  Each month, we are pleased to share with you our eNews Monthly.  Each issue loaded with great information! 

We have broadened our social media presence to include LinkedIn and Facebook. With these additional layers of communication, you can always find the latest information about our company, employees, association management, and other related news.  

If you are not already following us, please ”Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on all things C.I.A. Services and beyond. 

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.