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August 2021
REDDOG NEXTGEN TRAINING

Throughout the end of July, our President, Ralph Troiano, hosted numerous sessions to train our staff on our new software, RedDog NextGen. For the last many years, we’ve been utilizing RedDog, a specialized software designed by Ralph, to go about our daily business and service our communities. Now it’s time for an upgrade; Ralph has put extensive work into RedDog NextGen and we are excited for its launch!

July 2021
WE’RE MOVED IN!

It’s official, we are moved into our new Humble Office! It’s been a long time coming, and we’re grateful for all of the time and effort all parties put into this project to make it a reality; thank you to our general contractor, O’Donnell/Snider, our leadership at C.I.A. Services, and all of our employees for their flexibility and hard work. Our new address is 18333 Timber Forest Drive, Humble, TX 77346.

Check out the full article with photos in the August eNews!

June 2021
MANAGER EARNS DESIGNATION

We are proud to announce that Lindsay Scholfield has earned her Association Management Specialist (AMS) designation. The AMS designation is the second level in the career track for community association managers developed by Community Associations Institute.

The AMS designation demonstrates a higher level of commitment to the community association industry and requires two years of experience in multiple aspects of association management. In order to qualify for an AMS, managers are required to earn the CMCA designation and take at least two approved continuing education classes on various association related topics. Visit the CAI website to learn more about the AMS designation.

Lindsay is the Lifestyle Manager for the ARTAVIA community, which is managed out of our Humble office.  She joined C.I.A. Services in 2016 and will celebrate her 5th anniversary next month.

Join us in congratulating Lindsay on achieving her latest professional goal!

  

 

May 2021
10 BILLS THAT MOST AFFECT HOAs

This year marked the 87th session of the Texas Legislature that convened on January 12, 2021 and will continue its regular session until May 31, 2021.  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. 

Out of the thousands of bills filed this session, three dozen of them are targeted at Homeowners Associations.  Here at C.I.A. Services, we are closely monitoring these pending bills to make sure if passed we can share any changes with all our residents.  After looking through all the bills filed, these are the 10 that C.I.A. Services’ President, Ralph Troiano believe will affect Property Owners’ Associations the most.  You may want to take action to oppose some of these bills by contacting your representative.   Visit this website to see who your representative is: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home

1.    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.

2.    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.

3.    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. 

4.    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.

5.    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.

6.    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.

7.    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.

8.    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.

9.    Annual Meetings – This bill concerns electronic annual meetings for POAs (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.

10.    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.

April 2021
COMMUNITY MANAGER RETREAT


Recently, Ralph Troiano presented the Community Manager Retreat to our newest managers.  The Manager Retreat is an intense week-long training session during which all of the subjects a new manager needs to feel comfortable in their position are covered.  Ralph demonstrates little techniques that make it easier for managers to handle the thousands of details that come with being a community manager.  Topics include technical issues, brilliant reporting, and outstanding presentations, just to name a few.  

This session included Tra’Neshia Williams of our West office, Russell Upp, Todd Miksch, Lyndel Johnson, and Adam Bruce, all new managers at our North Houston office.  We are all so lucky to have such a wonderful mentor!

March 2021
MANAGERS EARN PCAM DESIGNATION

Congratulations are in order for Kristen Craig and Jennifer Northington for recently earning the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM®) designation by the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

No other designation in the community association management business symbolizes professionalism like the PCAM. Denoting the height of knowledge and expertise for community managers worldwide, the designation signifies the highest level of individual accomplishment in the community association management profession.  A PCAM designee has at least five years of industry experience and has completed the coursework necessary to provide expert management services to virtually any community.

Kristen manages large-scale and new development communities out of our Humble office.  She is always looking for ways to improve her skills and be the best she can be for her clients and the company. Kristen will be celebrating her 10-year company anniversary this April. 

Jennifer joined us in 2012 and has worked with a variety of communities of all sizes including master-planned developments. She is an active member of CAI and is part of the Greater Houston Chapter Education Committee. Her ongoing desire is to constantly learn and improve her skills to be an asset to our clients and the company. 

Way to go Kristen & Jennifer.  Way to be Awesome!

February 2021
MANAGER EARNS DESIGNATION

Congratulations are in order for Lindsay Scholfield for recently earning the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) designation by the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB).

CAMICB administers the CMCA examination, a rigorous test that measures knowledge of best practices in the community management industry.  The CMCA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and complies with the NCCA’s stringent international standards for a professional certification program.

Lindsay is the Lifestyle Manager for the ARTAVIA community, which is managed out of our Humble office.  She joined C.I.A. Services in 2016 and will become a stockholder in a few months.  

Way to go Lindsay! 

  

 

January 2021
COMPANY PROMOTIONS

C.I.A. Services is very pleased to announce the promotions of Angela Douglas, Deniece Reyes, and Brandi Brack Angela, Deniece, and Brandi were recently appointed to positions on the C.I.A. Services Board of Directors and each promoted to the position of Vice President.  

We value all of our employees and are especially pleased to watch them meet the challenges presented and grow into greater responsibilities.  Join us in congratulating Angela, Deniece, and Brandi on these exciting advancements as we recognize their extensive contributions to the company.

Read more about each of these AWESOME ladies in the February edition of the eNews Monthly coming soon!

December 2020
FIND US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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 Facebook and LinkedIn. 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. 

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 Association 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 the news on the latest additions.
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