4th of July Safety Tips

Bonfires, barbecues, decorations, parades, reenactments, parties, and of course, fireworks make Independence Day an especially fun celebration of our nation’s heritage, history, society and people. But be aware that 4th of July is also considered the deadliest of holidays. To make sure your July 4th celebrations safe and accident-free, check out these few tips.

Fireworks

  1. Check your area’s regulation policy on fireworks. Don’t dare trying if it’s clearly illegal.
  2. Refrain from buying illegal fireworks. There’s a reason why these fireworks are illegal. To avoid being fined ranging from $500-$1000 or imprisonment or just the cost of damage an illegal firework could cause, make sure to buy only State Fire Marshal approved fireworks.
  3. If you know you’re not an expert, go instead to the nearest fireworks show.
  4. Read the directions carefully before lighting up a firework.
  5. Never use fireworks indoors.
  6. Use a long stick to light up a firework at a distance.
  7. Have a bucket of water, water hose, or fire extinguisher ready in case accidents happen.
  8. Never attempt to re-light or fix busted fireworks. If it didn’t work the first time, immediately wet it with water.
  9. Keep an eye on your kids when operating fireworks. Parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks.

Driving

  1. Don’t drink and drive. According to Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes.”
  2. As much as possible, avoid travelling at night when other motorists are likely to have drunk alcohol. According to American Automobile Association, “37.5 million people will drive 50 miles or more from home during the holiday period that stretches from June 30 to July 4”.

Food Poisoning

  1. Ensure that meats are properly cooked. Undercooked meat is more likely to be contaminated by bacteria.
  2. Don’t place cooked food on the same container with the raw.
  3. Make sure utensils are clean.
  4. Don’t leave exposed food in longer hours.
  5. Keep away alcoholic drinks to little kids. Their tummies are much more sensitive that those of adults.

From all of us at  Grayson Community Management, have a meaningful and safe Independence Day.

5 Ideas to Engage Your HOA

Physical interaction is important in building healthy relationships among families and neighbors. Mobile technology and social media has greatly affected how families and neighbors interact with each other. These should not be taken negatively because these were meant to broaden avenue for human communication. But the problem is getting absorbed in the virtual, while setting aside physical interaction with the community around us. Adding up the individualistic mindset in western cultures, it’s no wonder asking for communal participation can be that tough.

So to make your HOA feel more like a thriving community here are some ideas to engage your HOA:

  • Host a community event. Eating or drinking together is always a good idea. Community-wide barbecue, pot luck or ice cream are the best during summer.
  • Run Holiday Decoration contests. This may incite healthy competition among neighbors. Make sure everyone is having fun.
  • Arrange seminars. During annual board meetings, you may invite speakers for various topics such as environmental awareness, homeschooling, livelihood projects, small businesses.
  • Schedule a Clean-up day. Hit two birds with one stone by bringing your community outside and together while making your neighborhood clean.
  • Set up creative mediums of communication. Communication is key to any relationship. Print ads, newsletters and bulletin boards may catch your community’s attention but you may also turn to social networking sites, depending on what media suits best for your community.

So there you have them. Surely, there is a thousand more ways to engage your HOA, but we hope these ideas are enough to get you started.

HOA Frequently Asked Questions

 What is a Homeowner’s Association?

A homeowner’s association or HOA is a non-profit organization registered with the State. An HOA is composed of members of a community and elected board members who oversee the community. HOAs exist to secure and preserve the functional wellness of a community that is why legal documents such as CC&Rs, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation are necessary for regulation and compliance of operations.

What is the HOA Board?

The HOA board is the governing body that oversees the operation within the association. The board members are elected by the association, or as otherwise specified in the Bylaws. Their responsibilities include ensuring the HOA is functioning well, the facility damages are fixed, assessments are collected and taxes are being paid.

Are all residents allowed to attend board meetings?

Certainly, yes. The HOA board will announce the details of an upcoming meeting via Newsletters or the HOA’s official website based on the fiscal year calendar.

What are Bylaws?

Bylaws define how an HOA should be governed. For example, the bylaws cover matters such as:

  • the duties and responsibilities of board members
  • number of board members
  • guidelines in electing board members
  • frequency of HOA meetings
  • how the meetings are conducted
  • the duties and responsibilities of board members

What are CC&Rs?

CC&R stands for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. CC&Rs are legal documents that serve as guidelines for a non-profit organization. The County Recorder’s Office keeps these records along with the property’s title. Homeowners who fail to abide with CC&Rs are to be fined by the HOA.

Basically, the CC&Rs are the rules of the neighborhood. They define what owners can and cannot do regarding their property. For example, the CC&Rs may require you to keep your garage door closed or prohibit certain types of landscaping.

What should I do when I’m having problems with my neighbor violating the CC&R?

Residents can escalate their concern to their HOA. Complain forms can be submitted via the HOA website or directly to their board members.

What if a homeowner is negligent of his dues?

While HOAs may penalize negligent homeowners in paying dues by incurring interest or late charges, most HOAs also have the authority to place lien on the homeowner’s property which may lead to foreclosure if not settled per the CC&R.

What is an HOA Management Company?

A Management company is a third-party service provider that HOAs hire to assist them in various administrative and financial functions. Some administrative functions include property inspections, assistance in hiring vendors that provide resources for the community such as maintenance cleaning, replacement of broken equipment or facility, overseeing major renovations, and handling communication among homeowners and board members. Some financial functions that management companies provide are collection of assessments, generating financial reports, assistance in setting up budgets for major renovations, and assistance in filing taxes.

What is an Assessment?

An assessment is the amount due, usually monthly, to homeowners for covering expenses for regular maintenance and operation for common areas, and reserves for future repair or replacement of certain facilities or equipment such as lighting, street resurfacing, pool equipment, etc. The basic idea for its computation is that each unit should contribute to the expenses so the total expense is divided by number of units. Therefore, monthly assessments could vary from time to time.

In the time when reserves are not enough to cover for a major renovation, the board may impose a Special Assessment to cover for the one-time expense.

How Do Property Managers Help HOAs?

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) exist to secure and preserve the functional wellness of community of homes, including subdivisions, condominiums, townhomes, or planned community.

According to Legal Sources (HG.org) HOAs are needed since the 1960s because:

  • They helped developers by allowing them to transfer the day-to-day operations of their properties to an association of the property homeowners once a certain percentage of homes were sold.
  • They benefited municipalities by providing many of the services that they would otherwise need to provide, while still increasing the tax base.
  • Homeowners in the HOA gained a single point of contact to handle all maintenance and beautification of common areas.
  • Community issues could be handled by the HOA in accordance with the bylaws established for the community.
  • Property values could be preserved through consistent maintenance of common areas and by establishing standards for the maintenance of individual homes within the community.
  • Helping to get your HOA up and running
  • Establishing and running an HOA requires thorough knowledge of the local statutes as well as the many administrative considerations that are involved. [1]

With this amount of workload, board members can only do so much, let alone taking on such responsibilities are without compensation and at times thankless.

In this predicament, property managers can assist board members by:

  • Providing a robust financial oversight. Accounting helps setting the budget for major renovations, making sure that dues are duly paid, filing taxes and tracking profits and expenses.
  • Providing effective maintenance oversight. Working as a contractor, property managers aid in hiring which “vendors” that would provide plumbing, roofing, street lighting, electrical supply, water systems etc., are qualified for the job. They help in bidding contracts, hiring and following up maintenance requests, making sure that home owners complains are properly addressed.

Therefore, having an HOA property manager not only significantly reduces the workload from board members, but also, improves communication among board members, homeowners, property managers and vendors to efficiently address issues being experience within their community.

 

65 WASHINGTON STREET, SUITE 268
SANTA CLARA, CA 95050

888.277.5580

helpdesk@graysoncm.com

Affiliations