From virtual Board meetings to amenity closures, 2020 was a year of change and unpredictability. Community associations, managers, boards, vendors and all individuals alike have been forced to adapt to everchanging circumstances and guidelines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, it comes as no surprise that we should expect more change and new challenges as we move into 2021.
The following community association trends are expected to remain prevalent as we move into 2021.
- Trend #1: Staying safe during the Pandemic – For nearly one year, community associations, along with the rest of the world, have been forced to navigate the unique challenges caused by the pandemic. For community associations, this means Boards have had to implement and modify rules, policies and procedures to address common areas and facilities, virtual meetings, and other aspects of association living to protect the health and safety of the residents. Boards have also been forced to practice compassion and understanding, while continuing to enforce the rules and regulations as a result of the dramatic increase in people being home more than ever before.
- Trend #2: Foreclosures – The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy and a significant effect on foreclosures. Thus, we should expect to see an increase in owner assessment delinquencies over the coming months and years. We also expect to see a significant increase of mortgages in default, which will likely be foreclosed by major lenders once the foreclosure moratorium ends.
- Trend #3: Fair Debt Collection Practices Claims – As of January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 908 requires entities that collect consumer debts to be licensed and regulated by the State of California. In addition, annual reports are to be filed with the state by the debt collector and a surety bond of at least $25,000 shall be maintained.
- Trend #4: Cyber Security – In an age of working from home or remotely, it is critical to ensure secure business and home networks. Moreover, communities continue to rely on video conferencing platforms to conduct board business virtually. Keeping meetings private and password-protected is essential for ensuring security and privacy.
- Trend #5: Fair Housing and Accommodations – As you likely know, “reasonable accommodations” are a requirement both under the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Commonly requested accommodations include exceptions or variances from an association’s rules to allow for emotional support or therapy animals, hard surface flooring, and, most recently, not wearing a facial covering in the common area.
Ultimately, 2020 has caused our community leaders to rethink how business and operations are managed and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on community association has been felt by many, if not all, associations. As we begin 2021, community leaders should be prepared for more change. Stay safe and healthy!