Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year!


ACM's offices will be closing at 4:00 pm Monday, December 31, 2012 and will be closed Tuesday, January 1, 2013. Please call (410) 997-7767 should you have an emergency and follow the prompts for emergency services.
We wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Festivities 2012




From office decorating, to Secret Santa gift exchanging, to our Holiday Party, thank you to all the ACM employees that participated and made this year one of our best!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ACM Recognizes Employees for Hard Work and Dedication


(From left to right: M.L. Herzberger, Jr., Mac Johns, Joanne Allen, Krystal Brady and Dale Franklin)

ACM recognizes the following employees for their continued hard work and dedication to ACM over the years:
  • 5 years of service -- Krystal Brady, Veronica Queen, Amber Courtock and Christopher Ford
  • 15 years of service -- June Jackson  and Joanne Allen
  • 20 years of service -- Mac Johns and Dale Franklin
ACM is successful because of you! Thank you for all that you do!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays from ACM!


We would like to take the opportunity to express to you season's greetings and good wishes. We value our relationship with you and look forward to continuing that relationship in the year to come!

Our offices will be closed to the public at 1:00 pm on Friday, December 21, 2012 for our employee holiday party. Our offices will be closed for the holidays on the following days: Monday, December 24, 2012, Tuesday, December 25, 2012 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

We wish you a very happy holiday season and a New Year filled with joy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Safety Reminders

As we celebrate the holidays this season, it is important that we practice safety during the festivities.  The following are some precautions and safety measures recommended by the United States Fire Administration and your local Fire Department.

The Fire Department along with the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) remind everyone that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. This is due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires. Holiday decorations and winter storms that can interrupt electrical service and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources also contribute to the increased risk of fire in winter. Winter fires can be prevented! Learn more about maintaining a fire-safe home this winter season at:

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/holiday-seasonal/winter.shtm

The Fire Department wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires
  • Christmas Tree Fire Safety - Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.
  • Selecting a Tree for the Holiday - Needles should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
  • Caring for Your Tree - Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
  • Disposing of Your Tree - Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
  • Artificial Trees - If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
Holiday Lights
  • Choose the Right Type of Holiday Lights - Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Maintain Your Holiday Lights - Inspect lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. 
  • Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets - Do not link more than three light strands. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.
  • Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended
Holiday Decorations
  • Use Only Nonflammable Decorations - All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
  • Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace - It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
Candle Care
  • Avoid Using Lit Candles – If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning. 
  • Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree - Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.
Deep Fat Turkey Fryers

The deep-fried turkey popularity has grown to include the eastern United States and the City of Alexandria. While some people rave about this tasty creation, Underwriters Laboratories Inc.'s (UL) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS) safety experts are concerned that backyard chefs may be sacrificing safety for good taste.

Deep-frying turkeys can lead to severe injury and even devastation by fire in the following ways:

  • Many units easily tip over spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot causing severe burns or extensive fire.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil it may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too, may result in an extensive fire and/or severe burns.
  • With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
To prevent severe injuries, burns and devastation by intense fire the cook should follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendation and the following safety tips provided by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS):
  • Only deep fry smaller turkeys—up to 12 pounds. 
  • Use oils with high smoke points such as peanut, canola and safflower. (Peanut oil adds flavor, but it can be a concern if guests have peanut allergies.) 
  • To determine how much oil you’ll need, put the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches one to two inches above the turkey. Lift the turkey out and use a ruler to measure the distance from the water to the top of the fryer. Pour out the water and dry the fryer completely. Add oil to the point marked in the pot. 
  • Remember that it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to heat the oil, depending on the outside temperature, wind and weather. 
  • Before frying, pat the turkey dry with paper towels to keep the hot oil from splattering and popping. 
  • Slowly lower the turkey into the oil, and maintain an oil temp of 350ºF. Fry turkey for three to four minutes per pound or about 35 to 42 minutes for a 10- to 12-pound turkey. 
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn. 
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages. 
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping. 
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire. 
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use. 
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer. 
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter. 
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard. 
  • The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator. 
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ACM Open House




ACM hosted an Open House on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at our new office location in Hanover, Maryland. Thank you to everyone who was able to participate and attend this event. We would like to send a special thank you to the presenters: Constellation Energy, Smartstreet/Union Bank, Handteq and SenEarthCo! We are looking forward to other training seminars and events in 2013!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ACM Welcomes New Communities

ACM would like to extend a warm welcome to the following communities beginning services with us this December:

-Wyndham Woods Homeowners Association -- located in Laurel, Prince George's and Montgomery County
-Kings Council Condominium -- located in Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County

We look forward to working with you in the management of your associations! Welcome aboard!

Friday, November 30, 2012

ACM VP Appointed to Chesapeake Chapter of CAI Board

Congratulations to Hazel Wilkinson for being nominated to the Chesapeake Region Chapter of the Community Association Institutes's (CAI) Board of Directors for 2013!

Hazel was hired by ACM in 2003 and she has a remarkable 28 years of property management experience, primarily concentrated in condominiums. She currently holds the position Vice President of Client and Administrative Services and oversees the administrative department. She is also responsible for reviewing and revising management contracts, handling the transition process for new clients, as well as overseeing ACM's administrative operating procedures. Hazel has achieved the impressive designations of Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) and Association Management Specialist (AMS) through CAI, as well as Certified Property Manager (CPM) through the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

Congratulations, Hazel! Thank you for your continued commitment and dedication to both ACM and the Community Association Management industry!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reminder - ACM's Open House Event

ACM is hosting an Open House for Board members in December! Please join us on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, between the hours of 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm. We will be hosting a Meet & Greet from 12:00-1:00 and then two educational sessions, 1:00-3:00 and 4:00-6:00, at our Hanover office:

7484 Candlewood Road, Suite H, Hanover, Maryland 21076

Each session will include the following presentations as well as tours of our new office space and the opportunity to meet ACM staff:

SenEarthCo– Recent System Upgrade Demonstration and Board Comments/Suggestions

Constellation Energy – Energy Solutions Presentation

Union Bank/Smartstreet – Overview of Banking Features and Procedures

Handteq– ACM Property Inspection App Demonstration

Lunch and light refreshments will be provided.

Please Contact Amanda Lande to register at alande@communitymanagers.net with your name, association and desired session time. Thank you and we hope you are able to attend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The American Dream Event

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of American is hosting The American Dream event over the next five days in Baltimore for both new and exisiting homeowners. It's a free event helping Marylander's become homeowners. To learn more, visit abc2 news:

http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/region/baltimore_city/its-aimed-and-helping-new-and-existing-homeowners

Community Manager Training Session



ACM is hosting two training sessions for all Community Managers to review governing documents, specifically calculating assessments and determining charges, as well as reviewing updates to the management report procedure based on feedback received from Board members. ACM is a strong advocate of educating both employees and Board members. With our new classroom size conference room, we plan on having several staff and client training seminars in 2013!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rules for the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner, and for many people, that means lots of festivities with friends and loved ones. With all of the merriment that’s sure to ensue, it’s important that residents who are hosting celebrations are not only considerate of their neighbors, but also take note of the association’s rules. A complete listing of your association rules and regulations can be found in your Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), but here are a few key items to look up that are particularly pertinent during the holiday season:

Outdoor Decorations: Decking the halls with seasonal ornaments is a great way to bring the holiday spirit home. Many love to spread the joy by decorating the outside of their homes and front yards as well, but before you scurry up that ladder to hang the decorative lights along the side of your roof, take a quick peek at the CC&Rs to find out the guidelines for outdoor decorations, as well as the guidelines for flags and signs if you plan on decorating with those. This will help make sure your outdoor winter wonderland isn’t an association violation.

Parties: We hope you all have plenty of chances to eat, drink and be merry this holiday season. If you plan on hosting a large get-together or party, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, keep the revelry and noise to a minimum, and wind the party down at a reasonable time—you don’t want your celebrating to interfere with your neighbors’ attempts to get visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Check your CC&Rs to find out what the association deems acceptable noise levels and what the quiet hours are, as well as guidelines for hosting parties.

Parking: The holidays bring many people together, and that means extra cars will need to be parked. To make sure your guests are covered, look at the CC&Rs to find out the rules on visitor parking in the association, including where they can park and what kind of parking passes they may need.

Overnight Guests: It wouldn’t be the holidays without Uncle Marv and Aunt Ethel bunking in little Jimmy’s room. Of course, depending on how long your overnight guests are staying, you may need to let the association know. The CC&Rs will give you a breakdown on the rules for both short-term and long-term guests, so take a look at them before you break out the extra cot.

Following your association’s rules and regulations helps ensure that all of your residents can enjoy this special time of year. Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ACM Offices Closed for Thanksgiving

 
ACM offices will be closed Thursday, November 22, 2012 and Friday November 23, 2012 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Should you have an emergency, please call (410) 997-7767 and follow the prompts for emergency services. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Pot Luck Lunch



 
ACM hosted a Thanksgiving Pot Luck Lunch for all staff today! Thank you to Troy Painter for providing the turkey!

Monday, November 12, 2012

ACM Open House


ACM is hosting an Open House for Board members in December! Please join us on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, between the hours of 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm. We will be hosting a Meet & Greet from 12:00-1:00 and then two educational sessions, 1:00-3:00 and 4:00-6:00, at our Hanover office:

7484 Candlewood Road, Suite H, Hanover, Maryland 21076

Each session will include the following presentations as well as tours of our new office space and the opportunity to meet ACM staff:

SenEarthCo – Recent System Upgrade Demonstration and Board Comments/Suggestions

Constellation Energy – Energy Solutions Presentation

Union Bank/Smartstreet – Overview of Banking Features and Procedures

Handteq – ACM Property Inspection App Demonstration

Lunch and light refreshments will be provided.
Please Contact Amanda Lande to register at alande@communitymanagers.net with your name, association and desired session time. Thank you and we hope you are able to attend!
 
 



 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ACM New Employee Spotlight


ACM would like to welcome Ruth Angell, joining ACM as our newest Community Association Manager. Ruth is from Maryland and has two sons. She has past experience working in the Community Association Management and Accounting industries. Ruth also attended Anne Arundel Community College. She enjoys spending time with people and is a football fan, cheering for the Ravens and the Terps!

ACM extends a warm welcome to Ruth!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Daylight Savings Time Ends


Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 4, 2012. Don't forget to "fall back" by turning your clocks back one hour!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ACM Welcomes New Community

ACM would like to extend a warm welcome to Nightingale Condominium, beginning services with us in November. We look foward to working with you in the management of your community!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Safety Tips


Hurricane Sandy is gone and the weather is clearing up just in time for Halloween tomorrow! Halloween is a kid’s delight. It’s a blast to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties and, most of all, eat candy.

At the same time, Halloween can be scary for parents. Costumes can be dangerous, too much candy can be sickening and walking around at night can be risky.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these tips (in anagram form) to make sure your little ghouls and goblins have a safe Halloween:

S – Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.

A – Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Children should walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F – Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see trick-or-treaters.

E – Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before they’re eaten.

H – Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help see and help others see you.

A – Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it when done to avoid skin irritation.

L – Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

L – Lower the risk for serious eye injury by avoiding decorative contact lenses.

O – Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W – Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.

E – Eat only factory-wrapped candy. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook.

E – Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.

N – Never walk near lit candles or other open flames. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

If you’re hosting a party or expecting trick-or-treaters:

• Provide healthy treats, such as individual packs of raisins, trail mix or pretzels. Offer fruits, vegetables and cheeses to party guests.

• Use party games and trick-or-treating as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.

• Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause falls.

• Keep candle-lit jack-o-lanterns and other open flames away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of reach of pets and small children and never leave them unattended.

• Drive safely and watch out for trick-or-treaters.

ACM Offices Open Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ACM offices are open normal business hours Tuesday, October 30, 2012. Please log in and enter any maintenance requests resulting from the storm through our online client portal, www.acmhome.com. For emergencies, please call our office directly at (410) 997-7767.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Closes ACM Offices 10/29/12

Due to the severe weather conditions, ACM will not be opening our offices today, Monday, October 29, 2012. ACM personnel who have internet access will attempt to conduct business throughout the day. Should our offices lose power and/or the offsite servers fail, we ask customers to contact us by telephone, (410) 997-7767, for emergency calls and follow the prompts on our phone message. Please be safe and stay indoors during the storm!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm


Hurricane Sandy, better known as Frankenstorm, is making its way up to the Mid-Atlantic. Please continue to monitor local news and weather stations for the latest updates about the storm as well as preparation tips.

Click the link below to visit The Weather Channel's website:

http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/tropics-scenarios-us-threat-20121022

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Winterize Checklist

According to AccuWeather.com, the Baltimore and D.C. area will see above average snowfall this winter based on the presence and strength of El Niño.

"An El Niño pattern is classified by above-normal water temperatures in the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean. Warming the ocean water in turn warms the air above the Pacific, causing weather patterns to change globally. El Niño winters feature a strong southern branch of the jet stream across the U.S. When the strong southern jet stream phases with the northern branch of the jet stream, big storms can impact the East."

Based on the predictions for this winter, it is important to winterize your home! Begin the process with this checklist:

1. Check the gutters & downspouts to make sure they are clear of debris. Consider a leaf guard production system to prevent gutter and roof damage due to clogging.

2. Seal all windows & doors- keep the warm air in and lower bills by adding weather-stripping and caulk.

3. Do a thorough roof inspection- check for damaged or warped shingles, corroded flashing and leaky vents.

4. Check the attic for proper insulation and leaks.

5.Repair cracked sidewalks & driveways to avoid freezing and larger cracks in freezing temperatures.

6. Drain & turn off outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.

7. Replace furnace filters and have a professional check the heating system if the system is 5+ years old.

            8. Test smoke & CO monitors, keep fire extinguishers accessible.
 
Checklist provided by Columbia Roofing

Friday, October 19, 2012

ACM Competitor Closes its Doors

The Baltimore Business Journal in an article published yesterday, http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/blog/real-estate/2012/10/legacy-investment-closes-its-doors.html reported that Legacy Investment Management, LLC, a Columbia based property management company closed its doors on Friday. The Legacy statement said the closure was the result of a dispute with a local bank resulting in the bank’s freezing Legacy’s funds.

We will learn more in the near future as to what occurred that caused these events to take place, however I think it appropriate that I emphasize to all clients of ACM the importance of maintaining a strong verifiable bank reporting system. We take very seriously our obligation to provide our clients with financial information within 30 days following each monthly period. The availability of online reporting, record keeping and the creation of a separately managed facilities management department, are just a few of the protections our company puts in place for our clients. We are currently attempting to provide even more controls for clients especially in the area of reserve funding.

Our company supports the review of community records by an outside auditor and we encourage each community to provide Directors & Officers Liability insurance as well as Fidelity insurance as required by state law. Most importantly, we want your continued involvement in what we do; helping us better serve your community.

ACM is a community management administrative company. We support the efforts of the common interest community board in their efforts to manage the community. We will continue to bring qualified professionals to all of our departments: accounting, property/facilities management, community management, and community administration. We will not give any individual or department the total authority to represent the interests of our community clients. ACM’s unique method of community management is certainly not the least expensive and requires all team members stay involved with our management, however we believe it is the best process to assist the community board in their management.

By: M.L. Herzberger, Jr., President

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Towing Procedures


Karen Smith from North County Recovery came to ACM's Hanover office today to meet with the Community Management team to address questions regarding the new towing law and requirements. ACM is constantly providing continuing education to our employees and Board members about community association governance and current issues facing the industry.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ACM's Resource Center Now Available


ACM's Resource Center is now available to clients that come to our Hanover office. Clients have the ability to access our client portal website, www.acmhome.com, and check their accounts, pay their fee directly online, check the status of a pending architectural request, and much more, all from our lobby!

Hanover Exterior Office Makeover!




ACM's Hanover office received a landscaping makeover yesterday! The pictures above show off our new landscaping.
 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Baltimore Pride

 
It's a Purple and Orange Friday at the ACM office today! Go O's and Ravens!!

Employee Appreciation Breakfast!




ACM hosted an Employee Appreciation Breakfast today for all staff to say "Thank You" for the hard work and dediciation during our office move to Hanover, MD! We greatly appreciate the effort of everyone and we are thrilled to be settled in our new office.
 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Maryland Towing Law Immediately Impacts Community Association Towing Procedures

By: Ruth O. Katz, Community Association Attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda, MD
 
As of October 1, 2012, community associations throughout the state of Maryland must comply with new towing laws prior to towing or removing a vehicle from association property. The new towing laws affect all Maryland associations that have more than three common area/common element parking spaces. Although the full regulations are lengthy, below are the highlights of provisions now impacting community associations.

Maryland Towing Signage Requirements
New signage provisions require every community association that tows vehicles from common spaces to have at least one sign for every 7,500 square feet of parking space. Each sign must:
  1. Be at least 24 inches high and 30 inches wide;
  2. Be clearly visible to the driver of a motor vehicle entering or being parked in the parking lot;
  3. State the location to which the vehicle will be towed or removed and the name of the towing company;
  4. State the hours during which the vehicle may be reclaimed. (State law requires that the vehicle be available for reclamation 24 hours per day, 7 days per week);
  5. State the maximum amount that the owner of the vehicle may be charged for the towing or removal of the vehicle;
  6. Provide the telephone number of a person who can be contacted to arrange for the reclaiming of the vehicle by its owner or the owner’s agent. 
Authorization from Parking Lot Owner Prior to Towing
Prior to towing or removing a vehicle, the towing company must have authorization from the parking lot owner (an authorized agent of the association) to tow or remove the vehicle, which includes:
  1. The name of the person authorizing the tow or removal (typically a manager or board member);
  2. A statement that the vehicle is being towed or removed at the request of the parking lot owner; and
  3. Photographic evidence of the violation or event that precipitated the towing of the vehicle.
Mandatory Return of Vehicle to Owner

Before a vehicle is removed from a parking lot, a tower who possesses the vehicle shall release the vehicle to the vehicle owner or an agent of the owner:
  1. If the owner or agent requests that the tower release the vehicle;
  2. If the vehicle can be driven under its own power;
  3. Whether or not the vehicle has been lifted off the ground; and
  4. If the owner or agent pays a drop fee to the tower in an amount not exceeding 50% of the cost of a full tow.
 As this towing legislation is currently in effect, associations should cease all towing from common area/element parking areas until they have complied with the signage and authorization requirements above.

Furthermore, as the full towing statue includes other requirements (that mainly affect towing companies), we recommend that the association ensure its towing company is aware of the new requirements because as the lot owner, the association can be held liable for inappropriate tows. Additionally, associations should amend their towing contracts, if possible, to include indemnification language that would require the towing company to indemnify and hold the association harmless from any illegal or improper tows from the association’s property.

Associations also should be aware that individual counties may adopt more stringent requirements in addition to this new Maryland towing law. As such, associations should review these issues with its towing contractor and attorney to determine how this new law will effect their specific association. In some cases, when read together, the Maryland State law requirements combined with the local county/city regulations may result in additional obligations beyond that addressed here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

ACM's Hanover Office





The above pictures were taken of the lobby in ACM's new office located in Hanover, Maryland! The lobby includes pictures of several of the associations represented by ACM as well as a list of the services provided, a sitting/waiting area and a small conference area. Come by and visit us to see our new office space!

Going Electronic - The ACM Difference!

Did your management company charge you a one-time set up fee when they were hired to represent your community? How about a set-up fee for website services as well as a monthly website maintenance fee? Better yet, does your association pay for electronic communication with your homeowners or for electronic storage of association records? If you answered YES to any of those questions, then you are paying more than you should for management services. Sure, your monthly management fee may be low, but are you really getting “Full Community Management” services if there is a charge for everything else?

If ACM represented your association, you would be able to answer NO to every one of the above questions. There is NO transition or set up fee if you hire ACM to represent your community. There is NO website set up fee or monthly maintenance fee. Our interactive client portal is included with both levels of service we offer to clients at no additional charge. Even better, our website service actually saves your association money each month! There is no charge to send communication or store association files electronically. Actually, the more electronic and paperless your community becomes, the less money you spend on administrative costs overall.

At ACM, electronic = reduced costs. It’s that simple. That’s why we encourage our homeowners to register and utilize our client portal website, www.acmhome.com, developed specially for ACM. We’re proud of our services and strive to provide the highest quality community management at the most affordable price.

If you are interested in obtaining a proposal for ACM services, please visit us online at www.communitymanagers.net and click the green “Request a Proposal” button to see how you can save your association money today!
 

Friday, September 21, 2012

ACM Budget Seminar 2012




Above are pictures of ACM's Dollars and “Sense” of Community Association Budgeting Seminar held on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 and Friday, September 21, 2012. Board members and ACM staff particpated in both sessions at our new office in Hanover utilizing our Training/Conference room facilities. Thank you to everyone that was able to be a part of this event and make it such a huge success!

We are excited to continue to offer educational sessions for both our staff, Board members and homeowners in our new Training/Conference room space. With such overwhelming positive feedback from our first Budget seminar in our new Hanover office, 2013 will have a variety of educational seminars and trainings in store!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baltimore County Hosts Big Trees Sales

Baltimore County is hosting the Fall 2012 Big Trees Sales, featuring a selection of 150 to more than 200 trees representing 10 to 15 different Maryland native species.You can order Big Trees online, or purchase trees at the sale event on Saturday, October 13, 2012, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Baltimore County Center for MD Agriculture located at 1114 Shawan Rd, Cockeysville (I-83 North to Exit 20; West on Shawan Road).

To learn more about the event, please click the following link:
http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/environment/forestsandtrees/bigtrees.html#.UFdJUMlEBhI.facebook

Monday, September 17, 2012

FHA Releases Condominium Update


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Mortgagee Letter: 2012-18

ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HOUSINGFEDERAL HOUSING COMMISSIONER
Date: September 13, 2012

 The following primary changes were made to the FHA Approval Process:

INVESTMENT UNITS
The requirements of Section 2.1.4, Investor Ownership are replaced by the following updated policy guidance.

A unit that is occupied as a principal residence is not considered as an investment property. When calculating the investor owned percentage, this unit will not be included in the calculation.

For all existing or non-gut rehabilitation projects, any investor/entity (single or multiple owner entities) may own up to 50 percent of the total units at the time of project approval if at least 50 percent of the total units in the project have been conveyed or are under a bona fide contract for purchase to owner-occupant principal residence purchasers.

Unoccupied and unsold units owned by a builder/developer are not considered as investor owned and subject to the requirements unless the unit is currently rented or previously been occupied.

DELINQUENT UNIT OWNERS
The requirements of Section 2.1.5 of the Guide are replaced by the following updated policy guidance.

This requirement must be reviewed as part of the analysis for project approval and must also be verified as part of the loan level requirements. No more than 15 percent of the total units can be in arrears (more than 60 days past due) on their condominium association fee payments (does not include late fees or other administrative expenses). The 15 percent includes all units (occupied, investor, bank owned and vacant).

There will be no exception requests granted.

INSURANCE
This section has only been updated to provide additional options for Fidelity Bond/Fidelity Insurance requirements for management companies. All other requirements of Section 2.1.9 remain unchanged.

Fidelity Bond/Fidelity Insurance – may also be known as “Employee Dishonesty” or “Crime Policy” (required submission for project approval)

For all new and established projects with more than 20 units, the homeowners association is required to obtain and maintain this insurance:

·         The homeowners association must maintain this insurance for all officers, directors, and employees of the association and all other persons handling or responsible for funds administered by the association;

·         The coverage must be no less than a sum equal to three months aggregate assessments on all units plus reserve funds unless State law mandates a maximum dollar amount of required coverage.

If the homeowners association engages the services of a management company, one of the following requirements must be met evidencing that Fidelity Bond/Fidelity Insurance – may also be known as “Employee Dishonesty” or “Crime Policy” is in place for the management company’s officers, employees and agents handling or responsible for funds of, or administered on behalf of, the owners association.

·         The management company has secured their own Fidelity Bond/Fidelity Insurance in an amount no less than the sum equal to 3 months aggregate assessments on all units plus reserve funds unless State law requires a maximum amount of coverage; or

·         The homeowners association’s Fidelity Bond/Fidelity Insurance policy specifically names the management company as an agent or insured; or

·         The homeowners association’s Fidelity Bond/Fidelity Insurance policy includes a “Covered Employee” endorsement that states that a person employed by an employment contractor (Management Company) performing services subject to direction and control by the homeowners association is covered under the policy.

COMMERCIAL SPACE
No more than 25 percent of the property’s floor area in a project or a unit can be used for non-residential/commercial purposes. The non-residential/commercial portion of the project must be of a nature that is homogeneous with residential use, which is free of adverse conditions to the occupants of the individual condominium units. A project can be approved with non-residential/commercial space less than or equal to 25 percent under the HRAP or DELRAP options.

Exception Requests: Percentage >25% but ≤ 35%

Exception requests will only be considered on a case-by-case basis by the jurisdictional HOC. FHA reserves the right to reject any exception request received. Based on the HOC review, additional information and/or documentation may be required. Granting an exception does not change the requirement that the project’s use remains primarily residential, homogeneous with residential use and is free of adverse conditions to the occupants of the individual condominium units.

Exception Requests for Mixed-Use Developments Unable to Satisfy the 25 and/or 35
Exception requests will only be considered on a case-by-case basis. All requests must be submitted to the Philadelphia HOC. FHA reserves the right to reject any exception request received. Based on the HOC review, additional information and/or documentation may be required. Granting an exception does not change the requirement that the project’s use remains primarily residential, homogeneous with residential use and is free of adverse conditions to the occupants of the individual condominium units.

Mixed-use developments are defined as developments with a combination of any of the following: commercial, residential, retail, office or parking space.

ACM's Flag Flying High!



The American Flag and ACM's flag are both proudly flying at the entrance of our newest office in Hanover, Maryland!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CAI Expo - October 16, 2012



The Chesapeake Region Chapter of CAI is hosting its Annual Symposium & Expo on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at Martin's West in Baltimore, Maryland. This years topic is "Controlled Chaos -- Managing Meeting Mayhem." Attendees will get to witness the re-enactment of a Community's Special Meeting which will then progress to an Executive (closed) Session.

To learn more and register for the event, visit the Chesapeake Chapter of CAI online: http://www.caimdches.org/.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reminder to Board Members - Don't Forget to Register!

 
 
ACM Presents: Dollars and “Sense” of Community Association Budgeting Seminar 
 
Audience:Community association board members (officers or at-large members in a decision making role)

Where:American Community Management Hanover Office:
7484 Candlewood Road, Suite H, Hanover, Maryland 21076

Dates:Choice of Wednesday, September 19, 6:00-8:00 pm or Friday, September 21, 12:00-2:00pm

Topic:It is the fiduciary responsibility of the association’s board of directors to prepare and adopt a budget of the estimated common expenses. Budgeting will aid in determining the amount of assessments needed to maintain the association’s common elements on an annual basis, or in accordance with the association’s governing documents. We will provide information on the best practices ACM has developed pertaining to the budgeting process:
  • Techniques and methods for creating a budget, reviewing current and historic financial information and preparing projections
  • Addressing major cost categories using driving factors (contracts, discretionary items, collections, projects, utilities insurance and administrative costs)
  • Determining the level and allocation of assessments
  • Determining if reserves (operating and replacement) are adequate using the reserve study and cash flow trends as key resources
  • Meeting the notification requirement (to membership)
Materials and light refreshments to be provided.

Contact Peter Giguere to register at pgiguere@communitymanagers.net with your name, association and desired date for attendance. Thank you and we hope you are able to participate!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

ACM Welcomes New Community!

ACM would like to extend a warm welcome to The Lakes at Chaddsford Homeowners Association, located in  Brandywine, Prince George's County, Maryland! The Lakes at Chaddsford HOA started services with ACM in September, 2012. We look forward to beginning our relationship with your community!