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Category : Multi-Family Buildings

How to Protect your HOA from a Cyber Attack

Associations handle personally identifiable information on a daily basis. This data includes homeowner names, addresses, bank account information, credit card numbers, credit histories, and Social Security numbers, which are very attractive for cyber criminals.

As data thieves grow more sophisticated in their tactics, the potential risks of a data breach increase for an association.

The Foundation for Community Association Research, reports that more than half of homeowners associations have policies and procedures in place to collect, store, and protect homeowners’ personal data.

More than half (52%) of all data breaches result from hacking, which occurs when an unauthorized user accesses a computer network for illicit purposes, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report. This can happen either externally (by a cyber criminal from an outside entity) or internally (by an association board member).

32% percent of breaches occur due to phishing, where a cyber criminal sends an email designed to mimic that of a financial institution or otherwise trusted resource. If a board member believes the email is authentic and provides login credentials as requested, the data thief has all the information he or she needs to access association accounts. Phishing schemes have become more effective as fraudsters refine their strategy.

In every piece of sensitive data, cyber thieves see dollar signs. According to Verizon, 71% of breaches are financially motivated.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking breaches only happen to large companies. Ponemon Institute’s 2018 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium Size Businesses report shows that 58% of small-to-mid-size businesses (companies employing between 100 to 1,000 people) experienced a data breach during fiscal year 2018, up from 54% in 2017.

No matter how well-intentioned board members may be, they could be one mistaken email away from falling for a phishing scheme and causing a data breach. That’s why protecting your association and its board is paramount. Thankfully, you can take steps to protect both your personal liability and that of the association in the event of a breach.

Start by reviewing your association’s insurance coverage. Board members may think their association’s directors and officers (D&O) policy offers protection. While these policies provide liability coverage for claims when individual members (or the entire board) fail to act or act wrongfully on the association’s behalf, they do not cover cyber liability unless it’s specifically listed within the policy.

The association’s crime and fidelity policy, which protects the money in the association’s accounts, may provide some coverage depending on the endorsements included in each association’s plan. Ensure your association’s crime policy includes the following:

Computer fraud. Covers loss of money, securities, and property as a result of using a computer to fraudulently transfer funds from inside the association or banking premises to outside the premises.

Funds transfer fraud. Covers losses resulting from theft of association funds by means of a fraudulent communication, such as a phishing email.

Fraudulently induced transfers. Covers losses due to any act that influences a person to take actions that may or may not be in their best interest, such as replying to social engineering threats.

Associations also should consider cyber liability coverage if it’s not specified in their D&O policy. Look for policies that provide first-party (losses and damages to the association) and third-party (losses and damage to outside entities) coverage. These will cover many of the expenses of data breaches, including legal and forensic services, regulatory expenses, notification costs, crisis management, and credit monitoring for all affected parties.

Most cyber liability policies will include a retroactive date; if a claim happens prior to that date, your association won’t be covered. This is an important stipulation to consider, especially since 56% of all breaches take months to discover, Verizon notes.

In addition to reviewing the association’s insurance coverage, board members can take multiple steps to improve data security.

■ Make sure all personally identifiable information is encrypted and stored in a secure server.

■ Talk with your manager about the data security requirements that are in place.

■ Use complex passwords with lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

■ Implement two-factor authentication that requires users to log in twice from two different devices.

■ Give administrative privileges or personally identifiable information access only to board members whose specific roles require it.

■ Engage an outside cybersecurity firm that can monitor association data and alert the board of any concerns, if funds allow.

The risk of data breaches grows every year, and homeowners trust a community association’s board to keep their information safe. Don’t break that trust. Taking steps to prevent cyber attacks will save board members and residents from agonizing and expensive headaches down the road.

Source: HOAresources

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New Laws Affecting HOA Communities in California

With the new year, California has adopted new laws impacting the way your association might function. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a few bills into law affecting HOAs in 2020.

Some of these changes include, how elections are conducted, restrictions on accessory dwelling units, and specifications regarding whether or not a contractor is considered an employee. These changes may force associations to make modifications to existing regulations and practices within their communities.

Senate Bill 323 includes;

–      Suspending the right to vote in elections if the community member is overdue in their assessments

–      Setting qualifications for board member candidates

–      Requiring a third party to monitor elections 

Additionally, homeowners now face more challenges when building accessory dwelling units or ADUs.

This law prohibits HOAs from enforcing rules that would make ADUs difficult to build. However, it does allow them to impose reasonable restrictions, such as:

–      The owner must occupy the main residence instead of the ADU

–      Only one ADU maybe built on the lot

–      The ADU cannot be sold separately from the primary home on the lot

–      The ADU cannot be larger than 50% of the main residence or 1,200 square feet in size

Finally, one of the biggest changes reclassifies an independent contractor as an employee. Assembly Bill 5 states that contractors are considered employees unless the community association does not supervise the person’s work.

–      Attorneys, accountants, engineers, and other professionals who provide services to common interest communities are exempt 

Collectively, these changes were established after the first of the year. Boards and managers in the state of California should be aware and anticipate changes within their associations. It’s recommended that all communities in California consult a legal professional when establishing these updates.

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Best Windows for HOA Buildings

Windows are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider which window type suits your needs and your building. Let us explain the differences.

Whether made of wood or plastic, with insulating glass and sound insulation – windows play an important role in building construction.

Before you decide on a window type, it’s important to do your research. A basic differentiator between windows is how the panes sit in the sash and how they can be opened. Here are the most common window types.

Single Window

Single windows are most common, they consist of sash frames and window sashes. The energy-saving two or three-pane glazing is installed in each sash, air-tightly connected to each other.

Composite windows consist of a separate outer and inner sash with single glazing. The sashes move on a common hinge and hook together on the opposite side using a fitting. This can be released with a special key so that the inside of the panes can be cleaned.

Due to the low weight of the panes, composite windows can be built as slender lattice windows with traditional window divisions. This is particularly true to style in old buildings.

Box Windows

Box windows have separate sashes inside and outside, which can be opened and closed separately. They sit in a surrounding lining at a distance of up to 6 inches; the complete set looks like a box.

The outer wing usually opens to the outside, the inner wing to the room side, the wings can be fitted with different types of glazing. Heat insulation glass is often chosen for the outside and inexpensive single glazing for the inside. In some buildings, the single glazing is also sometimes placed in the outer wing.

Box windows are very popular because of their good sound and heat insulation.

Opening Types

A distinction is also made between how windows are opened. This is because the type of opening has an influence on how the windows are used.

The following questions can help with window selection: Can they be easily opened for ventilation, can I put the decoration in front of them, how well can they be cleaned and can a shade be added afterward?

Fixed Glazing

Fixed glazing is the least costly solution, but means that the window cannot be opened. Fixed glazing is used, for example, as facade decoration and combined with rotating window sashes in multi-part windows or as skylights.

Rotary Wing

Rotating leaves rotate around a vertical axis at the left or right edge.

Tilt Sash

Tilting sashes have a lower horizontal axis and open a gap at the top. If the axis is located at the top, for example at a skylight, one speaks of a folding sash.

Turn-tilt Wing

Turn-tilt sashes are among the best-selling window types: the sash can be turned or tilted. On older models, you need both hands to turn the fitting, modern fittings allow operation with only one hand.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows and doors are lifted by turning the handle or swiveled out of the guide rail and can then be moved sideways.

Swing Windows

Swinging windows revolve around a horizontal central axis, one part of the sash protruding into the room, the other outside. If the window sash moves around a vertical axis, this is called a turning window.

Note: Combinations are also possible, such as a two-wing window with skylight and tilt and turn sashes or a skylight for tilting with a lower part as a turning sash.

Whatever you choose, two things are extremely important: the window should be accessible without having to climb up and ventilate the room transversely.

Dimensions

The glazed area of a room must be 1/8 to 1/3 of the room floor area – there are no regulations for the size of individual windows. Standard dimensions, also known as preferential dimensions, are becoming less important.

The dimensions and profiling of the frame timbers, on the other hand, are standardized, from which all types of windows can be produced at low cost – even with special profiles, bar spacings and special shapes such as arched windows or triangles. Aluminum panels on the outside of the frame protect the wooden surface from the weather, while thermal insulation materials in the core improve the energy balance.

The Right Frame

Wood-aluminum Windows

Wood-aluminum windows combine the technical advantages of aluminum and the design advantages of wood: on the outside, a robust aluminum shell protects against wind and weather, inside you can enjoy the cozy atmosphere of wood.

The aluminum is largely weather-resistant and shows hardly any signs of aging or wear, even after years of use. Since wood and aluminum expand differently with temperature and humidity fluctuations, the materials must be joined together in a certain way. Usually, the aluminum is not screwed onto the sealed wood but clipped on using a special clip. The fact that there are no contact points fixed at specific points gives the materials the necessary leeway to move.

Wooden Windows

Suitable wood for windows is spruce, pine, larch, fir, oak or meranti. There are also windows made of precious wood such as maple, alder, cherry, and walnut as well as teak and even mahogany. Wood ages over time and must be regularly cared for to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Although wooden windows are more sensitive to moisture, frost and UV rays, they are still extremely popular. Not only can they be treated with any color and thus redesigned, but they also convey a special warmth and comfort in the living room. Wood is also a renewable resource and therefore a good choice for environmentally conscious owners. Because wood binds carbon during growth. Who uses the material thus on a long-term basis as a building material, reduces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

It is important to apply a wood preservative; this process can already be carried out during the manufacturing process. The wood is impregnated and coated all around, which also protects the hidden inner edges of the corners from penetrating moisture. A triple paint structure extends the durability of the paint application.

Plastic Windows

Plastic windows are by far the cheapest choice. They are not only easy to clean, but also have a long service life without surface treatment. Weathering, corrosion, acids, exhaust gases, and cleaning agents are of little importance to them.

Thanks to the easily moldable PVC, plastic windows are available in all shapes and colors. For an extra charge, they are even available with decor.

Although plastic windows are much cheaper, they are in no way inferior to wooden windows in terms of heat and sound insulation. However, they are statically charged and attract dust. Also, plastic provides a cooler living atmosphere and the production of PVC is considered to be less environmentally friendly.

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Can an HOA Board Run its Own Construction Projects?

Many HOA boards run their own projects and it can sometimes feel like you are not getting all the information and updates. As frustrating as this can be, HOA boards are entitled to run their own projects. Typically management is the face of the owners, which means the decisions they make are for the community. As a board, they are entrusted with making decisions that will benefit and member and owners feel secure in this.

Conflict of Interests

HOA boards can oversee the construction and maintenance of any project but with owners being used to the management doing this, there can be some conflict. A lack of communication between the boards and management only makes the situation worse. Any conflicts of interest become difficult to clear up. Conflicts of interest can occur when a board member’s decisions are influenced by personal interests rather than those of the association or HOA community. Decisions made this way are a direct breach of the board’s fiduciary duties and the director of the board loses protections of the Business Judgement Rule. An example of this would be if a board awards a roofing contract to a family member of the director. A contract like this can be void. Sometimes board members vote on matters that result in a benefit to them but it is not a conflict of interest because it also benefits the membership. An example would be voting for added security patrols for which the director and the community will both benefit.

Potential Liability

The conflicts between boards and the association do not create personal liability in the following cases:

  • The director makes full disclosure of the conflict
  • The director gets no influence on the vote by leaving the room during the discussion of the topic
  • All transactions are just and fair and reasonable as to the association at the time it is authorized and approved.

Failure to Relay Information

In some cases, the board has not relayed information to management and they are left in the dark on projects. This can be problematic because if owners call to get information about the changes affecting them, management will not know the answers. This leads to both management and owners being in the dark and fearful of what could be happening. HOA boards can run their own projects but it is essential to avoid conflicts of interest and avoid the risk of liability. The board can run projects but they need to ensure that management is kept in the loop and is aware of the project details, timelines, and dates. Management also enjoys having memos from the board director whenever any updates and changes occur along the way. Communication is the best way to ensure everyone is in agreement and that all projects are run above board.

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The Different Types of Flat Roofs

Types Of Flat RoofsWhen it comes to designing the perfect commercial or industrial building, there are a lot of roofing options to choose from. However, one of the most popular options is flat roofing. Sure, multi-dimensional roofs may seem more avant-gard, but if you want to ensure that the structure has integrity, the best option to go with is a flat roof because of how practical they are. Not only can this be a very safe option, but it can also offer a lot of value.

Duro-Last Roofs

If you are in the market for a roofing system that you don’t have to replace often, then you should definitely consider Duro-last. The Duro-last roof has earned a reputation for being both long-lasting and durable. However, one of its most attractive features is the cost. This brand not only offers a considerable amount of value, it also happens to be extremely affordable. When it comes to maintenance, it does not require as much upkeep as other brands do. Keep in mind that you will need to inspect it from time to time, just as you would with any other brand.

Membrane Roofing

One of the most important elements of any flat roof is the membrane. There are a lot of different combinations that could hold the membrane in place like glue or nails, gravel or rubber. There may be other components added to make sure that the functionality of the membrane remains protected. Ultimately, the membrane is what shields the inside of your building from all outdoor weather conditions.

Thermoplastic Membranes

If you need a roofing system that can stand up to harsh weather condition, thermoplastic membranes may be just the thing you are looking for. Thermoplastic roofing systems also referred to as TPO, are extremely unique in that they are designed to adapt to the weather. Unlike the average roofing system, this one produces a membrane that contracts and expands when outdoor conditions are extreme. This ensures that your roof stays in great condition and does not become dried out and brittle. This well-planned environmentally friendly design makes it the perfect option for those who want to avoid physical damage from extreme weather conditions.

Rubber Membranes

If you take time to compare the differences between thermoplastic membranes and rubber roofing, you will find that the two are quite similar. Rubber roofing membranes are similar to thermoplastic membranes in that they are designed to help your building withstand harsh weather. However similar they may seem, they perform the vital functions in entirely different ways.

You see, unlike TPO that is built to adapt as weather conditions change, rubber membranes work to keep the weather off of the building altogether. Some may even say that the roof is resistant to harsh outside conditions. While both the TPO and the rubber membranes can be valuable, in most cases, it is best to consult with a roofing contractor to find out which option is best for you because everyone has different needs.

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Is A Flat Roof A Good Choice For Your Building?

Is A Flat Roof A Good Choice For Your Building

Although flat roofs are commonly seen on commercial buildings, they are also a potential option for residential applications. Sometimes the theme or style of a dwelling demands a traditional pitched roof, but there are still areas of almost any home where a flat roof is appropriate. The issue is whether using a flat roof for all or just a section of your building makes sense. Review the following considerations as you make your choice.

Is A Flat Roof A Good Choice For You?

Flat roofs are incredibly durable and are less labor-intensive to install than pitched. This is a plus for any building but is particularly attractive to businesses as they attempt to hold down costs while utilizing every bit of space. Because of the lack of a steep pitch, a flat roof can act as an additional level to a building. Mechanical systems including heating and air conditioning can be supported on top of a flat roof, leaving more room inside the building for production or storage.

Commercial buildings usually embrace a utilitarian style, which is consistent with the straight lines of a flat roof. Residential roofing often has a significant style to it and a flat roof can clash with the desired effect. On the other hand, many home designers and architects do work well with the bold angles of a flat roof. It is also possible for a number of different roofing systems to be used in one dwelling. For example, an all-season porch, sunroom, or exercise area can take advantage of the features of a flat roof.

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) roofs

Flat roofs can be extremely energy efficient which is a bonus for both commercial and residential buildings. Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) roofs reduce both heating and cooling costs throughout the seasons. During the warmer months, this roofing reflects the sun’s heat, substantially decreasing the need for air conditioning. When the temperatures drop, the same type of roof holds heat inside, allowing the home or business owner to save on heating.

In general, the materials used for flat roofs are weather resistant. There are far fewer weak areas where moisture can leak through, such as you can see with clay tile, asphalt shingles, or shakes, especially when a layer of gravel is added as extra protection. The TPO roofing is a membrane, sealed over the area to be protected, without the many seams and edges of a standard pitched roof. If two pieces of rubber flat roof membrane must be seamed, the rubber-based glue used completely closes any gaps. The materials are also cost-effective once you consider the initial cost and the length of time expected before replacement.

A final benefit of flat roofing is the relatively infrequent maintenance needed. The gravel coating may need refreshing and redistributing to ensure it is even on all parts of the roof annually. Occasional reapplication of sealant can be required around vents, screws, and edges. Any upkeep is far more accessible than that required for pitched roofs, as workers can simply walk out on the flat surface to perform the tasks.

Selecting a flat roof can be cost-effective and offer many other benefits as well. As long as the angular silhouette works with the design of the building, or can be hidden, a flat roof has a lot going for it and deserves a second look.

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Perfect Time For Preventative Maintenance On Commercial Roofs

Preventative Maintenance On Commercial Roofs

The only way you can be sure that your roof is doing its job all year long is to schedule periodic inspections which will lead to proper maintenance and repair. A great time to pencil in the needed inspection and maintenance is during the fall months. The hottest months of the year are gone, and you may experience lots of rain coming your way in Los Angeles. The roof is ready to reveal any weaknesses, structural damage, or other issues that may impair its performance as we move into winter.

Timing Your Roof’s Inspections

The roofing industry suggests that commercial roofs be evaluated twice yearly, and fall fits into that schedule very well. Your commercial roof has taken a beating over the hot summer months. The sun’s UV rays, winds and debris from trees and structures on the roof have taken their toll.

Fall is the time to investigate whether routine maintenance will take care of the problem of if a more intensive set of repairs needs to be done. Taking the time to complete these steps rewards you with a well-functioning roof that will last for many more years.

Consult A Professional

Best practices and outcomes indicate that you need to have an inspection completed by a licensed roof contractor in Los Angeles. Although you could give your roof a once-over visually, roofing experts are trained to look for the signs that indicate a roof is damaged, aging, or failing because of improper work earlier in its lifespan. Be sure the roofing company you engage is familiar with commercial roofing issues, which can be very different from residential roof problems. ADCO Roofing in Los Angeles has extensive experience with commercial and industrial roofing systems.

What To Expect

  • Interior Evaluation

Do not be surprised if the contractor starts the inspection inside your building. The best indicator of a failing roof is often found within workspaces, storage areas, and other areas of your business. What the inspector looks for is any indication that water has found a way inside. He or she will scan carefully for staining of walls and ceilings, buckling of floors, mold growth anywhere, and any standing water or puddling.

  • Exterior Evaluation

Once the interior has been viewed the roofing contractor will spend time on the roof itself. The waterproof membranes will be inspected foot by foot, looking for any obvious penetrations or more subtle signs of water incursion, liked pooling or sagging spots. The inspector will check all seams, flashings, and fasteners, mechanical or adhesive, for missing parts, improper application, or wear and tear.

The edge of the roof can show its age faster than other areas, so the inspector will take time to view it all around the building, looking for any breaks, notches, wear, or other damage that could be letting water enter the building.

If penetrations or worn areas are found the inspector will determine whether they need repair or a more major tear-out and replacement procedure. The biggest concern in the fall is to get your commercial roof ready for the cold and rain that is just over the horizon. Your roof protects the building’s insulation, and any waterlogging of that material means the insulation cannot do its job. Your premises will be harder and more expensive to heat, and the comfort of your staff, clients, or customers will be affected adversely.

  • Repairs And Cleaning

Once the issues are identified, a reputable commercial roofing contractor will make the repairs and complete the maintenance necessary. You want this done before the rainy season so that all is set and ready to go to get you through the winter into spring. A quality roofing contractor will also be certain to clear all debris from the top of your roof, either from the repairs and maintenance, or just the normal deposits from trees and structures in the area.

You will not be disappointed in the results of a carefully planned commercial roof evaluation. The peace of mind you receive is worth the expense, and you definitely will avoid major costs down the road if you arrange for this to be done regularly.

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6 Factors that Affect Your Roof’s Life Expectancy

roof-life-expectancy

Even if you have a high quality roof, which will protect your home for a couple of decades, they do not last forever. You should always have regular inspections by a roofing contractor as well as periodic maintenance. Contractors can let you know when you can expect to have to replace the roof.

Regular maintenance is the best way to ensure your roof lasts a long time but there are six key factors that determine how soon and how often your roof may need repair or replacement.

  1. Roof Material

Each roofing material has different endurance and offers different life expectancy. If you have asphalt shingles you can expect the roof to last a few decades. The materials that provide even longer cover include clay or concrete tiles, slate shingles and membrane systems. When it comes time to replace your roof, consider using materials that have longer life expectancy. Work with you roofing contractor to determine the best materials to use for your building and local environment.

  1. Weather

Not something you can control but can be prepared for is the weather. Most systems are designed to endure heavy rains, strong winds even snow and hail, but this does wear them down. Extreme weather conditions can really take their toll on your roof, so depending on where you live your roof may be exposed to severe conditions that damage the structural integrity. Consider the climate you live in and keep your roof maintained accordingly. Perhaps check with local contractors for protective tips if you live in areas prone to harsh weather.

  1. Sun Exposure

The damaging UV rays of the sun can hurt your roof just like they hurt us. Some materials like metal or EPDM rubber membranes are more resistant to the ultraviolet exposure. Most roofing material will degrade with the repeated radiation. Continued sun exposure weakens the structural integrity of a roof by heating it. This causes thermal shock to the materials as well as contraction and expansion. Once this happens, the material degradation is accelerated causing roof repair and replacement to be sooner than expected. Since the sun is not something you can control, it is advised to check with professional roofers for any tips or protective additions that can be utilized.

  1. Roof Pitch

Longevity of a roof is also affected by its pitch or angle. Roofs that are flat and low do not get rid of water easily so it builds up. When rain or snow are allowed to accumulate on the surface it starts to wear away the materials. Pools of water cause the materials to lose strength which can cause leakages. A good way to offset the damage is to install gutter systems and make sure they are kept clear of debris build up, so they can efficiently remove water away from the roof.

  1. Ventilation

Every building should have proper ventilation. Regular air circulation through the house and attic prevents moisture from accumulating and also reduces the external temperature. When ventilation is poor, roof materials are weakened and not as effective. It is wise to consider which option works out better in the long run, replacing materials more frequently or investing in a good air ventialation system.

  1. Proper Installation

A quality installation goes a long way in roofing. When cheap or inexperienced roofers are used it is not uncommon for there to be premature repairs and replacement. While you save money in the beginning, you will have unexpected costs with leaks and other damage that occurs without proper installation. The use of lower quality materials also contributes to early degradation. You want to be sure you hire a licensed professional that uses high quality materials and ensures their work is up to all codes. In the event a genuine error occurs, professional contractors are always willing to return and make it right.

Roofing repairs and replacement is not cheap, so you want to make sure you get the most out of the roof you have. By investing the time to care for it and considering the above factors, you can expect to get more longevity from your roof.

 

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