Newsletter Fall| 2020 Print

Message from the President

Dear Members and Friends of the CAI Alabama Chapter,

This newsletter is bittersweet for me because it is my last letter as your CAI Alabama President. When I think about all the exciting plans that we made for our year together, the majority of those plans couldn’t happen.  Without a doubt, the year 2020 is one that none of us will ever forget.  It has brought many changes to our everyday lives and work environments that may become our “new normal.”  With so much going on, it is amazing to realize that 2020 is almost gone and there are only two months left before we say goodbye to the year that changed lives all around the world. 

Yet like other organizations, your CAI Alabama Board of Directors adapted to the conditions that confronted all of us and we will continue to adapt as needed.  We are committed to ensuring that we provide ongoing services to our members, business partners, and municipal partners.  As your Board, we recognize that all of our members are the heartbeat of CAI Alabama.

I want to acknowledge and thank the Board of Directors for taking steps to move forward with our first Virtual Chapter Luncheon, which was a big success.  And I also want to thank our chapter sponsors again.  Our sponsors never fail to come along side the Board to support our chapter and members. As the holidays fast approach, the Board is hoping that COVID 19 conditions continue to improve for our Holiday Luncheon at the Hoover Country Club.  Social distancing protocols will be followed.  We will provide updates on our CAI Alabama website as time gets closer to the event.

We are also excited that the Municipal Partner Committee has continued to meet via Zoom and made plans to reach out to cities about joining CAI Alabama.  I am very pleased to announce that the City of Pelham is renewing its Municipal Partner Membership.  Before serving as President of the CAI Alabama Chapter, I always believed in the tremendous value of CAI Alabama and I hope to help inform other municipalities about the tremendous service and value that all of you bring to the constituents in cities where you have a presence.

Finally, the Board also voted to add a new award called the Above and Beyond Award.  Our membership continues to go above and beyond and we want to be able to recognize those members. 

As I prepare to conclude my term as your President, I want to thank the Board for the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that allowed us to serve together.  You are truly great professionals.  To Amanda Carr, who will be the incoming President, I am confident that you will continue to build on what we have all done together for the continued success of CAI Alabama.  And to each of the members and business partners, I am so grateful to have been able to get to know you and serve with each of you.  Iron sharpens iron and because of each of you, I know that you have sharpened me as a leader and person and for that I say thank you.


Mildred Lanier
2020 CAI Alabama President

Back to top

September Virtual Luncheon in Review!

We had a great turn-out at our first virtual CAI Alabama Chapter Luncheon! Joel Meskin's presentation about Aging Infrastructure in Community Associations was fantastic.

A big thank you again to all of our Chapter Sponsors for making this virtual meeting more like a real luncheon by providing UberEats gift cards with every event registration. Thank you again to everyone that joined us!

If you missed the luncheon and would like to learn more about Aging Infrastructures in your communities, please download the Foundation of Community Association Research's report Breaking Point: Examining Aging Infrastructure in Community Associations.


Back to top

NEW AWARD: Above & Beyond Award


The CAI Alabama Chapter Board of Directors has decided that it's time to add the Above & Beyond Award to the three awards that are usually given out every year, which are the Member of the Year Award, The Committee Member of the Year Award and the Rising Star Award.

We are lucky to have so many committed members that often go above & beyond to help out in any way that they can. The Above & Beyond Award will give us the opportunity to put the spotlight on them. The award will be selected by the Board of Directors and be presented with the other three awards at our Annual Awards Holiday Luncheon!

So, join us at this year's Holiday Luncheon on December 3rd to celebrate with us this year's award recipients!

More information about the holiday luncheon will go out soon!

Back to top

Join the SERVE COMMITTEE in 2021!


Are you looking for a  way to give back to the community? Join the SERVE COMMITTEE! Next year we will be starting a Serve Committee to help struggling communities in Alabama.

The main idea behind this community outreach program is to identify communities that have a need that CAI Alabama's members can fill by donating their time, expertise, knowledge, tools and resources at quarterly held Serve Days.

If you would like to get involved with this committee, please attend the virtual  2021 Committee Member Orientation Luncheon on October 22, 2020 at 11:30am! This will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about the Serve Committee as well as about other opportunities to get involved with CAI Alabama!

Please click here to register for the Committee Member Orientation Luncheon. A little treat from Starbucks will be inlcuded for every participant.

Back to top

Member News

Stephanie Panagiotides, Community Association Manager at Community Management Associates in Birmingham received her CMCA designation on September 16, 2020.

Congratulations, Stephanie! We are so proud of you!

The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives. The CMCA recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the fundamental knowledge required to manage community associations.

Worldwide over 9,000 individuals hold the CMCA designation. In Alabama, 33 individuals have a CMCA designation.

Click here to view a listing of all CMCA certified community association managers in Alabama.


Please send us your news for future newsletters!  Did someone in your firm get a new designation?  Did someone get promoted?  Let us know so we can mention your news in our newsletter and celebrate our successes together!

Back to top

Member Spotlight

Spotlight on Neighborhood Management

At Neighborhood Management, community association management is not viewed as merely enforcing covenants and collecting dues payments. The company’s mission statement takes HOA living to the next level by creating a lifestyle within each neighborhood that fosters a sense of community and fellowship. Neighborhood Management’s goal is to create “Communities that People Love.”

Photo by: Admoni Photography    

One example to showcase just how much the staff at Neighborhood Management genuinely cares about each and every homeowner is that a photographer was commissioned to take front door family portraits in all of our communities. The photographer came to each residents’ home who wanted keepsakes of their family. All safety precautions were followed, and the ease with which homeowners were provided this experience enabled some stress related to the pandemic to be alleviated for our homeowners.

A second cornerstone within Neighborhood Management’s mission statement is giving back to the community at large since our Associations are so intertwined with their respective municipalities. The community association management staff has registered to participate in a 5K run to benefit Wounded Warriors this upcoming Veteran’s Day. Each staff member is conducting fundraisers to donate to this project with the goal being to serve those who so selflessly served our country.

Additionally, the fourth Friday of each month during the lunch hour, the Community Association Managers at Neighborhood Management serve lunch to all of the residents of the Jimmie Hale Mission. Ensuring that our entire Birmingham metropolitan community is upheld and supported is a way of life that each staff member of Neighborhood Management strives to achieve as much as possible. After all, we are all in this together!


If your community or company organizes events that impact the community or stand out in any other way, please let us know and email your story to be included in our next newsletter to [email protected]!

Back to top

New Initiative - College Grad Program


CAI is excited to announce a new initiative targeted at 2020 college graduates. Given the world’s current financial and economic challenges due to COVID-19, we are aware that recent college graduates face many challenges as they attempt to enter the workforce. On a positive note, we have learned from our community manager members that 91% share that their employment has not been impacted by the pandemic.

As a way to share the growth and importance of the community association management profession, educate, and train the next generation of community managers, CAI has launched A Career in Community Association Management. For a limited time, we’re bundling the M-100 course, The Essentials of Community Association Management and the price of a student membership. We are also encouraging participants to prepare and sit for the CMCA exam.

We hope that you will share this exciting opportunity with your family and friends.

More details can be found here:

Back to top

Upcoming Chapter Events


2021 Committee Member Orientation Luncheon

Learn more about the many ways that you can get involved in 2021 with CAI Alabama!

Attendance of the event is at no cost but registration is required. As a little extra, all member participants will receive a $15 Starbucks e-giftcard so that you can enjoy some coffee and/or a snack from your local Starbucks during our meeting.

Zoom Meeting
Thursday, October 22, 2020

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
 Add to Calendar





CAI Alabama Chapter Holiday Luncheon

Celebrate with us the 2020 Chapter Award Recipients and meet the 2021 Chapter Board of Directors!

Hoover Country Club
Thursday, December 3, 2020
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
 Add to Calendar


Back to top

Upcoming Webinars


The Cost of Coverage: How to Understand and Respond to Rising D&O Premiums
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
1-2pm central time

Community Associations are starting to see an increase in premium for their Directors and Officers Liability Insurance. Excessive losses from enforcement of governing documents, significant rise in discrimination claims, and fallout from COVID-19 are a few of the reasons.  This webinar will help community association leaders and management companies understand the nature and scope of these trends and how they impact community associations. In addition, we will discuss the importance of having a comprehensive specialty D&O coverage that protects community associations against these trends.



Maintenance Fundamentals: Prevention, Repairs, and Defects in Your Community
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
1-2pm central time

Maintenance supervisors play an integral role as the first line of communication on service and repair projects and act as the protectors of the property. This webinar will cover the fundamentals of maintenance and provide a general overview of prevention. Learn about budgeting resources, construction projects, casualty losses, and insurance basics. Understand the difference between property damage, construction defects, and repairs. Community association managers and board members will gain a more technical understanding of maintenance and construction and will have the tools to better communicate with their maintenance supervisor.


Back to top

PCAM Case Study Update!


CAI is going to host a live virtual PCAM Case Study for the first time.

As you know, the PCAM Case Study is a comprehensive examination of a community association, combining classroom discussion with an extensive on-site inspection—and the final step toward earning your prestigious Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) designation. The new virtual two-day program features a video property tour and live interviews with the host community manager, board, business partners, and instructors, all online.

The virtual offerings replace the originally scheduled in person Case Studies for the remainder of the year. To be eligible to register, you must have an approved PCAM application on file. Visit for more information.

Back to top

Most Popular from


Holding HOAs Meetings Virtually During COVID-19

As working remotely is the new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several methods by which association members or association boards can transact business in the absence of everyone gathering at the same time and location.

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's



Tips to Take Charge of Your HOA's Budget Planning Process 

Your association’s budget impacts the financial and physical health of the community and residents’ property values. The budget is the first, crucial step to restoring aged, once-beautiful communities to their former glory, and it determines the enjoyment residents will derive from their community.

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's



Tips to Avoid Selective Rule Enforcement

One of the most challenging aspects of effectively managing a condominium or homeowners association is dealing with board membership turnover and inconsistency in rule enforcement as a result. When members decide to run, they often do so because they feel the current leadership is not doing a good job, including rule enforcement. However, due to a board’s failure to act, a newlyelected board attempting to right the ship by enforcing the association’s bylaws may find itself having to respond to selective enforcement defenses, and this creates a problem. How can boards avoid the selective enforcement defense when enforcing HOA rules and regulations?

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's



Electronic Voting Tips for HOAs

Holding meetings virtually has brought questions about how residents can cast votes for an election during an association’s annual meeting—and how boards can remain compliant with their governing documents.

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's

Back to top

Choosing Great Colors For a Condo Association

by Renovia


If you’ve driven around town looking for painting ideas for your condominium or building, you may have been struck by the extremes.

In one group there are rows of boring beiges, grim grays and “what’s with all the whites”? Then, just when you think you might nod off behind the wheel, you’re startled by an infusion of bold blue, garish green and terrible turquoise. And that’s just on the trim.

Click here to continue reading this article.

Back to top

What are Restrictive Covenants, and Why does our Homeowners Association have them?

By Andy Turner, CEO of Spaces Management Corporation


Questions about restrictive covenants and why they exist often arise when a homeowner purchases a home in a covenant community.

If you are in the process of buying a new home in a community association this article will provide you with a simple overview of restrictive covenants, and why homeowners associations have them. 

In the state of Alabama, most homes, and all condominiums, are part of a planned, covenanted community, and all owners are required to be a part of a homeowners’ association (HOA).  The HOA is established with a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) by the developer as part of the approval process by local governments.  The CC&Rs are often referred to as the “restrictive covenants”.  These are the rules of your neighborhood, and they describe the requirements and limitations in regard to what you can, and cannot, do with your property.  To some this may sound like it is a violation of their property rights, as we should be able to do whatever we want with the property we own.  However, when you choose to live in a covenant community you are agreeing to limit your property rights based on the covenants established for the community.  The covenants were created for the mutual benefit of all of the owners.

The rules for almost every neighborhood will vary based on what the developer set out as important covenants for all owners to agree to when they purchase in the community, for everyone’s mutual benefit.   Most of the time, the rules are reasonable and easy to accept.  For example, it is reasonable to agree with a covenant that requires you to mow your lawn.  Other rules might interfere with your plans or seem downright unreasonable to you.  Maybe you want to store your extra belongings in the garage and park your car in the street, but the covenants of the HOA require you to park your car in the garage.  You may want to build a fence around your yard, but you find out that the community covenants do not allow fences.  To make sure you buy a home in a community that is a good fit for you, it is essential that you know the rules before buying, as there are consequences to breaking the rules.  The HOA has the authority to enforce compliance with the rules through a variety of tools including fines, suspension of privileges to use the common facilities, forced compliance, or filing a lawsuit.  It is important for everyone to know the rules and for the HOA to enforce them consistently as they are legally binding on all parties.

Every person planning to purchase a home in a community should research the rules for that community, and make sure they are willing to follow those rules.  Communities will fall on a spectrum from having minimal rules to having rules governing all aspects of the exterior of the home and landscaping.  A buyer may love how beautifully manicured all the lawns are in a community but find out that the landscaping is maintained by the HOA.  If you enjoy maintaining your own landscaping, then this community is probably not a fit for you as you cannot change or maintain the landscape how you want.  If you do not like maintaining your landscape, then this community may be perfect for you.  Knowing the rules will help buyers find the community that is a fit for what they want, and communities to attract buyers that are a fit for how they operate.

The purpose of the covenants that each property owner agrees to when they purchase in a neighborhood is to preserve the appearance of the community, protect the value of common property and individual homes, and make the neighborhood more harmonious for all homeowners.  Each community sets different rules that they believe are important in achieving this purpose, because each community has different priorities.  When purchasing in a community, make sure your priorities align with those set out by the community in their covenants.  Having a clear understanding of the covenants from the beginning will make for a positive experience for you as a homeowner, and for the entire community. 


About the Author
Andy Turner is owner of Spaces Management located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Turner earned a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship and Small Company Management as well as Doctor of Philosophy in Strategic Management from The University of Alabama.  Turner has been a leader in Community Association management in the State of Alabama.  He earned each of the available industry designations through the Community Association Institute (CAI) including the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), the Association Management Specialist (AMS), and the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM).  Spaces Management is one of only two Accredited Association Management Companies (AAMC) in the state of Alabama.  Turner also served as President of the Alabama Chapter of Community Association Institute (CAI Alabama), and as the Chairman of the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) for CAI Alabama.

Back to top

The Overlooked Facet of Community Pond Management: Structure

by Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist & Senior Business Development Consultant at SOLitude Lake Management

Clogged Stormwater Pond Outlet

Neglected Stormwater Pond Outlet

Stormwater Pond Outflow

Effluent Stormwater Pond Structure

HOA Stormwater Pond


Lakes and ponds can be amazing focal points of our communities. People are innately drawn to water, and local waterbodies create natural spaces to enjoy a morning run, an afternoon walk with the dog, or a neighborhood social event. Many communities that I work with have implemented beautification and habitat enhancement projects for their ponds, and some have even hosted kids fishing derbies or remote control boat races. But while maintaining healthy and attractive waterbodies is a priority for most HOAs, the basic structural and functional maintenance activities are frequently overlooked. It’s relatively easy for the average community manager or resident to identify when their stormwater pond is experiencing problems when it’s covered in weeds and algae or when the fish stop biting, but many of the tell-tale signs of structural trouble are more subtle and difficult to identify.

Lakes and ponds can occur naturally in the landscape, but more often they are man-made, constructed for drinking water supply, irrigation, livestock watering, recreational use, or stormwater managementas is the case for most HOA waterbodies. There are many important components in a stormwater management facility that help regulate water levels, filter debris, and prevent flooding. All of these structural components require frequent inspections and maintenance to ensure the continued integrity and functionality of the waterbody. Without proactive monitoring, it is easy to accidentally overlook serious structural damage and volume loss until the problems require costly repairs and invasive solutions like dredging. 

In some localities, the inspection and maintenance of stormwater management facilities (also referred to as ‘BMPs’ or ‘best management practices’) is handled by the City or County; although, more commonly, it is the responsibility of the pond owners. Unfortunately, it can also be confusing to understand your HOA’s obligations for each of the facilities in the community, especially when the responsibilities can vary between localities, communities, and the facilities themselves. The key documentation that outlines the responsibilities of the HOA for stormwater facilities in the community is the Stormwater Maintenance Agreement with the locality. This document should exist for every facility that is part of an approved site development plan, and should be on file with the locality if you aren’t able to locate it. 

Your lake and pond management provider is typically a knowledgeable resource when it comes to understanding the frequency and formality of professional inspections. Typically, the age, condition, and complexity of the facility are taken into account, as well as the regulatory requirements of the locality. On a regular basis, your lake management professional will provide visual inspections of the entire facility. If concrete inlet pipes are present, they should also be checked for spalling, cracking, and misalignments. The outlet structures should be checked to ensure that water is properly flowing and that there are no blockages or damage to the trash rack, if one is present. It is also important to monitor the water level in the pond – an abnormally high or low water level for an extended period of time could be a sign of a serious structural issue. The pond banks, including the dam embankment, should be inspected for erosion and animal burrows. They should be well vegetated with no bare spots. Finally, there should be no woody growth on the dam embankment or within 10 feet of any pond structure since tree roots can compromise the structural integrity of the embankment and can cause cracking, displacement or blockage of pipes.

If potential areas of concern are identified, it is always cheaper to remediate them early rather than to perform costly repairs after the problems become more severe. For wet ponds, bathymetric studies should be performed periodically to document the current storage volume of the facilities and the extent of sedimentation. Likewise, more comprehensive monitoring with annual lake and pond assessments can pinpoint areas of potential concern and facilitate the development of custom solutions. Common solutions include aquatic weed and algae management, aeration, nanobubble technology, biological augmentation, nutrient remediation, mechanical hydro-raking and strategic erosion control. These strategies can be implemented as needed depending on the unique property characteristics, goals and budget of the community.

Each facility is unique and is most effectively managed using a customized approach. A stormwater maintenance professional can help you develop a specific plan that prioritizes the goals of your community, so you can cut down on maintenance and expenses over time.

Back to top