By: Tom Skiba, CAE; Dawn Bauman, CAE; C. Scott Canady; Phoebe Neseth, Esq.; Lula Fekadu; and Hannah Engber, MPP

As 2021 comes to a close, CAI’s Government and Public Affairs team thanks its legislative action committees (LACs), volunteer advocates, and members who continually support and advocate on behalf of the 74.1 million Americans living in more than 355,000 community associations. As this housing model continues to grow, we predict the need for greater advocacy in 2022.

CAI’s more than 600 LAC members tracked over 1,500 bills. Nearly 25,000 CAI advocates sent 122,000 messages to their respective state and federal legislators advocating for issues impacting their communities. Those efforts led to success at the state and federal levels in 2021.

State Success

  • Virtual meetings. Twenty-four state LACs supported legislation in 2021 that allowed for community association board meetings and annual membership meetings to be held virtually. The following states were successful: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.
  • Limited liability protections from COVID-19 related claims. Twenty-four state LACs supported legislation in 2021 that limited a community association’s exposure to liability when acting in good faith and complying with local and state ordinances and CDC guidelines related to opening or reopening amenities and governing association operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following were successful: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
  • Simplified amendment processes to remove discriminatory restrictive covenants. Sixteen state LACs supported legislation in 2021 that allowed for a community association board to remove antiquated and unenforceable discriminatory restrictions contained in covenants without a vote of the homeowners. The five following states were successful in their efforts: Connecticut, New Jersey, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Federal Success

Our Federal Legislative Action Committee successfully reintroduced H.R. 5298, the Disaster Assistance Equity Act, to correct current inequities in the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster response system. This bill will allow for:

  1. FEMA’s Public Assistance Program to reimburse costs related to disaster debris removal from community association roads and waterways.
  2. FEMA’s Individuals and Households Assistance Program to provide assistance to condominium unit homeowners for critical common element repairs after a natural disaster.

Under the current law, community associations affected by a presidentially declared natural disaster—blizzard, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado—are not given the same FEMA financial recovery support for debris removal and other efforts as their neighbors outside of community associations.

Nearly 2,000 CAI advocates sent over 2,000 messages to 260 members of the House of Representatives encouraging their co-sponsorship of this congressional bill. Learn more about HR 5298.

CAI’s Advocacy Twitter broke 1,000 followers in 2021 too! Do not miss out. Follow us today on Twitter.

Learn about CAI’s predictions on 2022 state legislative trends impacting community associations.

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