What’s New at KPA?

We are proud to announce some exciting new things are happening at KPA Management, starting with the launch of this blog! We have created this blog to provide homeowners with helpful industry tips, because an informed homeowner is a confident homeowner.  Your condominium unit is your home, and we are looking forward to providing you with information to help you manage the care of your home and protect your investment.  Our blog will be published on a monthly basis with new topics each month. Be sure to check us out at the beginning of every month.

We have also launched a new, re-branded and modernized website at www.kpamgmt.com!  In addition to the blog, our new website will provide more information about KPA and its services, updated pictures and staff bios, with easier site navigation and access from mobile devices.   You can easily communicate with our office staff through the website, if you are looking for general information or wish to submit a Request for Proposal for management services.  We are just a click away at www.kpamgmt.com!

KPA also offers to its clients KPAlink, an online Association management and information site. KPAlink provides homeowners with the ability to access their Association assessment account history in a secure environment, as well as view relevant Association information such as governing documents, policy resolutions, forms, meeting minutes and newsletters.   Homeowners registered on KPAlink will also receive broadcast email messages regarding community activities, projects and other important information and have the ability to submit work orders for maintenance items electronically.   This is a very useful tool for our clients and we encourage all to register.  If you are homeowner of an Association currently managed by KPA and you are interested in registering for the site, please contact our office for assistance.

This weekend on Saturday, March 7th KPA will have a booth at the Washington Metro Chapter CAI Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This year’s booth theme is “Hit a Homerun with KPA Management.” We will be giving away baseball themed treats and KPA gear, but that’s not all, as one lucky attendee will win free Washington Nationals baseball club level tickets! Come stop by booth #630 and collect your giveaways, enter to win some baseball tickets, challenge yourself to game of cornhole, or simply stop by for a chat about what KPA can do for you!

While staying on trend in the social media world, we have also launched a new KPA Management Facebook Business Page. This page offers up to date information about our company as well as industry tips and information on trending topics. We post something new every Monday thru Friday, so make sure to follow us and “Like” our page at www.facebook.com/KPAmanagement.

We invite you to explore all the new happenings going on at KPA Management!


Author:  Tara Alrutz, Community Manager and Marketing Specialist, KPA Management

Spring Is In The Air

Getting Ready for the Summer Season

Spring has officially sprung!  This is a time to shed the heavy coats and blankets of winter and welcome in the fresh air and warmth of spring.  Spring is also a time for general home maintenance items that are performed as part of your “spring cleaning” routine.  Many people are not aware that there are maintenance tasks to be performed as an owner of a condominium.  It is true, the Condominium will be responsible for taking care of all common area maintenance, such as general property cleanup, spring landscaping work and preparing the pool for the upcoming season.   However, those items within the unit or that service only your unit are generally the responsibility of the homeowner.  Every condominium is different; please refer to your handbook, governing documents or other condominium rules and regulations to determine your responsibility before performing any of the following maintenance tasks.

HVAC Systems

After a long hard winter of providing heat, your HVAC unit is most likely taking a rest during the spring before the air conditioning season begins.  This is an ideal time to have your system checked for any leaks and to perform preventative maintenance.  Most HVAC companies offer an annual contract in which they will check your system in the spring and fall.  What you don’t want to happen is on the first 90 degree day, you turn on the air conditioning only to find that it does not work.  You can avoid this hassle by having a regular seasonal maintenance visit from an HVAC contractor, as well as regularly cleaning out the condensate line with vinegar.  You can ask your HVAC contractor for their recommendation on how and when this should be done.  Cleaning out the condensate line eliminates backups and costly water damage repairs to your unit and the units below.

Washing Machine Hoses and Dryer Vents

Spring is a great time to inspect your washer and dryer components.   Washing machine hoses can fail without any warning and have the potential to spill hundreds of gallons of water when they burst.  You should inspect your hoses twice a year, looking for any obvious wear or bubbles on the hoses, and making sure the connections are tight.   If you currently have old rubber hoses, you may want to consider upgrading them to Floodchek hoses.  Most condominiums recommend Floodchek hoses for use by their residents; they have a warranty for 20 years or the life of the washing machine and are available for purchase from several online retailers.

Cleaning of the dryer vents and hoses should also be performed twice a year.  This not only keeps your dryer operating at its most efficient level, but also reduces the chance of fire caused by dryer lint backed up in the lines.  You should also check the exterior dryer vent cap and make sure the flap or guard is securely in place to deter birds from nesting.  Please check with your Association to determine who is responsible for maintenance of the dryer vents before beginning any work.   Generally, since the vent services only one unit, it would be the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain.  Some Associations offer bulk pricing through a selected contractor as a way to encourage its residents to have the vents cleaned regularly.


Storage and use of grills can be a confusing and frustrating issue for residents in a condominium.  Everyone wants to be able to enjoy outdoor cooking, but the local fire codes will most certainly forbid grilling of any sort within 15 feet of any structure (including fences and sheds).  The only exception may be use of an electric grill.  Storage of propane tanks in or around the unit is generally prohibited.  Following are links to the local fire codes for jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.  Please also check your condominium’s rules and regulations, for they must be at least as strict as local fire code but may also be more restrictive.

Fairfax County:

Arlington County:

Prince William County:

Outdoor Furniture

Balconies and patios are often designated as “limited common element”.  This means that a unit owner has exclusive use of the balcony/patio, but the Association is responsible for maintenance and replacement.  This also means the Association can place restrictions on how the area is used, in order to protect the common area investment and keep a consistent look throughout the community.  Aesthetics play a big part in property values and the appeal of the community as a whole.   Condominiums often do not permit storage of any items on the balcony, with the exception of outdoor furniture and plants.  You should also avoid placing a covering of any sort on the floor of a balcony structure or a concrete patio.  This can cause moisture to be trapped and will cause deterioration/damage to the structure.  Avoid permanently affixing any outdoor decorative items to railings, siding or other common area structures.   You will also want to check your condominium rules regarding birdfeeders, as many do not permit them due to the attraction of rodents to the bird seed debris on the ground.


Many people love to garden and can find it difficult to do so in a condominium environment.  Container gardens are a nice option if you have a balcony or patio on which to place your containers.  In order to help beautify the community, many associations have grounds committees or “Adopt-A-Bed” programs that allow their residents to enjoy gardening while improving the general appearance of the community.  Please check your Association’s rules regarding planting on common areas before spending any money on new spring flowers!

Spring is a time of fresh air, bright colors and outdoor fun!   Striking a balance between “fun” and “rules” is not always easy, but it is possible.  Just be sure to contact your management representative if you have any questions, and let your Board of Directors know if you are interested in becoming more involved in community activities.   This is a great time to get out and spend time with your neighbors.  By taking care of these few maintenance items now, and you will be free to enjoy this beautiful spring weather before the dog days of summer arrive!

Author:  Andrea Galler, Assistant Controller and IT Administrator, KPA Management

Are You Covered?

Understanding Insurance For Condominium Owners

Many condominium owners are under the impression that additional insurance is not necessary due to the Master Policy held by the Association.  This is most certainly not the case.  It is very important for condominium owners to have their own coverage, called an HO-6 policy, to cover items not covered by the Master Policy.

First, let’s explore what the Master Policy generally covers.  The Association is required to carry a Master Policy that covers the following items:

General Liability – covers the Association against liability claims for occurrences on common areas, such as a “slip and fall” or other injury.

Property – covers the common areas of the building, such as hallways, elevators, sidewalks, floors, balconies, roof and building equipment and the unit with all components that were originally provided when sold the first time by the developer such as appliances, cabinets, floor coverings etc.

Directors & Officers – covers the Board members against personal lawsuits for issues relating to their actions as a Board member.  Legal defense and judgments can be paid on behalf of the Board member(s).

Crime & Fidelity – covers the Association in the event of theft of funds or other financial misconduct and should include coverage for the Managing Agent.

Workers Compensation – covers the Association employees in the event of injury while working on the property and is required by law.

There are several other optional policies that an Association may consider, such as flood coverage, employer liability or earthquake coverage.  Each Association reviews their insurance needs with their agent and selects the appropriate coverage as necessary.


Now let’s talk about the HO-6 policy.  The Master Policy generally will not cover your personal property, nor liability for an incident that may occur in your unit, nor upgrades to the interior of your unit.  Generally, the Association is only obligated, in the event of a loss, to return the unit to its original condition at the time it was conveyed from the developer.  That means if you put in hardwood floors, or stainless steel appliances, the Association would not cover those items in the Master Policy.  You need your own insurance to cover those upgraded items.  The HO-6 policy is similar to renter’s insurance, but incorporates some elements of a traditional homeowner’s insurance policy as well.

There are several things to consider when purchasing an HO-6 policy:

The Master Policy coverage – each Association is different, therefore you should send your governing documents and master insurance certificate to your agent to make sure you are getting the appropriate coverage.   You also need to know the Master Policy deductible.  In the event there is a loss caused by a pipe or appliance originating in your unit, you may be responsible for the deductible on the Master Policy.  You need to make sure your HO-6 policy covers the deductible, which can be $5,000 – $20,000.

Value of your personal property – estimate the value of all of your personal property, including TVs, furniture, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, etc.

Liability coverage – you will need liability coverage to protect yourself in case of injury to another person in your unit, damages to another person’s property caused by a loss originating in your unit, or damages caused by negligence on your part.  Your insurance agent can recommend the level of coverage for liability.

Loss of use – in the event you are displaced during repairs following a major loss, your HO-6 policy can cover expenses incurred for living outside of the unit for a period of time.

Loss Assessment – covers individual owners in case the Master Policy does not cover the entire amount of a liability claim or lawsuit and the Association assesses the difference to the unit owners, or may cover a special assessment that is levied to cover large unbudgeted and unanticipated repairs. If you rent your unit you can obtain loss of rent coverage.

Due to the HO-6 policy being secondary to the Master Policy of the Association, it is imperative that your insurance agent review your governing documents and Master Policy requirements to determine the correct coverage for you.

If your lender did not require you to obtain an HO-6 policy prior to approving your loan, and you have not otherwise purchased a policy, contact your insurance agent for more information for obtaining HO-6 coverage.  If you already have an HO-6 policy, consider reviewing your policy on an annual basis to ensure your coverage is up to date.  The most common change will be to the Master Policy deductible, which occurs at the renewal of the policy.  When there is a change, the Association is required to notify all unit owners in writing of the new deductible amount.  If you are unsure of the amount, contact your Board of Directors or Managing Agent for the most current policy information.

Understanding your insurance options is important to protect yourself and your assets, and most importantly, your largest investment – your home.


Author:  Andrea Galler, Assistant Controller and IT Administrator, KPA Management 

New Legislative Changes to Common Interest Communities

As we all know legislation continues to grow and change based on the current needs of our communities. The most recent legislative changes to the Virginia Condominium Act will go into effect July 1, 2015. Here are a few of the changes that may impact your community.

Rental Restrictions:

Many associations have adopted leasing policies in their governing documents. New law states that associations may not deny homeowners from renting their unit unless it is outlined in the current governing documents. If it is not described in the governing documents, associations are not allowed to assess charges for rentals and processing in excess of $50 as a condition of approval of the rental. In addition, an association is no longer allowed to require rental leases that are prepared by the association or charge a security deposit. I do want to point out that associations are allowed to require the owner to provide a copy of the lease with the names and contact information for all occupants under the lease. The association may also require the tenant’s acknowledgement and consent to the association’s rules and regulations.

Suspension of Voting Rights:

If an owner’s voting rights have been suspended by the association, the suspended vote will NOT count towards the total number for quorum. For example, if the governing documents require 22 votes for quorum and one homeowner’s voting rights have been suspended, the new quorum number is 21. Ultimately the new bill lowers the quorum requirement based on suspended voting rights of the homeowners.

Meetings of Unit Owners Associations:

This particular Senate bill is aimed at associations that do not hold annual meetings to elect the Board of Directors, even if they repeatedly do not meet quorum. Under the new law, an association or a homeowner may “petition a circuit court to order a meeting of the unit owners’ association for the purpose of electing officers.” In doing so, the court may set quorum for the meeting and any other instructions necessary to hold an election of officers. There are some stipulations that must occur before the court may apply this ruling: First, no annual meeting has been held due to the failure to obtain quorum as stated in the governing documents. Secondly, “the unit owners’ association has made good faith attempts to convene a duly called annual meeting of the unit owners’ association in three successive years that have been unsuccessful because of the failure to obtain quorum.” It is required that the unit owner filing the petition must provide a copy of the petition to the “association executive organ” (Board of Directors) at least 10 days prior to filing in court.

It is important to make yourself familiar with these changes as well as your current governing documents in order to understand how these changes affect your community. If you have questions about the new laws please don’t hesitate to contact your Board of Directors or the Managing Agent.


Source: “Just the Facts” Virginia Common Interest Communities 2015 Legislative Changes. Written by Kevin A. Kernan, Whiteford Taylor Preston

Blog Author: Tara Alrutz

How to Prepare for Summer Storms

Summer is a great time of year because it means warm weather, pretty flowers, and pool openings, but summer is not all ice cream and sunshine. Summer also brings severe thunderstorms and it is important to prepare your family and your home so you can continue to enjoy the dog days of summer.

It is important to practice safety during a thunderstorm. Some ways to stay safe include avoiding electrical wires and water. If lightening should strike your home the electrical charge can rush through pipes and utility wires and could result in an injury if you are touching an electrical device or water at that time. So during a thunderstorm stay away from all electrical devices including toasters, microwaves, and laundry machines as well as any water from the faucets. Another simple way to stay safe is to stay away from puddles of water, flooded areas and downed power lines. Even though a power line is down it does not mean it does not have electricity surging through its wires. Finally, never operate electrical equipment if it is wet, especially outdoors after a summer storm.

In the unfortunate event that you do lose power you want to report the power outage immediately to your electrical provider. You are able to do this online on your cell phone. Most power companies will have a hotline or online service that will update you on the outages and hopefully provide an estimate for when power will return to your home. Below is the information for local power company Virginia Dominion Power.

VA Dominion Power- https://www.dom.com/residential/dominion-virginia-power/outage-center/report-and-check-outages

If you pay for your power individually at your home it is important to have your 10-digit phone number associated with your account or your 10-digit account number, and the last 4 digits of your SSN/PIN/Federal Tax ID. You will need this information to be able to access the online service for reporting outages and getting updates. If your Homeowner’s Association pays the electrical bill for your home then you will need to contact the managing agent for your community and let them know there is an outage.

The best part of thunderstorms is after the skies clear and it’s nothing but blues skies. So enjoy your summer and remember these safety tips in the event of a thunderstorm.

Source: Rappahannock Electric Cooperative REC News

Blog Author: Tara Alrutz

Common Elements vs. Limited Common Elements…What’s the Difference?

Understanding the difference between common elements and limited common elements will help you better comprehend the rules and guidelines for your community.  It is important for homeowners to understand what they are responsible for and what the community association is responsible for. Are you supposed to mow your lawn? Are you allowed to have a satellite dish?  Can you put a flag pole on your front stoop? These questions are answered in the governing documents for your community.

Common elements are defined as all portions of the condominium other than the units.  What does this mean? It means all the areas on property that are for the use of all homeowners is a common element such as the pool, the lawns and trees, and clubhouses.  Who is responsible for the care of these common elements?  In most cases, it is the association.  These areas are defined in the governing documents along with set regulations in order to promote harmonious living for all residents.

Limited common elements can be a little more confusing and are defined as a portion of the common elements reserved for the exclusive use of one or more, but less than all, the units (i.e. patios, balconies, and front stoops which only serve one unit).  Usually, but not always, it is the owner’s responsibility to keep these areas clean and free of clutter and snow.  With large scale repairs to these areas it is often (but not always) the responsibility of the association to handle the repair or replacement.

As with all community associations there are a set of rules and regulations (the Declaration and Bylaws) that are created to provide a structure and guidance for a community to thrive under the same governance.  It is very important to read through these guidelines and keep a copy on hand because every community is different and there is not one set of rules for all VA common interest communities.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was established to authorize community associations to impose rules that do not affect the installation, maintenance or use of a satellite dish or antenna, such as preferred placement.  This federal law gives both the homeowner and the community an opportunity to protect their assets. It benefits the homeowner because it does not allow the association to restrict the use of a satellite dish, however, in order to preserve the community and the safety of its residents the association must set clear rules on size and placement as long as the unit can still receive optimal satellite feed.

Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 enforces your right to display the American flag while allowing the association’s rules and regulations to determine size, place, duration, and manner of placement as long as these requirements are reasonable.  Similarly, according to the VA Code regarding solar energy collection devices, the statute does not allow community associations to prohibit owners from installing solar energy collection devices on their lots, unless the recorded Declaration expresses that prohibition.  If the recorded Declaration does not express any such prohibition, the law allows the Board to establish rules that regulate placement, size, and location of the solar energy collection devices.  All of the above laws exist to protect the rights of the citizens, while at the same time preserving the right of the association to protect and maintain their most precious asset, their home.

Blog Authors: Tara Alrutz and Andrea Galler

New Mortgage Disclosures as of October 3, 2015

Since the mortgage crisis in 2007, the industry has been working to change the process of mortgages between lenders and consumers.  Even though much of the cause of the crisis was from the secondary market, in which normal consumers do not participate, the regulatory bodies focused on the consumer side of the transaction to force change in the industry.  These changes are drafted and implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was established as part of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.  The CFPB, is as it name suggests, works to give consumers the information they need to understand agreements with financial companies.  Their tagline is “Know Before You Owe”.


Over the past several years, qualification requirements and supporting documentation requirements have become stricter, the appraisal process has been revised and consumer disclosures have been rewritten.   On October 3, 2015 one of the most significant changes will come into effect, the new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule (TRID).  The TRID was created to streamline the process for consumers and make the loan information easier to understand.   It also improves the accuracy of information and improves the consumer’s ability to shop around for the best deal by comparing offers from different lenders in a standard format.


The TRID takes four current disclosures that have been used for 40 years and merges them into two redesigned forms:


The Loan Estimate – this combines and replaces the Good Faith Estimate and the Truth-in-Lending (TIL) statement.  The new form highlights the most important parts of the transaction and provides easy comparison of figures, such as estimated total monthly payment, estimated real estate taxes and estimated cash to close.


The Closing Disclosure – this combines and replaces the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final Truth-in-Lending statement (TIL).  This form mirrors the information in The Loan Estimate and must be provided to the consumer three business days prior to closing.  This gives the consumer plenty of time to review the information.  Previously, this information would often be provided on the day of closing or when the consumer was at the closing table, leaving no time for proper review.


These new forms are required for all consumer mortgages except Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC), reverse mortgages and mortgages for mobile homes not permanently attached to real property.  So if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance an existing home on or after October 3, 2015, you will want to familiarize yourself with the new disclosures and procedures to make sure your lender is applying the new process requirements to your transaction.  For more information you can visit the CFPB website at www.consumerfinance.gov.

Winterizing in your Community and your Home

With the changing seasons upon us it is time to start preparing your home for the possible freezing temperatures this winter. It is very important to winterize your exterior hose bib. In some common interest communities the exterior hose bibs are a common element and therefore the responsibility of the Association to winterize. In other communities it is the responsibility of the homeowner to winterize their exterior hose bib, be sure to check with your community’s governing documents before taking any actions to winterize your home. Winterizing your exterior hose bib is a 5 step process:

1)            Remove any hoses attached to the hose bib

2)            Turn on (or open) the exterior hose bib

3)            Turn off (or close) the inside shut-off valve

4)            Verify that the water is no longer flowing from the exterior hose bib

5)            Leave the exterior hose bib on, or open.

It is important to every community that this is done because when the outdoor temperatures dip down into freezing any water left in the pipeline can become frozen and burst the pipe in the wall. This can lead to extensive water damage to the units. Winterizing your exterior faucets can prevent this problem.  It is also important to maintain your unit if you are an investor owner, and your unit is vacant.  Make sure to have utilities on, with a reasonable temperature set on the thermostat, to ensure the pipes in the unit are kept warm enough to avoid freezing.

In some communities, the utilities are included in the condominium assessment.  This means you as a homeowner are not responsible for paying a monthly utility bill.  You are, however, responsible for helping to keep utility costs down so that your assessments are not increased due to higher utility usage costs incorporated into the annual budget.  The following tips can help to maintain utility costs:

  • Refrain from having windows open while the heat is on.
  • If you are leaving town for a few days or more, turn down the thermostat to a reasonable temperature, about 68 degrees, so you are not heating an empty unit.
  • If servicing of the HVAC unit is the homeowner responsibility, be sure to have it serviced before the winter season is in full swing, and change your filter frequently to ensure it is running at an optimal level.
  • Inspect and clean your dryer vents to avoid fire hazards and to improve the efficiency of the dryer. An electric dryer has the second highest energy consumption rate in a home, the first being air conditioning.
  • A ceiling fan can be used to improve heating efficiency in your home. There is a switch on most ceiling fans that will reverse the direction of the blades.  Setting the ceiling fan to run clockwise helps push the warm air back down and reduce your heat costs. We all remember that warm air rises and in homes with vaulted ceilings this technique is especially helpful to heat your home.

Following these tips will help to prepare your home for whatever Mother Nature is bringing us this winter season.

WMCCAI Conference and Expo: From an Exhibitor’s Point of View

Last year was the first year that KPA exhibited at this particular expo and boy was it an experience! Here’s a little background: Over 190 companies in the community association industry exhibit their company’s goods and services. For an exhibitor it is a 2 day commitment. The Friday before the event is move-in day where cars line up in the loading dock areas to drop off all the necessary items for your booth. Then it’s a quick cart ride to your booth thanks to helpful dock workers who load and unload all your boxes. Something that was important for me when designing our pop-up booth display was that it had to be bright and it had to be eye-catching. But where do you start? I started with a theme. It could be a color theme, it could be WMCCAI assigned theme, or it could even be a sports theme. KPA does a drawing at their booth where the winner gets 2 Diamond Club tickets to a Washington Nationals game, so I thought a baseball theme would be fitting. And from there the options were endless: peanuts, Cracker Jacks, Baby Ruths, a large pop-up display of a baseball diamond with KPA’s logo front and center. Ok so now we are setup and ready to exhibit to the over 2,000 attendees that will be flowing in on Saturday.

Saturday morning comes and I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (as my Mema used to say) and I’m off to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Parking was easy and check-in was a breeze. All four of us KPA representatives are standing in our booth excited for what the day will unfold. At start time the attendees begin to fill the large exhibit hall all with a different agenda. Maybe some attendees are there for the educational seminars or maybe some are current Board members searching for a new property management company, or maybe you serve on the Board Landscaping Committee and you are in search of a landscaping contractor. As an exhibiting management company our focus is on providing information about our company to any that come by our booth. It is nice to have a comfortable setting where you can simply have a dialog with a person about KPA Management and the services we can provide. Questions? No problem. That’s why we are exhibiting to be able to answer those questions.

At the end of a long day I feel inspired (and tired because I was in heels for 7 hours) and hopeful for new business and new clients to help. If you are in the community association industry this is where you need to be, at the largest Conference & Expo in the Washington metro area for this industry. This year’s Conference and Expo will be at the same location on March 12th. KPA Management will be there at our same booth as last year, booth 630. If you are attending be sure to come by and grab a bag of Cracker Jacks and check out our large baseball display. I’ll be there, will you?


Blog Author: Tara Alrutz