2010 finished with a very strong showing by condo law bloggers on both sides of the 49th parallel. Here are some of the best posts from the last two months of the year. 

Judging from the quality entries over this period, you can bet that 2011 will give us a bumper crop of good stuff.

2010′s Top Condo & HOA News Stories  The Community Association Considerations blog looks back at the past year and highlights the top 10 issues facing condos and HOAs in the United States. 

How To Avoid Getting Taken Advantage Of When Comparing Landscaping Contracts — While most condos in Ontario are focussed on clearing snow at this time of year, now might be a good time to start thinking about how to make the grounds look fantastic without blowing the budget. Condo and HOA Living blogger Ryan Poliakoff shares some pointers to consider when signing the landscaping contract.

2011 New Year Resolutions for Boards — At this customary time of reflection and introspection, here are some New Year resolutions that community association and condo boards may want to consider, courtesy of the Colorado Homeowners Association Law Blog.

2011 New Year’s Resolutions for Community Associations — This January post on the Northwest Condo and HOA Law Blog is worth including at this point. Check out Daniel Zimberoff’s suggestions for eight (8) resolutions.

Association Governance Elsewhere — Now back from vacation, condo lawyer and blogger Donna DiMaggio Berger shares her observations on the not-so-subtle differences in condo law between Costa Rica and her native Florida. If you don’t mind the snow, Donna, you can visit us for a fact-finding mission up here in the great white north anytime!

When will a condominium board’s decisions be reviewed by the courts? — Condo directors are often told to be sensible in their decision-making, but what does that really mean? Bradley Chaplick lists the critical elements that will allow a decision-making body like a condo board to benefit from the “business judgment rule” established by Canadian courts.

Requisition to Remove Directors – Defamation Denise Lash at the Condo Reporter blog describes a recent Ontario case where a condo director unsuccessfully sued unit owners over alleged defamatory statements in a requisition for a meeting to remove directors.  

The Perils and Pitfalls of Running a Blog Against the Board This Q&A by California condo and HOA lawyer Beth Grimm sets out some common questions and some uncommonly good words to consider, as well as a press release with a million dollar reason for unit owners to be careful.

Proxies and Written Ballots – What’s the Big Difference? — For a good answer to this vexing question, see this nice short piece at the Colorado HOA Law Blog.

What are Homeowners’ Rights Regarding Service, Companion & Therapy Dogs?  While there are subtle changes in the applicable laws, the concept of animals not mixing well with community associations is universal. See this commentary at the California HOA Law Blog for the proof and to learn the differences between service, companion and therapy animals.

Community Associations Should Not be Anti-Mezuzah New Jersey condo lawyer Stuart Lieberman offers some tips to help avoid a potentially explosive situation arising from the collision of a condo enforcing its rules and unit owners expressing their religious rights.

Education of the Board: Whose Responsibility is it, Anyway? This piece on the Associa Living blog raises the interesting proposition that the property manager should be responsible for director education. The concept may be sound, since good property managers will help save their clients’ boards from themselves on a daily basis.

Social Media and Buildings  Condos and HOAs appear to be incredibly slow to harness the awesome power of social media. Short pieces like this one on the Habitat Blog might help directors to consider the possibilities and begin taking steps to move forward.

No Dogs Allowed? — The story about the New York condo that blew $100,000 in legal fees trying (unsuccessfully) to remove a little dog from a unit was big news last fall. Lincoln Hobbs of the Utah Condo Law Blog offers his two cents on the result.

Watch For Those Governing Document Typos! — Spotting rules drafted in-house by a condo board is usually easy thanks to the ambiguous, inconsistent provisions peppered with spelling, grammatical mistakes and typos. Saving a few bucks on legal fees is never worth promulgating ineffective rules. Will Sleeth at the Virginia Community Association Law Blog gives a good example of how a typo can be a costly proposition.

Tools for Handling Neighbor to Neighbor Disputes — For a hat trick by the Colorado Homeowners Association Law Blog, here’s a great list of tips that unit owners can follow to address disputes with neighbouring owners.

Imagine what Medieval Covenants and Restrictions would look like! — No, we’re not talking about condo documents from the 1960s and 70s. Donna Berger is our guide on a short history lesson on American HOAs and gives a humorous glimpse into the rules of their medieval predecessors. Unfortunately, there’s no list of penalties.  "Off with their heads!"  

Bed Bugs Are Biting Again — Since they’re not being killed off by the deep freeze this winter, bed bugs will need to be addressed in a more nefarious manner. The condo lawyers at MEEB in Boston give some in-depth financial and legal context as to why these little bloodsuckers deserve serious attention.

Should Your Association’s Attorney Be a Hired Gun or a Legal Navigator? — Some food for thought when hiring lawyers! Seattle Condo and HOA attorney Kevin Britt offers the pros and cons of each. What kind of lawyer have you got?