Bankruptcy helps people who can no longer pay their debts get a fresh start.

This is the statement that comes at the very top of the page for the United States Bankruptcy Courts. Every accountant and attorney who has ever taken a class on Bankruptcy has heard this said in the first five minutes of the first day of class.

Bankruptcy is first and foremost a societal method to help a person who cannot pay their debts (the “Debtor”).  Current Bankruptcy laws also try to make things as fair as possible to the people who are owed money (the “Creditors).

But we always need to remember that Bankruptcy is there to protect the Debtor.

Continue Reading Condominiums, Homeowners’ Associations and Bankruptcy: What is Bankruptcy?

Collection of assessments is one of the biggest headaches for many Community Associations.  Most of the time, collections follow a standard process.  It might be slow and take several steps.  But, since assessments are liens on the unit and since an Association can collect all of its attorneys’ fees and costs, an Association can collect all of its assessments most of the time.

However, when a Unit Owner files for Bankruptcy, the collection process changes.

Collecting Unpaid Assessments during a Bankruptcy

I have worked with a number of Associations who thought that once a Unit Owner filed for Bankruptcy, they had to write off all of their uncollected assessments.

I also have seen plenty of others do nothing while the Bankruptcy process lumbers on.  This just makes the already large delinquency even bigger.

Associations can collect unpaid assessments when a Unit Owner is in Bankruptcy. 

Continue Reading Condominiums, Homeowners’ Associations and Bankruptcy: How Does a Unit Owner Bankruptcy Affect Collections?

Now that the weather is warming, residents are taking to the sidewalks, walking trails and open spaces of their Community Associations.  Here are some reminders for property managers and board members.

Homeowners’ Associations are not required to protect residents from dogs

With everyone out walking their dogs and children soon to be out of school, Associations often ask if they are required to make rules and regulations to control dogs.  Associations are not required to protect residents from other people’s pets.

But, if the Association does create rules and regulations to control dogs, it needs to enforce them.

Continue Reading Reminders for Condominiums and Homeowners’ Associations: People Coming Out of Their Homes Edition

As expected, the Governor’s office and the Department of Health (DOH) have released updated guidance to help bars, restaurants, hotels and others implement the updated mitigation orders that will allow many businesses to increase their capacity starting April 4.  Here is a link to the full guidance, as well as a link here for updated FAQ’s issued by the Department of Health, but I highlight a few of the main items below.

Bar Service

You can resume bar service provided you implement the following rules.

  • Patrons must be seated in order to be served.
  • Bar blocks or some type of divider must be used to separate parties. Alternatively, if partitions are not used, then seats between parties must be spaced at least 6 feet apart. If multiple people are in a party, they may sit next to one another at the bar, without 6 feet of space in between.  The 6 feet of space is required between parties, not individuals in the same party.
  • A customer may walk up to the bar in order to purchase food or drink but must then return to their seat in order to consume it.


Continue Reading Updated Restaurant Guidance for April 4th Increased Capacity

Background

On January 1, 2021, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (the “Defense Bill”) was enacted into law. This Defense Bill contained the Corporate Transparency Act (the “Act”).  The Act is designed to collect beneficial ownership information for Reporting Companies for several specific reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Protecting the United States’ national security interest
  • Protecting interstate and foreign commerce
  • Assisting critical national security, intelligence, and law enforcement efforts to counter money laundering, financing of terrorism, and other illegal activities.

What is a Reporting Company?

Generally, an entity is considered a Reporting Company if it is:

Continue Reading The Corporate Transparency Act: What Does it Mean for Your Small Business

One year ago today, on March 18, 2020, Aaron Marines wrote a blog article entitled How Does Coronavirus Affect Your Contracts? When that article was published, we were at the beginning of a government-mandated shutdown that was supposed to last for two weeks, just long enough to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases.

Now, one year later, with shut down orders still partially in effect and the phrase “flatten the curve” a distant memory, I decided to look back at what has happened on the Lancaster Law Blog. What I saw was a variety of articles about all of the things we here at Russell, Krafft & Gruber have done to stay up-to-date on the fast-paced changes to help our clients through this difficult time.

Virtual Offices

After the initial shutdown orders took effect, we quickly pivoted to working remotely through Russell, Krafft & Gruber’s virtual office to avoid any lapses in service for our clients. I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke with a client recently who was shocked to learn that most of our conversations over the past year took place with me at my dining room table.

Continue Reading COVID-19 and the Law: One Year Later

The Governor’s office has just announced that bars and restaurants can, starting at midnight on April 4, 2021, begin operating at 75% capacity, provided they have completed the self-certification process.

Self-Certification to Increase Capacity

For those that didn’t self-certify, that process is done online and requires you to certify that you will comply with CDC and Department of Health guidance relating to public health and safety measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. If you have not self-certified (and do not wish to now), you will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Currently, locations that don’t self-certify must operate at 25% capacity.

Regardless of whether you have self-certified or not, requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing still apply.

Continue Reading Increased Occupancy up to 75% for Bars and Restaurants in PA – Effective April 4

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus act into law known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”). While it would be impossible to do a deep dive into this massive stimulus package, here are some quick takeaways for individuals.

Stimulus Checks

The Act will provide payments to approximately 159 million American households that will start to go out on March 13, 2021.  The maximum amount per person is $1,400, including dependents.

The amount distributed will, again, be based on adjusted gross income and will have a phase-out period. Here’s who will receive the full amount:

  • individuals who earn up to $75,000
  • head of household filers with income of up to $112,500 and
  • married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $150,000


Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What Does It Mean For You?

At the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, airlines began changing their rules with respect to emotional support animals.  United, American, Delta, Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines (as well as many local and regional air carriers) have decided that emotional support animals are not permitted on flights.  Trained service dogs, however, are still permitted on flights.

Despite these recent changes, the rules that apply to airlines are not the same as the ones that apply to housing.  I have written a number of posts about emotional support animals and where they can go:

These blog posts cover situations when someone requests an emotional support animal in relation to housing.  These cases often come up when a condominium or apartment building does not permit pets and someone requests a reasonable accommodation to allow a support animal.

In today’s post, I want to make sure that associations and landlords do not get confused and try to follow the recent examples of the airlines.

Continue Reading Are Dogs Allowed on Airlines? An Update on Emotional Support Animals