All posts by sperling

Going Solar within an Association

More and more Americans are “Going Solar” every year. The economic and environmental benefits are hard to ignore. The reduction or elimination of electricity costs, an increase in the value of the property, and lowering our combined carbon footprint are powerful reasons to find out more about solar energy systems. Let’s take a closer look at how going solar within an association differs from individual homeowners and how these solar projects can work within an association.


For individual homeowners, the task of installing a solar energy system is fairly cut-and-dry. Once a homeowner chooses a company, they install and start saving almost immediately. Within condominiums or co-ops, the process is a little more complicated. Solar projects in condominiums involve multiple stakeholders, therefore they tend to get a bit more complicated than simply installing solar on a single-family home. Due to this, it is important to work with a contractor and property management specialist who has experience in the process of installing solar energy systems on a condominium. It is important also to thoroughly communicate what the benefits to each unit owner will be over the life of the system.


When residents live within an association, the condominium agreement and bylaws will determine your solar options. Most options include the following:


  • Association Projects: According to EnergySage, “With an association project, a solar PV system provides electricity for common areas of the building. Association projects typically connect to the building’s common electric meter, and any extra electricity the PV system produces can be shared with individual condo unit owners.” This way, all unit owners share the benefits of solar. Prior to installation, all unit owners should be made aware of the costs and financial benefits that will happen with a solar install, as well as what will happen if they decide to move in the future.
  • Single or Joint-Owner Projects: In instances where the condo association rules and bylaws allow it, single or joint-owners can install solar panels on a roof for their personal use. Unit-owner projects don’t require that all of the residents make an investment in order to install the solar energy system, so they may be easier to negotiate in large condo complexes. There may, however, be limitations on the usage of the roof and if fees may apply to this.


If your condo association has questions about solar installations and how they may work in your area, talk to our knowledgeable staff at Thayer & Associates, Inc., AMO. Call our office at  617-354-6480 or visit our website.


Addressing Smoking Issues Within an HOA

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Massachusetts ranks 9th among the states in the prevalence of smoking. Their recent statistics show over 18% of adults over the age of 18 smoke cigarettes. This number is down from past years and is expected to continue to decline. However, if you are a resident of a co-op or homeowners association and you are dealing with the nuisance of secondhand smoke from a neighbor or fellow resident, then these seemingly low numbers will not mean much to you. Ridding your family and home of the odor and hazard of the smoke wafting into your living areas will be your main concern. What, then, can homeowners within an association do to address smoking issues? Read on and find out more.

Massachusetts Law

Massachusetts has a “Smoke-Free Workplace Law,” which states that any workplace with one or more employees or a common area that is open to the public must be smoke-free. Common areas of a condominium may constitute a workplace if contract employees or independent contractors – including maintenance personnel or building supervisors – work in the area. Local boards of health and municipal governments may issue fines of up to $300 if a violation of the law occurs.

Condominium Associations and Smoking

Many condo associations and co-ops are responding to complaints of secondhand smoke by going completely smoke-free. Condominium trustees and boards typically already have authority to establish common area rules and, therefore, can make common areas smoke-free right away. This could include areas such as laundry facilities, pools, gardens, tennis courts, meeting areas, clubhouse common areas, and common hallways. Establishing a smoke-free rule for individual units takes a little more work. Condo boards and trustees can put the issue to a vote with the entire association. Typically, 75% to 85% of unit owners must vote in support of the rule for it to be binding on all units, which would include outside private-use balconies and patios.

Enforcing this rule, whether it encompasses only the common areas or the individual units, should incorporate actions such as: posting “No-Smoking” signs, clean up cigarette butts and remove ashtrays from common areas, responding quickly and consistently to potential violations, and informing unit owners that they will be held financially responsible for violations, even if the smoking is done by their guests or tenants.

Just like other nuisance issues such as loud dogs, boisterous children, and a renter’s bad behavior, violations can be addressed case-by-case in order to ensure the health and safety of all the residents living in your association. If you have questions, concerns, or if you need assistance with your property management, consider Thayer & Associates, Inc., AMO at 617.354.6480 or visit our website.


Several Clients of Thayer & Associates have received recognition of the New England Chapter of Community Association Institute and of The Boston Metropolitan Chapter # 4 of The Institute of Real Estate Management, including awards for Landscaping and Problem Solving.


Several Members of Thayer’s professional staff have received the recognition of the New England Chapter of Community Association Institute (CAI-NE) and of The Boston Metropolitan Chapter # 4 of The Institute of Real Estate Management®, including Portfolio Manager of the Year, Manager of the Year and Certified Property Manager of the Year.

January 1, 2016

Candice M. Morse (Thayer), Harry A. Gilbert’s grand-daughter and Douglas G. Thayer’s daughter, will follow in her father’s footsteps and become President of the Metropolitan Chapter Number 4 of The Institute of Real Estate Management®.

April 1st, 2008

Thayer & Associates, Inc. became the first organization ever to have four generations of Certified Property Managers when Candice M. Morse (Thayer), Harry A. Gilbert’s great grand-daughter earned her designation as a CPM® (Key Number 20,415)

June 27, 1996

Donald F. Thayer, Jr., one of the two co-founders of Thayer & Associates, Inc., retired on June 27, 1996. Mr. Thayer was joined by his family, friends and colleagues at the Bay Tower Room, atop 60 State Street, to celebrate his retirement.