Published July 2018
Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 50 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.
A management company and the on-site CAM allow their maintenance employees to do work repairs and maintenance after their regular scheduled work hours in private homeowners’ condominium units, and this work includes plumbing, electrical, and wall and ceiling repairs and replacement, etc. The employees do not carry the necessary licenses or any liability insurance or workers’ compensation, placing the community association and unit owners at risk, especially when they may cause damage to either the association’s common property or other units in the condominium building. Another concern is the possibility of exposure to personal injuries while performing the work in individual private units.
Concerns—Is the management company placing the community association at risk for allowing unlicensed and uninsured employees to work on their own time in owners’ units? If the employee is injured while doing the work or due to bad workmanship the association gets sued, are the community association, the board of directors, and homeowners liable for the use of unlicensed and uninsured workers, or is the management company as well as the CAM liable for any damages? Can the employees be considered contractors, and if so, shouldn’t they be licensed and carry liability and workers’ compensation coverage? Do they run the risk of violating city ordinances and placing the association and owners in violation for non-compliance? Are the management company and the CAM subject to the fiduciary responsibility? -Augusto
The decision to have the management company employees perform work after hours is a board of directors’ decision. What is the board’s policy? If the board is concerned about liability (and they should be), by a motion adopted at a board meeting, the association can prohibit such activity.
The board of directors, not the management company, is in charge of who works on the association property. The association can be in control of outside vendors whether they are employed by the management company or not.
Otherwise, your insurance agent should be able to answer most of these liability questions. -Betsy
I am trying to become better educated on our co-ops’ bylaws. In section 719.106(d), when shareholders remove a director, how do the shareholders fill the vacancy? Then, are vacancies by resignation or death filled by the remaining board members? What about replacement after recall? Thank you as always. -Jackie
Here is the statute on how to fill the vacancy caused by a recall in a cooperative.
Section 719.106(1)(f)6. If a vacancy occurs on the board as a result of a recall and less than a majority of the board members are removed, the vacancy may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in this chapter. If vacancies occur on the board as a result of a recall and a majority or more of the board members are removed, the vacancies shall be filled in accordance with procedural rules to be adopted by the division, which rules need not be consistent with this chapter. The rules must provide procedures governing the conduct of the recall election as well as the operation of the association during the period after a recall but before the recall election.
The pertinent parts of the Florida Administrative Code referred to are Rule 61B-75.006 (Right to Recall and Replace a Board Member; Developers; Other Unit Owners; Class Voting), Rule 61B-75.007 (Recall of One or More Members of a Board of Administration at a Unit Owner Meeting; Board Certification; Filling Vacancies), and Rule 61B-75.008 (Recall by Written Agreement of the Voting Interests; Board Certification; Filling Vacancies). Vacancies by resignation or death are filled by the remaining board members. -Betsy
I have a question. Our condominium association is about to renew the cable television contract, a standard rotating five-year contract with percentage increases built in every year. This year they have offered internet as a secondary package if the board is interested. The price is fantastic and could easily save those owners who have Wi-Fi anywhere from $30–50 per month, as the cost to the association is just a little more than $8 per unit more than just the standard cable package.
Am I correct in telling the board that they can make this decision since it does not create an increase in the COA fee (the percentage increase I budgeted for covers the extra)? One board member feels that the cable is an amenity and needs a member vote to approve the upgrade. Your thoughts? -Liam
It would never have occurred to me that adding a feature to a cable contract is an amenity or that it would need to be voted on by the owners. It is a positive fact that the increased service does not impact the assessment amount. But in any event, it seems to me to be a board-only business decision.
Here is the pertinent section from the condominium statute: Section 718.115(1)(d). If provided in the declaration, the cost of communications services as defined in chapter 202, information services, or Internet services obtained pursuant to a bulk contract is a common expense. If the declaration does not provide for the cost of such services as a common expense, the board may enter into such a contract, and the cost of the service will be a common expense. The cost for the services under a bulk rate contract may be allocated on a per-unit basis rather than a percentage basis if the declaration provides for other than an equal sharing of common expenses, and any contract entered into before July 1, 1998, in which the cost of the service is not equally divided among all unit owners, may be changed by vote of a majority of the voting interests present at a regular or special meeting of the association, to allocate the cost equally among all units. The contract must be for at least two years. -Betsy
What do you suggest I do to avoid manager burnout?
As community association managers, we are consistently handling the “P” issues—Property, Parking, Pools, Pets, Pests, and People. That’s just the tip of the iceberg; there are other ongoing situations and issues that seem to arise to create daily obstacles and challenges. It is critical that we work toward creating a healthy, well-balanced, less stressed, productive work environment. Some managers handle stress well, but for others it can be devastating and have a negative effect on their quality of life and their health, ultimately leading to burnout!
Your health comes first! With so many of us juggling so many variables, such as busy workloads, deadlines, new laws, a fast-paced environment, increases in the demand and expectations for service, and family responsibilities, as well as managing relationships, attending industry-related organizations and events, and entertaining outside interests… it’s no wonder that more than one in four Americans describe themself as “super-stressed.” We are all aware that we need to make sure that we get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, and de-stress on a regular basis. Join a gym, make better food choices, meditate, plan your meals, and control your sugar intake. When you eat poorly, your body doesn’t work as efficiently as it should.
Make sure to schedule some down time! We all need to take time to relax, refresh, and recharge. Don’t push yourself. Take breaks to get away from your desk, get out of your chair, walk away from computer, get some coffee or water, and walk the property during your work day. I like to visit the rooftop and look out at the city, the waterways, and the view of the property from above. I make a point to play calming music on my computer. It is important that you schedule and request your time off and vacations regularly. You’ll return with a fresh outlook and improved perspective. When you plan your week, make it a point to not overload your schedule. Plan time with your family and friends, and schedule activities that help you rejuvenate. My husband and I schedule a date night or a dinner with friends. It is helpful to have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well. Schedule a staff picnic, Friday lunch, or outing. This is a good outlet to get to know your team members in a more relaxed setting.
What is important to you? Prioritize! Ask yourself these questions:
Reevaluate and reassess your priorities. Evaluate what is important versus urgent. You control your own destiny. Make better choices and address what’s important in improving your day! My staff reminds me that I should not be answering emails after hours unless it is an emergency. This has been a difficult issue for me because I am connected 24/7!
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) curriculum, which can be found at www.fcapschools.com. The FACS course is the prerequisite to becoming a CFCAM. If you are interested in taking the FACS course, please contact us at (800) 443-3433 or visit www.fcapgroup.com.
The first considerations for any association after a storm should be safety and loss mitigation. While immediate loss mitigation efforts help to preserve property improvements and are a condition for insurance claims, they also promote safety by preventing mold, fire, debris, electrical hazards, etc. Every association should have a disaster plan, which should be consulted and implemented upon declaration of a state of emergency. Before landfall, the association can circulate first responder information and contact information for officers, directors, key management personnel, third-party vendors, and professionals. In addition, information should be provided to the owners on how to contact management personnel (including cell phones) and city, county, and state officials and hurricane offices, as well as how to contact FEMA. The association must ensure that the property is ready for the storm, including backup systems, emergency supplies, generator preparedness, proper use of existing hurricane protection, and removal of patio/balcony furniture, pool or lawn chairs, etc. The emergency plan and circumstances should dictate system shut-downs, emergency meeting procedures, delegation of emergency contracting authority, and parameters for safety-related property access restrictions, where appropriate.
Both condominium and homeowners associations are provided emergency powers by §718.1265 and 720.316, Fla. Stat., respectively, for any event in which a state of emergency is declared (such as a hurricane) as long as damage is caused by that event. These statutes contain exceptions to typical governing requirements and flexibility to take emergency measures in furtherance of safety and mitigation. These powers include the power to mitigate damage and take safety measures, such as debris removal and water restoration for mold avoidance. In condominiums, the association has the power to contract on behalf of owners for items or services necessary to prevent further damage, irrespective of whether the owner(s) are ultimately responsible for such service or materials. The statutes also provide the power to levy special assessments, borrow money, and pledge assets to fund emergency repairs without a vote of the owners, regardless of whether such vote is otherwise required in the declaration. It is advisable for the board to consult with an attorney before exercising these powers.