Board Members, Thank You for Your Service

Board Members, Thank You for Your Service

Published February 2024

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     Editor’s Note: The role of a board member is essential to community association living. The role can be satisfying when the community is thriving and residents are mostly content. But serving on the board is a serious responsibility, and there are many areas to be occupied with. With that in mind, a variety of professionals have provided sound counsel in their areas of expertise to assist board members in carrying out their responsibilities well. Thank you for your service, board members!

The Role of Fostering Community Participation
By Ana Rivero

     Congratulations on your appointment to the board! As elected stewards of your community, there are many roles and responsibilities to fulfill. While budgeting or organizing may come to mind first, consider the role of fostering community participation. No one wants to attend empty association meetings or make decisions without community feedback. Having an active community can make things manageable.

     Engaging social events provide opportunities for neighbors to interact beyond routine encounters, creating deeper connections and fostering camaraderie. Organizing block parties, game nights, or seasonal celebrations promotes a friendly atmosphere that transcends property lines.  

     These activities can strengthen community bonds and contribute to a sense of pride and unity. They may also improve communication, making addressing concerns and collaborating on community projects easier. Involved association members will leave a lasting, positive impact on your neighborhood or building and may lighten your load considerably! 

     For more information on Allied Property Group, call 305-232-1579 or 239-241-6499 or visit

What Should You Do Next?
By Joe Arena, Esq.

     So, you’ve been elected or appointed to your association’s board of directors.  What should you do next?  The law requires you to complete a board certification course or read your association’s complete governing documents within 90 days to remain eligible to continue serving.  I recommend that you do both because each of these is beneficial, and you can anticipate that there will be almost no overlap.  In addition, in my experience, board members who recognize early on that they may not have the expertise to manage all of their association’s maintenance, legal, accounting, contractual, construction, and operational issues without the recommendations of professionals tend to fare better than board members who prefer to forego contacting professionals.  No matter how small your association is, managing the collective interests of the community can be a big job—and, incidentally, a thankless one.  So, making sure that the board’s decisions are informed ones is a key to success.    

     For more information on Becker, call 772-286-2990, email, or visit

Benefits of a Bulk Telecom Agreement
By Jacky Ham

     Congratulations on being elected to the board! One of the many things you may take on over the next year is reviewing your community’s current telecommunications contract or even considering if a bulk contract is the right next move for your community! If you go down that path, below are some benefits of a bulk telecom agreement.

  • Lower and consistent pricing
    A huge advantage of a bulk agreement is that it offers a lower cost, up to 50 percent less, than what a homeowner would pay for the same services individually, without the surprise price increases.
  • Fiber infrastructure with faster internet speeds
    As part of bulk agreements, communities often get a full fiber infrastructure built out. Fiber internet brings faster, more reliable, symmetrical internet speeds. This means download and upload speeds are the same, and this provides the ideal experience for customers!
  • Revenue for your community
    Bulk telecommunication agreements can also be a source of additional revenue for your community that can be used to invest in community projects, offset rising expenses, or even rebuild cash reserves.

     To learn more about Blue Stream Fiber and our bulk offerings, please call us at 866-960-2855 or visit

Be Proactive
By Annika Mantius

     You are new to the board and have an influx of information but can only dedicate so much time. The initial pressure naturally makes you more reactive, but do not forget about your fiduciary duty, which means you must act in the association’s best interest, and that often involves being proactive. You won’t be able to wait a few months to overcome the learning curve before it kicks in. Therefore, instead of reacting to what everyone else deems a priority, start with prioritizing time-sensitive issues. For example, most new board members do not know that the legislature reduced the time frame previously given for owners to sue builders for construction defects. If your buildings have defects and you have not begun the process of hiring counsel to stop the legal clock, it may be legally too late to do anything about it unless you act quickly. If the legal clock lapses, your community may be left facing a large special assessment for repairs you may have been able to procure funds for by pressuring the responsible parties.

     For more information about Burg Simpson, call 941-777-6776 or visit

Stepping Up to Serve on the Board
By Ashley Dietz Gray

     Congratulations on joining your board of directors. Community association boards are quite different in form and function than corporate boards, school boards, etc. Why? 

     Your community board is a political organization.

     It’s run by unpaid volunteers.

     The shareholders are all highly invested.

     The shareholders will almost NEVER agree on a common set of goals and objectives.

     You can’t go home and leave it behind because your job is your home!

     No matter how successful you may have been in another career, you can never be fully prepared for your experience on a community association board. 

     Board members are responsible for the administration of the association. The association is responsible for the maintenance, management, and operation of the association property.

     Some of the duties of board members include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Establishing an annual budget
  • Conducting legal elections
  • Overseeing the maintenance of the common elements
  • Managing the finances
  • Participating in board meetings
  • Enforcing the rules and regulations
  • Working with others to achieve the goals of the association.

     Being on the board is a thankless job, but someone must do it. Thank you for stepping up! Hopefully, your neighbors will recognize that you are investing your time and energy for the benefit of your community. 

     For more information about Campbell Property Management, call (954) 427-8770 or visit

Two Crucial Components for a Successful Tenure
By Andres Lopez

     Congratulations to the newest HOA and condominium association board members! Your commitment to community service is truly commendable!

     As you embark on this important journey, we would like to share two crucial components that will set the foundation for a successful tenure: completing the board certification course and familiarizing yourself with your governing documents.

  1. Board Certification Course
    It is highly encouraged that you prioritize completing the board certification course promptly. This comprehensive training will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the intricacies of conducting yourself as a board member effectively. Your dedication to this education will not only enhance your decision-making skills but will also contribute to the overall success of your community.
  2. Understanding Governing Documents
    Take the time to delve into your governing documents. These blueprints outline the rules and regulations that govern your community. Familiarizing yourself with these documents ensures that your decisions align with the community’s vision and values.

     If Castle Group can be of assistance in your new role as board member, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Find the Right Banking Partner
By Charissa Eller

     Welcome to the board!

     In your new position, you will encounter a variety of challenges and responsibilities, few of which are as prevalent as funding.

     To help guide you through the process of borrowing money for your association, we’ve assembled a list of tips for your consideration.

     Begin with board discussions—Borrowing money is a large decision and one that should be discussed as a board.

     Allow enough time to process requests—Typically approvals take about four to six weeks to obtain.

     Consult with an association attorney—They can provide helpful insight into the laws regarding your ability to borrow.

     Consider your method of repayment—Which is best for your association?

  • Implementation of a special assessment
  • Increase your general assessment
  • Use of reserve funds
  • Combinations of the items above

     Explore Cogent Bank’s association banking offerings at and contact me at

Time to Reroof
By Ed Williams, RRC

     Welcome to the board! The year 2024 is going to be a difficult one for condominium boards. Property insurance will be a challenge to every budget. Rates are increasing at unprecedented amounts, and carriers are imposing stricter regulations, especially on roofs. If the roofs in your community are at or approaching 20 years old, you will probably be hearing from your insurance company that you need to reroof to maintain insurance coverage. This is happening throughout the State of Florida. If your roof is not in this age category, then you have time to plan and get your reserves in order. If you’re coming up to this deadline, you need a professional to guide you through the reroofing process. Our firm works with condominium boards all over the state and would be happy to provide you and your board with our expertise.

     For more information on EWRRC, call 772-335-5832 or visit

Three Tips to Effectively Plan as a New Board
By Nathan Varn

     Chances are you are a newcomer or there are new members on your board, making it a great time to effectively plan for the year ahead. In our industry we often talk about designing a solid security plan, and there are many elements that you can apply to all of your preparations.

     Prioritize—Once you’ve listed out your goals, projects, and necessary changes, put them in order of priority and establish a detailed potential timeline.

     Communicate and Collaborate—The most successful boards communicate well with one another, work together, and ensure communication is flowing with their vendors and/or prospective providers.

     Be Proactive—By nature, we’re reactive to most situations. However, if you’re looking at the “big picture” and the vision for your community, you should be able to see the potential for areas that can be addressed proactively to  avoid issues in the future.

     For more information about Envera Systems, visit or call 1-855-380-1274.

Select The Right Insurance Agent
By Star Herbig

     Welcome to the board! One of the important tasks you will be challenged with is insurance renewal. The agent selection process becomes a crucial task that demands careful consideration. Boards must select an agent with a comprehensive understanding of Florida’s insurance market and the ever-changing condominium regulations.

    Choose an agent who can customize your policy to meet your association’s specific needs and that understands how insurers underwrite risks based on location, construction, building age, and the association’s claims history.  Proactive steps can be taken to manage insurance costs by implementing safety measures, maintaining the property effectively, and exploring risk mitigation strategies. Working with an experienced agent who specializes in condominium coverage and understands that insurance premiums are now the largest budget line item should be able to help identify and implement cost saving strategies. 

    FCA Insurance has over a hundred years’ combined experience in negotiating rates, and we have saved our clients millions. We are here to help with a complimentary insurance program review when you are ready. We look forward to hearing from you!

     For more information about Florida Community Association Insurance, call 407-920-1116 or scan the QR code.

Keep a 360 Degree View
By Theresa McDowell

     Congratulations on being elected or appointed to your board of directors! If this isn’t your first term, thank you for your continued service! This is a good time for new and returning board members to take simple steps that could save you time and money throughout the year.

     First, ensure that all new and returning board members have read and understand all governing documents and are appropriately certified to serve. This means that within 90 days after being elected or appointed, board members must execute a written certification or complete a division-approved board education course meeting the requirements of Fla Stat. §§ 718.112(2)(d)(4)(b) or 720.3033(1). Next, begin looking ahead by making sure you are “in the know.” Be aware of any new or pending legislation that might impact the association in the coming year and plan accordingly. Your property manager or legal team can provide you with legislative updates, impending local and/or state deadlines, or new hot-button issues.

     But don’t forget about what’s been done! Review previously adopted policies and procedures to ensure the work that has been done is still working as expected. Being aware of where the association is, where it’s going, and what it’s heading for can help shape the board’s agenda and set the course for a great year!

     For more information on Haber Law, email or visit

Welcome to the Board: Embracing the Future of Telecommunications
By Marcy Kravit, CMCA. AMS, PCAM, CFAM, CSM
Director of Community Association Relations 

     In this ever-changing landscape of telecommunications services, it is crucial for community boards to proactively negotiate contracts that not only protect residents but also enhance the value of the property. 

     By offering bulk services tailored to your community’s needs, you can achieve both objectives while opening the door to a host of additional benefits. 

     Allow us to highlight some of the following advantages your community can enjoy:

     Cost-Effective Pricing: Say goodbye to exorbitant bills! By partnering with us, you can unlock faster, symmetrical upload and download speeds at a fraction of the retail price. Experience the benefits of cutting-edge telecommunications technology without breaking the bank.

     Concierge-Style Support: We believe in providing exceptional service from start to finish. Throughout the entire partnership, your dedicated team will deliver personalized, hands-on support to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for your community. From the initial construction and launch phase to ongoing operational support, we’ve got you covered.

     Continuous Innovation: We are committed to staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. Our direct fiber-optic lines deliver the most advanced and reliable connectivity to each home in your community. By choosing us, you choose to embrace continuous innovation and remain at the forefront of technological advancements. Our robust community channel provides your residents with ongoing community-wide communications including events, updates, and news.

     To learn more about how our services can bring substantial savings and enhanced telecommunications experiences to your community, simply scan the QR code to the right to get in touch with the Hotwire Communications team. 

     We are excited to embark on this journey with you and empower your community association with top-notch telecommunications services.

Be Aware: Elevator Code Updates
By Allie Ludlum

     A very warm welcome, new board members, and congrats!

     We’d like to make you aware of some timely elevator code updates in Florida. As of January 2024, Florida has adopted ASME 2019, which involves significant changes for elevator phones, triggered upon new construction or elevator modifications.

     The new code includes requirements regarding how the person answering an entrapment call can communicate with those in the elevator. ASME has added language stating the following, in a nutshell: 

     Authorized personnel must be able to communicate with trapped passengers who cannot verbally communicate or hear. 

     Monitoring parties must be able to notify those in the elevator that help is on the way.

     When it comes to elevator codes, you’ve been through enough lately. We’re here to help navigate this next set of requirements, making it as seamless and hassle-free as

     For more information about Kings III, visit

Board Members, State Law Compliance Deadline Looms
By Sheila Diaz, Regional Vice President

     The multi-year process to ensure that Florida communities comply with new state laws is at a critical juncture. With Dec. 31, 2024, looming as the first key deadline, time is running out for association boards and community managers to check all compliance boxes.

     Hopefully your community has taken significant steps since the Florida legislature made its sweeping changes in 2022. One of the most important initial compliance measures for condominium buildings three stories or higher is the structural integrity reserve study, which is an evaluation of the reserve funds needed to cover future repairs. Reserve study specialists are in high demand as associations race to get the required study completed by the end of 2024 (for buildings that are 30 years old before 7/1/22). Another reserve-related mandate to note: reserves cannot be waived or reduced for the association’s 2025 budget (for any items required to be in the structural reserves) in association budgets finalized on or after Dec. 31, 2024.

     Leverage third-party experts, such as attorneys, insurance professionals, and engineers, to help your community stay on schedule and in full compliance.

     For more information on KW PROPERTY MANAGEMENT & CONSULTING, contact Sheila Diaz at 239-495-3428 or, or visit

Three Important Recommendations
By Robyn Rocco

     Congratulations to the new and incoming board members for 2024! We know this is a thankless position. As managers we appreciate your time and dedication to your association. The three most important things we can recommend to you are as follows:

     Know your governing documents. This doesn’t mean you have to quote chapter and verse, but it is important to know what the association is responsible for, what owners are expected to do, and how to handle business.

     Treat your association like a business because it is just that, a business! Take the personalities out of decision making and do what is for the benefit of all those you represent.

     Listen to the professionals. When hiring a management firm, attorneys, vendors, insurance agents, or others, it is important to take their advice and rely on their expertise. Realize that you’re on the same team working together towards common goals.

     Best of luck from Landex Resorts International Inc!

     For more information on Landex Resorts International, call 239-369-5848 or 561-562-8490 or visit

Embracing Excellence: A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Board Members
By Dee Belet

     A warm and enthusiastic welcome to all newly elected board members! We extend our heartfelt appreciation for your commitment to volunteerism and leadership within your community. Your dedication is the cornerstone of our shared success. To ensure your tenure is as impactful as possible, here are some best practice tips:

Effective Communication

     Foster open dialogue with residents to enhance transparency and community engagement.

Strategic Decision-Making

     Make informed decisions by thoroughly understanding community bylaws and seeking diverse perspectives.

Collaborative Leadership

     Encourage teamwork among board members to leverage collective strengths and drive positive change.

Community Involvement

     Attend community events and engage with residents to build a stronger sense of unity.

Professional Development

     Stay informed about industry trends and legal updates through continuous education for informed decision-making.

     Your willingness to serve enriches your community, and all should look forward to the positive impact your leadership will bring. Welcome aboard!

     For more information on Leland Management, call 888-465-0346 or visit

Being Proactive Working with Florida Senate Bill 4-D
By Byron Evetts, P.E., Director of Restoration Engineering

     Congratulations on being elected to your board of directors! The passing of Florida Senate Bill 4-D has made 2024 a very important year for many condominium boards across Florida. This law requires most Florida residential condominiums and cooperative buildings (timeshares) that are three stories or higher to undergo milestone inspections.  Due to the large number of buildings that need to be inspected by the end of year, associations need to be proactive. Important dates are listed below, but most building officials agree that being under contract by these dates is a best practice.

     Phase 1 (visual assessments) are due by the end 2024.

     If Phase 2 is required (a qualitative, more-thorough inspection), you will have an additional 180 days.

     If building repairs are required, you have until the end of 2025 (or one year after Phase 2).

     For more information about Osborn Engineering, email, call 321-784-5811, or visit

Our Solution to Silicone-Based Wall Coatings
By Alexandra Freeman

     Welcome to the new board members and those who are returning! Did you know that silicone-based architectural wall coatings may, over time, become unsightly due to atmospheric deposits of dust and dirt? Even cleaning can be costly and only a temporary measure for remediation. Unfortunately, recoating is typically limited to silicone-based materials as most organic coatings will not adhere to the existing silicone-based coating. Recoating with high-quality acrylic architectural coatings is also not an option. Don’t fret; we have a solution—Pecora SilcoPrime. SilcoPrime is an STPU- (silyl-terminated polyurethane) based interlaminary primer specifically formulated to promote the adhesion of exterior-grade, non-silicone-based architectural wall coatings when applied over existing silicone-based wall coatings. The coating will act as a permanent bridge between the existing silicone base coating and the new acrylic architectural coating. This provides the advantage of flexibility to choose from a wide array of colors and coating manufacturers when considering a recoat application!

     For more information about SilcoPrime, please call 800-523-6688, email, or visit

Showing Them the Ropes
By Mariann Gerwig, CGC, CFCAM, HI

     Welcome, all new board members and welcome back returning board members! Since I previously served ten years on my own board of directors as well as being a vendor to many associations for 30-plus years, I feel I have a unique perspective.  However, the following suggestions are based on my time as a board member.

     Become very familiar with your association’s documents and bylaws.

     New board members have 90 days to complete and pass the board certification program.

     Review all of your contracts with vendors.  Note the renewal clauses.

     Review meeting minutes of several prior meeting minutes; take special notice to those items pending.

     It is good to match new members with returning members to help “show them the ropes.”

     I have found that a board member procedures manual is a very important thing to have. It will avoid members getting annoyed because procedures change from one board to another without them being fully aware.

     For more information about Promar Building Services, call 561-598-4549 or visit

The Responsibilities of a New Board Member vs. a Community Manager 
By Natalia Uribe 

     Welcome aboard, new board members! Thank you for volunteering on your association’s board! 

     Embarking on your role as a board member comes with distinct responsibilities that you must follow to maintain effective and harmonious community governance. Understanding the difference between these board member and community manager or management company responsibilities will help you fulfill this role successfully.  

     Board members are the decision-makers when it comes to the following: 

  • Protecting association interests
  • Acting on behalf of the association 
  • Maintaining and enhancing all common areas 
  • Enforcing governing documents 
  • Collecting assessments 
  • Contracting vendors  

     Community managers or management companies execute the following: 

  • Produce monthly financial statements and manage association bank accounts and taxes
  • Process homeowner communication, vendor invoices, and payments 
  • Act as the liaison between the board, vendors, and homeowners 
  • Verify vendor insurance 
  • Collaborate with the board to produce proposals 
  • Generate board packets for meetings
  • Issue work orders  

     For more information about Sentry Management, call 1-800-932-6636 or visit

New Florida Law Prohibits HOAs From Regulating Some Backyard Storage, Installations, or Displays
By Roberto C. Blanch

     A new Florida law that was enacted last year and is now in effect addresses the storage, installation, or display of certain items in the backyards of homes located within HOA communities.

     The new law prevents associations from restricting the installation, display, and storage of “any items” on a parcel that are not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, unless same are prohibited by general law or local ordinance. It further allows homeowners and residents to install artificial turf within such areas of the parcels and maintain recreational vehicles, campers, boats, and other items in those areas.

     HOAs will need to carefully consider this new law in any future decisions over enforcement actions regarding the storage of items.

     For more information about Siegfried Rivera, visit or call 1-800-737-1390.

A Warm Welcom To The Board 2024
By Joanna Ribner, President

     Board members cannot be experts on everything. Whatever your life experience or education, you are not a licensed property manager. Do not be afraid to say you are not familiar with an aspect of the property. Ask for information!

     A good vendor loves to share his or her knowledge with the BOD. When you have a board meeting, devote 10 minutes to having an invited vendor give you an education on their product or service. This way you develop a relationship with your vendors, and you learn something that helps you make sound decisions serving your community.

     A good relationship with your vendors often pays off with better pricing and expedited service. The lowest bid is not necessarily the best option for the association, so be sure to compare bids item by item, and always give your preferred vendor the “last look.”

     Good luck during your time on the board.

     For more information about Southern Chute, call 954-475-9191 or visit or 

Board Members, Thank You for Your Service

Published January 2020

Editor’s Note: These management companies and financial service providers have shared the following counsel to assist boards of directors in fulfilling their responsibilities with excellence.

Board Member Expectations
By Lisa Elkan, VP, Association Financial Partner South Florida Region

     Board members have a fiduciary duty to the other members and owners of the association, which means they must do the following:

  • act in good faith
  • act in the best interests of the association as a whole (and avoid any conflict of interests)
  • be informed prior to acting
  • not take any actions without proper authority, and
  • not take negligent or willfully harmful actions.

     Unfortunately, no association board can always please every owner. When an association fines a neglectful homeowner for not pressure cleaning the roof, for example, the owner will likely grumble and complain. Because of this occasional tension, one of the most important board member qualities is diplomacy. To be a good board member, one should act as a proactive team player who uses discussion and negotiation rather than contentious confrontation. Although serving on an association board may be difficult at times, it is also rewarding. Volunteer board members are essential to the harmonious functioning of associations.

     Lisa Elkan is Vice President, Association Financial Partner in South Florida for Alliance Association Bank. For more information, call (561) 212-2091 or email

Don’t Deplete Your Association’s Financial Resources
By Tavarious Butts, VP Relationship Manager

     Associations are sometimes faced with unexpected repairs that are necessary but were not planned for during the budgeting process. Loans to the association provide individual unit owners a comfortable monthly payment and allow associations to complete projects immediately, without depleting association reserves.

Reasons for a Loan

  • Concrete Restoration
  • Major Improvements
  • AC Replacement
  • Elevator Renovations/Repair
  • Window and Door Replacement
  • Insurance Premium Financing

     It is important to find a bank that specializes in the needs of community associations and has experience meeting their financial goals. Banks vary on loan terms such as interest rates, repayment terms, and closing costs. Working with an experienced bank loan officer will ease the loan process and benefit your association. 

     For more information, regarding loans to your association, please call BB&T Association Services now Truist at (888) 722-6669.

All loans subject to credit approval.
BB&T now Truist, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.

What Do Board Members Do? Understanding Your Role
By Dan Tiernan, COO

     Congratulations on being ele-cted to your community association’s board of directors! Board members are responsible for the administration of the association, including the maintenance, management, and operation of the association property. The duties of board members include, but are not limited to, the following items:

    Establish an annual budgetConduct legal electionsOversee the maintenance of the common elementsManage the community’s financesParticipate in board meetingsEnforce the community’s rules and regulations

     Make sure to take the required board member certification class within the 90-day window after you are elected. This class is a requirement, but it will also help prepare you for your time on the board. Board members do so much. Taking free educational courses offered to board members in your area whenever possible is a great idea! You can learn more about being a board member and receive notification of upcoming educational events at

     Dan Tiernan is Chief Operating Officer with Campbell Property Management. For more information, call (954) 427-8770 or visit

Get Up to Speed—Understand an Association’s Finances
By Victor Navia

     Welcome, new board members! Are you comfortable that you are as informed as you should be?

     As a new board member, understanding an association’s finances is a critical part of getting up to speed. Learning from the shortcomings and successes of previous budgets, while staying focused on their impact on the future, allows new board members to be onboarded faster and with a more complete understanding of the “why” behind where the community stands financially.

     For returning members, be sure to get new board members prepared to govern by providing the contacts and resources necessary to understand the association’s current financial standing.

     Lastly, maintaining open and clear communication with the association’s property management company will give board members access to a wealth of information and resources. From hiring the right vendors to reviewing the budget, property managers are a valuable asset to board members seeking to comprehend the ways the community has used and is currently using its funds.

     For more information on Castle Group, call (844) 815-5321 or visit

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
By Jennifer Olson, VP, LCAM

     Community association board members are considered fiduciaries.  Fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care imposed under law, and it occurs when one or more persons are responsible for the money or property of another. The fiduciary is expected to be honest, free from fraud, and faithful to his/her obligations.

     Accusations of self-dealing or conflicts of interest sometimes arise during the vendor hiring process. Board members who could potentially profit financially from hiring a vendor risk putting their own interests before those of the community.

     In an effort to ensure the community comes first, board members should follow these guidelines:

  • Fully disclose a potential conflict when objectivity cannot be maintained
  • Reflect the entire disclosure in board minutes
  • Require conflicted board members to sit out the decision on the conflicting matter as well as related executive sessions that may occur
  • Seek multiple, sealed bids and review them before deciding who to use

     Jennifer Olson is Vice President and a licensed CAM with Centennial Bank. For more information, call (866) 227-0441 or visit

Review Your Reserve Fund
By Sundeep Jay, Senior Reserve Analyst

     Greetings to all new and returning board members. Most of you have probably had your annual budget meeting regarding reserves. If you have not ordered a reserve study update in 2019, then I would strongly urge BODs to review at least the three main categories required by the State of Florida if you are a condominium. If you have had your roof replaced, building painted, and/or any major replacements to your roadways and parking areas, we would recommend updating the annual contribution to reflect actual costs incurred. After reviewing these three major categories, the BOD or finance committee may also want to review the overall contribution into reserves. Inflation is still going up. Regardless of the amount the association collected for 2019, the new revised annual contribution should reflect this year’s inflationary rate for the 2020 annual contribution. Good luck, and thank you for your service to your association.

     Sundeep Jay is a Senior Reserve Analyst for J.R. Frazer Inc. For more information, call (561) 488-3012, email, or visit

Keep Disaster at Bay with Fire Safety
By Diane Braswell, VP of Information Technology

     Disaster can strike at any time, and it’s never too early to reassess the emergency preparedness and disaster relief strategies for your residents. According to WCTV, there are 209 fires in Florida homes every day, usually starting in the kitchen. As a member of the board, keeping residents educated and ensuring that your fire prevention strategy is up to date is key. Educate the residents to follow some simple tips, such as checking that smoke alarms are on every floor and in each bedroom and making sure monthly that they are in working order and free of dust. Also, the association can post reminders to change out smoke alarm batteries once a year. The community should have an escape route for residents and their pets to reduce panic in the event of a real fire. Keep hallways and stairs free from clutter, and be sure to keep all insurance policies up to date. Once an emergency plan is put in place, keep your residents up to date on the procedures twice a year. 

     Diane Braswell is Vice President of Information Technology for Leland Management. For more information, call (407) 447-9955 or visit

Remember What Your Main Purpose Is
By Sandra Vela Mora, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®, Executive VP of Operations

     Welcome to the board, and thank you for your willingness to serve in this voluntary but incredibly vital role. After 20 years in this industry helping managers, boards, and developers alike, what I find myself reminding people of most often is to remember what their main purpose is.  Simply stated, your main purpose is to serve your community members, helping to enhance and maintain the community where they’ve invested. That means carrying out the following responsibilities:

  1. Run the community like a business.
  2. Make tough decisions on issues that may be unpopular.
  3. Give answers neighbors may not want to hear.
  4. Keep personal agendas and feelings far from the board table.
  5. Never lose sight that your management company/on-site manager/contractors are your partners, not your adversaries.

     It’s not an easy role we’ve all taken on in this industry, but working together for the same purpose, rather than against each other, is the key to success.

     Sandra Vela Mora, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM® is Executive Vice President of Operations—RealManage. For more information, call (866) 403-1588 or visit

Read your Association Documents and Get Certified
By Lindsay Heysler, Business Development and Marketing Manager

     Congratulations on your new position as a board member of your community association! In the upcoming months, you will be absorbing a lot of new information. Before you dive into your new position, here are some tips to assist you with your transition into your new role:

  • It is very important that you read and understand the governing documents of your community, which includes the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations. This will assist you in understanding how your association is managed.
  • Once you have familiarized yourself with your community’s documents, it is time to get certified. Attending a board member certification course within 90 days of being elected to the board will bring you up to speed on the current Florida Statutes as well as cover the essentials of board membership.

     Thank you for having a vested interest in your community!

     Lindsay Heysler is the Business Development and Marketing Manager for Seacrest Services. For more information, call (561) 656-6354 or visit

Drafting Rules and Regulations
By Darlene Ax, CAM, CMCA, Marketing Manager of the Eastern Region

     Now that you have been elected to the board, drafting rules and regulations is an important part of your new role.  Adhering to the following advice will make this integral part seem easy.

  • Only enact rules when they are necessary; sometimes an alternative solution can be found. Boards should be flexible and realize rules and regulations can be changed or rescinded if the community’s needs change in the future.
  • Research the statutes, association documents, and existing rules before preparing the proposed rule.
  • Always involve the membership by circulating the proposed rule and allow them an opportunity to share their thoughts. Make sure the written rule is stated in positive terms, is easy to understand, and is brief. 
  • The proposed rule(s) should be discussed in an open board meeting if the topic is controversial. The board should either adopt, modify, or reject the proposed rule.
  • If the board passes the final rule, inform members and notify them when it will be in effect.

     New rules are not always the best way to solve a problem. Be cautious that the proposed rule does not present communication and enforcement problems and create more issues. Make sure the rule is not too harsh or too broad. Your end goal is to create a rule that is easy to comply with and makes sense for the betterment of the entire community.

     Darlene Ax, CAM, CMCA, is Marketing Manager of the Eastern Region for Sentry Management. For more information, call (800) 932-6636 or visit