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Can Homeowners’ Association Board Restrict Fences?

Can Homeowners’ Association Board Restrict Fences?

 

Q

My homeowners’ association board of directors sent out a new set of guidelines that they intend to adopt. There are a number of provisions that limit what an owner may do with their private property. For example, it states that while fences are permitted, they may only be privacy fences constructed of particular materials, and chain-link fences are prohibited. Also, there is a list of authorized colors that owners can paint their houses. While I understand that the homeowners’ association is there to protect every owner’s property value, these rules seem to be over the top. Can the association tell me what type of fence I can put up or what color I can paint my house? (R.D. via e-mail)

A

Maybe. The first issue to always consider is what the community’s governing documents say concerning the board of director’s authority to adopt such restrictions. Declarations of covenants routinely contain requirements that alterations that are visible from the exterior of the lot be approved by either the board of directors or an architectural review committee. Some declarations also contain specific requirements or prohibitions concerning alterations, such as regulations of or prohibitions against fences. Some are more general.

If the declaration grants the board of directors or the architectural review committee the authority to approve certain exterior alterations, but do not specifically identify what types of alterations would be approved, or what types of materials may be used, the association must have some kind of objective guidelines in order to be able to uniformly apply the restriction. Section 720.3035 of the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act also discusses required guidelines concerning the location, size, type, or appearance of alterations which are to be approved by the association.

Assuming the board has the appropriate authority in the governing documents to adopt architectural guidelines or other rules affecting the use of the parcel, and further assuming the guidelines are properly adopted, such guidelines would generally be enforceable. Typically, 14 days’ notice must be given to each parcel owner prior to the board’s adoption. Specifying colors that an owner may paint their home, or the type of material they may use for installing a fence are relatively common.


 

Q

I live in a condominium and have an interest in running in the next election to be on the board. What is the requirement to obtain “certification” required by the state? (V.R. via e-mail)

A

The Florida Condominium Act states that within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board, each newly elected or appointed director shall certify in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the association’s declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and policies.  The written certification must also confirm that the new director will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members.

Alternatively, the newly elected or appointed director may submit a certification of satisfactory completion of a board certification course administered by an education provider approved by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation that has been taken within one year before, or 90 days after, being elected or appointed.  The written certification or the educational certificate is valid for as long as the board member continuously serves on the board.  The association must maintain the certificates for five years after a director’s election or for the duration of the director’s uninterrupted tenure on the board, whichever is longer.

If a director fails to timely file the written certification or educational certificate, the director is suspended from service on the board until he or she complies. The board may temporarily fill the vacancy during the period of suspension.

Both the Florida Cooperative Act and the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act contain similar director certification requirements.

 

Joseph E. Adams

Office Managing Shareholder, Becker
Fort Myers | bio

 

HOA Rules to be Recorded

Do My HOA’s Rules Have to be Recorded?

For many years, homeowners’ associations (HOA) were only required to record their rules and regulations if their governing documents required that they be recorded. As of July 1, 2018, that is no longer the case.

Section 720.306 was amended by the Legislature to address the manner in which amendments are carried. The amendment adopts much of the same procedure of underlining and strikethroughs used in condominium covenant amendments. If the amendment is extensive such that underlining and strikethroughs would lead to confusion then the amendment must include the following notation “Substantial rewording. See governing documents for current text.” and underlining and strikethroughs are not needed. §720.306(1)(e), Fla. Stats.

You may however wonder what this requirement has to do with an HOA’s rules and regulations. The change to Section 720.306(1)(e) requires the use of underlining and strikethroughs (with the exception noted above) and recording for all amendments to the “governing documents.” A term defined by Section 720.301(8) to include the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws and the Association’s “rules and regulations adopted under the authority of the recorded declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws and all adopted amendments thereto.” §720.301(8)(c), Fla. Stats. (emphasis added). This means that in order for rules to be amended in the HOA setting, they must be typed a certain way and the amendment itself will not take effect until “recorded in the public records of the county in which the community is located.” §720.306(1)(e), Fla. Stats.

 

Marilyn Perez-Martinez

Attorney at Law, Becker
Miami | bio

 

Can My Association Board Pass a Rule Regarding That?

Can My Association Board Pass a Rule Regarding That?

You attend your association’s monthly board of directors meeting because you notice an item on the agenda that piques your interest. The board of directors is scheduled to consider and pass a rule regarding _________ (you fill in the blank).  You ask yourself “Can they do that?”  The answer, as it is many times, is “it depends”.

The first place to look is the association’s governing documents.  The governing documents (declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws) must give the board of directors the authority to promulgate rules and regulations.  If this authority is not contained anywhere in the association’s governing documents, then the board does not have the authority to promulgate or amend rules and regulations.

If the authority does exist in the governing documents, then the board has the authority to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations.  Again, you must look to the governing documents to see if such rules must also be approved by the membership.  While not common, some association documents do require membership approval, so be sure to check your documents for such a requirement.

Assuming that the board can pass reasonable rules without membership approval, how does that work?  There are essentially two categories of cases in which an association attempts to enforce rules of restrictive uses. The first category is dealing with the validity of restrictions found in the declaration. The second category involves the validity of rules promulgated by the board of directors.

Restrictions found in a declaration are clothed with a very strong presumption of validity which arises from the fact that each individual unit owner purchases his unit knowing of and accepting the restrictions to be imposed. White Egret Condominium, Inc. v. Franklin, 379 So.2d 346 (Fla. 1979).   As such, a use restriction in a declaration may have a certain degree of unreasonableness to it, and yet withstand attack in the courts.

However, where a rule is created by the board of directors, such rule is subject to a test of reasonableness.   If a rule is reasonable, the association can adopt it, if not, it cannot.  Hidden Harbor Estates, Inc. v. Norman, 309 So.2d 179 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975). What this means is that if a rule is challenged, the association must be able to show the rule is reasonable.  The challenging owner is not required to show the rule is unreasonable; the burden is on the association to show that the rule is reasonable. 

In addition to being reasonable, there are other limitations on board enacted rules.  A board enacted rule cannot be in contradiction with any other provision of an association’s declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws.  Any conflict between a provision in an association’s rules and regulations and an association’s declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws will be resolved against the rule and in favor of the provision in the declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws.

Furthermore, a rule cannot amend a provision of the declaration.  Unfortunately, many associations attempt to do just that by passing rules that, if challenged, would not be upheld by the courts as a valid rule.  For example, if your governing documents provide that owners who want to sell or lease their unit must provide a copy of the sales contract or lease to the association, and nothing more, a rule that provides sales and leases must be approved by the association would not be upheld by a court if challenged. 

Similarly, if your governing documents do not include restrictions limiting leases to no less than 3 months, or that leases must be at least one year in length, the board cannot pass a rule to that effect.  Such restrictions must be in the declaration, unless, arguably, the declaration specifically grants the board the authority to pass additional rules and regulations regarding leasing.

Also, you should be aware that there is now a difference regarding rules and regulations in what the defined term “governing documents” means in regard to a homeowners association as opposed to a condominium association.  Chapter 720, Florida Statutes (the “Homeowners Association Act”) was amended to include an association’s rules and regulations in the definition of an association’s “governing documents”.  See Section 720.301(8), Florida Statutes.  Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, (the “Condominium Act”) does not contain a similar provision or definition.  So while the defined term “governing documents” includes rules and regulations in a homeowners association, the same defined term does not include rules and regulations in a condominium association.

Finally, whenever an association is considering amending or addition rules and regulations, it should always do so in consultation with its attorney.  The attorney should review the rule to make sure it is not in conflict with any provisions of the declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws; make sure there are no potential housing law issues or other legal issues in regard to the proposed rule and that the proper meeting notice requirement for the board to consider and pass the rule are followed.  In condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations, written notice of any meeting at which amendments to rules regarding unit (or parcel) use will be considered must be mailed, delivered, or electronically transmitted (to those who have consented in writing to receive official association notices electronically) to owners and posted conspicuously on the property not less than 14 days before the board meeting.

 

Howard J. Perl, Esq.

Shareholder, Becker
Fort Lauderdale | bio

 

Absolute Patio

 

Whenever outdoor patio furniture becomes worn or outdated looking, people usually assume that they have one option, which is to buy new furniture. Many people are not aware that restoring their existing patio furniture is not only possible, but it also offers many benefits. It is a green process, which will save you money while also saving the environment. If your existing furniture is in good structural condition, it can be refinished to a like-new condition.

One great reason to keep your current patio furniture is because purchasing new furniture of the same quality is much more expensive than simply refinishing it. By refinishing your current chairs, lounges, and tables, you are able to keep your current outdoor patio furniture, save lots of money, and customize your patio furniture with a large selection of fabric and color choices. This allows the customer to customize their restoration to fit with their existing décor to create an overall coordinated look. The flexibility and performance of powder coating makes it a great choice for any metal restoration project. The following is a description of the methods used in the furniture restoration process.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is an advanced method of applying a decorative and protective finish to a wide range of materials and products that are used by various industries and consumers. The powder used for the process is a mixture of finely ground particles of pigment (color) and resin (protective finish), which is sprayed onto the surface to be coated. The materials to be coated are electronically grounded to attract the charged particles that adhere to the surface. After being heated in a curing oven, the powder fuses into a durable and protective coating. The result is a uniform, high quality, and attractive finish. Powder coating is the fastest growing technology in North America, providing numerous industrial applications in all form of materials and products. Powder coating is extremely beneficial when applied to outdoor furniture because of its excellent exterior performance.

The Process—Restoring Outdoor Patio Furniture

Patio furniture restoration involves re-slinging, re-strapping, and refinishing the furniture’s frames. The restoration process includes completely stripping off the old, dull finish by sandblasting with aluminum oxide. The metal surface is then pre-treated with a five-stage chemical pretreatment process. This properly prepares the patio furniture for the powder coating application. The powder is sprayed onto the metal surface of the furniture that is then baked in an industrial oven to cure the powder to a beautiful, long-lasting, final finish.

Since all of the furniture that we restore is in South Florida, the most corrosive environment in the world, we add an additional epoxy powder primer coat. This provides an extra layer of corrosion protection and is very rarely found on an original coating. Once the powder coating process is completed, the new straps or sling materials are installed along with any protective foot glides to protect flooring. As you can see from the photos, the complete restoration process—involving sandblasting, chemical pre-treatment of the base metal, and applying a durable, baked-on, powder coat finish—can be quite amazing.

Benefits of Restoration

Powder coating finishes are available in many colors and textures that are perfect for outdoor patio furniture applications. Since the finish is a baked-on process, powder coated finishes are typically more durable than a liquid paint application and are chip- and scratch-resistant. Being that patio furniture is outside, and exposed to the sun and other weather elements, powder coated finishes are by far the best selection. New finishes can be coordinated with hundreds of sling fabric, strapping, and outdoor cushions as well. For a fraction of the cost, restoration offers you the ability to completely update your décor. Below are just a few more benefits of using powder coating for the finishing process of your patio furniture restoration: 

  • Custom color options—high/low gloss, metallic, textured, and clear finishes
  • Texture selection—smooth, matte, veins, hammertones, and textures to hide surface imperfections
  • Durability—extends product life by providing excellent resistance to corrosion, rust, and fading
  • Environmentally friendly—emits no VOCs and eliminates recycling
  • Superior protection—compared to standard paint finishes
  • Save money and time—no shipping, disposal, or replacement costs of your old furniture

Is Your Property a Candidate for Restoration?

Condominiums, country clubs, and HOAs with old and worn patio furniture should consider a powder coating restoration process instead of taking on the greater expense of furniture replacement. If the finish on the frames is still in great condition, than simply re-strapping or re-slinging is also an option. If your furniture is in good structural condition and only requires some minor welding repairs, then your furniture is a great candidate for restoration. You can completely update the look of your furniture and save your property a lot of money at the same time!

 

 by Tammy Leeman
Absolute Patio Furniture Restoration is located in Pompano Beach, Florida. For more information, call (954) 917-2715 or visit www.absolutepowdercoat.com.

 

In June of 2015, The Florida Supreme Court decided what a licensed community association manager can do, without being accused of practicing law without a license. The truth is—The Florida Bar tried hard to curtail what community association managers can do without a license to practice law, while the community association managers argued that most tasks required of community association managers certainly do not require three years of law school and passage of the Bar exam.

While the attorneys and managers who work with community associations may have made themselves familiar with the opinion, many Board members remain ill advised, and as a result continue to ask their manager to perform tasks that they’re not allowed to perform. In addition, they may wrongfully believe that their attorney needs to be more involved than necessary.

Here is how The Florida Supreme Court ruled:

The Court first spoke about what generally is considered the practice of law and said:

In determining whether the giving of advice and counsel and the performance of services in legal matters for compensation constitute the practice of law it is safe to follow the rule that if the giving of the advice and performance of the services affect important rights of a person under the law, and if the reasonable protection of the rights and property of those advised and served requires that the person giving such advice possess legal skill and a knowledge of the law greater than such possessed by the average citizen, then the giving of such advice and the performance of such services by one for another as a course of conduct constitutes the practice of law.

The practice of law also includes the giving of legal advice and counsel to others as to their rights and obligations under the law and the preparation of legal instruments, including contracts, by which legal rights are either obtained, secured or given away, although such matters may not then or ever be the subject of proceedings in a court.

Upholding a prior 1996 decision in all respects, The Florida Supreme Court again found the following activities when performed by a CAM to constitute the unlicensed practice of law:

  • Completing the frequently asked question and answer sheet;
  • Drafting a claim of lien, satisfaction of lien, and notice of commencement;
  • Determining the timing, method, and form of giving notice of meetings;
  • Determining the votes necessary for certain actions, which would entail interpretation of certain statutes and rules; and
  • Answering a community association’s question about the application of law to a matter being considered or advising a community association that a course of action may not be authorized by law, rule, or the association’s governing documents.

On the other hand, the 1996 opinion found the following activities not to constitute the practice of law:

  • Completion of the change of registered agent form and annual report form;
  • Drafting certificates of assessments;
  • Drafting first and second notices of date of election;
  • Drafting ballots;
  • Drafting written notices of annual or board meetings;
  • Drafting annual meeting or board meeting agendas, and
  • Drafting affidavits of mailing.

The 1996 Court opinion found the following activities to be dependent upon the specific circumstances:

  • Modification of limited proxy forms promulgated by the state;
  • Drafting a limited proxy form;
  • Drafting documents required to exercise the community association’s right of approval or right of first refusal on the sale or lease of a parcel.

The 1996 Court opinion found the following to be ministerial and could be performed by a CAM:

  • Modification of a limited proxy form to include the name of the community association;
  • Phrasing a yes or a no voting question concerning either waiving reserves or waiving the complied, reviewed, or audited financial statement requirement;
  • Phrasing a yes or a no voting question concerning carryover of excess membership expenses; and
  • Phrasing a yes or a no voting question concerning adoption of amendments to the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, or condominium documents;
  • The Court also found that the drafting of documents required to exercise a community association’s right of approval or first refusal to a sale or lease may require the assistance of an attorney, since there could be legal consequences to the decision.

The Court then went on to address 14 additional activities that community association managers typically perform. Here they are:

  1. Preparation of a Certificate of Assessments due once the delinquent account is turned over to a lawyer;
  2. Preparation of a Certificate of Assessments due once a foreclosure of the unit has commenced;
  3. Preparation of Certificate of Assessments due once a member disputes in writing to the association the amount alleged as owed;

HOLDING—preparation of each of the three documents do not constitute the practice of law.

  1. Drafting of amendments (and certificates of amendment that are recorded in the official records) to declaration of covenants, bylaws, and articles of incorporation when such documents are to be voted upon by the members;

Holding—the preparation of these documents constitute the unlicensed practice of law

  1. Determining the number of days to be provided for statutory notice

Holding—if the determination of the number of days to be provided for statutory notice requires the interpretation of statutes, administrative rules, governing documents, or rules of civil procedure, then, it would constitute the unauthorized practice of law for a CAM to engage in this activity. If the determination does not require such interpretation, then it would not be the unlicensed practice of law.

  1. Modification of limited proxy forms promulgated by the state;

Holding—If there is no discretion regarding the wording, and it is a yes or no question it is not the unauthorized practice of law. However, if the question requires discretion in the phrasing or involves the interpretation of statute or legal documents, the CAM may not modify the form.

  1. Preparation of documents concerning the right of the association to approve new prospective owners;

Holding—if the preparation requires the exercise of discretion or the interpretation of statutes or legal documents, a CAM may not prepare the documents. For example, the association documents may contain provisions regarding the right of first refusal. Preparing a document regarding the approval of new owners may require an interpretation of this provision. An attorney should be consulted to ensure that the language comports with the association documents. On the other hand, the association documents may contain a provision regarding the size of pets an owner may have. Drafting a document regarding this would be ministerial in nature as an interpretation of the documents is generally not required.

  1. Determination of affirmative votes needed to pass a proposition or amendment to the recorded documents;
  2. Determination of owners’ votes needed to establish a quorum;

Holding—if these determinations require the interpretation and application of statutes and the community association’s governing documents, then this would constitute the unauthorized practice of law. If no interpretation is required—they would not.

  1. Drafting of pre-arbitration demand letters;

Holding—this task is ministerial in nature and is not considered the unauthorized practice of law.

  1. Preparation of construction lien documents (e.g., notice of commencement and lien waivers, etc.);

Holding—This is a very complicated and technical area of the law—Preparation of these documents would constitute the unlicensed practice of law.

  1. Preparation, review, drafting, and/or substantial involvement in the preparation/execution of contracts, including construction contracts, management contracts, cable television contracts, etc;

Holding—Preparation of these documents constitute the unlicensed practice of law.

  1. Identifying, through review of title instruments, the owners to receive pre-lien letters;

Holding—if the CAM is only searching the public records to identify who has owned the property over the years, then such review is ministerial in nature and not the unauthorized practice of law. In other words, if the CAM is merely making a list of all record owners—no violation. If however the CAM uses the list and then makes the legal determination of who needs to receive the pre-lien letter, this would constitute the unlicensed practice of law because it involves an analysis as to who must receive the letters.

  1. Any activity that requires statutory or case law analysis to reach a legal conclusion.

Holding—It would constitute the unlicensed practice of law for a CAM to engage in activity requiring statutory or case law analysis to reach a legal conclusion.

Regardless of what you think of the decision—CAMs are well advised to abide by it or face the risk of being charged with the unauthorized practice of law and face a host of possible penalties. Not only should CAMs be careful, but Board members need to understand the decision of the Florida Supreme Court just as much as the managers do—and make sure not to ask your community association manager to take the role of the association’s attorney. By doing so, you place the manager in the difficult position of saying “NO” in order to comply with the law, while simultaneously looking like they refused to perform a task asked for by their employer.

Board members, managers, and attorneys should work together to familiarize themselves with the above opinion. Board members should be careful about asking managers to do tasks that could place their manager in jeopardy of being accused of practicing law without a license. Managers should know their limitations and that their license is on the line if they go too far, cross the line and practice law, even if their intentions were simply to be helpful and save the association money on attorney’s fees. Attorneys should also know that their help is not needed for everything, but instead primarily for interpreting the governing documents, the Florida Statutes and for preparation of documents that wind up getting recorded in the public records. The bottom line is that effective communication among everyone ensures proper distribution of required tasks and minimizes the risks that the above opinion is not complied with.

 

eric glazerEric M. Glazer is a native of Brooklyn, New York Mr. Glazer obtained his B.A. in Political Science at New York University. While at N.Y.U., Mr. Glazer was employed in the Kings County District Attorneys Office. Mr. Glazer obtained his Juris Doctorate at the University of Miami School of Law. In 1994 he established his own law office in Aventura and has recently relocated to Hollywood. Mr. Glazer has represented hundreds of community associations in the South Florida area. More info can be found at his website.

Envera gate

 

You don’t have to be in this industry to know that gates and barrier arms get hit a lot. More than a lot. Whether you live in a gated community, visit friends or family that do, or just pass by, the damage is hard to miss when it happens.

Often times the gate was hit by a tailgater. It’s possible the driver didn’t know how to get in and thought he or she could follow closely behind someone else. Of course though, the driver didn’t make it. It could have also been that the entrance to the community wasn’t lit well at night, and the driver didn’t see the barrier arms as he or she turned in. Either way, it only gets worse when that driver took off, and now the community is left with the costs.

To try and solve the initial problem, it is important that a community has the appropriate barrier arms or gates installed. For instance, if the entrance is rather dark at night, consider LED barrier arms. Envera Systems installs these arms that are red when closed and green while opening. The arms illuminate the gated entry and make drivers more aware of it.

A second option is high-speed barrier arms, which close faster after one car has driven through. The abrupt closure of the arms can stop tailgaters before they have a chance to speed through. Another way to stop tailgaters is to have barrier arms installed in front of a gate. This method allows one car to drive through while the barrier arm is open, then it will close with that car between the arm and gate. Once the arm is closed, the gate will open, and the single vehicle is let through. This is a very effective method for preventing tailgating.

However, it is almost inevitable that a community’s gates or barrier arms will be damaged at some point though. That is why it’s important to have proper surveillance in the area. With the Envera Virtual Gate Guard system, accompanying cameras capture multiple angles of a community’s entrance. Plus the driver’s face is captured at the patented kiosk, and license plate cameras capture the license plate of each driver. This means vehicle owner information can be provided to a community when damage occurs, and the community can use the information to try and recoup damage costs.

To have the most secure solution, a combination of gates and/or barrier arms and some sort of surveillance is best. All of the previously mentioned options can work well with the right community, but every community is unique. That is why it is important for communities to talk with security professionals. With the right company, an appropriate system can be designed to match a community’s specific security needs. In this case, it can be better determined which method is most likely to stop a tailgater for that community, as well as how it will be taken care of when it does happen.

 

Brie PetersonBrie Peterson is the Business Development Consultant for Envera Systems. She works closely with the sales and marketing departments to provide best-in-class service to the communities that Envera works with. Envera Systems specializes in security technology systems with remote guards to replace of enhance guards at communities. Contact info: (855) 380-1274 or www.EnveraSystems.com.

 

When I arrived on the property, I knew ahead of time that the customer was extremely unhappy with their new paving project. I knew that they had tried to make amends with the contractor, and the contractor tried to make them happy but was failing miserably. I also knew what their RFP (Request for Proposal) was, and what I seen on property told me they got exactly what they paid for.

As with most communities, the board decided to go with the lowest bidder, and no one thought to ask why they were almost half the cost of the second lowest bidder, but they did note that he was a really nice guy! If I could have $100 for every time a board told me that a contractor “seemed like a nice guy,” I would be a millionaire!

The RFP the community sent out did not clarify whether or not they wanted to mill out the existing asphalt cap or just pave right over it. Even before seeing the pictures of the previous asphalt cap, I would have recommended that the community remove the existing asphalt cap strictly because of the concrete curbing and gutter that separated the parking stalls from the roadway.

The second hint that I would have milled out the old asphalt was a doorway that led to the trash dumpster. Nobody thought about it prior to paving but when the contractor raised the asphalt cap 1” he prevented the door from opening. When the board addressed the problem with the paving contractor, they jumped right on the problem and ground out the new asphalt to allow for the door to open all the way! YAY! No.

When they took out the asphalt from in front of the doorway only, they created a ponding area that now held water if it rained. Not only did it hold water, it also posed as a trip hazard for anyone trying to navigate their way into the doorway! Definitely not the solution the community was hoping for!

In addition to the standing water issue by the doorway, the community was starting to notice that the new asphalt was starting to “spall” or come up when the residents were backing out of their parking stalls. They notified the contractor of the issue and the contractor came out and laid new asphalt on top of the weakened, spalled areas and called it a day. When the board arrived to view the correction, they were mortified to see that although the thin areas were corrected, they now had large black repairs on top of the new pavement and it looked horrible! The contractor’s corrections were making their property look worse than it did before the new overlay!

It’s great that we can copy and paste a paving specification from one document to another but not understanding what we are requesting can lead you down the wrong path twice! Make sure that when you are looking at paving bids that they take note of difficult areas like doorways, access ramps, manhole covers, and hardscapes. Without taking these things into consideration, you might be paying for something you don’t want or worse, paying for something you requested but not something you wanted!

 

connie lorenzAsphalt Restoration Technology Systems, Inc. (AR Tech) has been established in Florida since 1993. Connie Lorenz is President of AR Tech and has been with the company since 1999. Her leadership, skills and classes have taught thousands of consumers about proper asphalt maintenance and has helped save them thousands of dollars, and she has become an advocate in the industry focusing on protecting homeowners, property managers, and owners from the downfalls of questionable contractors and improper techniques. For more information, visit www.asphaltnews.com.

hug

 

Now is the time of year to reflect on the things and people for which we are grateful. Residents and directors of community associations could add to their “I am grateful for” list the managers who serve them and their associations.

 

Here are some of the reasons why:

Managers assist directors in handling hundreds of thousands up to millions of dollars worth of property. You warn directors who are about to make wrong decisions in managing those pricey assets. How hard it must be for you to watch directors make costly mistakes. Thank you for patiently working with directors to undo the damage.
 
Managers understand the documents and requirements of the law. Thank you for all the times you tell directors to get legal opinions before they proceed with an uncertain course of action. Whoa to the board who is too cheap to spend the money for attorney’s fees or that does not heed the advice of counsel.
 
Managers are bound by their license to be certain all the association funds are placed in the proper accounts. Thank you for all the times you keep the board from making terrible mistakes when they wanted to “move” money around from reserves to the operating account.
 
Managers have to look to the future and anticipate capital expenditures for balcony and concrete restoration. Thank you for the manager who will only work with an association whose reserves are fully funded.
 
Managers deal with people, pets, parking, and the pool all day long. Thank you for being a therapist, veterinarian, and parking and pool monitor.
 
Managers understand that rules enforcement is part of living in a community association. Thank you for reminding residents and directors that enforcement of violations is in the course of business and is not to be taken personally.
 
Managers know it is wise to move quickly to foreclose a lien or sue a resident for a rules violation. Thank you for stepping in and doing the hard work so residents do not lose the enjoyment of living in their communities.
 
Managers have residents call them all times of the day and night when they should be calling the police or locksmith. Thank you for all the times you answered your telephone and helped even when it wasn’t in your contract or job description.
 
Managers work hard during the off season to maintain the common area so residents’ investments will increase. Thank you for being able to come home to a beautiful community every fall.
 
Managers have to learn conflict prevention and negotiation skills. Thank you for the times you did not yell back at a resident who was having a bad day.
 
Managers take 20 hours of classes every two years to keep up with the new laws and changes in their industry. Even though we miss you when you are gone, thank you for keeping yourself current on community association management.
 
Managers know that with each election of directors, their contracts could be cancelled. Thank you for not bailing out on us when your future seemed uncertain.
 
Managers go over and above the requirements of exercising due professional care by taking a personal interest in our associations. Thank you for your good will and devotion to our community.
 
Managers interview and consult with experts, engineers, contractors, vendors, attorneys, and accountants. Thank you for doing that for us so we can enjoy the pool, golf course, clubhouse, and tennis courts.
 
Managers know how to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Thank you for all the money you save us by your reviews and recommendations of our insurance policies and lawn maintenance contracts.
 
Managers know all the dates required by law for board meeting notices, recall procedures, and annual elections. Thank you for reminding us of those so we stay out of court.
 
Managers know and love their residents and take a special interest in them. Thank you for calling me about my mother and letting me know she wasn’t doing well so I could come help her.
 
Managers understand budgets, reserves, financials, and the difference between “fully funded” and “fully funding.” Thank you that we can depend on you and don’t have to know about such things.
 
Managers can often quote the statutes and documents verbatim. Thank you that we don’t have to know what 617, 718, 719, 720, and 721 are, or that the declaration contains restrictions that “run with the land”, or that the articles of incorporation and by-laws govern the business of the association.
 
Managers deal with many ethnic and religious groups, are often bilingual, and have to be aware of customs and practices of their overseas residents. Thank you for being a terrific international diplomat.
 
Managers sometimes have to act as the referee at board meetings and annual elections. Thank you for stepping in and reminding us to act like adults and be civil to each other.
 
Thank you for being our manager!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

betsyBetsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, guides managers, board members, and service providers in handling daily operations of their communities while at the same time dealing with different communication styles, difficult personalities, and conflict. Effective communication and efficient management are her goals. For more than 15 years, Barbieux has educated thousands of managers, directors, and service providers. She is your trainer for life! Barbieux is the author of Boardmanship, a columnist in the Florida Community Association Journal, and a member of the Regulatory Council for Community Association Managers. For more information, contact Betsy@FloridaCAMSchools.com, (352) 326-8365, or www.FloridaCAMSchools.com.

community

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ell me a bit about your background:

I am originally from Wayne, New Jersey.  My family and I moved to Florida in 1992.

How and why did you choose your current profession?

After buying and selling condominium foreclosures for many years, I then started FlatFee.com in 1999. At the time, a “discount broker” was a dirty word to traditional brokers and realtors. However, through time, most brokers had a buyer from their office that they had shown one of our limited service listings. Their idea of FlatFee.com had slowly changed. Within two years, we were in 44 MLS’s covering all of Florida and Alabama counties. We quickly became the largest MLS listing office in Florida and Alabama and have been so for 14 years. I saw a rising interest in FSBO listings in the beginning that has steadily grown. I am sure that today every property owner understands the term For Sale By Owner. It is stated that 16 percent of homes are sold by discount brokers and/or FSBOs. I find this upward trend simply remarkable.

Tell me a bit about your business:

FlatFee.com is an Internet company that MLS lists properties for sale and for rent. For a “Flat Fee” a client saves the traditional three percent listing fee. The client chooses the commission they wish to offer the buyer’s agent. Realtors contact the client for showings, details, and presentation of contract. The client also reserves the right to sell the property themselves as a FSBO and would save all commissions.

The concept is simple. One would start a file at FlatFee.com and complete our MLS form and post photos of the property. Our staff would post the listing in the appropriate MLS. The listing is then syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia plus many more sites.

From your business perspective, what is one of the most challenging issues facing community associations?

With large rental turnover, management companies and associations must save rental advertising dollars while retaining control of their rentals. Couple a listing commission savings with advertising to the three main public sites plus the exposure to every realtor in the local MLS, and the client has more control of their property than ever before.

What is the achievement—business or personal—that you are proudest of?

I have been proud of FlatFee.com through the last 16 years. We have been building strong relationships and trust with MLS’s, brokers, and clients that make our referral business outstanding. However, personally, my three children are the best achievement a person could ask for.

What is your business philosophy?

The correct business philosophy is: Work with clients as you wish they would have worked for you.

Which individual has had the most positive influence on your professional or personal life?

This answer is simple: My Mom. She is still going strong at 95 and is ever challenging herself to learn something new. Her lessons taught to me were to work hard, be honest, keep your faith, and care for family and friends. Follow these simple rules, and you will sleep at night with a clear conscience.

What activities do you enjoy outside of your professional life?

Outside interests are my garden and my Model A Ford. Both give me a chance to move away from the computer and clear my thoughts.

Do you enjoy sharing real work experiences with other licensed CAMs?

This is your opportunity!

When: April 23rd
Where: South County Civic Center, Delray Beach, FL
Format: Roundtable discussions
Time: 7:30am – 9:30am

There will be food, door prizes, fun and fellowship. 

 

* This event is for licensed managers only, seating is limited.

CAMtoCAM-sponsors

 

 

For questions contact Richard or Dana Johns.

Phone: 772-266-8539 | Email Richard | Email Dana