By Awilda Esteras / Published May 2023
South Florida’s robust housing market attracts buyers from across the globe. Many of the area’s priciest and most luxurious enclaves are filled with part-time residents who use their properties as investments and vacation homes. Involvement with association matters and communications with personnel for some of these well-heeled owners can sometimes be minimal, so it is up to the associations and their property management to go above and beyond the normal call of duty to ensure they are always connecting with these owners through all the proper channels.
For communities with a disproportionately high level of part-time residents who primarily live elsewhere, the best approach is a proactive one. Association personnel should make contact and confirm they are connecting with such owners through exchanges of emails or calls as necessary, but at the very least on an annual basis. They should use these communications simply to ensure the owners are receiving all of the community’s correspondence and to ask if there are any updates to the contact information.
Associations should be sure to always maintain and use, in addition to the property address, each owner’s actual primary residence address as well as their email address and mobile phone number. How and when to use each of these for every piece of association correspondence should be set as a matter of policy by association directors with the help and guidance of qualified property management and legal professionals.
Bear in mind, community associations will often have vital new information for their owner members. This includes correspondence alerting owners of new changes and policies, such as increased dues and/or adoption of special assessments that may effectuate immediate increases in their next monthly bill. Without effective prior notice, owners will be surprised to learn of such increases, and such misunderstandings can escalate into needless disputes that could potentially impact collections and budgets.
Associations, particularly those in communities with large numbers of owners who are only seasonal and part-time residents, should always alert their personnel to be on the lookout for any undeliverable mail and to proactively use those occasions to connect with those owners and update their contact information. By taking into account the makeup of their community and responding accordingly, associations will be able to update and maintain the most accurate and effective possible channels for their important communications to all their member owners.
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Attorney, Siegfried Rivera
Awilda Esteras is an attorney with the South Florida law firm of Siegfried Rivera who focuses on community association law and collections. She is a regular contributor to the firm’s association law blog at www.FloridaHOALawyerBlog.com. The firm maintains offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, and its attorneys focus on community association, real estate, construction, and insurance law. For more information, visit www.SiegfriedRivera.com, call 1-800-737-1390, or email AEsteras@SiegfriedRivera.com.