Published October 2020
Editor’s Note: As community association residents return from their stay up north, it will most likely come as no surprise that association life is going to look different in 2020 due to COVID-19. Regardless of the changes, there is still much to look forward to. Enjoy your time in Florida!
As an association is contemplating repairs on its buildings—whether it be for concrete restoration, elevator modernization, and the list goes on—the question is, how may an association pay for these repairs?
For more information on Alliance Association Bank, call (888) 734-4567 or visit www.allianceassociationbank.com.
As we settle into the fall season, it’s time to start thinking about winter. Use your association management software to easily text or email information to your residents so they can stay up to date on things like the following:
For more information on AppFolio, call (866) 648-1536 or visit appfolio.com/associations.
Welcome home! While everyone is getting used to their new normal, now is a great time to review your roadways and parking areas for any areas of concern that may present an obstacle to anyone living in or visiting your community.
Now that face masks are the norm and seem to be available in just about any design you could possibly desire, I am starting to notice that some of our residents are not wearing them correctly and, in some cases, are actually blocking their vision. Add a random pothole or wheelstop or, worse, tree root to this equation, and nothing good can come of it!
We at Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems have you covered. We offer complete evaluations and asphalt maintenance programs at no charge for your community and can help you ensure your community roadways and parking lots are safe for our new “normal.” Stay safe out there!
For more information on Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, call (800) 254-4732 or visit www.asphaltnews.com.
Welcome home! October usually means it’s probably about time for your association’s budget to be finalized in advance of the upcoming fiscal year. Hopefully, that means you have a current, accurate reserve schedule that you can use to ensure your community is adequately funding its reserve accounts. If you don’t, we’re here to help! If you’re still hoping to squeeze in the funding recommendations for 2021, please give us a call to explore your options for completing a reserve study this fall. However, if you’re running out of time, not to worry! You can get a great head-start on NEXT year’s budget process by scheduling a reserve study for early in the upcoming year. As always, thank you very much, and welcome back to paradise!
Give Association Reserves a call at (954) 210-7925 to learn more about our “Smart Start” program, or visit our website at www.ReserveStudy.com to submit a request for proposal.
Condominium associations must be extremely careful before proceeding with alterations without membership approval! Section 718.113, Fla. Stat., provides that “material” alterations must be approved in the manner stated in the declaration, or, if the declaration is silent, by 75 percent of the voting interests. But, what happens if a board thinks a project is just maintenance but a court or arbitrator later determines it was actually a material alteration requiring membership approval? Can the alteration be approved after the fact? What if liter-ally 100 percent of the members are willing to approve the alteration? According to the Third District Court of Appeal in Bailey v. Shelborne Ocean Beach Hotel Condominium Association, Inc., that’s just tough luck because the statute must be followed to the letter; and, even though in Bailey more than 75 percent of the association approved the alteration after the fact, that wasn’t enough. So, if in doubt, call the vote!
For more information on Backer Aboud Poliakoff & Foelster, call (800) 251-3562 or (561) 361-8535 or visit bapflaw.com.
F.S. 760.27 provides that a person seeking an emotional support animal must provide certain supporting information to qualify if the related need for an ESA is not readily apparent. The statute provides that an ESA registration, including an identification card, certificate, or other similar document obtained from the internet, is not sufficient to establish a disability related need for an ESA. F.S. 817.265 provides that a person who falsifies information or provides fraudulent information for an ESA or misrepresents himself or herself as having a disability related need for an ESA commits a misdemeanor.
F.S. 791.08 creates an exemption for the use of fireworks during a holiday. Holidays include New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and New Year’s Eve.
For more information about Becker, visit beckerlawyers.com.
If you have ever searched for a roofing contractor on the internet, you know it can be an exasperating experience. There may be literally thousands of roofing contractors in a given area, all claiming to be experts in all types of roofs, but there are ways to determine if a contractor is qualified to do the kind of work you need to have done. Look for one who can provide documentation for the following:
Selecting a reputable and qualified licensed roofing contractor is key to maintaining and protecting your investment in your roof.
For more information about Best Roofing, call (954) 941-9111, email email@example.com, or visit www.bestroofing.net.
Thanks to technology, there are many ways your board can limit and reduce in-person contact at your association. Enabling board members to approve vendor payments online and using digital check signatures are great ways to streamline your accounts payable process and reduce the COVID-19 risk. Eliminating the paperwork involved with sales and lease applications by moving this process online is another great way to reduce the need for in-person interactions.
Associations can also conduct their board meetings, committee meetings, and other meetings virtually, with platforms like Zoom, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, Skype, and FreeConferenceCall.com.
Here are a few benefits to associations when using virtual meetings:
For more information about Campbell Property Management, visit our website’s COVID-19 resource center at CampbellPropertyManagement.com to learn how technology can curb the spread of COVID-19.
Depending on where you are returning from, COVID-19 may not have been as big of an issue as in Florida; however, please be assured that it has been top-of-mind for us at Castle, especially as it relates to your comfort, health, and overall well-being. We thought you would find a list of the top 10 counties with the highest reported cases helpful, as reported on September 14th by Florida’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection:
Castle serves all of Florida, implementing the latest in COVID-19 response techniques in our communities. Be sure to tune into our complimentary educational webinars and request site response and re-opening plans if you haven’t already—they may just save your life.
For more information about Castle Group, call (844) 815-5321 or visit www.castlegroup.com.
As snowbirds return and communities have all their residents available, this is the time to review your cable and internet agreements. Are you close to a renewal? Are you thinking about adding new services or looking at a bulk agreement for internet services? If so, this is the time to survey your residents or hold town halls to see what is most important to them regarding these services. Too often, negotiations start in the off season and the board has to make decisions without having the opportunity for input from the residents. Even if your agreement is not due for a year or more, it is always better to survey while residents are in town. This way you will be able to make the most informed choices for your community!
For more information on Communications Consulting Group, call (561) 671-9996 or visit ccgconsult.com.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong! Often, roofing systems are some of the most neglected features of homes and businesses. When rooftops are neglected, costly repairs (and even premature replacement needs) arise. But there are simple and cost-effective ways to combat wear and tear, ways to identify potential issues more quickly (before they happen), and ways to elongate the lifespan of your commercial and residential rooftop. It’s called rooftop maintenance.
When inspected and maintained annually (at minimum), a certified roofing contractor can visually inspect and audit roof conditions, remove accumulated debris, and provide comprehensive rooftop reports to help you better calculate and stretch your roofing budget.
Remember, before signing a rooftop maintenance program, ensure your roofing contractor is licensed and certified with your roofing and waterproofing product manufacturer.
For more information on Crown Roofing & Waterproofing, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (239) 994-9529.
There is no argument that the internet has become a necessity today. The technology in your building is probably from when it was constructed, and the internet was unheard of. The cable company uses coaxial cable modems, which is shared technology among the users, with questionable security. The state-of-the-art technology today is fiber optic to the unit or Cat5e wiring. By investing in upgrading your infrastructure your owners will realize immediate increased value and savings. The building will own the cabling and future-proofs the property for years to come.
Direct Plus will design a state-of-the-art system that allows the building to pick the desired speed at significant savings. Pay-back of the investment is typically within a one-year period. For example, a 150-unit building with a per-unit investment of $200/unit will realize over $100,000 in savings in the first year over the retail rate the residents are paying today to Comcast or AT&T.
For more information on DIRECTPLUS LLC, visit www.directplusnow.com or call (800) 897-9773.
If you are on the board of directors of your condominium, there is probably a lot to do in the coming months. Did any significant wind events affect your roof? Keep in mind that your roof does not have to blow off to be damaged. Sometimes high winds just lift the roof. This makes it more susceptible to damage from tradesmen or the next wind event. If this damage is significant enough, it will be an insurance claim. You’ve heard me say this before: if your roof went through a high wind event, an inspection is necessary. It may also be a good time to look at your reserves for roofing. The pandemic has caused shortages in some materials and price hikes in many. We simply do not know how long these shortages and prices will remain in effect. The money that you spend on inspections and maintenance will pay off in the long run.
For more information on Ed Williams Registered Roof Consultant, call (772) 335-5832 or visit www.edwilliamsregisteredroofconsultant.com.
For more information about Envera Systems, visit enverasystems.com or call 1-855-380-1274.
There is no shortcut to building a unified community, but it’s worth the hard work to foster an environment of professionalism, inclusion, and validation in our community associations. We can achieve these ideals through the following:
Leadership—Board members are volunteers and fiduciaries; and are bound by legal processes. Community leaders need to know their duties and liabilities and turn to attorney and software resources to establish procedures.
Systems—Software systems are necessary to improve professionalism and help members feel included. An association portal relays personal and community information. Some states, including Florida, require an online association presence. Be sure to find a provider with ADA-compliant options to include everyone.
Members—As board members, managers, and vendors, we tend to be busy administering associations and may lose sight of the humanity of our communities, which is complex, irrational, and always beautiful in surprising ways. Don’t forget kindness to unify your community approach.
For more information about eUnify, visit eUnify.net.
Life safety in condominium properties is critically important, and in newer properties it is incorporated into the design and construction of every unit. In older condominium properties, many of these features are not as robust as current building codes require. As a result, the legislature passed laws requiring that high-rise (over 75 feet) residential properties be retrofitted with a sprinkler system or have an engineered life safety system in place by January 1, 2020.
The 2019 state legislature amended the timeline for compliance with this requirement in the Florida Fire Code by extending the deadline to January 1, 2024. While this comes as a relief to some that failed to meet the original deadline, it is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of. It is time to budget for the installation of an automatic sprinkler system or alternatively implementing an engineered life safety system.
For more information about Forge Engineering Inc., call (239) 514-4100 or (954) 800-4150 or visit www.ForgeEng.com.
As we enter the winter months, cooler weather is (finally!) on the way. According to the National Weather Service, the average January low temperature reading in Orlando is just 49 °F, and in Tallahassee it plummets to 40 °F. Of course, in the more southerly parts of the state, the average mid-winter lows are slightly higher, but those of us who live in the Sunshine state know that temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s are not uncommon anywhere on the peninsula.
How does this affect the bats that like to live in our condominium buildings? Florida’s bats are all tropical or subtropical animals, and they really dislike the cold. When the temperature drops down into the 60s, 50s, and below, they can put their bodies into a state of torpor (which is similar to hibernation, except that they can come out of it whenever they choose). So, if you think that your bats have left for the winter, think again. They’re just snoozing and waiting for the sunshine!
For more information on Friends of Bats, call 1-888-758-BATS (2287), email email@example.com, or visit www.friendsofbats.com.
Things may look a little different this year when you return to your home in paradise. While you were gone, COVID-19 arrived in Florida and with it, change. Community associations have had to adapt to protect the health and safety of residents and staff. Your association has likely implemented social distancing measures, increased routine cleaning, and mandated the use of face masks while on the association’s property. Here are some tips to ease your transition back into paradise:
For more information on COVID-19 and community associations, contact Haber Law at (305) 379-2400 or visit www.haber.law.
Florida’s moratorium on foreclosure actions during the pandemic this year created a novel challenge for associations in collecting past due assessments, causing associations to explore their options. Florida law provides associations various mechanisms to make collections efforts in addition to filing a foreclosure action. In addition to sending the statutory notices and filing a claim of liens, a board may suspend voting and certain common facility use rights of delinquent owners. Additional demand letters from the association’s counsel can often result in a response from the delinquent owners. Considering many residents’ incomes have been affected by the pandemic, persistent communication efforts may provide an opportunity to work with the delinquent owner to agree on a short-term payment plan to foster payment without the need for a delay or incuring costs pursuing a court order. These options are not only effective but can also be utilized after the pandemic ends.
If your association needs assistance in collecting past due assessments, please feel free to contact Amanda Barritt at firstname.lastname@example.org or Katherine Cook at email@example.com or call (239) 344-1100.
Florida boasts many beautiful communities throughout the state. Each community association contains board members and residents who spend part of the year living elsewhere. These properties regularly sustain damages while their residents are away. Associations that fail to promptly report damages may be prevented from making a valid insurance claim and board members may be liable.
We regularly meet with association members and boards to review their policies, implementing pre-disaster preparation and post-disaster relief plans. Our disaster protocols are created for each individual property and the needs of their residents.
Call a public adjuster before filing any claim. We do not get paid unless you get paid. Public adjusters solely represent your best interests, not the insurance company’s.
To schedule a free policy review and property inspection, call (813) 774-7634 or visit www.hunterclaims.com.
Most board members and managers have not digested the 2020 legislative changes affecting Florida’s community associations. However, there is already a rumor of the revival for a push for new leasing restrictions for homeowner associations for the 2021 legislative session.
Presently, the Condominium Act provides that “An amendment prohibiting unit owners from renting their units or altering the duration of the rental term or specifying or limiting the number of times unit owners are entitled to rent their units during a specified period applies only to unit owners who consent to the amendment and unit owners who acquire title to their units after the effective date of that amendment.”
During the past several years, there has been push in the Florida legislature for similar legislation to be adopted into the Homeowners Association Act. If your HOA is considering the adoption of amendments to its leasing requirements as pertains to prohibiting members from leasing their lots, altering the duration of the rental term, or specifying or limiting the number of times lot owners are entitled to rent their lots, and if you want this to be applicable to every member in the association, even those who do not vote in favor of such provisions, then you will want to contact your association counsel to undertake the necessary steps to complete the amendment process prior to the Florida legislature adopting such a provision into the Homeowners Association Act.
For more information about Kaye Bender Rembaum, visit KBRLegal.com, email info@KBRLegal.com, or call (800) 974-0680.
Few things are more enjoyable than spending time in your condominium on the Florida coast. The beautiful views, the salt air, and the sunshine are hard to beat. The challenges of keeping your building well-maintained, structurally sound, and weathertight can often be an unpleasant, costly, and time-consuming surprise.
The decision-making process and choices can be overwhelming. Protecting your building’s various structural components from the corrosive salt air, keeping the water out during tropical storms, and maintaining the appearance of the building are common challenges shared by all.
Fortunately, there is an industry built specifically for these needs. There are a significant number of engineering and construction firms that exist to serve condominium maintenance issues full time. These industry experts can help you choose and complete building maintenance projects, including appropriate roof systems, sliding glass doors, balcony floor finishes, structural repair procedures, and so on.
For more information about Keystone Engineering and Consulting Inc., visit KeystoneEngineeringPE.com or call (321) 454-7300.
Since the birth of the first analog cellular network, digital networks that replaced them continue to grow and evolve, making room for new technologies. U.S. mobile carriers are now moving to replace old 2G/3G infrastructures with newly deployed long-term evolution (LTE) networks.
Why does this matter to you? It could affect the operations of your pool and elevator phones—required by law. While the sun-setting of 3G won’t be an overnight shut down, the network will gradually begin to dissipate by region as operators begin to repurpose their spectrum for the more modern networks. At Kings III, we aren’t wasting any time waiting for that to happen. We plan to have our entire customer base transitioned to 4G/LTE well before final 3G sunset dates to avoid any risk of compromised connections to emergency phones and recommend you do the same.
Learn more about final sunset dates and action steps you can take to get ahead at www.kingsiii.com/help-phone-blog/3g-sunset-is-inevitable-dont-play-catch-up-get-ahead or call 866-871-5633.
We welcome back our snowbirds, who are undoubtedly eager for sunshine and a change of scenery. COVID-19 forced associations and managers to implement new protocols to keep residents and staff healthy and safe, while preparing for an active hurricane season.
Potential changes, new rules, and other considerations for returning snowbirds include the following:
Stay vigilant, monitor community updates, and—most importantly—enjoy your winter getaway!
For more information on KW Property Management & Consulting, contact Zuly Maribona at (239) 495-3428 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kwpmc.com.
The end of hurricane season is the best time to take inventory of your community waterways and stormwater systems. Keep in mind that a lot of potential problems frequently lurk underground or underwater.
Trained professionals should be consulted if you suspect trouble with the following:
These are a few issues that should be evaluated even if you feel your community has emerged unscathed.
For more information about Lake & Wetland Management, visit www.lakeandwetland.com.
All joking aside, an engineer should be able to help you create a proper preventative maintenance plan for all your building systems. This will save you money over time and build you a reputation of trustworthiness and proactivity. Additionally, it can help you avoid thousands of dollars in repairs, repetitive work, and potential insurance claims. Find an engineer who can help you with the following: conduct roof inspections, properly inspect your building envelope for deterioration, create a preventive maintenance plan, supply 40-year recertification requirements, and give an assessment of the overall property condition.
For more information on M2E Consulting Engineers, contact Stephanie Laing at (305) 614-6124, email email@example.com, or visit www.m2e.com.
What’s more natural than returning to your asphalt roadways the components they’ve lost through oxidation? These components, called maltenes, are the “glue” that binds asphalt pavements together, restoring flexibility, fluidity, and adhesion properties. When maltene replacement technology (MRT) arrives in your community, you can expect a polite and experienced crew implementing a pavement preservation solution that meets or exceeds all EPA, federal, state, local, and industry performance requirements. With MRT’s 50-year track record of proven performance, your neighborhood will experience minimal disruption and a speedy return to all community activities. Best of all, your newly sealed roads will be water- and weather-resistant again. Preventive road maintenance using MRT makes your dollars go further by significantly extending the life of your community’s roads.
For more information on Reclamite® asphalt rejuvenator and MRT, visit www.gotmaltenes.com or call 1-800-333-6309.
It would be extremely helpful this year for managers to contact their seasonal residents and find out if they are migrating this year or not. If they are not returning or their return will be delayed, managers should check and see if they would like a superficial inspection of their unit done. This will give the residents peace of mind as well as avoid any possible damage that could be occurring without anybody knowing.
In past articles we have suggested the following elements be checked when residents return after an extended period.
If you start this process soon, you will have more than enough time to help all residents that may not be returning this season.
For more information about Promar Building Services, call (561) 598-4549, email Aamador@promarbuilding.com or Mgerwig@promarbuilding.com, or visit promarbuilding.com.
Today’s digital load is ever increasing. As many of us are still working, learning, and socializing from home, we need high-performance fiber networks to deliver the high-speed internet, TV, and voice services that we rely on every day.
That’s where QXC stands out. We offer two exclusive advantages for residential customers; our Active Optical Network (AON) fiber-optic design uses dedicated, fiber-to-the-home architecture. There are no splitters, so each home/unit gets full signal strength and incredibly fast speed and performance. Because there’s no shared fiber, it’s also more secure.
In addition to AON fiber, QXC is the only provider in South Florida to offer wireless high-availability backup. In the event a contractor damages conduit or cuts fiber with a backhoe, your network seamlessly connects to QXC’s backup tower, so you never lose service. That network redundancy is important to residents—and it’s essential for property management, keeping critical operations running 24/7. Prepare for this season and beyond with QXC.
For more information about QXC Communications, connect with him at (561) 708-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit QXC online at www.qxc.us.
For more information about Seacrest Services, call (561) 656-6354 or visit SeacrestServices.com.
You are coming back to a world much different from the one you had last winter. With a heightened need for cleanliness, residents and board members have a heightened responsibility to do whatever they can to maintain safety levels.
Look at surfaces you typically ignore, like the trash chute doors. They are touched multiple times a day by multiple people. We all wash our hands after we take out the trash, not before! Something as simple as a professional chute cleaning and an in-house maintenance program can alleviate this challenge.
Look to your vendors to assist in identifying areas where some extra “TLC” is needed to keep surfaces as sanitized as possible. There may be better solutions than wiping down handrails with Lysol wipes (if you can even get them), which can corrode some metals! Use your relationships to safeguard your building and your neighbors. We are all in this together.
For more information on Southern Chute, call (866) 475-9191 or visit www.SouthernChute.com.
Four areas within maintenance plans that pay big dividends by protecting your roof and contents for years to come.
For more information about Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, visit TargetRoofers.com or call (239) 334-7496.
It’s almost time for snowbirds to come back home, but with the novel coronavirus, many are wondering if they should migrate at all. While there are risks in traveling in a pandemic, there are also many ways you can travel to your summer paradise safely.
You don’t have to lose your winter escape because of COVID-19; as long as you plan accordingly, you can still have fun in the sun!
For more information about Vesta Property Services, call (877) 988-3782 or visit VestaPropertyServices.com.
WRG offers free emergency training for your team at your location.
To schedule training for your staff, please email email@example.com or call 1-844-379-9283 for emergency assistance or browse wrgfla.com.