Published August 2018
Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 50 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.
Using my time wisely is critical, especially when I am assigned to address a major project. What tips can you give to help motivate me to tackle the project and manage my time wisely?
Task & Time Management—If your workload has become a challenge for you and you are not motivated to get up and going, change things up. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule, or Pareto’s principle—that 20 percent of what you put in will result in 80 percent of your outcome and results. If you evaluate and review the items on your “to-do list,” you will note that many are tied together in some way or another, and attacking the larger items will generate effective results. Choose to focus on the project by creating a to-do checklist, delegating specific tasks, and setting priorities. For instance, your board of directors wants you to paint the condominium high-rise building. How will you manage your time to tackle the many steps involved with this process?
Delegate—Everybody needs a little help once in a while. You can’t possibly accomplish everything by yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, delegate, or hire outside professionals when necessary. Some managers believe, “I can do it better myself.” This is a fallacy. Embrace your team by allowing them to perform. Coach them through it, ask them for support, explain the task, and set them up to succeed. Your people are your most important asset, and it is up to you as the manager to develop those assets!
Draft a TEAM checklist—Do this for each department supervisor and set a deadline for each goal and task. Meet with them to monitor their progress. Your “to-do” checklist should assign tasks to specific team players to assist you with the implementation process. Your chief engineer can help you by obtaining the blueprints of the building. He can also help with scheduling a meeting with your paint rep to obtain a set of specifications and a walk-through of the building identifying the metal, wood, and stucco surfaces and any deficiencies. Your paint rep can help you draft the RFP–request for a proposal.
Handling Interruptions—Set firm boundaries and block out distractions by setting aside time to tackle the chunks of work time you need. Consider closing your office to address the administrative work that requires your undivided attention to improve your productivity.
Establish S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Stephen Covey encourages goal-setting to achieve your full potential in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. By setting goals, you take the opportunity to sort through what is important to you and focus on what matters most.
Communicate Effectively—Employees need to know what you expect from them, and be sure to listen to them. Effective communication is a two-way street. Speak clearly and be concise with what you say because it isn’t always about what you say—it is how you say it! Listen closely to the people around you, and do not respond until you have a full understanding of what they are saying. Ask questions. The goal of communicating is to build trust and respect among others. They need to know they can rely on you to help them accomplish their tasks.
Time Management—“Time is the scarcest resource of managers. If it is not managed, nothing else can be managed”. –Peter Drucker. The key is to make the most of your day in being productive. Create your checklist to improve your time management skills. A useful tool can be found at sourcesofinsight.com/time-management-checklist/. It is important to manage visitors and schedule appointments in order to manage time wisely. Set a fixed time period to schedule appointments in order to simply control traffic flow of interruptions. Take the following steps to remove clutter from a desk and maintain organization:
Maintain a positive attitude—It’s always easier to stay positive if you are happy with your work environment; however, it is not always easy if you have issues with negative coworkers and residents. Treat your coworkers and residents with respect, and do your best to see issues from their point of view; then the working relationships will be much less stressful. Handle complaints in a timely manner. Be a sounding board. Attack complaints in a positive manner and include a thorough investigation. Often, people who constantly complain are really looking for an outlet and someone who will listen to them, give them attention, and reassure them. Give them the responsiveness they’re seeking, and you may lessen the severity of the situation. It is also essential to stop and give thanks for each day. Whether you say it to yourself or pray about it, express gratitude for all the things you take for granted. Smile even when you don’t feel happy since this can automatically put you in a better mood!
Sign up for a Dale Carnegie Course—You’ll learn to strengthen interpersonal relationships, manage stress, and handle fast-changing workplace conditions. You’ll be better equipped to perform as a persuasive communicator, problem solver, and focused leader, and you’ll develop a take-charge attitude radiating confidence and enthusiasm.
We have a condominium association that is currently paying for the water in the units but wants to change so the utility company charges each unit individually. Their governing documents seem to allow for it either way with wording like “common expenses including…public utility services not metered or charged separately to units” and “powers and duties of the association…shall include…pay all costs of power, water, sewer, and other utility services rendered to the condominium and not billed to the owners of the separate units.”
My question is, how does the board properly change the budgeted common expenses and begin to cause all owners to pay their own water bill? Is that considered a material alteration to the common elements or a change in the ownership percentages? Neither of those seem to fit this situation, but I would imagine that the owners would have to vote on that in some capacity. Any thoughts, or should I just tell them they would have to get a legal opinion before proceeding? -Andrea
I always love your questions! If you haven’t noticed, they often show up in the BYA— Because You Asked—section of the Florida Community Association Journal!
I think of material alterations as being a change from the original scheme and design of the common elements. I don’t see metered water as being a common element or a change in ownership percentage, but as a budgeted line item expense. I don’t really see a need for an owners’ vote, but as always, I’ll refer you to your attorney. I would love to know his or her answer! -Betsy
Our condominiums are governed by Statute 718. The situation is that previous owners have had violations in the common areas of their units, and when these units were sold to a new owner, the new owner is under the impression that those violations are now grandfathered in because they were there when the unit was purchased. Is this correct? These violations consist of overgrown plants, excess number of items on patios, etc. Please clarify this for me. -Loraine
Past violations or refusals by previous boards to enforce the rules should not prohibit a current board from enforcing the rules and regulations. What the current board could do is to draw a line in the sand at a board meeting using a motion to reaffirm the rules and regulations and to remind everyone that the rules and regulations will be enforced from a certain point forward. Send out notices to everyone with the rules and regulations and give owners a chance to comply before inspections begin.
With the new estoppel law and estoppel form that were passed in 2017, you are required to notify future owners of these past outstanding violations on the estoppel form. -Betsy
If I wanted to purchase Robert’s Rules of Order, which would best suit me? I have looked at the 11th edition, the charts, and also Robert’s Rules: Quick Start Guide. I would like to learn and understand more without being frustrated by the complexity of parliamentary procedure. I think our board can run with just the officers and without a licensed property manager. Would Robert’s Rules for Dummies work?
I was in your class for HOAs on May 10; any help/guidance you can give is greatly appreciated. -Sue
Buying and trying to understand the big book of Robert’s Rules of Order would be overkill for what you need.
You can watch the school board in council meetings on TV and get a general idea of how things should work. However, the procedures they use are more formal than what you will use.
All you need is one section in Robert’s called “Procedures for Small Boards.” I can send you a handy-dandy reference handout on it if you wish. All you need to know is how to make a motion, how to vote on it, and how to record that vote in the minutes. There’s not much more that you need to know.
A board can certainly operate a meeting by itself. There’s no law requiring management or a manager to be present. However, if you have a manager or management company, it is usually part of their contract that they be there and likely take the minutes and assist the board in following correct procedures.
I spent half a day with a board of directors in Orange Park today, and most of the time was spent on meeting procedures. It is something I find that, when done correctly, can make a board’s life much easier and more productive! -Betsy
You (the association and its management team) must promptly survey the properties for potential and/or actual damages that need to be reported and addressed. Document all actual and potential damage with photographs and video. This documentation should be accompanied by confirmation of the time, specific locations, and the person taking the photographs and video.
Additionally, this documentation should be compared against the pre-storm documentation in order to prove that the damage did not exist prior to the storm.
The “before” and “after” documentation is critical to fighting against insurers’ potential defenses. Associations should also gather any applicable maintenance records, vendor and repair records, and related documentation in order to establish the condition of the property pre-hurricane and the association’s regular maintenance practices and procedures. This helps prove that the damage caused by a hurricane (or similar insurable event) was not a “pre-existing condition” and/or a result of “lack of maintenance” at the property.
Associations should work with their legal counsel to review the Declaration and property boundaries in order to distinguish any reported unit owner property damage from the association’s property and common elements/limited common elements. These distinctions are important for both the insurance claim process and identification of the party responsible for repair.