Published December 2020
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 38 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/cfcam-educational-program/.
Jennifer Johnson, currently an on-site manager at Siesta Harbor Association on Siesta Key, is the latest CAM to receive the CFCAM certification. A native of Massachusetts, Jennifer received her BS in biology and worked as a lab technician and dental hygienist before moving to Florida in 2001.
After arriving in Sarasota, she became interested in property management through her younger sister, a CAM with Argus Property Management. “She was a portfolio manager and enjoyed the job very much,” relates Jennifer. “I liked the idea—working with people, traveling to different properties, working outside on different projects, and working with vendors and board members. I decided to give it a try, and Argus hired me after I got my CAM license.”
Jennifer has stayed with Argus except for a short stint with C & S Management, working as a portfolio manager until becoming an on-site manager last year. Jennifer shares, “Walt Hammerling, owner of Argus Property Management, has been the biggest influence in my career as a CAM. When I first started, I quickly learned that I like his style of work; he always had a very relaxed manner and laid-back approach that was successful with boards and owners. While he was busy with his own portfolio, he did take the time to assist me early on and teach me some of his tricks of the trade. To this day, I do my best to take the same logical, relaxed approach when dealing with challenges in this profession. It’s taken practice, since working with people as a CAM can be challenging, but I believe myself to be a successful CAM.”
One of Jennifer’s major achievements was the launching of 624 Palm Condominium Association in Sarasota. “I was assigned to the association while it was still in the process of being built. I was responsible for purchasing all of the startup maintenance materials, hiring all of the vendors, getting the association through the transition process, hiring the staff, getting the first and subsequent boards in place, establishing the first budget, and assisting the owners with move-in processes and warranty issues. It was a lot of work, but the building is running smoothly today, we’ve retained most of the vendors and staff through transition, and although there are still ongoing kinks to work out, I’m proud of the work that was done.”
Her new position as an on-site manager, which she has found educational and rewarding, has brought changes for Jennifer, while 2020 has added a new level of adapting for everyone. Jennifer notes, “We have
had to learn how to help our communities learn to function in a completely different manner. CAMs have had to deal with government regulations regarding amenities and make difficult decisions on whether to close them. It’s been a challenge dealing with disgruntled homeowners when the amenities do have to be closed. Boards and managers have had to learn how to conduct meetings via the internet, which is no small feat when you run a 55-plus community and the population is not as tech savvy. Other challenges managers are facing are owners who have lost investment money or jobs due to COVID-19 and have difficulty paying fees, or dealing with owners who travel and cause discomfort to others living in the same building due to quarantine restrictions.”
When not busy with her association, Jennifer spends time reading, running, and biking; she also enjoys going to the beach and spending time with friends and family. She decided to sacrifice some of her time to obtain her CFCAM certification, explaining, “I enjoy the learning process and am always looking to improve my skills and expand my knowledge in the field. More knowledge leads to a higher
performance level and being an overall better CAM.” We applaud her choice and achievement!
From your viewpoint in being associated with driving/advising on legislation, how serious is selective enforcement by an HOA, and what are the consequences? In your opinion, is an HOA that stops enforcing its covenants in abdication of their fiduciary duties? I have been forced to uphold standards that don’t exist in the documents and there are no (zero) rules and regulations to define standards. Isn’t that somewhat negligent?
First, thank you for the compliment, but I really have no influence in legislation! I wish I did.
It is not uncommon for HOAs to be slack and not enforce their deed restrictions. When a new board finally becomes aware they should be doing so, they can go through a series of policies established by motions in the minutes, draw a line in the sand, and say from now forward these are the rules and regulations of the community. Normally, rules and regulations are created by the board and are excerpts of the important items from the declaration, bylaws, and articles of incorporation that owners need to know.
Boards that don’t have rules and regulations and violation and collection policies and procedures leave themselves open for complaints from owners about selective enforcement. These can escalate into mediation proceedings that can end up in court with big legal fees.
Yes, the board of directors should uphold its fiduciary duty (which is higher than the “prudent man” rule). But without the DBPR/Division to act on behalf of the owners, HOA boards get away with a lot of mismanagement.
The course material “Policies and Procedures Manual” on the Florida CAM School’s website (accessed by clicking on the STORE tab) gives managers and boards many opportunities to create and vote on issues that would make their jobs easier and more consistent from board to board.
Staying in a position where you are told to do something contrary to the governing documents or the law puts a CAM in an ethical dilemma—do you stay or do you go?
We have a current board member who is telling people that it’s not correct to give their ballots to candidates running for election; they should be mailed/delivered to the management company. But, we had issues with ballots not getting counted last year by the management company and no one trusts them anymore.
So, last year when I ran for the board, I collected 40 two-envelope ballots from owners. This year we are going to use limited proxies for voting, which aren’t in envelopes. Can owners give their limited proxies to candidates running for the board?
I am not sure that I understand the issue or the question, and I’m not sure whether you’re speaking of a condominium or an HOA election.
There are specific statutes and rules for condominium elections, but HOA elections are document driven.
General or limited proxies are absolutely not allowed in condominium elections but may be in HOAs depending on what the documents say.
Ballots should be mailed or hand-delivered to one central place. It does not sound like a good idea to me for anyone, including candidates, to be going around collecting them. It does not pass the smell test.
Our board is taking out a line of credit, which is supposed to cover deductibles for insurable losses. I realize a line of credit does not impact the budget, but since it has the potential to impact it, do we need to give 14 days’ notice for the meeting?
Also, our documents make no mention of loans or line of credit, but in regard to repairs, it says that if the insurance proceeds are insufficient to cover the loss, the association shall levy an assessment against the unit owners in accordance with the declaration to cover any deficiency.
Does the above mean we cannot take out a line of credit unless we amend the documents? We want to make sure we do this correctly.
I am unaware of this type of situation being addressed in the statutes, and I’ve never personally seen it in governing documents.
Assuming you are also organized as a Florida Not for Profit Corporation, §617.0302, Florida Statutes, states the powers of the board of directors, one of which is to borrow money.
The decision to take out a line of credit seems to me to be a board business decision, and you can never go wrong with a 14-day written notice to the owners.
A lot of communities save for their insurance deductibles. The board can always set up a separate savings account and periodically move excess funds from operating into that savings account.
The Division of Condominiums permits boards to put this insurance deductible amount on the reserve schedule (and into the reserve bank account), though it would not have the lifing calculation. It would just show a balance and anticipated contribution for the year.
Rick Hernandez’s career in the painting and coatings industry started with a part-time job at Sears Roebuck and Company and then quickly grew to an assistant store manager position at Sherwin Williams Co.
When Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida on August 24, 1992, he decided to open his own company, and in October 1994 Sepi Corp. was born. The growth of Sepi Corp. went much better than anticipated. The new company was able to service both residential and commercial work.
A few years later the company was rebranded, and the name was changed to Sepi Painting and Waterproofing, Inc., which aided in marketing and led to additional growth. As the years passed,
services were added, such as waterproofing, electrostatic painting, and chemical coatings.
For more information, visit www.sepipainting.com.
Kevin M. Carroll, President & CEO
790 Park of Commerce Blvd., Suite 200
Boca Raton, FL 33487
Lang Management is very proud to be celebrating 40 years of offering elite property management services to fine properties and communities along the Gold Coast; from Hillsborough Mile north to Port St Lucie. I joined Lang more than 31 years ago and have held numerous positions over the years before assuming the responsibilities of President and CEO from William K. Isaacson. The company continues to be under the ownership of the Isaacson Family, who founded Lang Management in October 1980.
When I joined Lang, we managed approximately 45 communities. Today, we manage in excess of 200 communities with 200 employees inclusive of our corporate, satellite, and many on-site offices. Reflecting back on the growth and diversity of the South Florida residential real estate development activity over the past three decades, I am extremely proud to represent a company that has maintained such a stellar reputation for managing such prestigious properties.
While outside variables change, one constant is Lang Management’s great pride in the long-term relationships with our clients as well as our employees. We retain the best talent and embrace them as family. Teamwork is a cornerstone at Lang. We provide a team to our clients comprised of property managers, administrative support personnel, professional HR, comprehensive accounting services, IT personnel, and an executive support staff to lend assistance in any community manner.
Our designation as one of ten honorees for South Florida Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” for two consecutive years speaks as a testament to the dedication of our employees. I credit much of our 40 years of success to our tremendous loyal and dedicated staff.
As we look toward the future, we will strive to maintain our position as an industry leader in community and condominium association management, as we evolve to accommodate new technology, changes in country club communities, an increase in full-time residents, and certainly the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you for your support, and we look forward to continuing to serve you for many years to come!