Published December 2022
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/membership/education-training/.
We are having a condominium building repainted. The color committee has two options. Does the majority of the association decide, or does the committee? I read all kinds of confusing information about voting.
Changing the color of paint from the original scheme and design of the developer is considered a material alteration and, in a condominium, requires a 75 percent vote of the entire membership unless your documents say something less. That is a bigger vote than 75 percent of those present (in person or by proxy).
Likely, the board would vote at a board meeting to make that proposal to the membership, but the membership has the final say.
Be sure the limited proxy for the membership meeting has only two choices; otherwise, you cannot get a 75 percent vote of the entire membership. The limited proxy should clearly state the choices so a member can easily vote “yes” or “no.” Choices should be narrowed down to two. It must be signed and have the unit number/address noted on it.
All membership voting should always be on a limited proxy. It is not a ballot with envelopes; the votes are not secret. Voting needs to be on a limited proxy so you can produce the voting results in case of a “request to access records.”
There should never be a voice vote or a show of hands vote except to approve the previous meeting minutes and to adjourn.
I have a question I hope you won’t mind answering. We are having our first annual meeting, election, and organizational meeting at the end of the month. The second notice of election is due to be mailed out along with the annual meeting notice and agenda, etc. Please clarify for us about the affidavit of mailing. My CAM is out of the office, so can I as the admin put all the papers together and prepare them for mailing and sign the affidavit of mailing, or does the CAM have to do this task?
You, the admin, can copy and stuff papers for the annual meeting package and sign the affidavit for someone else to notarize. No license is needed. The election papers—the second notice and the ballots and envelopes and candidate information sheets—can be put in with the annual meeting package.
One member on my three-member board recently resigned, leaving me with only two members. The annual meeting is coming up, and I received candidate forms from these two and one more by the deadline.
So, does the newer candidate take the secretary’s place? Is there anything I need to do? I know they need to take the board of directors’ certification class and update the annual report on SunBiz.org. Thank you for your help!
Just a technicality—the incoming candidate takes a board seat. Then after the election and annual meeting are adjourned, the three of them will convene the board’s organizational meeting and will elect their officers at that time.
The newer candidate does not automatically take the secretary seat. A board seat is different than the role and duties of an officer. Your situation can be a little confusing because you only have three board seats and only three officers, so the distinctions get blurred.
Remember, in a condominium or cooperative, you only have elections if there are more candidates than seats. To be a valid election, at least 20 percent of good ballots must be returned.
Does it state anywhere in Chapter 718 who is limited to having access to the office computer and files, etc.?
Usually this would be a board policy or management company policy. Owners may make a request to access records, and you may or may not make those records available on a computer.
I was one of your board certification students a few years ago, and I have a question. In regards to “reading something into the minutes,” how does this work? Who may request that something be read into the minutes? Any resident? Must it be read aloud at a board meeting? Must it be published with the next minutes for all voting residents to see?
It would be improper for a resident to have something “read into the minutes.” It is a board meeting and though owners are permitted to make “comments” to any identified agenda item, those comments are not recorded in the minutes.
Officers or committee chairs giving oral reports should also have a written report, which is given to the secretary to attach to the minutes. The minutes for that item will read, “Joe Smith gave the report on the _____; attached.”
Board members should receive copies of minutes far enough ahead of the board meeting so they can read them before the meeting. There is no need to read minutes out loud at the board meeting. “Reading a report into the minutes” and reading the minutes out loud at the next meeting are huge time wasters and unnecessary.
Hurricane Ian roared ashore at approximately 150 mph near Cayo Costa, a barrier island west of Fort Myers, shortly after 3:00 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Ian strengthened to a Category 4 storm that brought life-threatening storm surges, flooding, and rainfall to Florida’s Gulf Coast. The hurricane made its final landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina, at 2:05 p.m. two days later as a Category 1 storm.
Communities in Florida suffered the aftermath, and residents looked to community association managers (CAMs) to recover from this devastating hurricane.
When a community experiences extensive hurricane damage, the CAM must work closely with the board of directors, association attorney, CPA, insurance adjuster, and others to take the necessary steps in navigating the challenges in the aftermath of a hurricane.
The association is relying on the CAM to provide professional guidance to keep everyone calm, earn the trust and confidence of the residents, and communicate to residents that the CAM will ensure that the recovery process will remain on track for a positive outcome.
The first step is to fully assess the safety risks and implement protocols that should have been in place prior to the hurricane. Keep in mind that staff will need to assess and evaluate their homes and families’ situations prior to returning to the property.
Despite pre-storm preparations to protect the property equipment from failures and damages, ensure that all equipment, such as domestic water, pool pumps, and elevators are up and running, safe, secure, and fully functioning.
Make a list of all necessary repairs and identify the areas that require immediate attention. Check utility lines, sewer lines, and gas lines for damages. Turn off circuit breakers if there is evidence of any downed or exposed lines from electrical or mechanical sources.
Make sure that the ingress and egress of the association property is clear once it is safe to do so.
It is recommended that the members and key management personnel obtain CERT training prior to the hurricane. They will have knowledge of how to utilize the resources in the community, and the members of the CERT committee can keep management informed.
Contact vendors, insurance agent, lenders, local government officials, and the association attorney in the aftermath of the hurricane.
The coordination efforts of the board and management relies heavily upon the relationships of the business partners and service providers. Contact your vetted vendors and resources to mitigate the damages and schedule debris removal, repairs, and restoration work. You may want to ensure that if you have an outsourced security or janitorial company that they have a recovery team and can furnish additional personnel if necessary.
Contractors hired to perform storm damage repairs should have adequate insurance and licensing. It is recommended to have vetted these contractors prior to the storm and establish a relationship with them to ensure your property is on their priority list.
Although time is of the essence in moving forward with the repairs, it is important to ensure that legal counsel reviews the contracts and documents prior to proceeding.
Boards have been granted broad emergency powers in accordance with Section 718.1265, Florida Statutes. State laws and document restrictions were designed to ensure owners have access to information and input in the decision-making process, which had previously impeded disaster recovery efforts for condominium associations.
Fortunately, the Condominium Act was amended to provide condominium boards with the ability to operate differently when a state of emergency is declared, which includes the right to use reserve funds without having to obtain a prior membership vote. It is always recommended to consult with the association attorney and CPA first.
FEMA provides assistance programs to support disaster recovery.
To see if the association and/or your residents qualify, check out their policy guide: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_pappg-v4-updated-links_policy_6-1-2020.pdf.
The Red Cross access to assistance is at https://www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter.html.
To help Floridians recover from hurricanes, Volunteer Florida offers assistance at https://www.volunteerflorida.org/.
It is important to open the lines of communication to the owners and assign a committee member(s) or designated board member(s) prior to the hurricane as the point person for communications—one for the service provider professionals and one for residents to work alongside the manager.
If the power is working, the number of resident inquiries can be decreased if the association utilizes the following: a robocall system, emails, community message boards, community channel, set top box television messages (enabled from your telecommunications provider), community app, and website to communicate with residents. Please keep in mind that your management team will be overwhelmed with remediating and restoring the property.
If a committee was formed prior to the hurricane, the members should have obtained a list that included residents’ temporary destinations, contact info, and phone numbers of the residents that evacuated, in addition to maintaining a list of those who remained on the property. If the area was under a mandatory evacuation order, then the residents will need to obey that order until it has been lifted.
Inspect, photograph, and video evidence of damages. An inspection prior to the hurricane documenting the current condition of the property should have already been in place to compare against the current condition of the property.
Contact the association’s insurance agent and its legal counsel to determine who will be responsible for the damages and inquire with your agent the insurance deductible amount that is required to be met after an event. If your association needs further guidance, legal counsel will provide the necessary steps in making sure the association receives the best advice in addressing the necessary repairs.
Florida Statutes 718.1111(11) outlines the responsibilities with regard to insurance and who is responsible for what. Unit owners will need to contact their insurance agents to assess and evaluate the damage to their units.
The insurance adjuster assigned to the claim by your insurance carrier is not typically motivated to get your property the most money possible. The association may want to consider hiring an individual public adjuster to handle this challenging and complex process. The majority of the public adjusters that work with associations will review your association’s coverages and work on a percentage basis to value the claim and assist in the risk for recovery.
In summary, here is an overview and checklist:
To aid in the recovery, communication is key and keeps the residents apprised of the conditions and the resources for them to access information if necessary. The CAM’s readiness and plans will assist in the continuity of this process, knowing that he or she has the best interests in mind for the benefit of all.