Published January 2019
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/.
I live in a 137-unit homeowners association. They are looking at replacing all the fences in front and back of each unit as the current ones are about 30 years old and are falling apart. The board is telling us that we need to replace all the fences with the exact same fence as we currently have, even though they are antiquated. I do not see anything related to this in the Florida Statutes nor in our documents. Can you shed some light on this? Thank you so much. -Jay
There is not going to be a statute in the homeowners association statute that I can point out to give you any help. This is what we would call “document driven.” But most likely your documents are vague and say the common areas are to be maintained in a “uniform and harmonious manner according to the scheme and design of the developer.”
Obviously, there would be several types of materials that would have been used in construction 30 years ago that are not available now. Not only do I find this to be an issue with fences but also with windows and doors.
The board should seek legal counsel on how to proceed. Your attorney will likely give you two options. First, you can amend your documents to specify the fencing material and anything else that needs to be clarified; and second, use a series of board resolutions and motions so it is shown the board has taken a position, acknowledged the situation, drawn a line in the sand, and will proceed forward. That resolution and series of motions can be undone by subsequent boards, but at least this board can move forward and not be stalled. However, a document change is preferred.
Our office is managed by a person who has been here for years. She prepares estoppels, handles our cash, makes deposits, prepares all of our tax documents, etc. She is not a CAM. We are a condominium community where the manufactured homes are individually owned as are the lots we are on. The condominium owns all of the common grounds and provides lawn care and basic TV for our community. Is our office person required to have a CAM license?
Yes! If you are a community subject to Chapter 718, it does not matter what type of construction you have or whether you are a mobile home or whether you call your CAM an office clerk or park manager.
Any manager, whether they work for a management company or not, who performs any one of those services below while being remunerated by a community that has more than 10 units or a budget of $100,000 or more has to be licensed. Every community management company must keep a current list on file with the DBPR of all the licensed managers who work for them. This is one industry where you cannot work under someone else’s license, except in a timeshare.
Below is the relevant statute:
Section 468.43 Definitions (2)
“Community association management” means any of the following practices requiring substantial specialized knowledge, judgment, and managerial skill when done for remuneration and when the association or associations served contain more than 10 units or have an annual budget or budgets in excess of $100,000: controlling or disbursing funds of a community association, preparing budgets or other financial documents for a community association, assisting in the noticing or conduct of community association meetings, determining the number of days required for statutory notices, determining amounts due to the association, collecting amounts due to the association before the filing of a civil action, calculating the votes required for a quorum or to approve a proposition or amendment, completing forms related to the management of a community association that have been created by statute or by a state agency, drafting meeting notices and agendas, calculating and preparing certificates of assessment and estoppel certificates, responding to requests for certificates of assessment and estoppel certificates, negotiating monetary or performance terms of a contract subject to approval by an association, drafting prearbitration demands, coordinating or performing maintenance for real or personal property and other related routine services involved in the operation of a community association, and complying with the association’s governing documents and the requirements of law as necessary to perform such practices. A person who performs clerical or ministerial functions under the direct supervision and control of a licensed manager or who is charged only with performing the maintenance of a community association and who does not assist in any of the management services described in this subsection is not required to be licensed under this part.
I took your board certification course several months ago, and at the time we spoke about a past president of the association who was giving me a good deal of trouble. I am sure you don’t remember, but you told me to email you with any problems. Well, here goes. He has said that the check he sent to the association in September has not shown up on his bank statement, so he is accusing us of either losing it or just getting rid of it. According to our records, we received the check the second week of September, deposited it, and our bank says the check cleared the same day as deposited. Now he is accusing me/us of stealing, so he wants to see the books, which I have no problem with. He also wants a copy of the books. From what I understand, he has to accommodate us, not the other way around, and he can be charged for this. Am I right or not? He is insisting on an appointment at his convenience, not ours. If we can charge, how much can we charge? We use QuickBooks, so I hope he knows how to use it. Thank you for any help you can give me.
My understanding of the statutes is you have 10 business days from receipt of a written request to provide access to the records. My understanding is that you can set up a window of time within which he can look at the records, or you can make them available electronically to him or in paper form. The statute does not define “written.”
Under no circumstance should you let him sit at a computer and look at QuickBooks on the computer. You can give him a general ledger printout for the dates in question, or download the general ledger into an Excel spreadsheet and either email it to him or print it out.
Per Section 720.303(5), you can charge $.25 per page for anything over 25 pages and $20 per hour for personnel time that exceeds ½ hour.
It’s really easy to give him a copy of the canceled check from your banking online account. It’s kind of hard to dispute. The statute does not permit you to ask for a reason but just to make the records available to him.
Also, based on what attorneys say, you do not have to create records that do not exist such as a spreadsheet compilation of data that does not ordinarily exist.
If you continue to receive threatening requests, check with your attorney on how to proceed.
Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM
AKAM ON-SITE Managing Director
FCAP Education and Training Coordinator
How can I obtain the assistance I need with my association tasks in getting things done?
Managers have the ability to build a strong team and count on an array of talented and skilled people to call on to get the job done. Good managers can delegate effectively and can truly succeed at it through proper delegation. It is critical that in our role as managers we have the ability to communicate new assignments and tasks to our team and/or committees. We must communicate and present specific directions, deadlines, and/or timelines.
Carol Ellis, in the book Management Skills for New Managers, states the value of successful delegation: “Managers who delegate effectively have direct reports who are more capable and enthusiastic because of the delegation experience. A good manager knows that delegation is the way to achieve results through others.”
Stick to a plan for following up and following through on the employee’s performance. Timing is critical. Giving the employee a timeframe to getting the job done is essential. Deadlines will assist in monitoring her progress.
Explain why you need the help and why you have chosen this team member. Identify the scope, expectations, goals, and importance of the task. Be specific as to what you are asking and what you are expecting. Discuss how and why it needs to be done for a successful outcome. Seek a full commitment and “buy in.”
Note the benefits and why you need their assistance. Request that the individuals meet with you periodically and report on their progress. Encourage team spirit, follow-up, and feedback. If you cannot control it, do not delegate it!
Make sure to transfer your authority if you are assigning tasks that you would usually perform yourself. Identify to your board of directors that you have authorized a team member or committee members to request or collect information. Send an email to the individuals that you wish to assign the tasks, copy the board, and include it in your weekly management report for everyone to be on the same page. Once completed, recognize the individual’s accomplishments and include a photo of them in your report and or newsletter!
An association’s most valuable resource is its people. By empowering the people and the individuals who perform delegated jobs with the authority to manage those jobs, managers free themselves to manage more effectively.
Keep in mind that some tasks do not necessarily involve the employees and may be delegated to an association’s committee. Communities that have established committees may wish to participate and take on certain tasks that have been assigned by the board. Be sure to communicate with them and request that they provide a report or summary of their tasks.
For instance, if the association is seeking to remodel the lobby or perform renovations, request that the Design, Beautification, or Decorating Committee research neighboring associations and schedule visits to those buildings that recently performed renovations. This will assist you in getting their “buy in” and facilitate the task.
Many attitudes and beliefs of managers affect their ability to delegate effectively.
Which of these apply to you?
Ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered yes to at least two out of the four questions, then you may wish to consider delegating the task.
It is impossible for managers to be everywhere in a community and to oversee every aspect of the association. We are tasked with so many responsibilities and are approached on a daily basis with new ideas, projects, and assignments.
Decide when and what to delegate. Take the initiative and assign the task. For successful delegation, you will need to understand how to get your team members to perform and take pride in following through with the task. Think of tasks that will add variety and excitement to the employee’s job.
Carefully select the right team member whose skills are matched with the needs of the task. Assess the employee’s capabilities and potential.
For successful delegation, consider these aspects:
Items that Should Not Be Delegated to Your Employees:
Delegation encourages self-esteem. Be receptive to new ideas. Review the final outcome of the assignment and provide constructive ideas and positive feedback. Delegating is a great way to get things done while improving your coaching and mentoring. Developing and motivating your team will result in increasing and improving productivity and performance for your community!
In order to track your finances effectively in an HOA or condominium, it is essential to use software that is designed exclusively for that purpose. Even after an initial investment of $5,000 to $10,000, you should expect to spend about 20 percent of that cost each year thereafter. For example, a program that costs around $7,500 upfront would require an annual cost of $1,500 for the years following.
Most management companies hire controllers who audit the community’s books on a monthly basis. These controllers ensure that the financials are correctly being accounted for and verify that no fraud has occurred. Over the past few years, self-managed communities have proven to be the most common victims of theft and fraud, due to a lack of oversight. In order to address any sort of risk or potential for risk, you should engage your audit firm to conduct a monthly audit in addition to their statutory annual audit. About half the cost of your annual audit should be budgeted for this additional service; this service can cost upwards of around $3,000 per year.
Other financial costs to analyze are your banking costs. Your coupons may cost around $50 per month and lockbox integration around $100 per month, adding up to a total of about $1,800 per year.
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Founded in 1977, Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel, P.A. focuses on all aspects of community association matters, construction law, real estate, insurance, and corporate law. The law firm maintains offices in Coral Gables, Plantation, and West Palm Beach, Florida. It provides representation to a diverse client base throughout Florida and the nation, including more than 800 community associations.
Additional information on the firm is available at www.srhl-law.com, www.FloridaHOALawyerBlog.com, or by calling (305) 442-3334 or toll-free at (800) 737-1390.
For the last 25 years, Vesta Property Services has redefined Florida property management through superior amenities programming and lifestyle curation; managing homeowners and condominium associations; and providing affordable and direct financing for communities. Our community management division has been responsible for some of Florida’s most prestigious communities. Headquartered in Jacksonville, our regional offices are located throughout the state of Florida.
For more information about us, or to see how we can become vested in your community, visit www.vestapropertyservices.com, call us at (877) 988-3782, or email us at CustomerRelations@VestaPropertyServices.com.