FCAP Community—June 2023

FCAP Community

Published June 2023

     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/.

Betsy Barbieux

Because You Asked
By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA

     If the majority of the entire five-person board meets by telephone on a weekly basis at a set date and time and discusses nothing but building and board business without ever “noticing” the call, would you call these meetings illegal?
– Ron

     The telephone meetings may or may not be improper meetings. It certainly does not look good. If there are no minutes, then whatever they talk about didn’t happen. If they are entering into contracts or spending unbudgeted monies without proper documentation in the minutes, there may be some personal liability.
     The statute does not prohibit them from talking to each other. It prevents them from voting outside a properly noticed meeting. But they should not have pre-meeting discussions to pre-decide a topic that will be on a subsequent meeting agenda and then show up at the meeting and vote on something with no discussion during the meeting.
– Betsy

     At the annual membership meeting, I don’t understand the owners’ rights regarding making a motion and how it should be conducted and on what subjects.
     If homeowners may only make motions on agenda items, then how does a member add an item to the agenda? Can anyone bring up a subject during the new business portion?
– Margaret

     Agenda items must be predetermined at least 14 days before the annual meeting so they can be included on the agenda. How an owner gets something added to the agenda would be a matter of board policy. However, there are only four issues owners vote on besides the previous annual meeting minutes.

  1. Material alterations and substantial additions (only for condominiums and cooperatives, not HOAs)
  2. Amendments to the documents
  3. Lowering or waiving the reserves (until December 2024)
  4. Raising or lowering the level of the year-end financial reports

     All voting should be on a limited proxy with the motions already spelled out on it and mailed along with the annual meeting and notice 14 days ahead of time. Owners attending in person should use the same limited proxy form.
     In summary, owners can’t bring up issues or make motions at the annual membership meeting except to vote on the previous meeting minutes.
– Betsy

     Does the interest earned on reserve bank accounts have to be kept in the reserve fund, or can it be used for operating expenses?

     Interest on reserves stays in reserves. If using the straight-line method, it should be divided proportionately among the different components. I have my accountant split it up for me at the end of the year.
– Betsy

     My HOA has about 160 homes, and there is discussion on who is responsible for carrying out violation inspections. Is this the responsibility of a committee, the CAM, or the board? Maybe you could do a show on this?
– Ted

     Performing violation inspections is either (1) a policy created by the board designating a committee, or (2) contractual with the CAM or management company. There is no applicable “law.” It is procedural or contractual.
– Betsy

Marcy L. Kravit

Developing a Disaster Plan for Your Community Association

By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM, CSM
Director of Community Association Management Hotwire Communications
FCAP Program Coordinator

     Developing a disaster plan for a community association requires careful planning and preparation to ensure the safety of residents and property. Here are some recommendations:

     Develop an emergency plan—Managers should create an emergency plan that outlines the procedures to follow during a disaster. The plan should be distributed to all residents, and regular drills should be conducted to ensure that everyone understands his or her role in an emergency.

  1. Identify potential risks and hazards—The first step is to identify the potential risks and hazards that the community may face, such as natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados, or wildfires, as well as man-made disasters like fires, chemical spills, or active shooter scenarios.
  2. Assess the community’s vulnerability—Once you have identified potential risks and hazards, assess the community’s vulnerability to these risks. Determine which areas or buildings in the community are at the highest risk and prioritize these in your disaster plan.
  3. Develop an emergency response team—Select and train an emergency response team made up of community members, staff, and volunteers who can assist in the event of a disaster. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each team member.
  4. Establish communication protocols—Establish clear communication protocols for the emergency response team, residents, and local emergency services. Make sure everyone knows how to contact one another in the event of an emergency.
  5. Create an evacuation plan—Develop an evacuation plan that outlines evacuation routes, safe zones, and transportation options. Make sure all residents are familiar with the plan and practice evacuation drills regularly.
  6. Prepare emergency supplies—Prepare emergency supplies, such as food, water, medical supplies, and backup power sources, that can sustain the community during a disaster.

     Have emergency kits on hand—Managers should ensure that emergency kits are available on the property. These kits should include items such as first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and nonperishable food.

  1. First-aid kit—Stock up on basic first-aid supplies such as bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and gloves.
  2. Flashlights and batteries—Have a supply of flashlights and extra batteries in case of power outages.
  3. Portable radio—Keep a portable radio with extra batteries to stay informed of weather alerts and emergency information.
  4. Water and nonperishable food—Store enough water and non-perishable food to last for at least three days.
  5. Blankets and warm clothing—Have blankets and warm clothing available in case of cold weather or prolonged power outages.
  6. Trash bags and cleaning supplies—Stock up on trash bags and cleaning supplies to help with cleanup efforts after a disaster.
  7. Tools and equipment—Have basic tools such as a hammer, wrench, and screwdriver on hand as well as any equipment that may be needed for cleanup and repair efforts.
  8. Copies of important documents—Keep copies of important documents such as insurance policies, identification cards, and medical records in a safe, waterproof container.
  9. Cash—Keep a supply of cash on hand in case of power outages or other disruptions to banking services.

     It’s also a good idea to regularly review, test, and update your disaster preparedness plan and to educate yourself and your community about potential hazards and how to stay safe in an emergency situation.

     Inspect the property—Managers should conduct regular inspections of the property to identify any potential hazards that could cause damage during a disaster. This includes checking the roofs, windows, and doors for any signs of weakness as well as ensuring that trees are trimmed to avoid falling on buildings.

     Secure important documents—Important documents, such as insurance policies and legal documents, should be secured in a safe location that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency.

     Emergency contact information—Keep a list of important phone numbers and contact information for local emergency services, utilities, and community resources.

     Establish communication channels—Managers should establish communication channels with residents, emergency services, and other relevant authorities. This includes having a way to contact residents quickly in the event of an emergency, such as through text or email alerts.

     Contact insurance providers—Managers should contact their insurance providers to ensure that they have adequate coverage for potential disasters.

     In the aftermath of a disaster, managers should be responsible for the following:

     Assess the damage—Managers should assess the damage to the property and prioritize repairs based on the severity of the damage.

     Provide assistance to residents—Managers should provide assistance to residents who have been affected by the disaster, such as by providing temporary housing or arranging for transportation.

     Contact relevant authorities—Managers should contact relevant authorities, such as the local government and insurance providers, to report the damage and begin the claims process.

     Communicate with residents—Managers should communicate with residents regularly to provide updates on the repair process and any changes to the emergency plan.

     Here are some common types of insurance coverage that associations may want to consider for disaster preparedness:

  1. Property insurance—This covers the physical structure of the property and any common areas. It may also cover damage to personal property that is owned by the association.
  2. Liability insurance—This provides coverage in case someone is injured on the property and the association is found to be responsible.
  3. Flood insurance—This covers damage caused by flooding, which may not be covered under a standard property insurance policy.
  4. Business interruption insurance—This provides coverage for lost income and extra expenses that occur as a result of a disaster that interrupts normal business operations.
  5. 5. Terrorism insurance—This provides coverage for damage caused by acts of terrorism.

     Insurance coverage for associations can vary depending on the specific policy and the type of disaster. It’s important for community association managers to review their insurance policies regularly and understand what is covered and what is not to ensure that your association has the right coverage for your specific needs. You may also want to consider conducting a risk assessment to identify potential hazards in coordination with the disaster preparedness plan.

     By taking these steps, managers can help ensure that their property and residents are prepared for disasters and can respond effectively in the aftermath.

Measures Internet Service Providers Take to Prevent Outages During Disasters

     To prevent outages during disasters, ISPs often take several of the following measures:

  1. Redundancy—They build backup systems to prevent single points of failure. This may include redundant power supplies, multiple fiber routes, and redundant data centers.
  2. Disaster recovery planning—They have a disaster recovery plan in place that outlines the steps to take in the event of a disaster. This plan should include procedures for backup and restoration of critical data and systems.
  3. Monitoring—They monitor their network for any signs of trouble and take steps to address issues before they become full-blown outages.
  4. Communication—They keep their customers informed about any potential disruptions or outages and provide updates as needed. Utilize your community channel and ISP mobile app.

     In the aftermath of a disaster, ISPs may take the following steps:

  1. Assessment—They assess the damage to their network and infrastructure to determine the extent of the outage.
  2. Restoration—They work to restore services as quickly as possible, prioritizing critical services such as emergency communications.
  3. Communication—They keep their customers informed about the progress of the restoration efforts and any estimated time frames for service restoration.
  4. Support—They provide support to their customers, including technical assistance and information about how to file claims for damages or losses caused by the outage.

     Overall, ISPs take a range of proactive measures to prevent outages during disasters and are well-prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the aftermath.

     The following types of communication should be sent out to residents before, during, and after a disaster:

Before a disaster

  1. Emergency preparedness information—Send out information about emergency preparedness, such as how to create an emergency kit, evacuation plans, and emergency contact numbers.
  2. Insurance information—Share information about insurance coverage and encourage residents to review their policies and ensure that they have adequate coverage.
  3. Communication plan—Establish a communication plan for residents to follow during a disaster, including how they will receive updates and where they can find additional information.

During a disaster

  1. Emergency updates—Keep residents informed about the status of the disaster, including any evacuation orders or other important information.
  2. Evacuation instructions—Provide clear instructions for residents on how to evacuate, where to go, and what to bring.
  3. Safety information—Share information on how to stay safe during the disaster, such as avoiding flooded areas and downed power lines.

After a disaster

  1. Damage assessment—Provide information on the extent of the damage and what steps are being taken to address it.
  2. Recovery updates—Keep residents informed about the progress of recovery efforts, including any repairs or restoration of services.
  3. Assistance resources—Provide information about resources that may be available to assist residents with recovery efforts, such as disaster relief programs and community support services.
  4. Health and safety information—Share information on any health and safety concerns that may arise after the disaster, such as water contamination or mold growth.

     Clear and timely communication is critical during and after a disaster. By providing residents with the information they need, you can help them stay safe, make informed decisions, and feel more prepared to handle future emergencies.