Published March 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) courses. 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/.
Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) is excited to announce that Gregory Lekanides is one of the latest community association managers (CAMs) to join the growing ranks of Certified Florida Community Association Managers (CFCAM).
The first issue is the need to keep up with ongoing changes to the statutes. A second issue is to train new board members to understand what their responsibilities are.
I decided to become a CAM because I find the profession to be a challenging one. Every day is so different.
I wanted to hone my skill set, and I desired to expand my knowledge so I could grow to be above average in my profession.
I am proud of my successful real estate career prior to becoming a CAM.
The greatest challenge is to make my clients realize their dreams through property ownership.
I find it to be a reward to serve as a mentor to new, younger candidates.
I enjoy outdoor activities, martial arts, street festivals, and the beach.
FCAP congratulates Gregory for his pursuit and attainment of his CFCAM certification!
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part article that deals with exterior renovations, restorations, and upgrades. The first part ran in the February 2020 issue and can be read at www.fcapgroup.com/flcaj/flcaj-articles/fcap-community-february-2020/.
Questions to ask when considering exterior renovations and upgrades:
Once a decision has been made to update the common areas, the board of directors may wish to form an operating committee. This committee is responsible for providing recommendations to the board of directors and may take on the task of interviewing potential contractors for the project.
If project fund planning has been done properly, the money for the project should be readily available. Owners will not have to worry about an increase in fees or a special assessment to meet the financial commitment the project entails. If not, the board of directors may wish to consider a line of credit, financing, or a special assessment.
Reserve fund management is extremely important when it involves re-roofing, paving, painting, or any project that exceeds $10,000. Long-term planning in any business or corporation is critical in order to avoid special assessments or bank loans. The basis for scheduled replacement of physical assets is a reserve study.
Communication is the key. The owners must know what is happening with their money. Keeping the lines of communication open fulfills the need to keep unit owners aware of the activities and scope of work. This can also assist in gaining the much-needed support during an exterior renovation project.
The committee and manager may present a preliminary budget for the project. This will ensure that the project is within the budget and that the association is able to allocate the proper amount for the renovations.
Drawings and specifications may be required. Consider hiring an engineer, who will provide accurate drawings and specifications and a list of qualified contractors. A pre-bid meeting may be required depending on the scope of work.
The project will then be sent out for sealed bids. The committee may open the bids with the engineer and provide a spreadsheet for discussions and recommendations to the board members.
The committee chair may present the project bids to the owners and board and will answer any questions they may have. He or she will also explain the project at this time. This is a great opportunity to obtain owner input.
Once the board has reviewed all of the sealed bids, they will need to come to a decision on the contractor for the project. Consult with the association attorney to draft the contract.
Before signing a contract, take these steps:
Once you sign the contract, the engineer will need to monitor the work. It is important to schedule site meetings so that he or she can review the work, issue notices as required, conduct a final inspection of the work, and sign off the project.
When choosing a contractor, thoroughly investigate the references and track record of the contractor being considered. In a fully occupied high-rise building, work must be coordinated and meticulously executed. The workplace must be left clean at all times to minimize the inconvenience to the owners—selecting the wrong contractor can be a nightmare!
Consider taking before and after photos of the area and/or equipment to be replaced. Exterior renovations can be effectively undertaken with proper planning. It is the responsibility of the board to ensure that a qualified, licensed, and insured contractor is hired to perform the work.
It is a good idea to select a contractor who has completed several condominium renovations, including a number of projects that are similar in scope. As you interview each bidder, educate yourself about the work that he suggests needs attention as well as what you want to accomplish.
Once you get started with the project, it is also advisable to have the contractor provide a detailed construction schedule that outlines the timeframes for the progress of the project before signing a contract. This will also assist in the release of liens and payment process. A liquidated damage clause may be considered to be added to the contract. This allows for the association to charge the contractor for failure to perform.
Good contractors are professionals and want to serve you the best way they can, so take the time to get the right contractor for the project. Ask questions until you’re satisfied. Work with them and establish a good relationship.
Routine and preventative maintenance programs can prolong the useful life of the physical assets. The value of the community’s aesthetic exterior renovations goes beyond dollars and cents. It’s the feeling you get when you pull up to the community every day. It’s the way it enables your community to express its unique personality and style. It’s the compliments you will receive from guests, realtors, and visitors.
The board of directors must focus and take a business approach in order to provide the confidence and trust that the association needs to succeed in expediting the project. In addition, communicating with the project experts, manager, and owners will ensure that the renovations will result in quality workmanship, attention to detail, superior performance, and excellent resident relations. The overall satisfaction from the improvements will add fulfillment for all members and value to the property.
We will be having an election in 2020, and most of the directors have served on the board longer than eight years. Now that we have more people running than required, how can this affect the eight-year term? One owner who owns two units wants to run for two director seats. Is this possible?
The legislators have not yet clarified and corrected the statute regarding the eight-year term. What the statute is missing is when to start counting the eight years. There is no answer at the moment.
The statute does say that each unit can send a representative owner of that unit to run for the board, so I guess that if an owner owns two units he or she could put his or her name in for each unit for a board position.
Normally, directors are elected by the membership at the annual meeting, and then the newly elected directors choose their officers among themselves. So, in the normal course of corporate business, owners do not run for president or secretary or treasurer; they run for an open board seat. Officer positions are chosen after the adjournment of the annual meeting when the newly elected board members convene their organizational meeting. In other words, the members elect the board members, and the board members elect the officers.
I own a condominium, and at our annual owners’ meeting in October, a board meeting followed. I asked for the minutes to these meetings but got nowhere, so I made a legal request to the condo association’s lawyer. All he gave me was the agenda, stating that no minutes are available. Is there a Florida Statute I can invoke—like, is there a time limit for board minutes to be released? I would appreciate your advice.
Minutes and drafts of minutes are considered official records and are available for inspection and copying by owners upon a written request.
There is a “business practice” that says minutes should be typed up within 30 days of the meeting. However, the Florida Statutes say the person in control of the records must make them available to you within 10 business days of the request. Waiting 30 days to type them up could put the community in violation of the statutes should an owner request access.
That does not mean that documents have to be emailed to you. The keeper of the records can give you an appointment within the 10-business-day window, and you go to where the records are located and view them. You may make copies and pay for those copies.
Failure of the person in control of the records to allow your inspection and copying within 10 business days of your written request will give you the remedy of filing a complaint against the board of directors or person in control of the records. The statute to quote is Section 718.111(12)(c).
Our HOA recently nominated the husband of a current board member (the wife) to fill the seventh board seat. The outgoing president sees nothing wrong with having a husband and wife team from the same household (lot) on the HOA board. It appears to several of us that having one property holding two board seats with two votes does not fairly represent the entire HOA community. Our bylaws do not cover this issue. I am interested in your thoughts.
Chapter 720 [addressing HOAs] does not prohibit co-owners of a lot/home from serving on the board at the same time as do Chapters 718 and 719.
While your logic is reasonable, there is no law. And if your bylaws do not address the issue, then the appointment seems appropriate.
Section 720.306 (9) ELECTIONS AND BOARD VACANCIES.—
(a) Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the association. Except as provided in paragraph (b), all members of the association are eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a meeting where the election is to be held;
The exception referred to in paragraph (b) is the monetary delinquency and convicted felon status language.