Published November 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/.
“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” -Dale Carnegie
There are new trends which are creating more and more challenges in managing properties. If you are struggling to manage, you are not alone. Talk to your board members, colleagues, management company, and trusted peers about the challenges you are having.
Draft a log and document the situations you are facing. Since the pan-demic, implementation of new laws, along with the increase in costs for insurance, payroll, supplies, and services and sometimes unrealistic demands and expectations, has created a new wave of transformation sweeping across the industry. It has become more and more difficult to stay ahead of the curve to provide outstanding, cost-effective, white-glove services.
Management companies have been challenged with staffing and supply shortages; aging buildings; increases in leaks and repairs, which have led to more projects; increases in resident-to-resident issues due to remotely working from home; and the need for adopting new technologies to get more work done with fewer resources.
Employee retention plays a vital role, and the nationwide talent pipeline with rising pay can be challenging in fulfilling the need for hiring qualified individuals to meet the demands for successful growth and operational efficiencies. Filling open roles and managing the high call and email volume can be challenging.
With the increase in the number of residents working from home, the heightened demands and expectations can cause a lower level of patience and delays in response times (due to dealing with the complaint before the issue can be resolved), which can put more pressure on the management team.
Technology has improved automating some of the tasks and has also increased efficiencies in expediting requests such as work orders, paying assessments, and access control. Boards must work together to ensure that all unit owners and residents understand their roles and management’s roles, duties, and responsibilities and that gaslighting, abusive behavior, harassment, and intimidation are not part of the business. Transparency, improving communication, and creating a team company culture can improve and preserve the morale of the residents and employees. With the right internal atmosphere, you can develop, grow, and motivate a highly engaged, motivated, and committed community that people will be proud of.
Managers lead and show the way. They inspire others and must exude enthusiasm. You can’t teach someone empathy and how to have a good attitude.
Empathy is a two-way street, and residents need to have a greater understanding and appreciation of their professional management team and the daily challenges they are facing in managing their properties. Unproductive and excessive after-hours board meetings where the same agenda items seem to appear each time can be controlled if the board and management clearly define the agenda and conduct business as per Robert’s Rules of Order.
Individuals who make trouble thrive on anger and reactions. Those that thrive on seeing others get upset should be controlled by eliminating the emotional reaction and handling them with kid gloves, controlling the abusive resident. Some people just want to vent and get something off their chest to address what they feel is a major issue. There is an open forum allowing residents to speak to avoid them monopolizing the meeting. The board and management must have the ability to conduct business.
It appears that those who thrive on negative attention will act out at a board meeting and lose control. Boards and management must not lose emotional control of the meeting no matter how upset and disruptive the abusive owner becomes. Stick to the agenda items, and give the person reassurance that he or she will be heard and given an opportunity to speak on one issue. You may wish to request that the individual submit concerns in writing. If the abusive owner does not behave, ask that owner to leave the meeting. If things get out of hand, it is advised to contact legal counsel and a cease-and-desist letter may need to be in order. Whenever there is a threat of any harm, harassment, or abuse, it is recommended to stay calm and call the police.
Managing associations is a huge responsibility, and with it comes the pressure to perform, deal with governance and conflict, and address immediate tasks, crises, and emergencies. On August 22, 2022, a heartbreaking, devastating tragedy occurred in Atlanta, GA, where Michael Shinners, a 60-year-old manager, was shot and killed; and Michael Horne, the building engineer, was wounded. According to the Atlanta police, it was believed that a disgruntled resident targeted them. Mr. Shinners was a longtime CAI member and earned the highest designations. This situation should never occur in a community association where we work to protect and support one another.
The majority of board members have strong ideas of what being on a board is all about. Capturing the board’s eagerness, enthusiasm, and willingness to govern for the common good of the community can be accomplished in conjunction with the manager’s expertise, knowledge, experience, and guidance. Managers are licensed professionals and have specific knowledge that is required of them to maintain their license and a code of ethics that must be followed.
The management company along with the board must focus on generating sustainable and realistic goals and growth and must set clear expectations. Holding weekly meetings with staff keeps everyone on the same page. Hiring the right people and holding them accountable will help them be more effective. To be successful in facing the many challenges, managers need the cooperation of residents, their staff, and all board members. Experienced managers are knowledgeable and educated. Once trust and confidence have been established, the board of directors should consent to allow their manager to manage in providing guidance, prioritizing the association’s goals, and leading them in the right direction.
Therefore, good communication will aid in the process. Sharing information on the issues and discussing issues with the members gives them a sense of purpose in the operation of the association. Board members who rely on seasoned managers can effectively approach a variety of issues and deal with the challenges of managing a successful community association. Listening is an essential tool for all.
Human emotions, turbulent times, and exhilarating moments can sometimes interfere and cloud the mind and ability to be levelheaded.
The purpose of the board is to represent the interests of the owners as a whole as these interests relate to the property. They are responsible for making timely decisions on behalf of the owners. Being a board member is not a casual undertaking.
By working closely and proactively with management, the board can spend its time on areas that can move the community forward, enhancing results and solutions. Mistakes will occur, but with proper guidance and the hiring of experts in their respective fields, the board can reduce the number of mistakes and develop a full understanding of what it takes to manage the community.
I hope that these suggestions will offer positive solutions and satisfying direction for the community to work together for the best interests of the association when faced with the many challenges in managing associations.
Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in South Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations. Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal (FLCAJ) and serves FCAP as their education program director.
I thought one of the statute changes was that all meetings changed to a 14-day notice, but when I was reviewing them last night, that does not look like the case. We have been sending letters out 14 days in advance for all of our board meetings. We have a board that wants to meet sooner than the 14 days. Can you clarify if this changed, or can we just do the 48-hour notice? Is this for committee meetings, too?
There were no statute changes for meeting notices. All board meetings are 48-hour posted notice and agenda unless it’s a (1) final budget meeting or (2) imposing a non-emergency special assessment or (3) changing rules and regulations that affect the use of the owners’ unit or lot or (4) setting their insurance deductible. Those four board meetings require a 14-day written notice and agenda to the owners.
Can the compliance committee postpone a fine decision to their next meeting to allow the homeowner more time to correct their violation? The board imposed a fine on an owner who has been noncompliant off and on for almost an entire year, always promising to correct the violations.
The compliance committee was hesitant to affirm the fine, thinking the monies could be put to better use to correct the violations. The committee was advised that Robert’s Rules allows committees to “table” an issue until their next meeting. So they did, asking the homeowner to correct the violation by October. Can they “table” this issue?
Tabling is a formal Robert’s Rules of Order procedure and almost always misunderstood. A board or committee can only “table” a motion that has been made, seconded, but not yet voted on. The name of the motion is “lay on the table.” Then, that “tabled” motion must be “taken from the table” and voted on before the end of that meeting. This procedure is not appropriate for a compliance (aka fine/appeals) committee.
Per statute, the owner is given one single opportunity to appeal the fine before the committee. The sole role of that committee is to affirm or reject the fine imposed by the board. They don’t have any negotiation ability or the option to postpone or extend its meeting. The scheduled compliance committee meeting date given to the owner should be the one and only date.
The BOD is discussing the name change from security guards to something else to help reduce potential liabilities. Have you come across any other name for the security department from other associations? Or, do you have an idea of a name?
Is it mandatory to have defibrillators? If so, do you need them for each building?
Most communities took the word “security” out of the records and budget line-item years ago. I have seen “access control” used instead.
Based on our safety session at YES/Yearly Educational Summit, the defibrillators are a good idea to have in the clubhouse but are not required. But be sure to check with your general liability insurance agent for the best answer.
I was recently asked if I had any resources for researching CAMs’ salaries. There are so many factors and variables, and I don’t have access to much information. Can you give any insight into possible salary ranges? Anything you may be able to share is appreciated.
The best place to look for salary information is the Florida Community Association Journal’s website (www.fcapgroup.com), and you’ll see there is a salary survey there. Another resource would be the CAI website (www.caionline.org).
I want to verify that I correctly understand the information in your book. I do not need to send out the agenda with the first notice, correct? All I need to include is the notice along with the intent to be a candidate as well as the candidate info sheet, correct? Any clarity you can provide is greatly appreciated!
Remember this is a two-track process for condominiums and coops. There is an election process going on at the same time as the annual meeting process—two different processes happening at the same time and both ending at the annual meeting.
The first notice of election is sent out 60 days in advance. This form is a request for board member self-nominations. I created a notice of intent to run form, but candidates can make up their own. Management may or may not provide a candidate information sheet, or the candidate can create their own.
With the 60-day first notice of election, you do not send any of the annual meeting forms. If there is going to be an election, the second notice of election is sent out 34–14 days before the election date. This includes the ballots, envelopes, and candidate information sheets.
Also, at 14 days before the annual meeting, the annual meeting notice, agenda, proxies, previous meeting minutes, and anything else that owners are going to vote on are sent. This is the notice that requires an affidavit of mailing.
This process is still confusing to the best of CAMs, so I have a whole CAM Matters™ YouTube show devoted to it.