FCAP Community—October 2020

FCAP Community

Published October 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) 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/cfcam-educational-program/.

Luz Quiros

Luz M. Quiros, CFCAM—Taking the Next Step
By Kathy Danforth

     The latest manager to achieve the CFCAM certification is Luz Quiros, who is an on-site manager with Seacrest Services.  A native of Colombia, she received an associate degree in hospitality and tourism administration with an emphasis on public relations, customer service, and event organization.  She worked in Medellín in customer service in various industries, including hospitality and airlines, as well as handled major event organization, training, and general administration.

          After moving to the United States in 2013, Luz soon chose property management. She notes, “I saw the CAM position as an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of each one of our communities and residents.  Having worked in customer service areas for most of my professional life, I felt that being a CAM was the best way to continue implementing exceptional service strategies to serve our community.  It showed me the best way to continue growing and doing what I loved the most.

          “I am proud of all my professional development through the years,” says Luz.  “Becoming a CAM and being able to learn and provide exceptional customer service to my residents has been extremely rewarding.  Being able to identify individual priorities and needs our residents have is a very important part of the process.”  And, a desire to augment that service led her to obtain her CFCAM “to expand my knowledge and the opportunity to grow within the community association management industry.”

          Luz shares, “My biggest influence was always my mother; she showed me there was nothing I couldn’t achieve if I was willing to try hard enough.”  When not working, Luz enjoys music, reading, the beach, and pursuing great photographs with her husband. “We travel on our motorcycle to take photos of beautiful landscapes around the country. Every time we have the opportunity, we use every minute to go visit the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee.”

          Congratulations to Luz on this next step in her career!

Betsy Barbieux

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

     I am new on our board, and I find we have a bully board member. He told me I could not look at payroll and personnel files. I was only trying to understand why employee salaries are 40 percent of the budget. Why can’t I see them? What are the “rules”?
– Patty

     Your scenario is not unusual; your email is the second email I received recently with a similar issue.

     The condominium, cooperative, and HOA statutes all permit owners’ access to records with seven prohibitions. Employee/personnel records are not open to inspection by an owner except for the management contract or employment agreement.

     However, since the board of directors votes on the budget, it would seem logical for a board member to have access to employee records with regard to salary, etc.

     If you are a Chapter 718 or Chapter 719 corporation, you have the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to help you compel the board to do right. There is a complaint form at the DBPR website, but unless you fill it out correctly, it likely won’t get serious attention.

     Otherwise, until more owners become concerned enough to run for the board and oust the bully, this situation will continue.
– Betsy

     My question is, what amount can a CAM charge per hour for recording the release of a lien? I would appreciate your help.
– Mira

     If you have a management contract that has a fee schedule with add-ons, the fee would be noted there. If it is not, it is probably not right to charge a fee that is not disclosed. If you are an employee of the association, you can’t charge a fee for doing your job. Otherwise, I am unaware of any statutory fee.
– Betsy

     Why won’t my CAM let me see a draft of the board meeting minutes at our HOA? I thought drafts were open to inspection by owners.
– Troy

     My understanding is drafts of budgets and drafts of minutes are official records because they are “written.” Section 720.303 (l) ll other written records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.

     In reading some of the blogs, it seems the Division and some attorneys’ opinions are the same—drafts of minutes are open to owners.

     This is from a Becker lawyer’s blog and relates to condominiums. In part, it says the following:

     Q: As a condominium owner, do I have the right to obtain a copy of draft minutes of the preceding board meeting before the next board meeting where those draft minutes are to be approved?

     A: Yes, if the draft meeting minutes are in the possession of the condominium association at the time the written request is made. . . .

     The Florida Condominium Act defines “official records” broadly. Specifically, Section 718.111(12)(a)6 of the Act provides that the minutes of all meetings of the condominium association, its board of directors, and the unit owners, constitute official records. Further, Section 718.111(12)(a)15 of the Act contains a “catch all” provision which appears to encompass all “written” records that relate to the operation of the association. In my opinion, unapproved minutes qualify as such.

     Unapproved minutes have been the subject of an arbitration decision rendered by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. In one case, the arbitrator found that it may be inferred that draft minutes, though unapproved, are also required to be maintained as official records, and made available to the unit owners. In another case, the arbitrator also held that a management company employee’s draft meeting minutes became official records of the condominium association at the moment they are put in the possession of the condominium association. While decisions of the Division are not binding legal precedent, they are sometimes considered to be persuasive if presented in the course of legal proceedings. www.beckerlawyers.com/hoa-rule-amendments-must-be-recorded-news-press/

     And then I received this response from Mary-Frances Katona, DBPR, Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, Bureau of Compliance, Investigator Supervisor.

Hi Betsy!
     To be honest, I don’t know about 720, but I do know that in 718 and 719 draft minutes are considered official records and are open to inspection before they are officially approved. Hope this is helpful.
– Mary-Frances Katona, Investigator Supervisor

     And remember the DBPR does not oversee Chapter 720 associations except in cases of election disputes or recalls, but I value her opinion.

     My last thought is, why would anyone not make them available? It makes no sense. It really is tacky not to provide drafts of minutes since the meeting could have been recorded by any owner in attendance.
– Betsy

Marcy Kravit

Managing Parking in Your Community Association
Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM
Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) Education Program Director

     Parking is one of the biggest issues for a community, especially when residents own multiple vehicles and there is a shortage of space. Depending on the type of community, an HOA or condominium, the association will have rules and regulations giving residents specific direction as to where they may park within the community.

     In an HOA community, residents park in their garages or driveways; however, depending on the number of vehicles and if their garage is unoccupied, they may park on the street and not make use of their garage to house their vehicles. Homeowners may have college kids who have returned home or grandparents visiting. In these situations, people resort to parking vehicles on the roadways along the curbs. Not only is this an inconvenience for traffic flow, it potentially could prevent an EMS (emergency medical service) vehicle from accessing the street when another vehicle is parked tandem across the street. This issue may be a violation of the HOA parking rules and regulations which constitutes potential fines. Some associations have hired outside parking enforcement companies to sticker and fine repeat offenders.

     In a high-rise condominium community, parking is often limited. Parking spaces are either deeded or assigned. Depending upon when the condominium was built, the garage may have been built to accommodate one vehicle per unit. Therefore, the guests’ parking spaces are used up by the residents’ second vehicles. Typically, when assigned parking is in place, a vehicle may only be parked in the designated parking space assigned by the board.

     Depending on the CC&Rs, a designated parking space may not be changed or rented separately from the unit it is assigned to, except as provided in the Declaration or CC&Rs. In some high-rise buildings, a valet is mandatory.

     In most garages, the use of a garage gate entry device is issued for authorized vehicles to be used for entry. Residents may be required to provide a copy of their registration and given a decal. Remote control devices or scan tags/bar codes may be required to gain access to the community and/or the parking garage.

     Community association parking rules typically include restrictions for boats, trailers, RV campers, camper trucks (other than pickup trucks that may be permitted with specific requirements), inoperable vehicles, vehicles with expired tags, abandoned vehicles, commercial vehicles with lettering, and any other type of trade service vehicles. Community associations adopt rules to protect property values and preserve the aesthetics of the community.

     Over the years, pickup trucks have become extremely popular. In the past, pickup trucks were often banned from community associations. Some community associations have permitted them if they are no larger than a one-half ton chassis and meet the following requirements:         

  1. Without infringing in any way on the adjacent parking spaces (front, back, and sides).
  2. Which do not bear any writing, legend, inscription, or advertising of any kind, nature, or description on the bodies thereof.
  3. Which are free of any contents in the bed of the truck or completely sealed (covered) with a tight-fitting cover that will conceal the contents.

     Under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as HUD regulations, associations are required to provide reasonable accommodations for handicap parking and may need to revisit their policies and procedures. Modifications may be necessary to provide those reasonable accommodations for residents with a disability. It is always recommended to consult your association attorney when dealing with these types of requests.

How to Resolve Parking Violations

     First and foremost, the association must determine if it has the authority to enforce the restrictions and if there is a grievance committee in place to allow a resident to formally appeal the violation.

Florida law authorizes a party that owns or leases property, including condominium associations or their authorized representatives, to tow a vehicle off the premises if it is parked there without permission and proper signage is posted. However, there also must be prominent notices on the premises indicating its tow away zones prior to any vehicle being towed away. Try to locate the owner of the vehicle prior to towing.

     This requirement does not apply to single family home residences. The law also applies to vessels, which Florida law defines as a “watercraft, barge, and airboat used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.” Businesses may also authorize the towing of a vehicle if it is parked in a way that restricts the business’s normal operation or obstructs access to a private driveway.  It is a good idea to consult with your association’s legal counsel prior to towing any vehicle from the property.

     The association’s CC&Rs may allow for the suspension of an owner’s rights to park in the garage, suspension of their transponder to access the property through the resident’s entrance (entry through the guest entrance as an alternate means of access)  and/or usage of the amenities if they fail to adhere to the parking regulations.

    As manager, you may want to consider placing a courtesy call or request an in-person discussion to address the issues to resolve them. Post the rules and regulations in the community newsletter. Keep your residents informed and updated of new policies or changes to the parking rules. Include them in your welcome packages and review them at the new resident orientation.

     Residents who repeatedly violate parking rules and regulations must be given warnings. Do not selectively enforce the rules. Be consistent.

     Dealing with parking issues uniformly and enforcing rules will send a strong message to others, and residents will hopefully get the message and follow them. If your association encounters challenges, it is always recommended to consult your association attorney when dealing with these issues.