FCAP Community—September 2023

FCAP Community

Published September 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

     The association owns one of the units, and it is being used as a long-term rental. The association wants to vote on whether to sell the unit or keep it as a rental. Would it be a majority vote of 50 percent+1 to decide to sell or a 3/4 vote? 
– Anna

     Selling the unit is probably considered a material alteration. Check your declaration to see what the vote is. Also, check your declaration to see if there is any special provision on selling common elements.
     If the declaration is silent, the vote would be 75 percent of the entire membership (big vote) with everyone using a limited proxy.
– Betsy

     I hate to bother you, but I’m so green. We (the board and I) are currently dealing with a difficult homeowner. Last month this homeowner requested official records since 2021, which we furnished. Apparently we did not provide the owner with all the wanted information, and the homeowner is now requesting ALL OFFICIAL RECORDS for the last five years. I know we have to provide them within 10 days, but my question is, who pays for this? This is beyond my normal duties and also beyond the normal duties of the bookkeeper/accounting team, not to mention the cost of making copies and mailing them. The last request ended up costing the association about $120, and I didn’t even bill for my time. 
     The request also includes all the homeowners’ phone numbers, but we have no documentation that homeowners want their numbers distributed. Are these requests unreasonable? Is it time to contact the association attorney?
– Ainsley

     The board has statutory authority to create a policy for owners’ requests to access records and limit the number of items requested. Here is a suggested form—http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/documents/AccessToRecordsRequest.pdf. The board could add to the policy charges for personnel time and copy costs.
     When a records request is made, the keeper of the records has 10 working days within which to set a date/time/place for the owner to review the records requested. The owner may make copies and pay the charges or use their personal device to make copies.
     There is NO requirement that you send these documents to the owner. The owner comes to you. The association board or management sets a date, time, and place for the owner to access the records. This place must be within 45 miles of the association property or within the county.
     The board should immediately call a board meeting to establish a policy. If you don’t have a printed/bound directory, then all you are required to provide is a roster with the unit number, official mailing address, and name of the owner. You are not required to create or compile any records/data that does not exist. This request seems extremely unreasonable. I suggest you contact your attorney.
– Betsy

     I was reading your most recent “Because You Asked” and had a question about owners at an annual meeting making motions about a material alteration not on the agenda. It’s nice to know I was not mistaken and that procedure is not something that could be done.
     My real question is about owners in attendance using the limited proxy form to vote at the meeting. For the in-person voting, I generate a “ballot” that has the exact same voting language as the limited proxy minus all the proxy language. I do this because I have several owners complain about there not being a “ballot.”  I told them it is six of one, half dozen of another, but they are adamant. They also complain about having to sign the “ballot,” which I have told them is nonnegotiable and will be required for their votes to count. I would love to hear more about your rationale for the in-person people using the same limited proxy form.
– Tim

     Though there is no clear direction in the statutes or the documents, I have concluded that ALL voting in a membership meeting (except to approve previous meeting minutes and to adjourn) must be on a limited proxy. To keep me from creating another “form” for owners to use who are present at the meeting, and to keep from answering the question, “Why is my form different than the one you mailed out,” I use the limited proxy form. They cross out the top part of the limited proxy, mark their vote, sign it, indicate their unit number, date it, and turn it in. I want all votes on paper that look the same and are the same size. 
     Since votes can be challenged and access to records requested, all voting should be documented on paper. Voice vote, general consent, show of hands, roll call, etc. don’t meet that requirement. If a vote is later challenged, I now have the paperwork to produce. 
     There is little statutory guidance to back what I am saying, but if you go to the conclusion of the matter—owners must have advance notice of everything, AND I must be able to produce “proof” of the voting results—then all votes, whether in person or not, must be on paper.
     Therefore, no one can bring up a vote at a membership meeting that was not on the agenda and on the limited proxy—mainly because those owners who aren’t there don’t know about it and don’t have the opportunity to vote.
     The only things owners vote on are (1) amendments, (2) material alterations/substantial additions, (3) waiving/reducing/moving the reserves (until 2024), and (4) changing the year-end financial reporting requirements.
     I am picky in the prelicensing class about teaching CAM applicants to use the word “ballot” only when speaking of elections, and the word “proxy” or “limited proxy” for any other voting at a membership meeting.
     Hope that helps.
– Betsy

Marcy L. Kravit

High-Rise Fire Safety—Plan, Protect, and Be Prepared, Part II

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

Sample Procedures For Reporting Fires & Fire Alarms

     (Check with local authorities/fire marshal to ensure that you have a plan that is best for your building.)

I. Notification

  1. If the following is reported to you, or if you see smoke or flames, smell something burn- ing, or hear a fire alarm, then immediately carry out the following:
    • Call the fire department—Dial 911
    • Call the front desk/security personnel: _____________. 
    • Activate the fire alarm pull station if the fire alarm is not sounding.
    • Report any change in conditions to the fire department and the fire safety director.
  2. If you think you smell a peculiar or unfamiliar odor, immediately call the front desk.
  3. The following is information to be given to the fire department:
    • What is the emergency—alarm, smoke, flames, etc.?
    • What is the physical address (including the closest cross street)?
    • What type of occupancy is it?—Specify if high-rise
    • What floor, unit number, or telephone number are you calling from?

     Let the fire department hang up first! 

II. Emergency Procedure Priorities

  1. If the following is reported to you, you see smoke or flames, or you smell something burning, then immediately respond in the following ways:
    • Isolate the fire—close the door if you can do so safely.
    • Call the fire department and fire safety director, and activate the fire alarm pull station if the fire alarm is not sounding.
    • Evacuate by using exits/stairs to a safe area. Relocation and reentry into the building at least three or more levels below the fire floor is generally adequate.
    • Fire extinguishment is optional and only if all of the above has been completed.
  2. Emergency procedures in the event of an alarm only:
    • Call the fire department and the front desk/security.
    • Minimum procedure—Prepare to evacuate by going to the exit/stair door; if there is any evidence of unwanted fire, evacuate the floor to a safe area.
    • Report any change in conditions to the fire department and the fire safety director.
  3. Front Desk/Security
    • Call the fire department and have someone meet the fire >department upon their arrival. Any unwanted fire shall be reported to the fire department, no matter how small and even if extinguished.
    • Recall all elevators that access the floor of incident by turning the elevator fire service recall switch to the “ON” position.
    • Direct evacuation procedures utilizing the public address, if available.

Tips for Using Fire Extinguishers

     A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives, but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely. 

  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out.
  • Keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape.


     There are four essential steps to take if you discover a fire:

  • Rescue
  • Alarm
  • Contain
  • Extinguish

     These four steps must be accomplished to successfully deal with a fire emergency. The order they are performed in will vary according to the circumstances.

Rescue Persons in Immediate Danger 

     The goal should be to get everyone out of the room, not out of the building unless the fire spreads and evacuation of the facility becomes necessary. You should attempt this only without putting yourself in additional danger.

     The alarm must be sounded. Sounding the alarm is the quickest way to get help. It alerts other staff members and initiates the process that alerts the fire department.

     Contain the fire by closing all doors in the fire area. When everyone has been removed from the room that contains the fire, close the door(s) to the room. Closing the door(s) accomplishes two things:

  • The fire and smoke are contained in the room and prevented from spreading to other areas; and
  • The sprinkler system will be activated sooner. (The sprinkler system is heat sensitive and activates when the air temperature reaches a pre-set level. The air temperature will rise faster if the doors are closed).

Extinguish Small Fires 

     If the rescue, alarm, and contain procedures have been followed and the fire department has not arrived, try to extinguish small fires using one of the following techniques:

  • Smother it;
  • Use a fire extinguisher; or
  • Pour water on it (unless it is an electrical or grease fire).

If the fire cannot be extinguished, leave the area and close the door.

Preventive Measures

  • Most fires are due to carelessness. Observing and practicing some simple rules in our daily activities can prevent it.
  • Keep your workplace free from obstructions and fire hazards.
  • Report any unsafe conditions and unsafe acts to building security and/or facilities personnel.
  • Know the location of the nearest fire extinguishers.
  • Know where the exits and escape routes are located.
  • Do not overload electrical power points.
  • Do not store any dangerous and flammable items in your office.

     For a handy checklist regarding evacuation procedures, visit https://cdn.fedweb.org/137/268/ujc_em-evacuation_tactics.pdf.

     Established in 1986, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards.

  • It is important to know the fire safety features of your building and work with your neighbors to keep your building as fire safe as possible.
  • For the best protection, select a fully sprinklered building.
  • If your building is not sprinklered, ask the landlord or management to install a sprinkler system.
  • Meet with your landlord or building manager to learn about the fire safety features of your building (fire alarms, sprinklers, voice communication procedures, evacuation plans, and how to respond to an alarm).
  • Insist that all fire safety systems be kept in working order. Know the locations of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • If you use a wheelchair or walker or are unable to make it down the stairs in case of an emergency, talk with your landlord or building manager about purchasing an evacuation chair.
  • Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are clearly marked, are not locked or blocked by security bars, and are clear of clutter. Learn the location of your building’s fire alarms and how to use them.
  • If there is a fire, pull the fire alarm on your way out of the building to notify the fire department and your neighbors. Leave the building by the fastest route, but do not use elevators. Close all doors behind you and be sure to take your key.
  • If there is smoke or fire on your way out, use your second way out. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out. Some evacuation plans require you to go to a “safe area” (“shelter in place”) inside the high rise and wait for instructions from the fire department. Listen for instructions from firefighters or public address system—you may be told to stay where you are. Follow instructions. Go to your outside meeting place and stay there.
  • Call the fire department. If someone is trapped in the building, notify the fire department.
  • If you can’t get out of your condominium because of fire, smoke, or a disability, stuff wet towels or sheets around the door and vents to keep smoke out. Call the fire department and tell them where you are. Open a window slightly and wave a bright cloth to signal your location.
  • Be prepared to close the win- dow if it makes the smoke condition worse. Fire department evacuation of a high-rise building can take a long time. Communicate with the fire department to monitor evacuation status.

     Download this handout from FEMA: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/high-rise-fire-safety-infographic.pdf.

     Managing high-rises and emergencies can be challenging; however, utilizing your resources and facilitating an emergency plan will bring awareness and can make a difference!

FCAP Service Provider Spotlight

     Southeastern Laundry Equipment Sales is a trusted provider of commercial laundry solutions since 1976. Operating throughout Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee, they offer consulting, sales, shared revenue programs, service, and parts for commercial laundries. With over 4,500 laundry projects completed, their expertise ranges from equipment replacements to large-scale facilities. They serve the hospitality, healthcare, correctional, and multi-family industries and more.

     Services provided by Southeastern Laundry Equipment Sales include project consulting, budget estimates, equipment sizing, energy reduction recommendations, and laundry room layouts. They work with leading management companies like Greystar and Strategic Management Partners. Their shared revenue programs offer coin and card-operated laundries, with installation, service, coin pickup, and training provided.

     Committed to service, Southeastern Laundry Equipment Sales focuses on building long-term relationships, treating customers like family. They prioritize customer partnership and education, distinguishing themselves from larger competitors. As the industry faces challenges like rising equipment costs and poor service, the company remains dedicated to providing exceptional support.

     For inquiries contact Robbie Saladino, manager of the multi-family market, at 470-663-2190 or Robbie@selaundry.com. Southeastern Laundry Equipment Sales looks forward to discussing your laundry needs and providing tailored solutions.