Published October 2021
Editor’s Note: It is good to see more and more of the snowbirds returning to Florida. Though not an exhaustive list, service providers share their best practices for returning residents so that their stay in the Sunshine State can be as pleasant and relaxing as possible.
Clear, consistent communication is critical, especially during hurricane season when you may need to inform residents of weather issues, amenity closures, and seasonal maintenance. Use this checklist to pinpoint areas where you could have communication bottlenecks or breakdowns.
Texting and email: Are you able to instantly send individual or mass emails to your residents and vendors? If not, then consider implementing mobile tools like texting and email.
Community calendar: Do your residents have easy access to information about events, maintenance, and meetings? Take it a step further by providing a calendar integrated right into their online portal.
Maintenance: Hurricane season brings storms that can cause damage to your association’s common areas. Have tools in place for residents to easily submit maintenance requests online.
Mailing service: When going paperless is not an option, make sure you have an integrated mailing service that streamlines the process and is cost-effective when physical mail needs to be sent.
For more information about AppFolio, visit appfolio.com/associations.
Welcome home, my friends! It’s an exciting time to let you know about Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems’ newest product, BIORESTOR®. BIORESTOR® is an ecofriendly, clear soybean oil asphalt rejuvenator that tested number one at the NCAT (National Center for Asphalt Technology) and is making waves in the industry! Not only can this product be applied right behind the paving machine to reverse any damage from the paving operations, but it also dries in 20–60 minutes, has no tracking, is environmentally friendly, and avoids the need to refresh your striping! Crazy, right? If you would like more information on BIORESTOR® or our other asphalt maintenance services, please reach out and schedule a free evaluation. Preserving your pavement today is by far your most cost-effective option in a fluctuating market, and Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems has the asphalt maintenance program for you to get the most bang for your buck with your maintenance dollars!
For more information on Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, call (800) 254-4732 or visit www.asphaltnews.com.
The months of September and October are the heart of budget season for most associations here in Florida. As part of the budgeting process, your association may be obtaining a reserve study for the first time or conducting an update to a prior one. To ensure that it’s an accurate reflection of the association’s financial picture, make sure that all projects you’ve had done since your last update are correctly documented in the information you provide to your reserve specialist, and all component life expectancies and replacement costs used in the analysis are based on the most recent figures. This is especially true for those associations that are deciding to do it themselves. Using outdated or inaccurate information could result in a flawed funding plan and therefore a bad budget. Lastly, as we move ahead into next year, make sure that you continue to keep good records, ensuring that next year’s budget process will be as smooth as possible!
For more information about Association Reserves, visit www.ReserveStudy.com.
Does your community association send statements of accounts/invoices to its members? If so, Florida law now requires the statements to be sent via regular mail or email and mandates a process to be followed before an association changes the method of delivery of the statements of account/invoices.
Another substantial change to Florida law requires associations to send a 30-day notice of late assessments to delinquent owners as a prerequisite to recovering attorney’s fees incurred in a collections or foreclosure action. In addition, the timeframe to remit payment for amounts demanded in a notice of intent to lien letter increased to 45 days for both condominium and cooperative members. The timeframe to remit payment for amounts demanded in a notice of intent to foreclose letter also increased to 45 days, but this increase only affects condominium members.
For more information about Becker, visit beckerlawyers.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every area of our lives and almost every industry. The roofing industry is no exception. The shutdowns in early 2020 caused severe inventory shortages for roofing supply manufacturers, and since the beginning of 2021, the roofing industry has been experiencing price increases on materials needed to repair and build new roofs.
This year, prices quoted for materials have increased by 15–30 percent, making it burdensome when bidding new projects and committing to prices and availability. To put it bluntly, the uncertainty of supplies has put the roofing industry in a volatile situation.
As a roofing contractor, we need to be mindful of managing our customer’s expectations with clear communications, not over promise, and do our best to explain the reality of the situation. To complicate matters further, we are officially in “hurricane season.” The possibility of a major hurricane could have further devastating effects on our industry.
I have been asked, when will we see the light at the end of the tunnel? Some economists say the end of this year, while others say by the end of the first quarter of 2022. All I know for sure right now is that it is a challenging time to be in the roofing industry, but we will persevere!
For more information about Best Roofing, call (954) 941-9111, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.bestroofing.net.
When common elements are not properly maintained, you may end up with the following:
A proper preventive maintenance schedule is essential to help you stay organized and efficient when taking care of your community.
Start by identifying all the common elements that need to be maintained. Some of these elements can be maintained by in-house staff, and others need to be maintained by outside professionals. It is also important to understand the frequency and scope of the preventive maintenance.
These common elements in a condominium need to be maintained by outside professionals:
These maintenance activities in a condominium can be performed by in-house staff:
These common elements in an HOA need to be maintained by an outside professional:
These maintenance activities in an HOA can be performed by in-house staff:
For more information about Campbell Property Management, visit www.campbellpropertymanagement.com.
While the common narrative is to refer to the difficulties of 2020 as an issue of the past, it’s vital as leaders in the community association industry to recognize that those trials are not over yet, especially in Florida. As the state faces an all-time high of COVID-19 cases, it’s essential we prepare for the snowbirds making their way down in the months to come.
This poses a unique opportunity for property managers (PM) to become more valuable than ever. If we learned anything from the last year, it’s that life can get very complicated, very fast. And while we can streamline automated services and apps to facilitate all kinds of processes for residents, nothing compares to quality service from a real person. Take the time to re-evaluate and re-imagine how your PM can bring even more invaluable services and build an even stronger team for the association you manage.
To learn how Castle Group can serve your community, contact us at (844) 815-5321 or visit www.castlegroup.com.
The best advice that I have for any association is to work with a banker who specializes in community association banking to implement an effective and well-developed investment strategy. I have come across many associations throughout Florida that do not have an investment plan except to purchase a few CDs. Some have utilized financial advisors, but while they may be experts in investments for individuals, they are not experts on the community association industry.
By working with an experienced finance team, community associations can leverage the association’s reserve study to assist the board of directors in putting an investment plan in place that ensures all funds are secure and that the appropriate amount of liquidity is maintained at the times stated on the reserve study. Additionally, having the right community association banking partner can ensure that you have access to your funds, line of credit, or a loan if needed.
For more information on CIT Bank, visit www.cit.com/CABReserves.
Following the very tragic events that unfolded in Surfside, Florida, over the summer, we need to take advantage of the new audience it has created. It has brought contractors, managers, board members, and owners together with a single focus that we have not seen in the past.
This single focus is the maintenance or the lack thereof of multi-story buildings. It has brought to light the extreme importance of timely concrete restoration and the funding of the reserves for each building. It is sad and very unfortunate that 98 souls perished; however, the entire industry has an obligation to ensure this never happens again. Please start working on your reserve studies, outstanding repairs needed, and plans for the future maintenance of your building. Our ultimate goal has to be that funding issues cannot override needed building maintenance and repairs in the very near future!
For more information about Concrete Painting & Restoration (CPR) LLC, call (727) 939-9393 (Tampa) or (941) 755-1458 (Bradenton/Sarasota), email Donny@cprpainting.net, or visit cprpainting.net.
In December 2020, the new version of the Florida building code went into effect. This new version increased design wind speeds for roofing, among other things. In many cases, this will mean added costs to new roofs. In addition, in the last couple of years, the energy requirements have been updated in the code. Keeping this in mind, it may be time to get updated reserve estimates. In addition, if you had a roofing project scheduled over the summer, it may have been delayed. Supply-chain interruptions have delayed many critical components in the roofing industry. This is not just in Florida but nationwide. If you have read my articles before, you know that I am a big proponent of annual roof inspections. If your roof has been in the path of a hurricane, this is extremely important. A small area of damage can be like cancer in a human. Left untreated, it can spread rapidly.
For more information, visit www.edwilliamsregisteredroofconsultant.com.
Take some time in this final quarter to evaluate the past year and begin making plans for early next year. For associations and property managers, this often includes reviewing the community’s security, access management, and/or other systems.
For more information about Envera Systems, call (855) 380-1274 or visit www.EnveraSystems.com.
Welcome back, snowbirds! To say that a lot has changed in regard to condominium associations in Florida this year is an understatement.
The Champlain Towers condominium collapse happened in Surfside back in June. The sharp increase in construction costs brought on by higher material and labor costs. Both of these factors have impacted condominium communities in numerous ways throughout the Sunshine State.
We would encourage you to check with your board of directors and/or community association manager to be sure that some important things are being addressed. First, has your association had a structural engineering study conducted? This will ensure there are no structural issues that need to be addressed.
Second, has your association’s reserve study been updated recently? Making sure that funds are being budgeted for needed maintenance and updates is of utmost importance. This is especially true if the current study has not taken recent price increases into its calculations. It may be a good idea to budget for regularly scheduled structural engineering studies. Also, two new items that the State has suggested are funds reserved to cover insurance deductibles and post-storm clean-up costs.
Third, does your association have enough insurance coverage? Florida Statute 718.111(11)a requires associations to maintain adequate insurance coverage. To do this they must have an insurance appraisal conducted at least every three years. With the increase in construction costs, you may be significantly underinsured.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call Expert Inspectors at (386) 677-8886 or visit www.flinsurancevaluations.com.
As we enter the fourth quarter of 2021, the world is (hopefully) beginning to recover from the pandemic and is resuming traditional seasonal travel patterns. For us in Florida, that means that for the first time in almost two years, many of our snowbirds will be returning. In the meantime, our bat populations have been busy producing a couple of generations of new offspring, which means that many of our winter residents will be coming back to find that large numbers of winged “squatters” have moved into their homes.
Telltale signs include brown, oily staining at the entry point(s); urine tracks running down walls; and small, dark brown, torpedo-shaped droppings on the wall, roof, and ground around and below these entry point(s). If you listen very carefully, you may also hear some high-pitched chirping sounds.
If you suspect you are a victim of these “squatters,” you can call Friends of Bats for a free inspection and evaluation.
For more information about Friends of Bats, call (888) 758-BATS (2287), email email@example.com or visit www.friendsofbats.com.
Over the last year, many community associations have suffered and may still be experiencing a loss of expected revenue as their individual members struggle to pay monthly assessments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, associations may now be seeing an increase in expenses in the wake of the recent tragedy in Surfside as boards work to ensure their buildings are structurally sound. Now more than ever, community associations must closely monitor their financials to make sure they have the resources needed to address in a timely fashion any problems that arise with the building, especially any life-safety issues. This means establishing a budget for yearly expenses and also ensuring that reserves are being adequately funded each year for future expenditures like large maintenance, repair, and improvement projects. While it may be tempting to push an increase in members’ monthly assessments to future years by waiving or only partially funding the association’s reserves, that strategy can very easily backfire. Sufficient reserve funding is crucial not only for properly maintaining and updating the building’s key components but also for avoiding the need for massive special assessments when large projects become imminent.
For more information on community association budgets and reserves, contact Haber Law at (305) 379-2400 or visit www.haber.law.
Welcome back, snowbirds! It is time to look at reserves again. As most everyone is aware, what happened in Surfside with the building collapse has opened the eyes of many condominium associations located on the beach and aging condominium buildings located inland.
Though your reserve study has a line item for concrete restoration, it is only a portion of possible ongoing restoration costs that are needed on buildings. The real costs can be much, much higher; this cost is a guesstimate. Reserve studies are a budgeting tool to help save monies for future maintenance and replacements, not an inspection report or an engineering structural report. Prior to painting a building, associations should take a good look at their building and fix any concrete-related issues and not just patch/caulk the noticeable cracks. Sealing the problem will only create a costly nightmare in the future.
Have a wonderful Florida winter season and stay safe!
For more information, call (561) 488-3012, email JRFrazerENT@aol.com, or visit www.JRfrazer.com.
We enthusiastically welcome back our snowbirds. Associations and managers continue to implement and modify COVID-19 protocols in conjunction with evolving guidance from public health officials. They are also ensuring communities are prepared for an active hurricane season and up to date on maintenance.
Important considerations for returning snowbirds include the following:
Stay vigilant, monitor community updates, and—most importantly—enjoy your winter getaway!
For more information on KW Property Management & Consulting, contact Zulema Mendoza at (239) 495-3428, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.kwpmc.com.
As seasonal homeowners prepare for their return to Florida, their association may be one of many that are undergoing a variety of projects over these fall months, which will enhance the safety, beauty, and value of their properties. Certainly, the unfortunate collapse of Champlain Towers South has led many condominiums to retain engineers to conduct various tests on their structures to ascertain their integrity and safety. Municipalities have been meeting and discussing various new rules relating to required inspections, with some on a much more frequent basis. The devastation in Surfside will lead to great change within the condominium arena for boards, residents, lending institutions, and real estate brokers. Due to this tragic disaster, we may have learned something that may now save many lives in the future.
Lang-managed condominiums have conducted inspections in the past, and some may currently be engaged in the process of correcting any structural problems. Structural issues can occur at any condominium property but are more prevalent in those properties along coastal areas. Now is a good time to evaluate any need for updated inspection reports and revisit any pending projects. If such undertakings are deemed necessary, Lang’s property managers and area managers will work with association boards to proactively engage qualified, licensed, and reputable structural engineers to inspect properties for any potential areas of concern.
Many of you have already used engineers for varying projects and can probably depend upon these firms to undertake any such inspections. However, time will become of the essence due to the expected demand of such services resulting from this recent catastrophe.
For more information on Lang Management, visit www.langmgmt.com.
As you return, some of you will see your southern home for the first time since the building’s restoration project was completed. Most building departments in South Florida are implementing inspections to avoid structural failures occurring in buildings.
Several buildings will face costly and inconvenient repairs; however, they are essential and lifesaving. It is important to do your part and call attention to any areas of concern that you may see. Some of the major things you should observe right away are the following:
With all that done, you will have the peace of mind to enjoy your winter in the sun.
For more information about Promar Building Services LLC, visit www.promarbuilding.com, call (561) 598-4549, or email email@example.com.
Reliable, secure, high-speed internet is essential for today’s digital lifestyle. We all need it, from TV streaming to managing smart home devices. QXC’s AON fiber-optic network architecture is the industry’s best practice for premium internet performance.
What does that mean for Florida communities? QXC AON fiber simply gives residents more of what they need from their network.
As daily digital loads continue to increase, make sure you’re making an informed network technology choice for your community.
For more information about QXC Communications, connect with John Von Stein at (561) 708-1500, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.qxc.us.
While we were all becoming used to wearing masks again and mastering video conferencing, our industry was rocked to its core on June 24, 2021. This tragedy will alter the laws and best practices for years to come. As you settle back into your Florida communities, be prepared for more questions than ever about your aging infrastructure, its structural integrity, and what your board is doing to keep residents and guests safe.
If you’ve had a reserve study, take a close look at it. Recirculate it among the board and even the membership—have you followed the recommendations? If not, why? What happens if repair projects are deferred? Do the projections consider the market increases in labor and material costs? Will the community have enough money when issues arise?
Most of our clients are seeing a need for significant increases in reserve funding for 2022 to account for higher costs compared to just a couple of years ago. Don’t let your southern home “go south.” Be proactive and fulfill your duties as a board member so you and your owners can rest easier knowing you have a plan to keep your community safe!
For more information, visit www.reserveadvisors.com.
Welcome back, snowbirds! It has been quite a year navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic. While each state has its own set of COVID-19 guidelines and mandates, here in Florida we are getting back to business as usual. As of June 26, the state has suspended the declared state of emergency. However, with the COVID-19 Delta variant causing spikes in case numbers throughout the state, it is important to stay in the know of what your community association is enforcing.
We are happy to have you all back and look forward to a great season!
For more information about Seacrest Services, visit www.SeacrestServices.com or call (561) 656-6354.
In recent years, the toolbox of solutions used for the management of lakes and ponds has expanded with exciting tools and technologies. Now a new innovation, drones, has entered the picture.
Drones allow lake management professionals to execute highly targeted applications of EPA-approved herbicides over wide areas that are inaccessible by boat or ground or where there are sensitive aquatic ecosystems and wetlands. Getting a bird’s eye view of an aquatic ecosystem helps scientists with surveillance, data collection, and improved mapping capabilities.
These unmanned, custom-built aerial systems boast a six-foot wingspan and are equipped with GPS navigation features that allow licensed pilots to pre-program flight routes with precise maneuverability. With this exciting technology, experts can target nuisance and invasive aquatic weeds remotely and more efficiently than ever before.
For more information about SOLitude Lake Management, please contact email@example.com or visit www.solitudelake.com.
Once again, welcome back to a whole new world. Not only are you dealing with the resurgence of COVID-19 but also the aftermath of the Surfside tragedy. Now more than ever, buildings will face unprecedented scrutiny from their insurers and building officials; and boards will face unprecedented scrutiny from residents!
Your trash chute is an integral part of the fire safety systems. More insurance companies are inspecting the chute system to ensure code compliance, and fire marshals should do annual inspections.
Be careful of replacement parts sold on the internet for trash chute doors. A big disparity in prices usually means the cheaper part is NOT UL-tested and rated. This will compromise the integrity of the door’s UL rating. It might pass inspection, but the door would fail in an actual fire. Hire a reputable company with the right credentials to make repairs for you instead of relying on your maintenance team.
For more information on Southern Chute, call (866) 475-9191 or visit www.SouthernChute.com.
For more information on Vesta Property Services, call (877) 988-3782 or visit vestapropertyservices.com.
Snowbirds are flocking back, and it’s important for the board and manager to reach out and welcome them back. Here are a few ways to communicate and make the transition easier:
For more information about Vinteum Software, visit www.vinteum.io.