Published October 2018
Editor’s Note: As the snowbirds return to Florida, FLCAJ sought out several community association service providers to find out what advice they have for the returning residents. The counsel touches on many important topics, so read, learn, make changes to community operations, and enjoy your stay in the Sunshine State!
If you’ve been away for the summer and no one has been regularly checking on your residence, there are several things you should do to get everything back up and running.
Hurricane season does not end until November 30th, so please be sure that you know your evacuation routes and have taken precautions to secure personal belongings, important papers, and needed medications.
Repairing the damage sustained from Hurricane Irma was a wake-up call for many associations. The question is, how may an association pay for these repairs?
For more information on Alliance Association Bank, call (888) 734-4567 or visit www.allianceassociationbank.com.
Welcome back to all of our northern residents. We surely have been busy this summer trying to get things taken care of while you were away. The weather wasn’t really in our favor this season, so some of the projects might have been delayed. Sorry about that! It’s hard to work in a downpour!
Now that you are back, it’s a great time to walk through your community and see what the summer rains might have changed in your parking lots and roadways. With some of the gully washer rains we had, there is a good possibility that a new depression or dip might have shown up. Those of us who live here year-round might miss some of these things as they happen quite slowly and may have just become a normal part of our community. Your fresh eyes might be the difference between preventative asphalt maintenance and crisis asphalt management, which means more dollars!
For more information on Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, call (800) 254-4732 or visit www.asphaltnews.com.
So, you now get to enjoy the winter in Florida, away from the cold and snow! But, what are some of the things you should check around the building to make sure that proper maintenance is preserving your beautiful home and your investment?
For more information on Carousel Development & Restoration Inc., call (561) 272-3700 or visit www.cdri.net.
It is estimated that about one million snowbirds spend time in Florida each year, making a tremendous positive financial impact on local economies. Shops, restaurants, service businesses, and doctors’ offices and pharmacies benefit greatly from their patronage.
While tourists contribute to some of the same segments of the economy, snowbirds make additional contributions as many own real estate in our community associations. They pay property taxes and monthly or quarterly assessments all year round for services they only use a portion of the year. Our economy and, in many cases, our associations depend on seasonal residents and their participation in our communities.
Whether arriving by car, plane, or train, our snowbird friends will soon be arriving for the upcoming season. As you wait in increased traffic, whether on the road or in a restaurant, don’t forget how much they benefit us year-round, and give them a warm welcome!
For more information on Castle Group, call (844) 815-5321 or visit www.castlegroup.com.
Often pool winterization means draining, covering, or otherwise hibernating your pool until spring. In Florida it’s completely the opposite—preparing for the heaviest bather loads, keeping the pool temperature 15°F above where nature wants it, and getting your mechanical systems ready for another year.
For more information on Commercial Energy Specialists (CES), call (800) 940-1557 or visit www.ceswaterquality.com.
For more information on Daniello Companies, call (888) 370-4333 or visit www.concreterepairing.net.
If you are a returning board member who has been away for the summer, then there is probably work to be done for the association. October is usually the time when budgets are prepared and finalized for the upcoming year.
We think it’s always important to take stock of your buildings and infrastructure annually.
As far as the roof is concerned—
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, maybe it’s time to ask a professional for help.
For more information on Ed Williams Registered Roof Consultant, call (772) 335-5832 or visit www.edwilliamsregisteredroofconsultant.com.
Welcome back, snowbirds! Community safety and home security are some of the first things you should re-evaluate when you return. Here are some helpful tips:
For more information on Envera Systems, call (855) 380-1274 or visit www.EnveraSystems.com.
As we prepare to welcome you back to the Sunshine State, consider the following tips for a worry-free return.
For more information on FirstService Residential, visit www.fsresidential.com.
Diseases such as brown patch, leaf spot, rust, and take-all root rot can adversely impact the turf on your property. Fall is an especially important time to monitor conditions and quality of the lawn. If signs of discoloration appear, it may be possible that disease is present. Drought, cold weather, and excess water may cause areas of the lawn to be brown or yellow, so proper diagnosis is key to identifying the problem prior to chemical treatment.
Brown patch is a common fungal disease in warm-season turfgrasses such as Zoysia grass and St. Augustine. If not corrected in the spring, it may “disappear” in summer due to rapid growth which fills in the affected area, only to return in the fall. Cooler temperatures and damp weather are the primary cause of this fungus. Prevention of this problem includes correct watering, proper mowing, and best management practices regarding fertilization and pest control.
For more information on Florida Evergreen Landscape & Lawn Care, call (239) 561-9184 or visit www.FloridaEvergreen.com.
We’ll explain here how to tell if you have had a family (colony) of bats move into your condominium while you were away.
Bat Droppings (Guano)—typically consist of very small torpedo-shaped droppings, often dark brown in color.
Bat Urine—contains uric acid, which—over time—can begin to attack a building’s structure. It can often be seen leaking down the wall from an entry or roosting point.
Oily Stains—Bats have a gland on their chest which secretes oil. When entering a roost site, they often rub up against the side of the building, and some of this oil is transferred to the building.
Chit-chat—In the roost, their “social” chatter is certainly possible to hear (sometimes described as chirping).
Odor—A bat infestation exudes a musty, ammonia-type smell, and the larger the colony, the more pervasive and onerous the smell becomes.
In this digital age, it can be more convenient for board members to simply communicate about association business via email rather than in person, especially when some board members don’t live on-site year-round. However, it is important for boards and management to remember that Florida law requires association business to be conducted at properly noticed board meetings, where unit owners can also attend and voice their opinions. The board should take care not to deliberate over association business or take votes via email, which should be done at open meetings (unless there is a legally privileged issue, which can be discussed at a “closed-door” board meeting). Conducting open discussions at board meetings also helps to document the board’s exercise of its business judgment via the meeting minutes, which can be crucial if a decision is later questioned.
Welcome back to your Fision® Fiber Optics services! Here are a few important reminders for you:
Still having trouble? Call us at 1-(800) 355-5668 to speak with a fully-trained, U.S.-based agent who will be happy to assist you.
From everyone here at Hotwire Communications, welcome back!
For more information on Hotwire Communications, visit hotwirecommunications.com.
Have you ever wondered how clean your fitness room really is? Your housekeeping maintains it, and you have sanitizer for residents to use. So, what’s the issue? It’s too clean!
The overuse of cleaning and sanitizing products used on exercise equipment in fitness rooms leads to a microscopic build-up of residue on surfaces, resulting in harmful effects from allergens, mold, and bacteria including MRSA in your facility. Having developed a proprietary technology for removing surface residue along with antimicrobial protection to repel and shield surfaces from harmful allergens, mold, and bacteria, HYSANX Surface Control Solutions offers a quarterly service program which includes verifiable testing to ensure your fitness room is safe and protected.
As winter arrives and the snowbirds make their way back to Florida, associations and their members will begin to uncover exterior maintenance and repair needs. There are several important factors for associations to consider in order to ensure favorable outcomes when addressing exterior repairs. The most important factor is engaging an experienced restoration firm to correctly identify the source and scope of repair. For example, water intrusion might be as simple as building weep holes plugged by faulty maintenance that might require a simple inexpensive repair, versus a complete removal and replacement of the building joint sealants. A second important consideration is using contractors who involve the manufacturer’s representatives to confirm the product selected and installation methods are meeting the manufacturer’s requirements for warranty. These two important considerations will give associations cost effective solutions with corrective results. IMR specializes in exterior waterproofing and restoration and provides building inspections and free consultations.
Returning homeowners have plenty to do to jumpstart their winter residences. Turning on services such as water, phone, and cable is a good start, as is alerting your alarm company of your return. However, your home should be inspected immediately for weather-related and/or pest damages. To avoid and detect any potential leakage problems, inspect pipes, hose bibs, and washing machines. Be sure to check the air conditioning system/heating vents and replace any dirty filters and screens. Homes should be checked for any evidence of attempted forced entry. Check for any markings on your door frame around the lock and window screens that may have been tampered with, and for missing spare keys. Also, don’t forget to check your car if it sat idle for some time. Batteries may need to be checked and possibly replaced if the car won’t start. Once these items have been addressed, sit back and enjoy your winter home in Florida!
Associations pay dearly for property insurance that they rarely use. Why? Property managers and boards often don’t realize that damage is covered by insurance, and they wind up using association funds for the repair. The board owes it to the association to explore coverage for any damage to the association’s property, so be proactive!
For more information on The Law Office of Amy Boggs, call (727) 954-8833 or visit www.amyboggslaw.com.
It’s that time of year when snowbirds will be traveling back to sunny Florida! We’re excited to welcome these residents back to their winter homes.
We wanted to provide some safety tips for water activities as these are popular for returning residents.
We hope these precautions help you stay safe while you return home to enjoy fun in the sun!
For more information on Leland Management, call (888) 465-0346 or visit www.LelandManagement.com.
This time the damage was widespread, and the insurance claims historic in numbers. In the past, the insurance claims were settled in a few short months. This time the insurance companies are ready to fight it out in third-party mediation or court.
Windows still leak, causing mold and drywall damage. Eventually associations must turn to another difficult problem, finding contractors to perform the work. Since there are different sizes, styles, etc., you will be practically ordering custom windows. Unlike roofing, where different sizes are not a problem, the lead time will seem like forever.
Immediately find a company to manage your project. Don’t just call for window bids. Window installation is very time consuming, and more workload on your CAM manager leads to problems. Building envelope consultants, architects, and engineers are eager to help. These are the bids you need now. First come, first served.
For more information on Moisture Intrusion Solutions, call (239) 249-5267 or visit www.moisturesolutions.net.
Technology is quickly finding its way into the offices of condominiums and HOAs throughout Florida. For example, effective January 1, 2019, all condominium associations with 150 units or more must post digital copies of the association rules and its recorded bylaws on its website.
Background screening is highly regulated, and Screening Link helps associations comply with all the state and federal laws which govern them by offering a fully compliant, web-based process that takes the background screening logistics out of the management office and onto our platform. Screening Link provides the following services:
Screening Link works with communities nationwide in providing criminal backgrounds, credit histories, and other information required for association background screening.
For more information on Screening Link, call (954) 472-6994 or visit www.screeninglink.com.
Sentry Division Manager Nicole Bennetsen from the Sarasota office explains how beneficial it is for boards to provide homeowners with checklists and educate them about how to protect their home or condo while vacant. There should be a concentrated communications campaign to departing residents before the end of the season. Providing a checklist to homeowners can protect against some of the most common maintenance issues that vacant units experience, like water intrusion from leaking pipes, overflowing toilets or shower pans, and overflowing or draining washing machines in other units that leak into theirs. The biggest tip boards can give to owners is to have someone—whether it is a friend, or they invest in a professional service—to check in on their property regularly. It won’t always prevent an accident from happening, but it can prevent more costly, widespread damage from occurring.
For more information on Sentry Management, call (800) 932-6636 or visit www.sentrymgt.com.
The new additions to Florida’s condominium laws regarding electric vehicles stipulate that associations may not prohibit a unit owner from installing an EV charging station at the owner’s expense and within the boundaries of their designated parking area. However, an association may require that the installation comply with all applicable building codes, recognized safety standards, and any reasonable architectural standards that it may adopt. In addition to paying for the installation and electricity costs, the installing owner will also be responsible for any hazard caused by the charging station and any liability insurance for the charging station.
As this new law is now in effect, association boards of directors and property managers should be prepared for requests from unit owners to install EV charging stations, and they should work with qualified and experienced community association attorneys to develop an action plan for handling such requests.
As the hurricane season comes to a close, it’s important to view shorelines in your community, whether you came through this period unscathed or experienced storm-related damage.
Shoreline erosion is inevitable, and regular vigilance is required to avoid dangerous conditions and costly repairs. Some of the telltale signs of erosion include collapsed land and exposed cables.
Many communities are turning to Shoresox® and Dredgesox®, our patented and affordable shoreline restoration solutions that meet all Best Management Practices (BMP).
A large, knitted open-containment system is filled with pond sediment or blown-in organic media, such as wood chips or mulch. It is folded over and secured to the shoreline with our patented subsurface anchoring system. Once installed, sod or aquatic vegetation can be planted and will root directly through the soft-armored cover, creating a true “living shoreline.” It can reclaim up to three to six feet of unsightly, eroded waterfront property with beautiful, stable shorelines.
For more information on SOX Erosion Solutions, call (833) 222-4769 or visit www.soxerosion.com.
As NFL teams are most certainly finalizing their lineups in the preseason, so should you. Now is the time to get your engineer, contractor, painter, and financier on board for the upcoming restoration season. With this team you can scope, schedule, and budget upcoming projects and hit the ground running.
Also, your manager and staff have enough to do; consider hiring a project manager. He or she can manage scheduling, payments, and any project issues that may arise.
Here’s to the upcoming season!
For more information on Swaysland Professional Engineering Consultants, call (888) 264-7732 or visit www.specengineering.net.
Condominium and homeowner associations with 150 units or more have until January 1, 2019, to comply with the state’s new website law. Here’s a list of what’s required on your site:
TOPS Software offers document management with our Owner Access module, which is included with your TOPS [ONE] subscription. Learn more at www.topssoft.com/docx. For details on this Florida law, see our post at https://camblog.topssoft.com/condo-hoa-websites-florida-law.
Each year as the migratory cliff swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, the snowbirds return to south Florida. In what condition will they find their “nests”? Many high-rise community owners often turn off their air conditioning systems while not in residence, thinking they are saving money, or they turn up the thermostat to a temperature that is not providing proper ventilation, dehumidification, or cooling. This may cause mold formation. Mold feeds off of many types of surfaces—especially gypsum board, better known as “dry-wall.” The material is composed of gypsum wrapped in paper. When wet or damp, it becomes an ideal place for mold to grow. Mold on the surface can often be mitigated without removal; however, mold that has migrated into the gypsum material has to be removed. Removal of gypsum board is not only messy but very costly and can take months to complete. Recommendation—protect your nest and keep humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent year-round.
For more information on TRC Worldwide Engineering, call (954) 484-7777 or visit www.trcww.com.
When damage has occurred to your community, you’d like to think that the insurance company has your best interests in mind and will help you. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Many policyholders are not familiar with handling insurance claims, and this is something that an insurance company could potentially take advantage of with a team of professionals who work diligently to try to pay as little as possible for damage repairs to protect their interests. When you hire a public adjuster, you level the playing field and get a team of professionals on your side.
It is our recommendation that you call a public adjuster before filing your damage claim, but if you have a claim that was previously filed, you are still able to have a public adjuster review what was paid to ensure you have not been underpaid. You have three years to reopen hurricane claims and five years on all other claims.
For more information on United Claims Specialists, call (855) 321-LOSS or visit www.UCSFL.com.