By Ana Sanchez Rivero / Published March 2023
Since the Surfside tragedy there has been increased scrutiny of the operating procedures within associations. The structural failure at the root of the disaster, caused due to neglected infrastructure, faulty alarm systems, and, most importantly, a lack of money in the association’s funds to cover the necessary repairs, has created a perceived need for oversight.
As a result many new laws and regulations have been enacted, not only to address the inspection of structural elements but also regarding association management and budgeting. The State of Florida House unanimously passed a bill requiring statewide recertification of any condominium building above three stories. Recertification after 25 or 30 years and then every 10 years thereafter is now mandatory.
Miami-Dade County went one step further, enacting its own oversight and transparency requirements on the associations. In 2020, before the Champlain Towers were synonymous with tragedy, Hallandale Beach (just north of Miami-Dade County) created a registry of associations. Miami-Dade, with some edits, has essentially followed that model, pulling every association closer to transparency than ever before.
All condominium and homeowners’ associations in both the incorporated and unincorporated areas, without regard to municipal boundaries, must register on an annual basis. This is a time-sensitive matter, as all initial registrations were due February 1st, 2023. Annual refiling will be due on the same day in subsequent years. This written registration must be filed with the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources. There is a cost associated with these registrations. The fee is currently $50 for communities with 25 or fewer units, plus $1.50 for each additional unit above 25.
The registry is a big undertaking, both for the county and the associations within. But the county feels it is important and potentially effective enough to warrant the investment. The registry provides a level of transparency that previously did not exist. While a majority of the documents filed were available to homeowners or condominium owners within the community, they were not easily accessible to those outside the community.
The searchable database being created will create a single directory for every single association within the county.Information regarding the composition, financial status, and condition of buildings in any community association will now be public. The goal is to give potential and current residents the information needed to make good decisions regarding the maintenance and management of buildings within their current or prospective associations.
Associations and their management companies have typically maintained copies of records of meeting minutes, budgets, financial statements, contracts, insurance policies, rules and regulations, and other important information. Management companies may also have records of maintenance requests, work orders, work schedules, and other documents related to the property. Compiling the information required listed below, while tedious work, should simply be a collection process.
Specifically, pursuant to Section 17D-3(A), by February 1 of each year, all Community Associations shall file a written registration containing the following information and attachments:
While the community association is required to make sure the registry is complete, the task does not need to fall to the board to complete. The condominium or homeowners’ association may designate another party to complete the task, whether that be a management company or another agent, like a lawyer or legal counsel. These support staff may be designated to fulfill the communication obligations under the ordinance,
Once the registration documents are submitted, the County will only be held responsible for ensuring compliance with the minimum submittal requirements set forth in the Registration of Community Associations Ordinance. The registry simply acts as a transparent, searchable database, not something the county monitors.
Each year, renewal registrations must be submitted through the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, and fees need to be paid. The list of documents for a renewal is a bit thinner than the original list, but if your association or property undergoes major changes, it may be a large update. The steps to renew are as follows:
If your association is located in Miami-Dade County, you are already acutely aware of how this affects you, but even if you live in one of the other 66 counties in Florida, the process warrants an evaluation. If your community was subject to this type of transparency, would it be problematic? Do you have the documents ready, organized, and accessible? The goal of the Miami-Dade Registry is to hold community associations within Miami-Dade County to a higher standard than the rest of the state. Why wouldn’t you want your association to hold to that same standard?
Ana Sanchez Rivero
President and Business Development Coordinator, Allied Property Group
As president and business development coordinator, Ana Sanchez Rivero upholds Allied Property Group’s commitment to understanding the challenges faced by associations. She has been managing communities for more than 30 years. Her experience and knowledge make her one of the most well-informed individuals in property management. She hosts the podcast Community Association Matters, dedicated to educating association board members with the latest information in property management. She was recently named as a court-appointed receiver, and she has also received the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation from IREM (International Real Estate Management). For more information about Allied Property Group, visit www.alliedpropertygroup.net.