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central florida times


First Quarter 2020

contact information P.O. Box 941125 Maitland, FL 32794 www.caicf.org exdir@caicf.org 407-913-3777

2020 board of directors Matt Vice, President Chuck Strode, CAM, Vice President Frank Ruggieri, Esq., President Elect Kent Taylor, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, Secretary Leslie Ellis, CPA, MSA, CGMA, Treasurer Jarad Pizzuti Lynne Sadowski Robert L. Taylor, Esq. Tom Wheir Kenneth Zook, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, Past President

a message from the president Happy Spring to all of our members and friends! What a start to the year! In January we implemented new policies for the chapter to provide CAMs and Board Members lunches at no cost to these members. We have had our lunches at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, which not only provide great food, but gives CAI an opportunity to give back to the community by dropping off non-perishable food at each meeting. Our opening guest speaker was Betsy Barbieux, helping us stress less and providing CAMs with a CEU credit. We followed that up in February with our Movie Night themed CA Day & Trade Show at the Marriott World Center. What a great venue and participation was excellent, with some of the best costumes and booth decorations we have seen in recent years. All of our classes were very well attended and received. Business Partners were able to obtain some excellent leads for their companies. The annual trade show takes a lot of hard work and dedicated people to make everything happen. I would like to thank Gina Holbrook and Chuck Strode and all of the other volunteers for their hours of dedicated work to make this show a success. Also, our business partners and sponsors for the sponsorship and additional support provided. The legal update is always a hit and this year was no exception. Frank Ruggieri with The Ruggieri Law Firm provided everyone with an excellent legal update. The information from this update will help with the information that our associations and board members need to not only do their jobs, but to also make sure they are making the right decisions for their communities. The chapter would like to take this time to thank all of our committee chairs and their members. We could not operate and continue to grow without the help of all of these volunteers. We would also like to thank all of our board members for giving their time as well to help our chapter continue to grow. Last, but not least, thank you to Reini our Executive Director for all of her hard work with all of the committees and events to make sure they come together seamlessly. Looking at what we have to look forward to in the coming year, we’re excited about our upcoming Meet the Managers event, which is always a sell out and success. We also have our annual golf tournament scheduled for September 25th at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at JW Marriott. This is a new location for us and it’s a beautiful well-kept golf course that may be one of the best in Orlando. As a matter of fact, while we were checking out the course, former President Obama came riding through the course headed to the first tee! We are excited for the opportunity to play there. Sincerely,

Matt Vice Matt Vice, Vice Painting 2020 President, CAI Central Florida Chapter


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experience between our 6 ISA Certified Arborists on staff. Our biologist has 13 years of agency experience and spent over two years providing commercial environmental consulting services. We currently employ over 60 tree care professionals, heavy equipment operators as well as our biologist and Commercial Applicator. Our scope of work includes tree removals, tree pruning, root pruning & control, palm pruning and planting, cabling and bracing, storm and emergency work, tree surveys, environmental consulting, tree health care services and site clearing and mowing. Enviro Tree Service prides itself in having the most specialized equipment and certifications to complete your job in a safe and efficient manner. Our land clear-

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a message from the ced COVID-19 RESOURCES

REINI MARSH Central Florida Chapter Executive Director

CAI is monitoring the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on community associations. We are encouraging CAI members, chapters, and the community associations industry in general— from homeowner leaders, community association managers, management company executives, and business partners—to follow the latest guidance and updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CAI has posted a story on HOAResources.com for more information on the virus and how to protect against it. Click here to read it. There are also another valuable article posted that I encourage you to read called Holding HOA Meetings Virtually Because of COVID-19. CAI and fellows of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) present a special virtual, LIVE Q&A presentation about the issues facing community associations due to coronavirus pandemic. Click here or the image below to view CAI’s Coronavirus resources page and watch the videos.

There will not be a regular April meeting, but the Second Harvest Food Bank still needs our love as they have ramped up their efforts to feed many people who have lost their jobs. I know we all have a pantry full of food, and if you would like to do a little road trip over to drop off a donation, I would be delighted to help you. Contact me at 407-913-3777 or exdir@caicf. org to arrange the drop off. I am in contact with the food bank and we are going to set up a time to do a CAICF food donation on Thursday, April 2nd (what would have been our meeting day). They need our help and we are just the group to give it to them! So pack up some canned beans and whatever else you can and drop it off next week! We have CANCELLED the April 16th New Member Breakfast and will reschedule it a little later this year. The April 23rd Happy Hour at Grills Orlando is TBD (to be determined) at this time.

NEW MEETING POLICIES When meetings do resume, the Chapter will be offering FREE lunch and attendance at the special CEU meetings to Manager Members and Homeowner Leaders (HOA Board Members), and Business Partner members will pay a flat fee of $30. (Non-members will be charged a different rate.) These meetings will have a limited seating capacity so we do ask that you register for the meeting in advance. We understand things come up, so if you are unable to attend a meeting you have registered for, please cancel your reservation as our seating is limited and we do close registration once the max has been reached. You may contact Reini Marsh at exdir@caicf.org or 407913-3777 to cancel.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS We are thankful for our partners who are still out there doing the landscaping, quoting bids on painting projects and managing communities. As many of us work from home and stay in contact with our business partners, committees and boards, we are reminded of how as Americans we find a way to keep connected. We do not know how long social distancing and working remotely will last, but we will do our best to keep you informed.


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If the max has been reached for a meeting, we will maintain a wait list and fill those spots with any cancellations received. Contact Reini Marsh to be added to the wait list. Please also note our No Show Policy for these special meetings. Those who no show on two separate occasions will be removed from the invite list for these meetings. We appreciate your understanding, as CAICF grows we want everyone to have the opportunity to attend these amazing events!

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central florida chapter update 2020 tentative calendar of events More details regarding upcoming events will be posted to caicf.org under the “Events” tab. Check back regularly for the most up-to-date information. CAICF Board Meetings will be held before or after each of the Monthly Meetings. Please be sure to register for all events in advance, as we need an accurate head count for space and food purposes prior to the event. Thank you for your help! • April 2nd (CANCELLED): Monthly Meeting: Sitting for a Deposition CEU presented by Burg Simpson. Will reschedule later this year, but please consider donating non-perishable food to Second Harvest Food Bank - see page 4 for more information. • April 16th (CANCELLED): New Member Breakfast. Will reschedule later this year. • April 23rd (TBD): Happy Hour at Grills Orlando • April 24th: M-202: Association Communications Course at Doubletree by Hilton Orlando from 9am-5pm. Click here to register or see page 14 for more information.

Second Harvest Food Bank. Registration begins at 11:30am and the meeting begins at 12pm. • July 9th: Meet the Managers at DubsDread from 4pm7pm. • August 6th: Monthly Luncheon Meeting: Drones & Communities CEU presented by Arias Bosinger at Second Harvest Food Bank. Registration begins at 11:30am and the meeting begins at 12pm. • August TBD: Educated Business Partner Event • September 3rd: Monthly Meeting

• May 7th: Monthly Luncheon Meeting: Anatomy of a Community Project CEU presented by Garfinkel Whynot at Second Harvest Food Bank. Registration begins at 11:30am and the meeting begins at 12pm.

• September 25th: 10th Annual Golf Tournament at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at JW Marriott Orlando • October 1st: Monthly Meeting: Legal Panel

• May 21st: Spring Social • November 5th: Monthly Meeting • June 4th: Monthly Luncheon Meeting: Panel Before and After the Storm presented by Negar Sharifi and Tara Munoz at

• December TBD: Annual Meeting, Gala & Fundraiser


also be able to put give-away items and collateral on all the tables. Space


is also provided for our sponsors to display their marketing materials.

CAI Central Florida has a list

Every sponsor is important to our chapter and your generous donation

of great service providers

goes directly to off set the costs of the program. Only 3 sponsors are

in most every industry a

permitted per program. Please consider sponsoring today! Click the links

Community Association could

Each sponsor for the Chapter Meetings receive face time in front of the membership with the microphone to talk about your company. You will

below to register as a sponsor at one of the upcoming meetings!

need! The best part is, they are members! Check it out at:

May 7th | Jun 4th | Aug 6th | Sep 3rd | Oct 1st | Nov 5th


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Photo Editorial credit: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Spring Cleaning: Airbnb and the Importance of “Cleaning Up” your Governing Documents


he undeniable financial success and sheer volume of current Airbnb hosts and guests overshadow the company’s meager and humble beginnings. What initially started as a one-off idea by two cash-strapped San Francisco roommates looking for a way to make the month’s rent by temporarily hosting weekend conference-goers, has since turned into a formidable worldwide marketplace. Airbnb boasts over seven million accommodations for billions of guests spread across over 200 countries, with an approximate market valuation of just over $35 billion. What does this mean for your association and your neighborhood? Nothing provided your association is located in the most remote part of the world with little to no cable or internet access. For the rest of the 9.5 million Florida residents who reside across some 48,000 community associations, the impact of short-term vacation rental organizations like Airbnb or Vrbo is both far-reaching and apparently unavoidable. For example, many associations with prohibitions or restrictions against short term rentals (i.e.: rental agreements for a period of less than six months) still might find it 8

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difficult to enforce restrictions where an owner is renting their home or unit several times a month (or week) to transient guests, barely known to the owner much less to the association, and where a “leasing agreement” is never officially signed between the guest and the host. In some cases, by the time the association becomes aware of the fact that an owner is a host, the guests have long since returned home and the advertisement deleted, leaving the association with the impossible burden of tracking down the proof that the violation ever existed in the first place. Additionally, at present, Florida law does not specifically require any formal registration or licensing process for the occasional Airbnb host, allowing an owner to effectively “fly under the radar” when offering their space to any one of the company’s 150 million online users. During the 2020 Legislative Session, Florida lawmakers are revisiting the impact and importance of the ability of Florida homeowners to use their property to participate in the vacation rental industry. More specifically, Senate Bill 1128 (Senator Manny Diaz, Dist. 36) and House Bill 1011 (Reps. Jason Fischer, Dist. 16 & Mike La Rosa, Dist.

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airbnb continued end of this session. Although the current proposed legislation would seem to respect rules regulating vacation rentals which are contained in current or future “declarations” (no mention is made of restrictions contained in any other governing document of the association), there are still some risks to associations. For starters, it remains to be seen whether the special language in these bills protecting regulations in association declarations will be kept in the final version which is ultimately presented to the Governor for signature (or if the Governor will even sign the bill in the first place). Additionally, even if an associationfriendly version of the bill is passed this year, there is always a chance that the legislature will go a step further in future years to invalidate an association’s regulations against short-term rentals.

Photo Editorial credit: Daniel Krason / Shutterstock.com

42) propose to make it a “constitutionally protected property right” for homeowners to use their property as a vacation rental and would also invalidate any local city or county ordinance which regulates an owner’s ability to do so. If passed, the bills would remove the authority of local officials to pass any laws relating to vacation rentals, including the inspection, licensing, and advertising of these rentals, and would require this law-making be done by the legislature at a state-wide level. This would have a devastating impact on communities that currently depend on their city or county regulations to address issues like the frequency and duration of rentals because their governing documents do not contain such restrictions. To put it bluntly, if your documents don’t have solid restrictions related to shortterm rentals, Airbnb is coming to your community! Importantly, both bills as proposed contain a specific exception stating that they would not affect “current or future declarations” which are adopted pursuant to the Condominium Act (Chapter 718, F.S.), the Cooperative Act (Chapter 719, F.S.) or the Homeowners’ Association (Chapter 720, F.S.). At the time of publication of this article, both bills have been met with overwhelming approval by the House and Senate Committees to which they have been assigned and it is expected that some version of either bill is likely to pass by the 10

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It goes without saying that now is the time for your association to consider to what extent your community will facilitate or fight the Airbnb wave that is coming (or has already come) to a neighborhood near you. The first thing to do is to identify the current rental restrictions, if any, contained in each of your association’s governing documents (Declaration, Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, Rules and Regulations). If there are no restrictions or prohibitions against short-term rentals, consider the feasibility and viability of obtaining a board and/or membership vote in order to amend the governing documents to include any desired restrictions or rules which would best serve your community. In some circumstances, a community may not want to prohibit rentals outright but may simply consider adding rules or processes, such as the pre-registration of guests prior to arrival, so that the association has some advance notice as to the number and names of guests who will be temporarily residing in the community. Special care may be needed related to the use of amenities like the swimming pool, community gym, and the parking of guests. In any event, I strongly encourage your community to get in front of the short-term rental discussion which is not going away any time soon. Contact your association’s attorney TODAY to discuss potential amendments to your restrictions, rules, and regulations which will help your neighborhood stay afloat during the coming Airbnb tidal wave!

Shayla J. Mount is an Attorney in Becker’s Community Association Practice Group. She focuses her practice on providing counsel and representation to homeowner and condominium associations throughout Central Florida. For more information, visit beckerlawyers.com or call 407-875-0955.




7 Tips to Help Protect Your Family & Pets From Dangerous Toxic Algae


ach year, news headlines are filled with reports of toxic algae blooms in lakes and ponds throughout our communities. Though public knowledge about Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) is increasing, many remain unaware of the dangerous effects HABs can have on pets, wildlife and humans. Common experiences include skin rashes, liver and kidney toxicity, nervous system problems, and respiratory complications. In more severe cases, exposure or digestion of these toxins can be deadly and has suspected links to degenerative diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) can occur naturally, but have been a problem for decades due to the negative environmental impacts associated with urban development, mass agriculture and pollution. To help limit the growth of HABs in your community waterbodies, it’s important to implement the following steps early in the year:

toxin exposure. HABs can manifest in parallel streaks or clumped dots. Other blooms may look like spilled blue, green or white paint or turn the water a bright “pea soup” green. Keep an eye out for soupy or oily scum on the surface of the water.

DISPOSE OF ORGANIC MATERIALS Following yard work, leaves, grass and other debris should be bagged and removed from the property to prevent them from accumulating and decaying in nearby waterbodies. When organic materials are allowed to decompose in water resources, they result in nutrient pollution, which can lead to nuisance algae.

ESTABLISH A BENEFICIAL BUFFER Steps should be taken to intercept runoff containing sediment, trash, pet waste and other organic materials from entering lakes and ponds during rainstorms. Allow native flowering, deep-rooted vegetation to grow 18 inches tall and three to five feet from the edge of the lake or pond shoreline in a beautiful vegetative buffer.

PROPERLY IDENTIFY HABs Accurate identification of harmful algal blooms is the first step to protect your family and pets from the negative effects of algal 12

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REDUCE EXCESS NUTRIENTS For lakes and ponds with chronic nutrient problems, the application



toxic algae continued BEFORE NANOBUBBLE AERATION


of phosphorus-locking technologies can make a noticeable impact. When applied by a licensed professional, these products work to rapidly remove excess nutrients from the water column, improving water clarity and reducing the food source of algae.

until after a harmful algal bloom appears to conduct water quality tests, but a proactive testing program can help identify water quality impairments related to dissolved oxygen, pH or nutrient levels before they get out of hand. Over time, water quality data can be used to predict the onset of a bloom and prevent its impact without closing the waterbody or interfering with recreation, irrigation or drinking water services.

APPLY BENEFICIAL BACTERIA Another way to limit algae’s food source is through the introduction of desirable bacteria and enzymes through a process called biological augmentation. The beneficial bacteria can help consume additional pond nutrients that fuel nuisance algae blooms and help facilitate the degradation of the organic nutrient sources.

INTRODUCE AERATION When paired with other nutrient-limiting strategies, floating fountains and submersed diffused aerators can help consistently circulate warm, stagnant water and facilitate the conversion of excess nutrients to forms that do not sustain algae. Likewise, new premium aeration options like nanobubble aeration can be used to directly eliminate algae and dangerous cyanotoxins while balancing water quality. SOLitude Lake Management is an environmental firm specializing in sustainable



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» Save $25 when you register for the classroom course four weeks in advance. Visit www.caionline.org/m202 to register.

Being a community manager requires specific knowledge and education. If you want to excel in your career and have personal career satisfaction, ensure you participate in CAI educational opportunities. This will make you the best manager you can be as well as ensure that your community is managed by the best!

Designed exclusively for community association managers, CAI’s Professional Management Development Program (PMDP) features the most comprehensive education curriculum for professional managers seeking to increase their skills, knowledge, and job opportunities. Our chapter is hosting this course soon! » For additional resources on opportunities for professional growth and education, visit the CAI Career Center at www.caionline.org/ CAICareerCenter.


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hoa best practices BY CASTLE GROUP

HOA Management Best Practices: What Your Association Should Expect


ach management company will take a different approach to providing their services to a community. Though these approaches may vary, there are a few best practices that should be looked for when determining if a management company is right for your community. We have mapped out a list of the top best practices that an association should expect a great management company to utilize.

speak to a live resident services specialist for any issues that may arise. For many concerns, this can provide an instant resolution to the problem. At Castle, one of our best practices is to have our Property Managers hold monthly meetings where residents can voice concerns in an open setting. If your residents do not feel that they are being heard, then your management company has likely not implemented communication as one of their best practices.



Open communication with your Property Manager should be a given in the Community Association Management Industry. We believe that maintaining clear communication between the Board of Directors and their Property Manager is an integral step in the successful management of a community. Prioritizing the needs and concerns of the Board is part of the Property Manager’s job. If your management company is implementing this best practice, you should be able to schedule a meeting with your Property Manager quickly, have emails responded to within 24-hours, and have missed phone calls returned promptly (if not answered immediately).

Transparency is a best practice that is achieved through openness and organization. By maintaining careful organization on everything from past budgets to governing documents, your board members can be prepared and well-informed when it comes time to make important decisions.

Residents should be able to call their management company and 18

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Transparency also heavily deals with accessibility. Is your management company accessible? Do you have the support you need when you need it? It is widely known that management companies can promise these things, but can they show you how they actually implement transparency on a day-to-day basis? These are all pivotal questions to consider when determining how transparent a management company is.

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hoa best practices continued 3. FOLLOW-THROUGH As a board member, you should be confident that when your Property Manager says they are going to do something, they do it. There are many contributing factors to a management company’s ability to follow-through. Accountability is an important attribute for Property Managers to possess and is a quality Castle Group looks for in all our team members. Many responsibilities come with being a Property Manager and being able to follow-through on all Resident or Board Member concerns is an integral part of providing exceptional service to your clients.

Board Members should expect a good management company to have a resident-centered mindset. The success of a Property Manager is directly related to their ability to keep residents in mind. We achieve this resident-centered approach at Castle Group through our Royal Service® training program, which all employees go through.

4. FINDING THE RIGHT PEOPLE Whether it be a maintenance employee or your Property Manager, Board Members should expect exceptional, experienced individuals to be working for their community. Every employee should be accommodating to the needs of residents. The individuals who are willing to put in that extra bit of effort that makes a difference in a resident’s day are the employees that should be sought after and hired by your management company. Prioritizing the resident experience during every interaction makes a noticeable and tangible difference in the management of a community.

For more information about the Castle Group, call 844-815-5321 or visit www.castlegroup.com.

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welcome new members! BUSINESS PARTNERS Aquaguard LLC Mr. Stephan K. Ward-Smith Arlington and Mapili CPAs LLC Mr. Bernie Mapili Asphalt Concrete Solutions Michael Edwards Asphalt Icons Miss Sonya Ziegler Clarke Aquatic Services Mr. Tim Gardner


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Mr. Patrick Dume Celebration Residential Owners Association, Inc.

Honeycomb Systems, LLC Ms. Natalie Soler Insurance General Contractors Mr. Jeffrey M Ziemer, Jr. Lexington Pool & Maintenance, LLC Mr. Paul Napolitano M2E Consulting Engineers Ms. Autumn Lyon One Florida Bank Mr. John M Calpey PPG of Winter Garden Mr. Chad Van Lue Rose Paving Company Mr. Austin Hale Sterling National Bank Mr. Rainier Guanlao Suncoast Aluminum Furniture, Inc Mr. Harshad Bhatt


The Plummer Painting Company Mr. Jeff Curtis Fierle

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Mrs. Eva Herret Premier Association Management of Central Florida, Inc. Mrs. Roselle Tuttle Johnson Premier Association Management of Central Florida, Inc. Ms. Stephanie Lynn Mahoney Premier Association Management of Central Florida, Inc.

VOLUNTEER LEADERS Mrs. Marcia Allison Marina Grande on the Halifax I Condominium Association Mr. Juan Canino-Pleve Marina Grande on the Halifax I Condominium Association Mr. Donald Durm Marina Grande on the Halifax I Condominium Association

Mrs. Alice Gipson Marina Grande on the Halifax I Condominium Association Mr. William Piquet Marina Grande on the Halifax I Condominium Association Mrs. Janet Riley Marina Grande on the Halifax I Condominium Association Mr. Michael McCauley North Shore at Lake Hart Homeowners Association Mr. Bob Shoneman North Shore at Lake Hart Homeowners Association

WANT TO JOIN CAI? Homeowners, Managers, and Business Partners can become members. If you provide products or services to community associations, CAI can give you direct access to thousands of potential customers and provide unique opportunities through networking luncheons, socials, and other great events. Visit caicf.org/resources/ membership/ to learn more!

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Do You Know Your Financial Fraud and Cybersecurity Risks – And How to Prevent Them?


e live in a world where we cannot be too careful. For Community Association Managers (CAMs) and associations that are self-managed, it is wise to be aware of potential fraud and cybersecurity risks and take strides to protect against them.

are especially sneaky, because many systems won’t catch that. The association accounting team and its software may only recognize that the deposited check has a check number and amount that match their records without noticing it was actually paid to the criminal.

HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST CHECK FRAUD This article covers the most prevalent ways criminals commit fraud and otherwise financially damage CAMs and associations. If you’re reading this as a board member of an association managed by a CAM, consider asking what they’re doing to protect your association.

CHECK FRAUD It’s not uncommon to hear of criminals stealing hard-copy checks out of mailboxes. They “wash” (erase) key details from the check, such as the payee name or amount, then write in information so they can deposit it into their own account. Criminals that wash the payee name and keep the original amount 26

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There are a number of actions a CAM or self-managed association can take to protect against check fraud:

• Take advantage of paying bills electronically, when that option’s available. Any time a physical paper check must go in the mail, it poses a risk of being stolen by a criminal.

• For checks your CAM or association is delivering via snail mail, have your mail carrier come into the office to collect the mail. The less time a check sits in a mailbox, the better.

• If your CAM or association mails a check to a vendor and



fraud & cybersecurity cont. it gets stolen, you should require that vendor be on ACH moving forward. Often, check fraud can be an inside job committed by an employee.

• Ask that your bank implement Positive Pay, an automated fraud detection tool. This service matches the account number, check number, dollar amount and payee of each check presented for payment against a list of checks previously authorized and issued by the CAM or association. While this process can be cumbersome, especially for CAMs managing many bank accounts, this is the only fool-proof way to detect check fraud.

ACH FRAUD ACH fraud is the electronic theft of funds through the Automated Clearing House financial transaction network. Cybercriminals can commit ACH fraud by having a checking account number and bank routing number.

risks outlined below are a few of the more common approaches we see involving CAMs and self-managed associations. Spear-phishing: Criminals send company employees fraudulent emails that appear to be from a trusted sender to induce them to reveal confidential information or perform an action that seems legitimate. For example, one of your employees receives an email that looks like it came from a co-worker. The email asks the recipient to transfer $50,000 to a bank account. Thinking this is a valid request, the co-worker transfers the money. Later, he learns that he has transferred the money into a cybercriminal’s account, which cannot be recovered. Spear-phishing criminals may also ask for sensitive or confidential information, such as account numbers, passwords and access codes.

It’s especially crucial for CAMs and board members of self-managed associations to know that if ACH fraud is committed, there is only a 24-hour window to notify your bank that the account was compromised. According to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), if a business does not notify its bank of a fraudulent auto-debit within 24 hours of its posting, the association’s bank legally cannot submit a request asking the bank that received the funds to return the fraudulent transfer. This means that if ACH fraud is not detected almost immediately, your association may not get its money back.

HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST ACH FRAUD • Use an accounting software with a daily auto-reconciling feature, like CINC, which is American Momentum’s accounting software partner. Find a tool that will immediately trigger alerts for any posted transactions that don’t match the association’s records. This is especially helpful for CAMs managing a lot of associations, as it eliminates the need to cross-check every account and transaction for possible ACH fraud on a daily basis.

• As with helping to detect check fraud, Positive Pay is another way to guard against ACH fraud. However, because this method requires a member of the CAM’s or association’s team to submit every transaction for every account to the bank, it can be an extremely laborious process.

CYBERSECURITY RISKS Cybercrime is now the most common crime against businesses. The 28

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Spyware: Spyware is unwanted software that infiltrates a computer and gives the criminal access to its data, including sensitive information. CAMs and associations are at risk of criminals using spyware to collect information that will allow them to access bank accounts. Ransomware: This malicious software infects a computer and displays a message demanding a fee be paid for the system to work again. Cybercriminals hold critical data and systems hostage for a ransom of sometimes thousands or tens-of-thousands of dollars. Data Breaches: Any organization that collects Personally Identifiable Information (PII)—names, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, birthdates, etc.—is at risk of a data breach. That includes associations and CAMs that collect this type of information from homeowners.

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fraud & cybersecurity cont. The costs of a data breach can be steep. There are expenses related to hiring attorneys, computer security experts and PCI forensic investigators; providing credit monitoring to victims; and, not to mention, all the fines and penalties issued by regulatory agencies.

PROTECTING AGAINST CYBERCRIMINALS CAMs and self-managed associations can help protect themselves and their homeowners against the above cybersecurity risks by:

example, before completing large transactions, perhaps the bank requires call-backs or codes for approval.

• Data breach insurance policies can help protect CAMs and associations in the event of a data breach. The cost of insurance will generally be far less than the cost of a data breach, should one occur. And if you use a software tool with daily auto-reconciling and/or Positive Pay, as recommended above, you should enjoy a discount on your policy premium.

• Having a secure IT security infrastructure and processes in place, including IT detection software to help block fraudulent emails.

• Training employees on how to detect fraudulent e-mails and potentially malicious files. Spyware, ransomware, and spearphishing attempts are only successful if an unsuspecting employee follows through on the cybercriminal’s request.

Heather J. Karamitsos is Senior Vice President / Director of Association Banking at American Momentum Bank and is a state-certified continuing education provider for community association managers. She can be reached at

• Working with their bank to implement a system of checksand-balances to protect against fraudulent activity. For


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Tough Decisions for HOA’s Facing a Failing Golf Course


ith its rich history of acclaimed golf courses, “The Sunshine State” has become a preferred destination for real estate developers seeking to build the next great golf course community. Including a golf course in a new residential community is a popular strategy implemented by developers to increase home values and promote sales. A common model in Florida is for the community to be governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA) and the golf course is separately owned, operated and maintained by a golf club. There are two varieties of this model that developers commonly incorporate in an HOA’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (Declaration). Under the first variety, members of the HOA are also mandatory members of the golf club. As mandatory members of the golf club, they are required to pay a golf club membership fee. Under the second variety, members of the HOA can voluntarily opt-in to become members of the golf club, but golf club membership is not a mandatory condition of owning a home in the community. From a sales perspective, the voluntary model has traditionally been popular with developers because it makes selling a lot easier. The lots come with a right to opt-in for golf club membership and pay the golf club membership fee, but there is no requirement to do so. This article explores the tough 32

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decisions and legal implications faced by Florida HOA’s when their voluntary community golf clubs do not generate enough income to cover the long-term costs of operating and maintaining the golf course. The supply of golf course communities has served a worthy purpose in Florida. It satisfied the market demand of prospective home buyers that were looking for convenient access to recreational sport activities, amenities (clubhouse, dining facilities, etc.) and aesthetically enhanced communities. For many years, the voluntary model resulted in a mutually-beneficial financial relationship amongst the developer, the HOA and the HOA members. The developer recouped its investment through members of the HOA participating in the use of the golf course, and the success of the golf course sustained property values in the community. A community golf course benefits the entire community, although some non-golfer homeowners choose not to recognize it. Published data establishes that a profitable golf course favorably influences property values. However, this correlation between a profitable golf course and increased property values comes with consequences for homeowners when the golf course becomes a failing business.

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hoas and golf courses cont. In recent years, homeowners and HOA’s throughout Florida have experienced a rise in golf courses failing in their communities. Some have attributed this, in part, to market conditions, a decrease in the popularity of golf, age restrictions in some golf course communities, and/or an array of other factors. Ultimately, without a requirement in the Declaration that all members of an HOA shall become members of the golf club and that they shall pay a golf club membership fee, the income generated at voluntary golf clubs is frequently inadequate to sustain the relatively high costs of operating and maintaining a golf course. To further exacerbate the problem, additional capital eventually becomes needed when golf course greens and bunkers need to be renovated and rebuilt after years of use.

controversy. Requiring homeowners to fund a failing golf course can expose the HOA to potential legal challenges from dissenting homeowners. There are various reasons that homeowners may disagree with the requirement of contributing to the operation and maintenance of a golf course. Some homeowners object to paying for a golf course that they do not use. They argue that they did not agree to pay a golf club membership fee when they purchased their home, and they claim they would not have purchased their home if paying a golf club membership fee was a condition of home ownership in the community. Some homeowners also reject the notion that a mandatory golf club assessment is justified by the increased value of owning property adjacent to a well-manicured golf course. However, most Florida Courts have taken a narrower focus when ruling on whether an HOA can enforce an amendment to its Declaration that changes from voluntary to mandatory golf club membership. Courts that have ruled against such amendments have done so based on the legal principle that any amendments to an HOA’s Declaration should be exercised in a “reasonable manner so as not to destroy the general scheme or plan of the community.” This is founded on the principle that the Declaration is a contract, and homeowners who purchased prior to a mandatory golf course membership amendment rightfully believed at the time of purchase that they would not be required to fund the golf course.

When faced with a failing golf course, some HOA’s are taking control of their own destinies. HOA’s are purchasing golf courses, generating income by requiring homeowners to make some level of mandatory contribution to the operation and maintenance of the golf course, and contracting with a golf course management company to provide highly-specialized operation and maintenance services. This process generally involves an amendment to the HOA Declaration that must be approved by the HOA membership in accordance with requirements established in the HOA governing documents. Some HOA’s have even acquired golf courses through passing amendments that annex the golf course to the HOA’s common area, and then HOA assessments collected for maintenance of the common area are used to help maintain the golf course. Because each HOA and its governing documents are different, and complex legal issues are involved, HOA’s interested in acquiring a community golf course should work closely with legal counsel to examine whether golf course ownership is permissible and whether it is in the best interest of their specific community.

In anticipation of homeowner challenges, and to incorporate the considerations raised by Florida’s Courts, some HOA’s have structured amendments to the Declaration to make mandatory golf club membership applicable to future homeowners only or to provide homeowners a golf course credit in the same amount as the golf course membership fee. Although these approaches do not generate income as effectively, some HOA’s have attempted to minimize exposure to litigation in this way. HOA’s and homeowners in golf course communities have a vested interest in ensuring that sufficient revenue is generated for the operation and maintenance of the golf course. However, acquiring a golf course and implementing a plan to help sustain the golf course can be a risky venture for an HOA from a financial and legal perspective. The proposition should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis as Florida’s HOA’s continue to make tough decisions when faced with a failing golf course.

Toby received his J.D. from Barry University School of Law in 2005. Prior to joining Law Offices of John L. Di Masi, P.A., Toby practiced in the areas of civil litigation, real estate and creditors rights, and he lead a 15-paralegal department at a multi-state law firm. For more information, Toby can be

HOA golf course ownership has not been without its share of 34

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reached at 407-839-3383, ext. 217 or tsnively@orlando-law.com.


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got credentials? If you have credentials, you have credibility. More than just letters after your name, CAI credentials identify you as the right professional for the job. They give employers confidence that you have the knowledge, experience and integrity to provide the best possible service to their associations. CAI provides opportunities for industry professionals to fast-track their companies and careers and stand out from the competition. If you hold a CAI credential, you are automatically listed in CAI’s online Directory of Credentialed Professionals, where potential employers and clients can find you—and see that you stand above the rest.


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interested in getting more involved? join a caicf committee! If you are interested in getting more involved in the chapter, joining a committee is a great thing to consider. Below are the different committees that we currently have active. Please feel free to contact any of the following committee chairs: CA Day/Trade Show Committee Gina Holbrook Premier Association Management gina.holbrook@premiermgmtcfl.com Chuck Strode Premier Association Management chuck@premiermgmtcfl.com Communications Committee Benjamin Isip Towers Property Management, Inc. ben@towerspropertymgmt.com Education Committee Gary van der Laan Leland Management gvanderlaan@lelandmanagement.com Phil Masi Assured Partners pmasi@assuredptr.com

Gala Committee Lou Biron Sihle Insurance Group lbiron@sihle.com

Membership Committee Jason Martell Martell & Ozim jmartell@martellandozim.com

Golf Committee Scott Pollock Sentry Management spollock@sentrymgt.com Legislative Committee Lou Biron Sihle Insurance Group lbiron@sihle.com

Jessica Cox Leland Management jcox@lelandmanagement.com

Meet the Managers Committee Chuck Strode Premier Association Management chuck@premiermgmtcfl.com

Social Committee Tara Munoz Your Private Adjustor tara@yourprivateadjuster.com Sunshine Foundation Committee Jennifer Agravat Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems jennifer.agravat@asphaltnews.com




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CAICF | 1st Quarter 2020 Newsletter  

CAICF | 1st Quarter 2020 Newsletter