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central florida times

WWW.CAICF.ORG | SECOND QUARTER 2018


Second Quarter 2018

a message from the president Summer is upon us and with the heat of the day comes the challenges we each experience in our efforts to live

contact information

in, manage or service our communities. It is our mission at CAI Central Florida to make your day better and relieve you of some of the challenges you face. To achieve this we offer our timely educational

P.O. Box 941125 Maitland, FL 32794 www.caicf.org exdir@caicf.org 407-850-0106

programs and active networking opportunities that we hope will provide assistance and also show each of you the value of your membership. With the passing of Spring we look back to see that we enjoyed our Spring Social, sent our President Elect, Ken Zook, and our Chapter Executive Director (CED), Reini Marsh, to Washington, D.C. for the CAI annual conference and we continued our very well attended monthly meetings and educational programs. Our membership growth continues steadily

2018 board of directors

upward and we are blessed with many hard working volunteers to manage our direction. Within this past quarter we had the pleasure of having two of our own receive National recognition for their service and achievements. With this we applaud our CED, Reini Marsh, who has been recognized by CAI National with the Rising Star Award for our chapter for her

Lou Biron, President

achievements. Additionally our Board Treasurer, Michael Kulich, was awarded the CAI National

Ken Zook, President-Elect

both of these fine individuals for their support to CAI and to their community.

Erik Whynot, Esq., Vice President

As you review this newsletter, you will again see our calendar of upcoming events. We urge

Michael Kulich, Treasurer Kent Taylor, PCAM, Secretary Suzan Kearns, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, Past-President

Homeowner Leader of the Year for our chapter. I hope you will join me in congratulations to

each of you choose any that are of interest to you, place them on your calendar and plan to attend to gain better knowledge or for your networking enjoyment. This edition is packed with valuable information on Legal Challenges for Boards, Lake and Pond Management Solutions, Assessment Collection Technology, Strategic Planning and New Developments in Condo Law from those laws passed in the last session. You will always find our newsletter to be a presentation in recognition of those who serve CAI, vendor opportunities and take home and use information. We hope you enjoy the read. Within the pages of the newsletter you will also find ads from our vendor members. You are encouraged to consider using their services within the scope of your needs. We appreciate

Chris Martinez

each of our vendor members and support their businesses throughout the year. And if you have a need not mentioned by those posting an ad, feel free to contact us for a referral to other vendor

Frank Ruggieri, Esq. Chuck Strode, CAM Robert L. Taylor, Esq. Matt Vice

members for the service you require. It is this trade of business relationships that assures a viable and strong partnership among our membership. If you are not a member, please consider joining. If you are a member, please consider volunteering. Our growth and our viability rest with the strength of our membership and the many volunteers who help us towards our goals. A warm thanks to each of you who are helping with our upcoming events. All the best,

Lou Biron Louis R. Biron, AAI 2018 President, CAI Central Florida Chapter 2


A

HIGHER LEVEL of

ATTENTION

to Your Association

“My job is to help your board balance keeping down operating costs while maintaining property values and improving quality of life for homeowners. We have a strong community presence, independent advising and full transparency. ” – Katie, Sentry Community Manager

Four Central Florida Locations 407-788-6700 www.sentrymgt.com

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central florida chapter update 2018 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! • July 6th: HOA & Condo Board Certification Training 101 at the Beardall Senior Center from 9:30am-12pm. Hosted by Orange County Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Office and City of Orlando Office of Communications & Neighborhood Relations. • July 12th: Meet the Managers Members-Only Event at Dubsdread Country Club from 4pm-7pm. Business seats SOLD OUT. Managers are FREE! • August 2nd: Monthly Meeting: Luncheon - Fire, Sprinklers, and Monitoring. Presented by United Fire with speaker Jeff Henderson. Registration begins at 11:30am and the program begins at 12pm.

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• September 5th: Monthly Meeting: Luncheon. Registration begins at 11:30am and the program begins at 12pm. • October 26th: 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Metrowest Golf Club. Registration at 7am and shotgun start at 8am. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village. Win a car, $5,000 cash, or loads of raffle prizes! See pages 10-11 for more details. • November 1st: Monthly Meeting: Luncheon - Legal Panel. Registration begins at 11:30am and the program begins at 12pm. Be sure to RSVP! • December (TBD): Annual Meeting & Winter Gala


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ignorance is not bliss BY JOEL W. MESKIN, ESQ., CIRMS, CCAL FELLOW, MLIS MANAGING DIRECTOR, MCGOWAN PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS

Why Are Community Association Volunteer Board Members Sued?

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olunteer board members are often baffled and incredulous when someone challenges or complains about a decision that they have made, a rule that they have changed, or a special assessment that they have issued. I have touched, in one way or another, between five and six thousand claims and/or lawsuits against community associations and their volunteer board members. As I travel around the country, people ask me what I have been able to distill from all these claims. Without skipping a beat, I respond by telling them that “ignorance is not bliss!”

Second, the volunteer board members turn their volunteer board position into something beyond its purpose and their authority. This is further exacerbated by the fact that these volunteer board members are often the same unit owners that have not read the governing documents.

The “ignorance” I refer to is twofold. First, unit owners do not read the governing documents they have agreed to comply with prior to purchasing their home in a common interest association. In most cases, these unit owners probably do not read the governing documents until they have an issue with the board, the association or their neighbors.

What comes to mind each time this twofold dilemma comes up is a pearl of wisdom my father used to share with me. He would say, “Why do people never have time to do things right in the first place, but always have time to fix them?”

Practice Pointer 1: Read the governing documents before you buy; ignorance of the governing documents is not a defense and an association member is presumed to have read the documents he or she has agreed to when they purchased their unit.

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Practice Pointer 2: Each association member who wants to join the board should be required to confirm that he or she has read the governing documents before agreeing to become a board member.

Practice Pointer 3: Each board should have an annual board training, even those who have been on the board. The value of an annual training far outweighs the cost, if any, as well as the effort. Both items will lead to both monetary and time savings when the board knows how to operate the board. The National CAI has great resources as well as on demand video courses on training. There is no excuse for not taking the time to prepare for a board position.


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ignorance is not bliss cont. I tell boards and managers that in the normal course, a board meeting should not take more than an hour. Yes, certain issues create exceptions, but that should in fact be an “exception.” In response, I often hear “yah, right.” The key is for board members to understand their obligation, responsibility and treat the management of the association as the business it is. The board is a body comprised of individuals that is charged to manage the association pursuant to the by-laws and relevant statutes. The board is a body that makes decisions and policies and delegates to the individual who will carry out the delegated matter. When a board member exits the properly noticed board meeting, they have NO authority to act in their capacity as a board member except pursuant to the delegated authority expressly given them by the board during a properly noticed board meeting, or proper consent to act without a meeting. Remember, each board member has “one” vote whether he or she is also an officer of the association such as the President, Vice President or other. Most delegated tasks by the board are given to the community association manager if there is one, or employees. Sometimes, there is no CAM or employee, and the action is delegated to a volunteer board member or other association member volunteer. In that case, the board member is carrying out the delegated action as a “volunteer” and not in his or her capacity as a board member. Practice Pointer 4: Remember, a board member is not an employee, and apathy is not a defense. If the board member says I have to do it, because no one else will. However, if no one else will, there is a deeper issue that must be addressed, because again the “volunteer board member” or “other volunteer” is not an employee. If no one will step up, the board should hire a management company or an employee. If the board is not willing to do that, then the board should go to court and seek a receiver which will end up costing the board and the association the money they did not otherwise want to spend. At the end of the day, the board is charged with protecting the association’s assets and must take the steps to do so.

• Adopt a form of Roberts Rules of Order and stick to them. Even if the board are close friends and the use of rules seems awkward, the day a rogue unit owner or someone not playing with a full deck shows up, having in place a consistent set of rules will be worth its weight in gold. If rules are first used with respect to a specific individual, the door to discriminatory application of rules is opened. These rules should include a limited time for speaking by unit owners at a board meeting.

• Have a prepared agenda and stick to the agenda. If there are items that are not on the agenda, they should be tabled for another meeting.

• Do not tolerate a lack of civility or an individual who insists on disrupting a meeting. Do not engage that individual and adjourn the meeting to discuss further action with counsel. Counsel may need to seek a court order. A court may require a security guard and put the cost on the disrupter.

• Just because someone asks a question does not mean an answer must be given. There may be questions out of order or otherwise inappropriate. This is why an established set of rules are warranted.

• Whenever possible, even if an open meeting is not required by the governing documents or statute, have an open meeting to avoid any appearance of secrecy or conspiracy.

• Prepare a short video regarding “life in our community.” This can identify the governing documents, identify how the association is managed and who is eligible for the board and rules that may be unique to this association or to life in a common interest development. Understanding the board’s duties and obligations and making sure unit owners receive, read and ask questions about governing documents is the best risk management tool the association can use.

In addition to understanding the role as a board member, the following are additional practice pointers that will help simplify and shorten a board meeting and mitigate claims.

• The board members must open, read and prepare questions, if any, on the issues to be addressed on the agenda. The single biggest waste of time in board meetings are board members who come unprepared and spend time getting up to speed during the meeting.

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Joel W. Meskin, Esq. is the Managing Director of Community Association Products for McGowan Program Administrators. For more information, contact Joel at jmeskin@mcgowanins.com or 440-333-6300, ext. 2240, or visit mcgowanprograms.com.


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GOLD SPONSOR: $4000 (SOLD)

Two Foursomes included plus 8 commemorative golf polo shirts with company logo and tournament logo. Company logo on all materials, plus time to address the attendees at the awards luncheon.

SILVER LUNCH SPONSOR: $2800 (1) Foursome included. Company logo on all materials and time to address attendees at the awards luncheon.

BREAKFAST BAG SPONSOR: $1500 (1)

HOLE IN ONE: $1200 (SOLD)

Contest for free car! Company name on sign at hole during play. Acknowledgement at luncheon.

PUTTING CONTEST SPONSOR: $1000 (SOLD)

Contest for $5000 cash! Company name on sign at hole during play.

LONGEST DRIVE SPONSORS: $400 (4) Company name on sign at hole during play.

Company logo on all materials plus swag in golfer's bags.

CLOSEST TO PIN SPONSOR: $400 (SOLD) Company name on sign at hole during play.

TEE SPONSORS: $350 (18) ALL SPONSORS WILL RECEIVE: • • •

Acknowledgement on Sponsors signage at event. Opportunity to raffle off prizes. Opportunity to supply promotional materials for goodie bags.

*Course does not permit outside food or beverage. If you would like to contact the course (407-299-1099), they will allow their team to serve alcohol at your tee for a small corkage fee. If you need a tent, table or chairs, please contact the course directly.

Name: _________________________ Company: _______________________ Address: ________________________ City, State, Zip: ____________________ Phone: __________________________ Email: __________________________ □ Check Enclosed □ Charge to Credit Card Below: □ Visa □ Master Card □ American Express Name on Card: _______________________ Account #: __________________________ Exp Date: ____/____ CVV #: __________ Signature: __________________________

Company name on sign at hole during play. 2 reps per hole sponsor. Bring a raffle item. (Additional reps are $30 per person.)

RANGE SPONSOR: $300 (1) Company name on sign at the range.

BEVERAGE CART SPONSORS: $225 (4) Company name on cart.

PARTICIPANTS:

LEVEL OF SPONSORSHIPS:

$125 (Individual Player) $450 (Foursome) Team Name: _______________________ Player #1: _________________________ Player #2: _________________________ Player #3: _________________________ Player #4: _________________________ Total Enclosed: $ ___________________ Note: Please contact us to verify availability of sponsorships. Sponsorship is not guaranteed until form and payment are received. Make checks payable to CAI Central Florida Chapter, P.O. Box 941125, Maitland, FL 32794

□ $4000 (Gold) SOLD □ $2800 (Silver) □ $1500 (Breakfast Bag) □ $1200 (Hole in One) SOLD □ $1000 (Putting Contest) SOLD □ $400 (Longest Drive) □ $400 (Closest to Pin) SOLD □ $350 (Tee) □ $300 (Range) □ $225 (Beverage Cart)

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lake & pond management BY ERIN STEWART, AQUATIC BIOLOGIST WITH SOLITUDE LAKE MANAGEMENT

Support Biological Lake and Pond Management with “Probiotics”

Pictured above (courtesy of SOLitude) - Water Quality: Over time, organic runoff builds up as muck at the bottom of lakes and ponds. As part of a proactive management plan and in conjunction with water quality testing, biological augmentation can be used to naturally and sustainably limit the accumulation of materials while improving the water quality and beauty of the waterbody.

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an aquatic resource. Think of them as probiotics or yogurt for your lake, pond or reservoir — they are responsible for breaking down and processing organic material in a process called biological augmentation.

Bacteria may sound like a bad word in some situations, but these organisms are the foundation of most biological processes within

When properly introduced, biological augmentation can help limit the impact of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, which tend to enter waterbodies through runoff containing fertilizers, pet waste and other organic materials. Without proper management, these materials may accumulate as sludge at the bottom of your waterbody, causing noxious odors, promoting nuisance algae and weed growth and expediting the waterbody’s rate of aging. Over time, costly dredging will be required to restore the health and overall volume of the aquatic resource. When beneficial bacteria

here are many sustainable options for the management of community lakes, ponds and stormwater facilities, so it can be difficult to determine which direction to turn when a water quality issue occurs. This is especially true for waterbodies used for recreational activity, irrigation, drinking water storage or any location where pesticides or other traditional management methods may be less desirable or restricted. However, all aquatic resources can benefit from proactive applications of natural and biological products. Beneficial bacteria-based products can be used as a pesticide alternative, or used in conjunction with other products and methods to enhance the efficiency of the treatment.

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PAINTS • COATINGS • ADHESIVES • SEALANTS

Since 1978, Lanco has produced paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants that simplify your projects and give the absolute best value in the Market. Corporate Office & Manufacturing Plant 600 Mid Florida Drive Orlando, FL 32824

Toll Free: 1-866-447-2400 • 407-240-4000 • Fax: 407-240-4046

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lake & pond management cont. Liquid bacteria blends are considered high-performance due to their ability to rapidly neutralize excessive nutrients that are located within the water column. Liquid blends can help to quickly enhance water clarity and quality. Pellet or granular beneficial bacteria applications contain bacteria that naturally settle to the bottom of a lake or pond to reduce organic materials that cause bottom sludge. In moderate or warm climates, the resulting reduction in accumulated sediment can be significant. A professional lake manager may also recommend utilizing aeration to help provide a healthy environment for the bacteria to prosper and achieve the desired results. Beneficial bacteria are an excellent solution for the reduction of excessive nutrient rich organic matter that cause bottom sludge and nuisance vegetation, but they don’t have to be utilized independently. When applied by a licensed professional, some biological products can also be used in conjunction with herbicides to aid in the decomposition process of submerged and emergent vegetation.

Pictured above (courtesy of SOLitude): Beneficial bacteria acts much like a natural probiotic for your lake or pond, aiding with the efficient decomposition of organic materials and excessive nutrients, which can help prevent the development of nuisance algae and vegetation and

A professional will determine the rate and frequency of beneficial bacteria and/or herbicide applications by conducting water chemistry tests or considering the targeted issue. However, the best way to achieve your overall lake or pond goals is to ensure the proper products are being utilized. There are many selections available on the market, so it is very important to choose a quality option with field data and science supporting the claims. Always rely on your lake and pond management company for beneficial bacteria recommendations, as well as guidance on strategies to improve aeration, beneficial buffers, water quality and native wildlife populations. Your water will thank you.

facilitate the growth of healthy organisms.

are in place, they convert nutrients to forms that cannot fuel nuisance plant growth, promote efficient decomposition and prevent the accumulation of organic materials. This, in turn, can help diversify the biological community structure by facilitating the development of “good� algae, diatoms, zooplankton and healthy fish. Regular applications of these biologicals can be incredibly favorable and help keep beneficial bacteria concentrations and activity high throughout the year. Depending on the particular water quality or vegetation issues within your lake, pond or reservoir, a lake and pond management professional may recommend different forms of probiotic bacteria, including liquid, pellet or powdered applications.

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Erin Stewart is an experienced Aquatic Biologist with SOLitude Lake Management, an environmental firm providing a full array of superior lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management services and solutions. Learn more about this topic at www.solitudelakemanagement.com/knowledge.


Banking solutions to help your communities thrive At Union Bank®, we offer customized banking and lending solutions to meet the unique needs of the community association industry. With over 25 years of experience, our specialized HOA team applies their in-depth knowledge to help support and grow your business.

Amanda Orlando, CMCA® Regional Account Executive 386-424-0830 amanda.orlando@unionbank.com

Learn how we simplify banking and the financing of your projects at HOAbankservices.com.

Financing subject to credit and collateral approval. Other restrictions may apply. Terms and conditions subject to change.

©2018 MUFG Union Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Union Bank is a registered trademark and brand name of MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

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assessment collections BY JANET F. ROMANO, SR. VICE PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION SERVICES, CENTENNIAL BANK

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or many years association Boards of Directors and community association managers have tried to make billing and collection of maintenance assessments easier for unit owners and more efficient for management. Some smaller associations traditionally use the simplest of systems: they mail out the approved budget each year, with a letter stating that each unit owner must pay the stated maintenance, giving an address to mail payments to and details on payment amounts and due dates.

Banks that work with associations now offer a “lockbox” system for assessment payments. The association prints coupons or invoices which are mailed out to each unit owner with instructions to mail payments directly to the bank. The bank then deposits the maintenance payments directly into the association’s bank account, and the bank sends a file back to the association showing whose payments have been received, the amount paid, and the date the payment was received.

Other associations mail out monthly or quarterly billing statements to save on postage, and many associations began to have coupon books printed with owners mailing payments to the association office.

The best systems offered by banks include an on-line interface, with a secure connection to provide images of the payments that have been received, a searchable database so the management can see each unit’s payment history, and images of checks and coupons received.

In the mid-1980s, owners, boards and managers realized that the process could be streamlined and simplified. Banks responded by developing technology to cater to the needs of community associations. Now banks and managers are utilizing a wide variety of technology to help improve efficiency for both the association and for the homeowners.

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Utilizing a bank’s lockbox system can also give homeowners more options on how they pay their maintenance fees. Some banks offer the option of automatic debit of maintenance fees. The unit owners sign up for this service and the bank will debit the unit owners account and deposit the maintenance fees into the association


Committed to our communities For 30 years, BB&T Association Services has provided solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of property management companies and community associations. You can count on us to be your trusted partner. BBT.com/AssociationServices

Association Services Marianne Brown, CAM VP, Relationship Manager 727-260-5004 Marianne.Brown@BBandT.com

Branch Banking and Trust Company is a Member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. Loans are subject to credit approval. Only deposit products are FDIC insured. Š 2016, Branch Banking and Trust Company. All rights reserved.

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assessment collections cont. Some associations have decided to utilize different technology that will also increase efficiency. Instead of having the owners mail the checks to the bank utilizing lockbox, they are instructed to mail checks to the association office. The management office then utilizes technology called “remote deposit capture” to make deposits to the association account right from the office. The bank provides a check reader and software to enable the association to deposit checks from their office directly into the appropriate association account. This eliminates the need for deposit slips and endorsement stamps, but in most cases the posting of payments to each individual owner account is still a manual process. However, some banks have developed systems where the check and the coupon are scanned through remote deposit, and the images are captured into the lockbox environment. A report is then sent through a secure internet portal which can be uploaded to association software to avoid manual posting of payments.

accounts. Some banks have the association management handle the debit themselves. Having the banks handle the debit, saves time and work for the manager. Some banks only will debit maintenance fees on one particular day of the month, usually the first, second or third, others will allow the unit owner to decide which day of the month to debit the maintenance fee.

The technology of association banking is rapidly evolving, and banks continually try to improve the services they provide to associations. If your association is trying to improve efficiency and security, association lockbox services can provide the dual control functions your association auditor and fidelity bond insurer are seeking. You should contact several banks to compare their offerings and pricing and you will find a system that will meet your association’s needs.

Association lockbox offered by banks will usually allow the owners to pay maintenance fees online utilizing a credit or debit card, in addition most of the banks provide instructions for owners to send their maintenance fees to the bank using their own bank’s bill pay systems. Association lockbox systems offer many advantages for the association management. By having owners send payments directly to the bank, cash flow improves for the association. Opening the payments, sorting them by association, making out deposit slips, and trips to the bank are eliminated. The money paid through lockbox is deposited the same day it is received, and most banks serving the industry send a report which will post the payments to the owners accounts, eliminating the need to hand key in payments and avoiding posting errors. 18

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Janet Romano is the Sr. Vice President of Association Services for Centennial Bank. To learn more, please contact Janet at jromano@my100bank.com or 941-237-2050. Visit www.my100bank.com/association-banking for more information on association banking.


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welcome new members! BUSINESS PARTNERS

MANAGEMENT COMPANY

VOLUNTEER LEADERS

Dehlinger Construction LLC Mr. Patrick Dehlinger

Condominium Concepts Management, Inc. Ms. Nubia Thomas

Mr. Steven Michael Nolan Wedgefield Homeowners Association

i4 Waste Valet & Recycling Mr. Robenson Dorvil IRO CPA LLC Mr. Ivan E Ramos Waste Connections of Florida Ms. Britton Sharpe E. Leonard Painting Ernesto Leonard

MANAGER MEMBERS Mr. Derek Lawton Scholz

Mr. Thomas Schmidt Wedgefield Homeowners Association Mr. Robert Strong Parkside at Buena Vista Woods

Ms. Ivonne Silva Ms. Kathleen M. Bollo Mrs. Cindy Griffin

Emergency Services and Reconstruction Ms. Leilani Mercado

Ms. Amber Ucci Leland Management

Stratus Roofing Mrs. Julieta Knapp

Ms. Jennifer Padilla Tyler Property Management

WANT TO JOIN CAI? If you provide products or services to community associations, CAI can give you direct access to thousands of potential customers. Visit caicf.org/resources/ membership for more information.

Behr Paint (Central FLA) Rene Laracuente

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 Amanda Whitney Leland Management awhitney@lelandmanagement.com Chuck Strode Associa cstrode@community-mgmt.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

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Gala Committee Gina Holbrook Premier Association Management gina.holbrook@premiermgmtcfl.com

Meet the Managers Committee Cathy Bowers True Property Group cbowers@truepropertygroup.com

Golf Committee Scott Pollock Sentry Management spollock@sentrymgt.com

Membership Committee Debbie Young Premier Association Management debbie.young@premiermgmtcfl.com

Rick Shreve True Property Group rshreve@truepropertygroup.com Legislative Committee Lou Biron Sihle Insurance Group lbiron@sihle.com

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


Some say first impressions are everything. We say it’s the lasting ones that count. Be confident about the message your landscape sends. Partner with our team of landscape experts whose tailor-made solutions, dependable service and consistent results ensure your resident’s first experience is never their last. Susan Chapman 407 702 4929 Susan.Chapman@brightview.com

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strategic planning BY MICHAEL KULICH, PRESIDENT OF TURTLE CREEK HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION

Moving from Social Club to Game Changer: Why Every Association Needs a Strategic Plan

I’m sure a fair amount of people read the title to this article and thought, “Why would a community association need a strategic plan – isn’t that for large corporations?” The fact is, most successful businesses have some form of strategic planning in place. A strategic plan serves as the roadmap to drive the overall direction of the business, initiatives to focus on and where to place resources to achieve a common set of aligned goals. A community association is a business and to deliver the value expected by homeowners, a strategic plan is critical for focus and transparency of where assessment dollars are going. The time of running a board meeting over a cup of coffee at your local Perkins is over – it’s time to ensure your community association runs like a business and has a plan in place to deliver value to all homeowners.

WHAT IS STRATEGIC PLANNING? Strategic planning is an organizational process used to set priorities, align investments and resources, establish holistic organizational goals, establish consensus on goals, assess the current business and adjust the direction in response to a changing environment. For a community association, strategic planning will provide clarity around the vision and mission of the community. While there are

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monthly financial reports and reserve studies, the strategic plan looks to provide a more defined path forward for a community set over a period of 3, 5, 7 or 10 years. The focus on the strategic plan is daily operations and more about the honest assessment of key questions for the community to contemplate like:

• What is your community’s brand and brand placement within the local community?

• What type of home buyers would you like to attract to your community?

• What are the cultures living in your community and how can you address their needs? • What are the expectations of homeowners for the community and the association? • How should community amenities and infrastructure evolve to support the changing needs of the homeowners while maintaining the brand image to keep relevance in the overall community? The association board needs to understand these items if it wants to deliver value to members while keeping the community feeling


fresh and relevant for prospective home buyers.

STEPS TO DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN Developing a strategic plan is part historian by reviewing the effectiveness of previous decisions coupled with fortune teller by looking ahead to anticipate the change in demographics and expectations of homeowners. There are some fundamental steps that go into creating a robust strategic plan. At a high level, strategic plan development can be broken down into 5 steps.

STEP 0 – CURRENT ASSESSMENT / SWOT ANALYSIS The foundation for any strategic plan is a comprehensive and honest review of where the organization stands presently. This includes conducting a SWOT analysis to address the Strengths of the organization, where the organization has Weaknesses, what Opportunities are identified, and the Threats from other competitors or external influences exist. Being honest in the assessment of the community and the association board is critical in enabling the other steps to be created in a manner that provides a value-added plan for the association.

today to where we think we want to be tomorrow. There are many different techniques available to facilitate brainstorming, but I’ve been using the mind mapping approach for years across all types of organizations with a high level of success. Moreover, mind maps can be done for performance reporting, project analysis and other critical areas of association operations that will lead to a comprehensive and integrated plan when aggregated.

STEP 2 – DEVELOP VISION AND MISSION STATEMENTS The formal creation of a strategic plan starts with the creating of a vision and mission statement. Looking at what each one means we see a vision statement focusing on defining what the community wants to be in the future in terms of infrastructure, look and feel, etc. The mission statement defines the purpose of the association in areas, such as enhancing property values and being focused on homeowner satisfaction throughout all association operations. Developing quality mission and vision statements prove hard for many groups as it really forces honest thought on what an organization truly stands for and what kind of future is expected by stakeholders. This step is where I would advocate getting homeowner involvement though online surveys or an open town hall focused on the subject. The board of directors may be responsible for the creation of the strategic plan, but in order to develop something meaningful, homeowner engagement is critical to understanding what people want or expect from the association and community.

STEP 1 – INITIAL BRAINSTORMING This step is probably the most enjoyable for people as it deals with tossing out ideas to help bridge the gap from where we are

STEP 3 – DEFINE GOALS AND SET PRIORITIES Based on the mission and vision statements, the board can review

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strategic planning cont. the ideas coming out of the initial brainstorming session to align on a set of goals with a priority on each. This is another area where homeowner engagement helps to provide the needed feedback to help find out what is important to homeowners and where the community should be headed in the future. Any goals that are defined must be achievable within the structure of the association – either from an infrastructure or financial perspective. Laying out a goal of installing a multimillion dollar clubhouse when the community doesn’t have the land or the funding does nothing more than compromise the integrity of the plan and discourages buy-in from homeowners. Another key part of goal setting is having a priority by which to work the goals. A strategic plan needs to provide the board a roadmap to meet the goals laid out for the community; without this the plan will become more driven by personal feelings than executing in a controlled process-oriented manner. Moreover, an ancillary item to discuss when setting goals and priority is how the board will measure and report progress to the community. Every goal has two things – a starting point and an ending point. The journey to close the gap between these two points needs to be monitored, measured and reported to provide relevant data to influence board decisions. Previously, I wrote an article about performance dashboard reporting which would allow for effective reporting on the progress of the implementation of the strategic plan. STEP 4 – IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Once the above steps are completed, the next task is laying out the plan on how to take the necessary steps to implement the plan. The priority ranking of the goals for the community should take into account constraint points like funding, resource requirements, timing and the like. Implementation also needs to take into account the overall time on various items. For instance, if your community wants to resurface the roads, it’s probably not a good idea to schedule it during a busy holiday like Christmas or during a traditionally rainy weather season. I’ve always advocated using a tool like Microsoft Project to detail the steps for implementation while being able to account for any type of constraint. Using a software program like this will also allow for scenario modeling and tracking budget and actual expenses for the overall plan.

holds no value for the community. A strategic plan update should be done as part of the annual budget process to align funding to the strategic goals in the plan. While this may sound like a substantial amount of incremental work, once the initial plan has been completed, the board will get into a cadence to update the needed items on a regular basis.

BENEFITS TO A STRATEGIC PLAN The hard work and dedication to create a strategic plan will yield more than just a document to update annually. Creating a strategic plan will have a profound impact on how your association board operates. Left behind will be the lax social club approach only to be replaced with clearly defined goals and processes to achieve them. In addition, the below represent some of the other key benefits when your association creates a strategic plan:

• Creates a proactive versus reactive mindset to running the • • • •

association Formalizes a direction and roadmap for the association Better leverage of community resources Improved decision making and performance by the board of directors Provides clear communication of priorities to build community consensus

These are just some of the benefits that come from creating and implementing a strategic plan in your association. While there are many more details for each step in the process, every association board should look to develop a strategic plan as it will be a game changer in making your association operate like the business it is and deliver higher satisfaction across all homeowners.

Michael as

Kulich

President

of

has

served

Turtle

Creek

Homeowners Association since 2014 and was recently named the CAI Homeowner Leader of the Year. He is

STEP 5 – REVIEW AND UPDATE CYCLE A strategic plan should be viewed as a living document in the sense that the board should review and refresh the content on an annual basis. Assumptions made 12 months ago may no longer be valid and the board needs to adapt the strategic plan to reflect these changes. Ignoring changes – either internal to the community or external – will result in wasted money and time as taking a wrong path forward

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also President of iD8 Solutions Group which specializes in consulting for community associations. In addition, he is a Certified Association Manager and author of the blog – The HOA Guru. You can contact Mr. Kulich directly at mikekulich@id8solutionsgroup.com with any questions.


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new developments in condo law BY YELINE GOIN, ESQ., BECKER

T

he 2018 Legislative Session ended with only two community association bills passing and being approved by the Governor. The following is a summary of the two bills:

HB 617, Relating to Covenants and Restrictions, by Rep. Edwards. The bill primarily involves the Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA). The intent is to simplify the process for preserving covenants and restrictions of homeowners’ associations, and allow non-residential property owners’ associations to preserve covenants and restrictions. The bill will also allow non-mandatory homeowners’ associations to revitalize covenants and restrictions that have expired. EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018. HB 841, Relating to Community Associations, by Rep. Moraitis. The bill impacts condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations. EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018. The bill: (1) Extends the amount of time that condominium associations must respond to a written records request from 5 business days to 10 business days; (2) Extends the date that condominium associations must post a majority of its official records on a website to January 1, 2019 (the current deadline is July 1, 2018) and revises the documents that must be posted on the website; (3) Provides that if a condominium association fails to comply with 26

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the division’s request to provide a unit owner with a financial report, the association may not waive the financial reporting requirement for the fiscal year in which the owner’s request was mad e and the following fiscal year; (4) Requires condominium meeting notices to be posted on the condominium property (not association property); (5) Provides that condominium and cooperative associations may, by rule, adopt a procedure for conspicuously posting meeting notices and the agenda on the condominium association’s website. Any rule adopted, in addition to other matters, must include a requirement that the association send an electronic notice in the same manner as a notice for a meeting of the members, which must include a hyperlink to the website where the notice is posted, to unit owners whose e-mail addresses are included in the association’s official records; (6) Amends the existing condominium association term limit language to provide that no board member may serve more than eight consecutive years, unless approved by an affirmative vote of twothirds of the voting interests voting in the election or unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies; (7) Provides that a condominium or cooperative unit owner who consents to receive notice by electronic transmission is solely responsible for removing or bypassing filters that block receipt of mass emails sent to members;


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new developments in condo law cont. (8) Requires condominium recalls to be “facially valid” and permits a recalled board member to challenge the facial validity of the written agreement or the substantial compliance with the procedural requirements for the recall. A board member who is successful in challenging a recall is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs from the respondents. The arbitrator may award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the respondents if they prevail, if the arbitrator makes a finding that the petitioner’s claim is frivolous;

(17) Amends the Cooperative Act to provide that a director or officer more than 90 days delinquent in the payment of any monetary obligation due to the association shall be deemed to have abandoned the office, creating a vacancy in the office to be filled according to law;

(9) Requires a vote of condominium unit owners to be taken before a material alteration or substantial addition;

(19) Amends the Homeowners’ Association Act to require that amendments be presented either with underlining and strikethroughs, or in a “substantial rewording” format. Further, an amendment to a governing document is effective upon recording in the public records; an immaterial error or omission in the amendment process does not invalidate an otherwise properly adopted amendment; and a notice required pursuant to Section 720.306 must be mailed or delivered to the address identified as the parcel owner’s mailing address, or electronically transmitted in a manner authorized by the association if the parcel owner has consented in writing to receive notice by electronic transmission;

(10) Prohibits a condominium association from prohibiting any unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station within the boundaries of the unit owner’s limited common element parking area, under certain circumstances; (11) Amends the condominium conflict of interest provisions (Sections 718.3026 and 718.3027) to remove redundant provisions; (12) Revises the condominium and cooperative fining provisions to require the fining committee to be composed of three members who are not officers, directors, or employees of the association, or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of an officer, director or employee. (13) Amends the Condominium, Cooperative, and Homeowners’ Association Acts to provide that if the proposed fine or suspension is approved by the committee, the fine payment is due 5 days after the date or the committee meeting at which the fine is approved. The association must provide written notice of the fine or suspension by mail or hand delivery to the unit owner, and if applicable, to any tenant, licensee, or invitee of the unit owner. (14) Removes the “sunset” date in the condominium “bulk buyer” law, thereby making the bulk buyer law permanent; (15) Amends the cooperative statute to provide that in a residential cooperative of more than 10 units, co-owners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of directors at the same time unless the co-owners own more than one unit or unless there are not eligible candidates to fill the vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy;

(18) Amends the Cooperative Act to allow the association to enter into bulk contracts for communications services;

(20) Amends the Homeowners’ Association Act to provide that if an election is not required because there are either an equal number or fewer qualified candidates than vacancies exist, and if nominations from the floor are not required, write-in nominations are not permitted and such qualified candidates shall commence service on the board, regardless of whether a quorum is attained at the annual meeting; (21) Amends the Homeowners’ Association Act to clarify that the application of payment (first to interest, then to any late fees, then to costs and reasonable attorney fees, and then to the delinquent assessment) applies regardless of any purported accord and satisfaction, or any restrictive endorsement, designation, or instruction placed on or accompanying a payment.

Yeline Goin is an attorney with Becker in the Orlando office. She concentrates her practice on the law of community associations, primarily representing condominium,

cooperative,

and

homeowners’

associations.

For

more

information, you can contact Yeline at ygoin@beckerlawyers.com or 407-875-

(16) Amends the Cooperative Act and the Homeowners’ Association Act to provide that members of the board may use email as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on association matters via e-mail;

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CAICF 2nd Quarter 2018 Newsletter  
CAICF 2nd Quarter 2018 Newsletter