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Are E-Mails Considered Official Records for Florida’s Community Associations?

Florida’s community associations, including condominiums and homeowners associations, are required to keep and maintain its official records. See Fla. Stat. § 718.111(12); Fla. Stat. § 720.303(4). Upon request, those official records are to be made available to all members at

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Enforceability of Board Adopted Rules Regulating Leases in Condominiums (FL)

Many community associations in the State of Florida are looking for ways to combat the growing number of rentals in their communities. About a year ago, the Second District Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Le Scampi Condominium Association,

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Quick Tips for Association Board Members: The Four B’s of Writing Minutes for Board Meetings

The minutes of any meeting of the Board of Directors for a Condominium Association or a Homeowners’ Association are public records per Florida law. The minutes are required to be kept for 7 years. Fla. Stat. 718.111(12); Fla. Stat. 720.303(4).

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New Legal Remedies Against Director Conflicts of Interest for Associations (FL)

In the pursuit of association fraud and embezzlement, one of the most important aspects of the major legislation that was adopted earlier this year is the law’s effort to curb conflicts of interest by association board members and officers.  The

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Paying for Emergency Repairs to Florida Condominiums

Florida is synonymous with condominium living as a way of life. It’s also synonymous with hurricanes. Hurricanes have largely shaped Florida’s construction industry in that the building code is shaped and modeled after the construction of structure that can withstand

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Tackling the New Website Requirement for FL Condominium Associations

Florida condominium associations with 150 or more units, which do not manage timeshare units, must have an independent website or web portal by July 1, 2018, according to Section 718.111, Florida Statutes. These websites or web portals can either be

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Scavenge No More: Preventing a Trashy Situation

Having trouble with animals raiding your garbage cans and creating an awful mess? You’re not alone. Dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, rats and other animals can have a king-sized buffet if they get into your trash—even if the lids on your

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Ask An Expert: About Your Condo, HOA Rules (FL)

I am a resident in a community governed by a condominium association. I recently attended the board of directors meeting at which the annual budget for next year was discussed, voted on and approved by the board. For as many

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How to Approach Disagreements With Your Community or Homeowner’s Association

When you purchase a property in a community that’s governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA), you agree to abide by its rules. If for example, you bought a newly built home in a development, or a condominium or townhouse, such

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Community Associations Fighting Back Against ‘Zombie’ Homes (FL)

Zombies are fictional undead beings created from the reanimation of a human corpse popular in movies and on television. Unfortunately, many community associations are now finding themselves dealing with “zombie” homes. A zombie home is created by a lender which

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And Your Association Thought Foreclosure Was Bad? The Consequences of Tax Sales & Tax Deeds For Community Associations (FL)

It is a scenario familiar to every association: an owner falls behind on his or her assessments and doesn’t get current, and the association initiates the lien recordation and foreclosure process. However, before the association can foreclose its lien and

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Condominium Workers Charged with Theft in Wake of New Fraud Law (FL)

Changes in condominium association laws that were recently enacted with an aim to curb fraud in associations seem to have had a strong impact in increasing the general awareness of the problems facing Florida condo communities. A few major media

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FEMA Publishes Guidance for Handling Flood Losses

In September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Hurricane Harvey and Irma claim handling process for buildings insured under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), specifically recognizing that catastrophic flooding from those storms demands “fast and accurate payments to

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Florida Takes First Step in Curbing Frivolous ADA Lawsuits by Allowing ADA Qualified Expert Reporting

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) was enacted by Congress in 1990 to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in access to employment, governmental services and programs, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications. As stated in the law, the ADA is

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Plan In Advance: How Associations Can Improve Their Response To Disasters

It’s almost been two months since Hurricane Irma devastated the southeast United States. While it certainly could have been far worse for Southwest Florida, many community associations are still working through a variety of difficult issues, including processing insurance claims,

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Countdown to 7/1/18 and the New Website Requirements for FL Condominium Associations (FL)

By July 1, 2018, a Florida condominium association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshare units must have an independent website or web portal wholly owned and operated by the association or a website or web portal

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Dealing with Noisy Neighbors

Does your neighbor’s loud music, barking dog or late-night visitors keep you up at night? If you live in a condominium building, your answer is probably ‘yes.’ A recurring complaint that we receive from condominium unit owners is that they

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Project Management: What Every Board Member And Manager Needs To Know

Your association is gearing up for a large project. Maybe it’s time to re-do the clubhouse or plan for that $2M dollar concrete restoration project that was put off for far too long. Other large scale projects can include painting,

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Clients Must Use Insurer’s Contractor or Face $10k Cap (FL)

Beginning in February, Citizens will be able to force commercial and residential property policyholders who file claims for all non-weather water losses to use the company’s preapproved contractor or agree to limit their total payout to $10,000. This arbitrary figure

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Can Your Community Association Stop Bullying and Harassment in Their Tracks? (FL)

Bullying in any form cannot be condoned either in schools, workplaces or communities. While a newly filed bill by Rep. Emily Slosberg (HB 123) has the laudable goal of protecting Florida’s senior citizens from being bullied, just how feasible is

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Should HOA’s Receive FEMA Funds?

With recent storms ravaging homes across the nation, many homeowners are taking a closer look at the laws and regulations put in place to help rebuild after a natural disaster. For most concerned homeowners, one of the main questions is

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We’ve Got a Problem: Statute of Limitations on Long-Term Notes (FL)

A Florida Supreme Court justice Thursday issued a nearly five-page opinion to point out “the latest symptom of a more serious problem”—a misunderstanding over when the clock starts in foreclosure litigation with multiple defaults and suits.  The confusion centers on

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Hurricane Shutters and Hurricane Protection Policies: Does your Condominium have what it needs? (FL)

With the recent threat from Hurricane Irma, many condominium associations were faced with emergency requests from unit owners for the association to install or for the association to allow owners to install hurricane shutters or other forms of hurricane protection. 

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Aggressive Collection Strategies: Using Proceedings Supplementary to Get Paid (FL)

In Florida, Proceedings Supplementary are begun utilizing the procedure found in Fla. Stat. 56.29. The Proceedings Supplementary statute was enacted prior the adoption of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. In the recent past this created a lot of confusion

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What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution? (And Why Does the Association Use It?)

Community associations and their members disagree from time to time. When they do, the association board attempts to resolve problems by using a three-step, problem-solving approach called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It’s an effective and money-saving alternative to the traditional

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FEMA Assistance Available in HOAs (FL)

When we are affected by weather-related damage, it’s reassuring to know that private communities such as ours can rely on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in certain circumstances.  While we must continue to be proactive and adhere to our

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How to Train New Board Members for your HOA

A condo or homeowner’s association is the cornerstone of a building community. The condominium of HOA maintains order and continuity by preserving architectural integrity, maintaining the common elements, protecting property values, and often providing for recreation and community engagement among

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New Florida HOA Laws: Board Member Term Limits

Among the major changes to Florida’s condominium laws in 2017 is a new provision mandating term limits for board members. The new legislation marks a significant departure from the past policies for most associations pertaining to the tenures of their

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How To Prepare Your HOA in The Event of a Natural Disaster

Consider this scenario: You are a board member for an HOA that represents over 300 residents in a condominium complex of 20 buildings. In the early hours of a Thursday morning, you are awakened by a loud knocking at your

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After the Hurricane, Associations Should Approach the Rebuilding Process with Care

Four weeks after Hurricane Irma, most associations have likely made progress in making temporary repairs to damaged communities. This week’s column will focus on the various issues that arise during the rebuilding process that occur after the storm. Part of

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Florida Condominium Association Emergency Powers

In Florida, condominium living is a way of life. Many of the state’s condominiums are located in places where they can capture a view and typically that means they are close to the water. In Florida, we also have hurricanes.

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A Rude Awakening: Your Board May Not Have the Right to Screen Leases and Sales at All! (FL)

Even in the frenzy of post-Irma repairs, ordinary life continues and for most volunteer boards and professional managers that means screening applicants who wish to lease or purchase in their communities.  However, purchase and rental screening has become such a

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Condominiums and Conflicts of Interest: How to interpret the rebuttable presumption (FL)

The legislature recently amended Chapter 718 of the Florida Statues, relating to condominiums, to create a rebuttable presumption that a conflict of interest exist in certain situations.[1] A conflict of interest is a real or seeming incompatibility between one’s private

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Floods And Flood Insurance: Don’t Be Up The Creek Without A Paddle

As we, our neighbors, families, and friends, here and in Puerto Rico, are picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, the prospect of making claims on our homeowner’s insurance policies can seem overwhelming in

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Online Communities Can Create Physical Neighborhoods

Communities are like minds – the more connections, and the greater the flow of information, the better they function. The Internet, and more specifically, social media, is an excellent way to facilitate community building. Simply put, when people are aware

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New Board Member Term Limits Law has Significant Impact for Florida Condo Associations

Among the major changes to Florida’s condominium laws in 2017 is a new provision mandating term limits for board members. The new legislation marks a significant departure from the past policies for most associations pertaining to the tenures of their

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Who Is Responsible for Damage and Removal of Downed Trees? (FL)

Hurricane Irma caused a lot of damage in Central Florida and we are still dealing with downed trees and limbs littering neighborhoods. Since the storm, we have received countless phone calls from clients asking who is responsible for damage caused

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Privé Island Scores Yet Another Legal Victory With Judge Rulings (FL)

Privé at Island Estates, the iconic twin tower residential development on the last developable island in South Florida, announced its second legal victory, ruled by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, on September 20th with granted development access rights through the

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No Trespassing, Except to Retrieve Golf Balls: Florida’s Interesting Legal Take on Property Law and Golfers.

Thanks to the Internet and social media, you’ve no doubt heard some of the collection of strange laws to be found in states across the country. We could start with the first letter of the alphabet and point out that

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When Residents Break Rules

All too often, we are asked by boards of directors and property managers what steps can be taken to prevent residents from continuing to break rules in their communities. Seldom, however, do we hear community associations that are active and

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Post-Irma Impacts on Association Annual Meetings and Elections (FL)

While recovery from property damage and power outages may take precedence in the hours and days following a hurricane, it is also important to consider—and to take swift action to recover from— not-so-apparent implications of a storm.   Read the article…………….

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Hurricane Irma Take-Aways for Condo & Community Associations

Hurricane Irma Take-Aways for Community Associations 1 – Review and Update Insurance Policies. All insurance policies should be reviewed and updated as necessary, at least annually. Review dates should be calendared well in advance and incorporated into other annual must-do

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Helpful Tips to Consider When Filing an Insurance Claim (FL)

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe after the storm with little to no damage to your property. Our thoughts remain with those whose homes and loved ones were impacted by Hurricane Irma. As local, state and

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Hurricane Irma Hit – Now What? (FL)

We were just hit by the biggest storm in Florida’s history. Although there is damage, you are grateful everyone is safe and comforted by knowing that you have insurance. But, did you know that you are responsible to prevent additional

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Associations dealing with unique problems post Hurricane Irma

Thankfully Floridians heeded the call and evacuated where necessary and prepared one and all for the monstrous Hurricane Irma. While Irma was a lengthy and dangerous storm, the effects on Florida were not as devastating as had been feared. However,

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Owner Participation at an Association Board Meeting – The Fine Art of Herding Cats

Here is part three of the on-going conversation about keeping order and control in association board meetings, and getting the business done. This time, the focus is on participation of members in an association board meeting.  In recent years, I

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Guidance for Working With FEMA for Debris Removal Following Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

As storm victims struggle to survive after the devastation and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey, the first thing individuals and community associations should do is register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Community association residents are most

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How a New Law Affecting Condo Associations Could Mean Brisk Business for Web Designers (FL)

Website developer Todd Paton knows it will likely be months before his new target market seeks him out, or even begins to pay attention to his pitches.  Yet, Paton and his colleague Dhiren Chauhan are busy building a platform to

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Must communities retrofit for handicap accommodation (FL)

The question often arises as to whether condominium, cooperative and homeowners’ associations need to install wheelchair ramps, elevator or swimming pool lifts or redo common area bathrooms to accommodate handicap persons.   The general answer is that associations may have

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6 Tips for Onboarding a Community Association Board

Anytime you have incoming board members to your community association, it is important to set expectations and outline the duties each person will perform. New board members must be brought up to speed as quickly as possible so that you

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