1200 Park Central Boulevard South,
Pompano Beach, FL
954.928.0680

9121 North Military Trail, Suite 200,
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
561.241.4462

1211 N. Westshore Blvd., Suite 409,
Tampa, FL
813.375.0731

1200 Park Central Blvd. S., Pompano Bch, FL | 954-928-0680
9121 N. Military Trail, Ste. 200, Palm Bch Gdns, FL  | 561-241-4462
1211 N. Westshore Blvd., Ste. 409, Tampa, FL | 813-375-0731

Hurricane Season Preparedness

Michael S. Bender, Esq., BCS

As with each year, we hope for a season with no hurricanes coming our way. However, it is safe to expect that there may be at least one such event in the coming months and, at the start of the hurricane season, it is prudent to plan for that possibility. Some of the planning steps that should be considered include the following:

  1. Create a disaster plan and establish off-site contact information and meeting points.
  2. Establish evacuation routes and conduct building or community evacuation drills in the weeks leading up to and once the hurricane season has begun.
  3. Verify that emergency generators and supplies operate and that fuel, flashlights, batteries, water, and other necessities are available.
  4. Backup computer files and store information offsite, in case computers crash or systems fail.
  5. Secure the premises. Make preparations for routine lockdown of the building(s) or other facilities as a storm approaches, so the building(s) is(are) secure during the storm and safe from vandalism or looting if a hurricane strikes.
  6. Write a list of owners and employees. Have on hand a current, hard-copy reference list complete with the names of all property owners, emergency contact numbers, and details of second residence addresses, as well as a list of all association employees, with full contact details.
  7. Photograph or video the premises. Keep a visual record through video or photographs of premises, facilities, and buildings to facilitate damage assessment and speed damage claims in a storm aftermath. Consider having the premises evaluated by appropriate professionals to establish the conditions prior to any hurricane event. (see further details on this item below)
  8. Make a building and facilities plans. Make sure a complete set of building or community plans are readily available for consultation by first responders, utilities workers, and insurance adjusters following a storm.
  9. Check all insurance policies and agent details. Be sure all insurance policies are current and coverage is adequate for community property, facilities, and common areas and compliant with State Law; full contact details for insurance companies and agents should be readily available in the event of a storm.
  10. Maintain bank account details and signatories. Keep handy a list of all bank account numbers, branch locations, and authorized association signatories, and make contingency plans for back-up signatories in case evacuation or relocation becomes necessary.
  11. Prepare to mitigate damages. In the immediate aftermath of a storm, take the necessary steps to mitigate damages. This includes “drying-in,” which is the placement of tarps on openings in the roof and plywood over blown out doors and windows, and “drying-out,” which is the removal of wet carpet and drywall to prevent the growth of mold.
  12. Remove debris.Have a plan for the speedy removal of debris by maintenance staff, outside contractors, or civic public works employees should a hurricane topple trees and leave debris in its wake.
  13. Reach out to your professionals. Be in touch with your management team and legal counsel to assist in guiding you in making fully informed business decisions to best protect your Community

Webinar | Conflicts of Interest – What You Need to Know

This course is for educational purposes and is not to be considered as legal advice. Watching this video on demand does not satisfy any state requirements, nor does this on-demand viewing offer any CEU for licensed managers.

Join attorney Allison L. Hertz and learn to identify potential conflicts of interest, how to document disclosures, internal controls and training staff, directors and officers, any new statutory requirements and penalties and best practices for associations.

LAST SURFSIDE-INSPIRED BILL FAILS: A Perfect Opportunity Lost

Rembaum's Association Roundup | Jeffrey A. Rembaum, Esq., BCS

As a result of the 2022 Florida legislative session, there will be no new statutes requiring mandated building/engineering inspections, no statutory changes to budgeting procedures, no mandated reserve study requirements, and no statutory changes to required disclosures.

While only a very few Florida counties have mandated in their code of ordinances that older condominium buildings have life-safety inspections, that does not mean required maintenance and proper planning can be otherwise avoided elsewhere. Board members must exercise their fiduciary duties with due care and due diligence. Voluntary engineering inspections and professional reserve studies should be considered to take place on a regular schedule. Maintenance, repairs, and replacements should be budgeted and funding sources properly identified.

[Read the Full Article…]

News from CAI | Florida Lawmakers Fail to Reach Agreement on Condominium Safety Bill

Legislators failed to reach an agreement on a bill to improve building structural integrity before the session’s adjournment.
 
Mar. 11, 2022 — Falls Church, Va. — Members of the Florida legislature did not reach an agreement on legislation that would require building inspections and mandatory reserve studies for certain condominium and cooperative communities prior to this session’s adjournment, despite the tireless efforts from Sen. Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) and Rep. Daniel Perez (R-Miami) as well as CAI advocates to pass legislation that would contribute to condominium safety after the tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., last June.
 
Condominium safety is CAI’s top priority this legislative session.  Our advocates will continue efforts and support sensible laws that benefit an estimated 9.6 million Floridians living in 48,500 community associations. There may be as many as 20,000 condominium buildings impacted by this legislation and many owners or residents of those buildings may be unaware of building conditions that require immediate attention. (Estimates from the American Communities Survey).
 
“While CAI is disappointed that condominium safety legislation didn’t pass in Florida, we certainly appreciate the complicated nature of these legislative proposals,” says Dawn M. Bauman, CAE, CAI’s senior vice president of government and public affairs. “CAI applauds the efforts of Sen. Bradley and Rep. Perez to develop legislation that attempted to balance condominium safety without imposing regulations that create undue and unanticipated financial burdens and compliance concerns.”
 
CAI’s Florida Legislative Alliance began working with state legislators after the condominium collapse in Surfside in June 2021 to provide support, research, subject-matter expertise, and public policy recommendations. We remain committed to condominium safety and to working with legislators in Florida and around the country to pass legislation that will result in safe and well-maintained condominiums with properly funded budgets.
 
To date, condominium safety legislation pertaining to building inspections for multifamily buildings has been introduced in Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia.
 
The Virginia General Assembly recently passed legislation introduced by Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax, VA) that requires the Virginia Housing Commission to study condominium safety issues, specifically building inspections. The Maryland legislature is considering funding for condominium buildings in need of critical repairs, while Hawaii is considering building inspection requirements for condominiums.
 
Learn more about CAI’s efforts to improve condominium safety HERE.

Jeffrey Rembaum quoted in Florida Politics’ | Last Surfside-inspired Bill Dies, Observers Bemoan Lost Opportunity

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida.

The bill that died Friday was one of nine bills that proposed to change condo association regulations.

The Legislature’s inability to pass any legislation updating condo regulations in the wake of last summer’s disaster that killed 98 people stunned observers.

The Senate Thursday passed House-approved legislation (HB 7069that would have required regular inspections of aging multifamily buildings three stories or taller. As she explained the bill, Sen. Jennifer Bradley resolved the Surfside disaster would never happen again.

According to the legislation, condo buildings within three miles of the coast would have been inspected when they reach 25 years of age; others, at 30 years. The Senate amended the bill, taking out the House bill’s provisions regulating how much reserve funding condos were required to have and when studies should be done of how much reserve would be needed.

“It’s amazing to me they couldn’t reach consensus,” said Jeffrey Rembaum, a Palm Beach Gardens lawyer certified in condo and planned development law. “I’m at a loss for words. We depend on our Legislature to pass laws to keep us safe. They had a perfect opportunity to limit the chance this would happen again and they did nothing.

“It’s a sad state of affairs,” he added. 

Read the full article here (you will be redirected in a new tab)

BORROWING TO BUY A CONDOMINIUM UNIT? Freddie Mac’s & Fannie Mae’s New Lending Requirements

Rembaum's Association Roundup | Jeffrey A. Rembaum, Esq., BCS

Buying a bundle of home loans to later sell on the secondary market can be risky business. A lot can go wrong in the process. For example, the economy could tank, causing massive defaults; or even worse, as occurred recently in the case of Champlain Towers South, the building could collapse—where not only did many residents die, but also insurance proceeds are unlikely to be sufficient to satisfy all of the outstanding mortgage debt. This reality has a ripple effect on the mortgage-backed security, ultimately causing financial harm to the investors buying the bundled mortgages.

[Read the Full Article…]

Election Regulations and Best Practices

KWPMC Executive Director Tim O’Keefe interviewed association attorneys Michael S. Bender and Andrew B. Black from the firm Kaye Bender Rembaum and Zuly Maribona, Senior Vice President at KWPMC, who provided insights about the Florida regulations surrounding board elections and best practices around how to plan, schedule and conduct an effective election.

Will The Association’s Denial Of An Architectural Request Withstand Challenge? Many Won’t—Find Out Why

Rembaum's Association Roundup | Jeffrey A. Rembaum, Esq., BCS

For many homeowners associations, a top priority is ensuring that the homes in the community are maintained in conformity with the “community-wide standard.” But, what is this subjective standard? How is compliance measured? What is the process to be judged when a request to the association’s architectural review committee (ARC) is made? The ARC is instrumental in ensuring that the community-wide standard is met. However, your association may run into a problem if the ARC denies a request from a homeowner if the association has not adopted specific, objective criteria and guidelines on which the ARC can rely.

[Read the Full Article…]