Monitoring HOA and Condo Management

Monitoring Condo and HOAMonitor Your HOA Records

Have you checked your Condo Records lately?  Living in a condo and letting a Property Management Company or Board of Directors manage your condo is beneficial for those who don’t want to maintain the day-to-day details.  However, as a property owner you should do a wellness check from time-to-time to make sure your Condo records are in order.  Some Condo or HOA’s have found out months or years later their money was not properly allocated to managing the property or at times missing.  By performing a condo wellness check, you help prevent the mismanagement of your HOA dues.   So the question would be what should I look for?

  1. Florida Statues has a list of records which must be kept for all Condo’s Associations.  As an owner, you would want to check to make sure your Condo Association is keeping these records for each homeowner’s inspection to make sure your condo is compliant with the correct operation of a condominium.  Your rights to these records are according to statute:  718.111(12)
    • A copy of the condo plans, permits and warranties
    • A copy of the recorded Declaration of Condominium and a recording of each amendment if there have been any amendments to the original records
    • A copy of the By-laws and any amendments
    • A copy of the meeting minutes which need to be stored for 7 years.  These meeting minutes are extremely important for information that has occurred in the past and the decisions made recorded properly.  If there is any problems in the future these recordings are extremely important as to whom made the decisions, board votes, community votes etc…
    • A copy of the current Association rules and regulations
    • A certified copy of the Articles of Incorporation generally turned over by the Developer
    • A current roster of unit owners including electronic email addresses
    • A file for the Management Agreement, Lease or other contracts the association may have signed and have an obligation for payment
    • If an Association owns property there must be a file for Bills of Sale or Transfers for Association owned property
    • Current HOA Insurance Policies please read your documents to make sure what insurance your Association is supposed to have to cover your units.  One Association we know have had been purchasing flood insurance for years when it was not in a flood zone and the condominium documents state that the flood insurance should only be purchased if the Condo’s were designated by FEMA to be in a flood zone.
    • Accounting records for an association must be maintained for 7 years.
      • A detailed record of all expenditures and receipts for purchases or services
      • An ongoing statement of account including unit owner information and payment records along with balance due
      • Yearly accountant audits and reviews for the condominium
      • Contracts and Bids for work to be performed or considered on behalf of the Association.
      • Yearly Ballots and Sign-In sheets including voting proxies each election year.
      • Rental records if the Association is acting as agent for renting units.
      • Question and Answer Sheet maintained by the Association as described in statute 718.504
      • Any other records of the association such as wind mitigation and appraisals which are necessary to the operation of the property.
      • A copy of the inspection report

By checking the records and looking at the financials compared with the budget you will be able to see where your money is being spent and whether proper bids were obtained.  Comparing contracts to expenses will also ensure that these files are being maintained.  You may want to review the contracts to ensure you are being protected.  For example, how many years is the contract?  Does the Management contract have exactly the services that it will provide?  Is the Management company performing those services?  If you have an Exterminator is this company performing the tasks according to contract?  Sometimes we see where Condo Boards change members or Management Companies and there is a disconnect as to the contracts the Association has or the tasks Contractors are to perform.  With more community members checking records, contracts and financials it makes for a more informed and properly run Association.  Lastly, make sure your Association is obtaining proper bids and maintaining the book so that your budget is in order.

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Address : 1555 St Lucie W BlvdPort St Lucie, FL 34986, United StatesPhone: +1 772-323-6730 Email: info@portstlucie.city

How To Reduce HOA Fees in Florida

Reducing HOA FeesReducing Port St Lucie HOA Fees

There are many ways an HOA can reduce their monthly HOA fees.  First, the budget committee would need to look at the previous years budget and analyze where savings can be realized.  Below are some areas to consider when looking at the financials.

  1. Get your own bids for work to be performed.  Read your contracts very carefully and if you have questions or something does not seem right such as an automatic renewal, a one-way indemnity clause or the services are not written in detail ask your attorney for advice.  This will save you money in the long run.  You may always counter the contract as well.
  2. Check your Annual Budget and ensure the maintenance of your property is being properly budgeted.  For example, what are the reserves for your building?  Did they include plumbing, roof, pool, club house etc…  Has your Board of Directors obtained regular bids for rising costs?  Ask other Association Directors what they are paying for services and who they are utilizing for different services.  In other words, share information.  Usually, there is a current property appraisal to compare these costs as well.  Roads are a large expense, is this in the budget as a reserve item if the HOA has to maintain the roads?  Think of any areas that may not be in the reserves that could be a large expense other than those listed.
  3. If your HOA and Condo Associations pays water bills they should be analyzed on a regular basis to monitor whether bills are fluctuating more than normal.  For example, you may have a pool leak.  If this is on a separate meter you will notice the bill suddenly go up due to the pool leak.
  4. Each unit should check for leaks.  Silent toilet and faucet leaks can definitely have an impact on the water bill.
  5. If your community has many Northerners for the winter that leave during the summer you can reduce the size of your dumpsters.  Be aware of change out fees and decide accordingly.  Also, consider when you sign contracts such as Comcast and you have a majority of seasonal homeowners.  They may not need cable/phone/internet year round.
  6. Make sure all the timers for the lights are operating properly and shut off during daytime hours
  7. Very important to get up-to-date bids on your maintenance services and ensure no one is adding on a finder fee.  It would be a good idea to have anyone obtaining bids on behalf of the Association sign a non-kickback agreement that they are not receiving any compensation whatsoever including gifts.  This would include hired vendors as well signing the anti kick back policy form.
  8. Get an FPL survey for energy savings on the Condo Property.  If your pool has a heater make sure it is shut off for the Summer Months
  9. From time to time call different insurance companies for new quotes. This is not to say every year but if you notice a substantial increase it may be time to get another insurance quote.  Insurance policies should be according to your Condominium Documents and you can check the Statutes for any insurance updates that are mandatory for Condo’s to carry on behalf of the unit owners.
  10. Make sure the services are outlined in each contract and ensure that the Vendors are fulfilling those services.  For example, if your Property Management is supposed to walk the property and look for necessary repairs or violations that this is being documented properly and reported to the Board Members.  If the lawn service provider is supposed to perform a sprinkler or fertilization check, find out is this being done in a timely manner.  There needs to be constant communication with the vendors to ensure that the services are being performed according to contract.  If no one is checking it is possible you are not getting the services you are paying for to maintain your community.
  11. When comparing bids be sure to compare apples to apples.  For example on painting bids, you may contact one of the large paint companies such as UCI Paints or Sherwin Williams and a Representative will write painting specs for your condo building.  The Painting Company rep will provide your condo board several local painting contractors to bid on your painting project.   There is generally a warranty and for very little money you may be able to increase the number of years for the warranty.  Or perhaps the painting contractor will throw in extras such as painting the utility doors, trash room or other community shared area.
  12. If you have a large-scale project for the building make sure someone is qualified to manage the project and stay within budget.  Someone needs to be on top of each process such as permitting, certificates of insurance, sub-contractors and make sure the services contracted are according to the contract signed by the Board of Directors.

Lastly, if your Board of Directors is monitoring the daily account payables and analyzing the increases or areas that are over budget then they can follow-up to see how they can improve this line item on the General Ledger.  By obtaining proper bids and ensuring the contracts are being fulfilled by the vendors, then you should be on your way to an efficiently run property.  As a community member and staying involved in the financials and community projects you will ensure your condominium is being properly operated.

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Address : 1555 St Lucie W BlvdPort St Lucie, FL 34986, United StatesPhone: +1 772-323-6730 Email: info@portstlucie.city

Florida CAM Manager Kickbacks

Florida condo kickback policyFlorida Condo and HOA Anti-Kickback Policy

Florida Community Association Mangers (CAM), Officer and Directors of HOA, Condo’s or Co-Ops may not get a kickback or referral fees while obtaining bids or contracts from Vendors.  CAM Mangers must deal honestly and perform the best job on behalf of the Associations.  Chapter 718.111(1)(a)  718.501(1)(d) states the following:

An officer, director, or manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or service of value for which consideration has not been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his or her immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services to the association. Any such officer, director, or manager who knowingly so solicits, offers to accept, or accepts any thing or service of value is subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d)  

There are similar statutes in 719 and 720 Homeowners regulations.

CAM Managers may not take payments under the table.  Condo or Homeowners Associations should be aware of schemes to obtain Kickbacks by overcharging the Association for a service and the vendor gives a kickback to the Manager for winning the contract.

Condo or Homeowners Association may want to have an Anti-Kickback policy in place and have all members who are obtaining bids or contracts sign this form.

Welcome

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Address : 1555 St Lucie W BlvdPort St Lucie, FL 34986, United StatesPhone: +1 772-323-6730 Email: info@portstlucie.city