The podcast that provides solutions to the problems facing condominium and homeowner associations in South Florida.
What are fiber optics, the importance of 5G for HOAs and Much More
This interview with David Ramos from Hotwire provides us with a wealth of education and information. We discussed:
- What Fiber Optics actually are and how they are superior to cable
- What long-term growth of internet demand means and how you can keep up
- How 5G works and how fiber optics are connected to it – and more importantly, how your buildings may be able to take advantage of it
- Why you should run from anyone who claims 100% uptime
- How Hotwire services are practically hurricane-proof
What to Do Before and After a Hurricane.
Interview with Francis Fasco and Robb Marsch of Sunflo Roofing. How do you prepare you HOA for a Hurricane? Get tips from a professional roofer on best practices for an HOA before and after a storm.
Your Questions Regarding the Impact of Coronavirus on Associations Answered
An Interview with David Iglesias of Iglesias Law Group answering your questions regarding the impact of Coronavirus on associations.
Is that Alligator an Emotional Support Animal?
An Interview with Sal Jurado of Jurado Law reviewing the latest guidelines for service and support animals in homeowner and condo associations.
Hurricane Preparedness 101
In 2017, Hurricane Irma came by Florida but luckily it was not a direct hit. Unfortunately, it still caused enough damage to a number of people and property. Though there were policies and procedures issued since this calamity, we as individual homeowners, board members, and associations still need to know what to do to get ready for a hurricane.
In this episode of Community Association Matters, Assistant Code Compliance Director Edgard Estrada from the City of Doral explains the things we need to prepare before and after a hurricane hits.
Before the hurricane
Food and water. According to Edgard, 1 gallon of water should be allotted per person per day, while for pets such as dogs and cats, ½ gallon would be enough. Make sure to prepare with enough water for at least 3 days. As for food, it’s best to stock up on non-perishable foods such as canned goods (tuna, Spam, sausages, etc.) which would last you and your family for at least a week.
Hurricane kit. The hurricane kit includes your first-aid: bandages, gauze, medicines like ibuprofen and paracetamol. It also should contain a flashlight and extra batteries. It is good to also have a portable radio for news alerts. Ultimately, the hurricane kit must be easily accessible, and all members of the family should know where it is kept.
Remove lawn furniture. Hurricane force winds can easily blow lawn furniture. This is why Edgard says items like garden gnomes, beach chairs, grills, etc. should be temporarily stored indoors at least 72 hours before a hurricane. If something’s too big to store at home or in a storage shed, then at least tie it down to make sure they don’t become projectiles flying out in a hurricane and cause bigger physical damage to property and individuals.
Tree pruning, trimming, and grass cutting. Tree pruning is important in order to keep trees sustainable, making them stronger and able to withstand strong winds during a hurricane. But some homeowners and community associations don’t know that there is a proper way to prune trees. If done incorrectly, a tree will grow back weaker, and thus the tree (or its branches) can come right off at the slightest force wind.
For this reason, Edgard recommends hiring professional landscapers that have arborists on staff who can perform proper tree pruning and trimming. Standard guidelines (which can be found online) should be followed. Also, this should be done before hurricane season — tree debris can be a big liability to the community in general.
A common mistake some owners make is mowing the grass and blowing the grass blades into the sidewalk and into the street. This should not be done as it can cause clogging of the storm drain, which effectively results into a greater flooding event.
After the hurricane
Assess for damage. Edgard suggests that the first thing homeowners and associations should do is to assess for any kind of damage in the exterior. Clear your driveway. It’s best if you have a chainsaw in the event that there are large trees in your general area.
Look out for hazards. Just because the wind and rain events are over doesn’t mean that danger is over. If there’s flood water, be careful going into waters because you don’t know how deep it is, or it might have cables that can cause serious electric shock.
Also check out for places where stagnant water can be inadvertently stored. Look out for possible mosquito infestations, especially now with the recent diseases like the Zika virus. Check potted plants, empty any fountains and containers that might be filled with water.
Be mindful of other exterior structures as well, such as swimming pool barriers that may have fallen after a storm. Restore those immediately as leaving it unattended may lead to untoward incidents.
Debris removal. Aside from individuals helping out i
Can your Association readily file defect claims against developers?
What happens when a condominium has a construction defect? A construction defect is a problem in the workmanship or in the materials used to build a structure, which ultimately causes harm to a person or property, usually amounting to huge financial damages.
The common solution for many community associations in this circumstance is to file defect claims against the developer of the condominium. Under Florida law, an association can bring claims against a developer within 10 years from when the original construction was completed.
But filing construction defect claims is not as easy as it sounds. In this episode of Community Association Matters, we speak with commercial litigator Phillip Joseph who co-chairs the law firms of Ball Janik. He identifies four common obstacles that associations face which prevents them from filing defect claims against developers…
Philip gives three instances of inaction where board inaction can hinder a defect claim:
The first instance is when a board member holds off filing defect claims due to conflict of interest. Imagine a board member reluctant to bring in claims on behalf of the association because it would hinder his chance of selling his unit.
The second instance is when the board does not take necessary steps to properly investigate the association’s properties for defects such as retaining consultants, engineers, architects, and attorneys to look at possible construction and design issues, and to give advice so that the board can file defect claims.
The third instance is when the board is faced with the reality of construction defects— instead of filing claims, they are paralyzed by the enormous responsibility before them. Board members may tend to hold off on decision making or would want to delegate that responsibility to owners.
Developer’s ‘poison pills’
Phillip says that many developers, in an attempt to avoid construction defect claims, put anti-litigation provisions or ‘poison pills’ in governing documents. These hinder or prevent boards and community associations from bringing claims.
The most common poison pills are the following:
to get a majority vote (75-80%) of owners to approve filing for a claim; to give only a short period of time for owners to make the vote (around 60 days); to get owners to approve a maximum litigation budget; and to have owners specially assessed, i.e. all owners have to pay upfront prior to litigation procedures
Though these anti-litigation provisions are often unenforceable, the board should still be careful when dealing with governing documents and should seek counsel with specialized litigators.
Florida state laws
There is a statute in Florida which says that if poison pill provisions are put in the governing documents, Florida law will most likely invalidate those provisions (making them unenforceable). Unfortunately, this only applies to homeowner associations and not condominium associations.
But according to Phillip, though there isn’t a statute directly on point for condominium associations as there is with homeowner associations, if you have a similar poison pill provision that you saw in a case from a different state, like the Trustees of Cambridge Point Condominiums case in Massachusetts, then a Florida court looking at those provisions would basically decide the same as the Massachusetts court.
Trends in the industry
A significant interest of developers, building contractors, and design professionals in Florida’s economy means a lot of ongoing constructions throughout the state. As a result, there are a lot of claims being brought all throughout.
But what is the trend among other states? On one hand, Maryland in 2018 has gone on one extreme by taking matters into their own hands. Maryland legislators no long