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
Ana Sanchez Rivero: Hello and welcome to community association matters. The podcast that focuses on condominium and homeowner association, education throughout the state of Florida. So, my name is Ana Rivero, and I'll be your host for today.
And of course, the PA this podcast is sponsored today by Allied Property Group, as it always is, we are a full-service property management company. That's been servicing. Condominium and homeowner's association, through Southeast Florida, since 2003, as I announced in our podcast from earlier this year, we're now also, serving Southwest Florida as well.
So, if you're in the Fort Myers or Naples corridor, I think all the way up to Sanibel, give us a call. We're going to be able to help out your community as well. Today's episode. We have another sponsor with us today, which is Hotwire communications, and I'm super excited to have David join us today.
David Ramos is the Executive Vice President for Hotwire’s Southeast Florida region. David is a graduate of Trinity international university and holds an MBA from Nova Southeastern University and has even taught as an adjunct professor at Miami-Dade College. My husband went there. So, at Hotwire, he's had the roles and responsibilities all the way from VP of Consumer Sales to Regional Vice President. So, I think he's done it all, which is always the best. The way to learn in an organization. he has extensive experience in building and leading high-performance teams, and he started his career in education, which I think is always a great way to learn, to get, to start your career because you learn how to engage people and how to really, get them motivated. It's perfect for what we're doing today because. The whole purpose of this podcast is to educate board members and even community residents on some of the services and, companies that service condominiums and homeowners' associations and what they do. as your career evolved, you moved away from the education and moved into the private sector. Can you give us a little bit more information about yourself that perhaps I haven't included?
David Ramos: Sure. Thank you so much for. for having me and allowing us the opportunity, just to chat a little bit about what we do. we have a lot of synergies and we also serve some of those markets that you guys are in, in Southwest Florida.
So, we probably have some good war stories to, to share down the road. But, but yeah, I'm a local Miami native. I grew up here in South Florida, born and raised in Miami and, went to school here and, grew up here, Nolan. I've seen, the market just evolved incredibly over the last 30, 40 years and, started a family here and calling this home. This is a beautiful place to live. So, I am a Miami through and through, and now I live in Broward, in the West Broward area. But nonetheless South Florida is still in the veins. And great to see what's going on right. In our worlds, in the worlds that we operate in, with these properties and communities that we serve.
Ana Sanchez Rivero: just excited to see what's going on. Plus, what's coming our way in the future. Yeah. The, you said something that was so true, which is how much things have changed. And in the world of technology, it's like you blink and things have changed and moved along. I was looking today at the today show and they even had like auto driving planes, or they're flying planes using it to deliver cargo and that's crazy. It's amazing what they're doing. It's a little scary now. It's a little scary, but it's also a good thing. I think it's good for our future and I think it's gonna help us, but I'm digressing, right? I'm rambling on. I'm going to go ahead and share screen because you’ve forwarded to us, some information about your company and today's topic is really going to be about fiber optics. How did it, how does it work? What makes it better or different? And we're going to also talk a little bit about the comparison between the fiber optics and 5g,
What to Do Before and After a Hurricane.
Ana: Hello, and welcome to Community Association Matters, the podcast that serves homeowner and condominium associations in Florida. And I say Florida now, because we are serving not just Southeast Florida, but also Southwest Florida with offices in both Miami and Fort Myers. So we're very excited about that opportunity. And as always, our goal here is to educate board members and owners of multifamily and even commercial units about the laws that pertain to being a board member and condominium and homeowner associations. As well as what to do to maintain your building, your common areas and, and make sure that you prevent liability and mitigate any problems that may come up.
So being from Florida, being in Florida, we all live with hurricanes.
That is a part of life. It's something that we've grown, adapted to if you will. And part of living in a hurricane area is being prepared. Knowing what to do, having a plan in place that will get you through that difficult challenge, and then the aftermath. What do we do afterward? Because everybody talks about hurricane preparation, but not a lot of conversations go on about what actually happens after.
So today I've asked my friends, Francis and Rob to join us there from SunFlo Roofing. They have a lot of different expertise, obviously, roofing is one of them, but they also work with one of the leading public adjusting firms in the State of Florida. And they're going to talk to us a little bit about what happens afterward. So I want to welcome Francis and Rob to the show. How are you guys doing?
Francis: Good morning. Thanks for having us.
Ana: My pleasure. Thank you for being here. So as we start the podcast, I always ask my guests to tell us a little bit about themselves. Tell us a little bit about your company. And I know Francis, you said that nowadays we're all working from home with COVID. Of course, we have on top of that hurricane season starting here. And I know you said Robert is going to be on mute for part of the show because he's got his little one. So he doesn't want to be that newscaster that had his kids walking in. So I'll, I'll give the floor over to you, Francis, and share a little bit about SunFlo.
Francis: I locked my door, but you know, we have a dog in the house this week, so at some point, you might hear that, but yes, let’s talk SunFlo. That's short for Sunshine, Florida. Florida is known for its sunshine, but it's also known for its hurricanes. It's really bad weather here in South Florida we don't get as much hail, but it's very common in Central and North Florida. Obviously we also get the summer thundershowers which create a lot of rain. We get a lot of tropical weather. SunFlo itself is a roofing division of a group of, construction and companies specializing in residential, commercial, new construction, rebuilds, remodels, and we have a very robust practice in insurance claims, repairs, and rebuilds.
Our company is comprised of four owners. Rob and I are two partners in the ownership group. We have partners in the Panhandle, Central Florida, and South Florida. So we're kind of spread around the state. So each of us has an individual experience. You know, we have a broad knowledge base, licensing, and certifications throughout the State of Florida in an array of construction, remediation, and repair disciplines. We jointly possess licenses. We're state-certified building contractors, state-certified roofers, licensed, we're certified mold assessors, and certified mold remediation. We’re certified in home inspections and building inspections.
So, Sunflo incorporated to bring the roofing portion of all these disciplines, that we were doing in a number of these different companies, together. We've been in roofing, between all of us in the partners since 1997. We've put on probably 4,000 roofs during that time. So roofing repair and replacement is one thing that we have a lot of experience in. And so we're
Your Questions Regarding the Impact of Coronavirus on Associations Answered
Ana Rivero: Hi, and welcome to community association matters. The podcast for condominium and homeowners associations. In South Florida. As you know, Ana Sanchez Rivero your host for the podcast. And I want to thank you for joining us today. As you know, we cover a lot of topics that affect condominiums and homeowners and most recently, the Covid 19 phenomena has occurred.
And obviously it's a gray situation that's affecting everyone in the world and it's having its impact on associations. So many of our clients have a lot of questions as to what to do and and what does it mean when we're going through this pandemic. We found through hurricanes, and I think most of us pretty much have a hurricane plan in place.
We know what to do, but this is very new to all of us, and I think we're just learning our way around. A feeling way around and how to deal with these situations. So I asked David Iglesias, yes. from Iglesia Las Group to join me today so that we can cover some of
So David, welcome to the show. How are you today?
David Iglesias: Good, how are you? Thank you, Anna.
Same thing. I'm working from home. I'm glad to be here, but not under these circumstances with this pandemic and everything else is going on.
Ana Rivero: Yeah, this is a truly is crazy, I think. I think all of us can say that none of us have lived through this and it's definitely an extraordinary time.
David Iglesias: definitely is.
It's, it is for community associations. I think it is for the law. I mean, it's changing every single day and we're trying to just work our way through it.
Ana Rivero: So, thank you for being here and I really appreciate that. And I want to start a little bit about, first of all, tell us about you. You've practiced condo law.
David Iglesias: I do practice condo law. I've been doing this almost 14 years. I represent over a hundred associations, whether a condo or HOA, and I think one co-op, but I'm, for the most part, it's condo and HOA work. And I used to work for a large law firms, so I'm familiar with. associations on the grand scale as well as on my own here for the last five years or so, doing this type of work.
Ana Rivero: Right. And I know that we worked together on a handful of communities, so, definitely look forward to continued growth for both of us.
David Iglesias: Yes.
Ana Rivero: So let's talk a little bit about coven. obviously we know that it's a, a virus. we know that, it spreads through contact. And, you know, it's, the projections are not looking very well and it looks like we're going to be in this for quite some time.
So we, you know, today is March 30th. this is probably going to continue, at least according to president Trump, a lockdown as far as businesses and non essential businesses working from home for at least another 30 days. Right.
David Iglesias: That's correct. I mean, from everything I've seen, and you know, our audience who's watching this today, they saw from the president, even the governor this morning who stated that it looks like it's going to be all the way through May 15th as to this so-called stay at home order.
I think he said this morning that it's going to be for Miami Dade, for Broward, for Palm beach County, and for Monroe County. So I mean, that's at least another 45 days from now. So yeah.
It is, it is considered an emergency. I think that for the last couple of weeks, lawyers been kind of going back and forth as to whether this is an emergency as it relates to associations. but, but yes, it's an emergency. It is an emergency.
Ana Rivero: What does that mean exactly for associations? Do they, do they have additional powers?
David Iglesias: actually, yes, associations have additional powers. and I guess when we say additional powers. I mean, it really means that some of these things like holding a board meeting, they can hold it, you know, within a shorter period of time than the 48 hours that's normally required. these emergency powers.
again, there was a quest
Is that Alligator an Emotional Support Animal?
Ana Rivero: Welcome, welcome to "Community Association Matters". You get to see a name with a face. Finally, and I'm so glad to have you back in the 2020s and new year. So hopefully we'll do a few more of these, podcast vlogs, if you will. And I'm so glad that you guys are back with us and joining us. We have some great new ideas and topics that we're going to be discussing over the upcoming months. And I hope you continue to join us in the future.
So, as you know, our podcasts are sponsored by Allied Property Group. So Allied Property Group is a full service, condominium and homeowner association management firm. We have been serving South Florida since 2003 so a little bit over 17 years, and we can do onsite and portfolio management. So I hope you reach out to us. our web information and contact information will be available at the end of the, of the vblog.
Today is interesting because we have Sal from Jurado and Associates. Jurado law. Perfect. Sal and I have been working together for many, many years. And we were just talking about some exciting news.
We've opened up an office in the Fort Myers, Naples area, so now we can service condo through the Southwest Florida corridors. So we're very excited about that. We hope that you guys will, that hopefully this will reach you and you'll be able to contact us and, and learn a little bit about our company.
So, Sal has been working with us for, I don't know how long
Sal Jurado: 10 12 years,
Ana Rivero: Something like that.
Sal Jurado: Yeah.
Ana Rivero: We look very young, so I know it's hard to believe, but we really have been working together that long. So Sal, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sal Jurado: Yes. My name is Salvador Jurado, of Jurado Law Group. I've been practicing in the area of condominium and homeowners association law since 2006. This is what we do on a day to day basis. We represent both condos. And HOAs.
I teach a class at the FIU College of Law on community association law. So we are very familiar with, you know, all the trending topics, you know, that are, that are coming up. and looking forward to talking about emotional support animals.
Ana Rivero: And Sal has three boys.
Sal Jurado: Yes. And they keep me very busy.
Ana Rivero: Well, the reason why we asked you here today is because recently, HUD came out with some new guidelines for emotional support animals and service animals. And that is a very hot topic in not only condominium in HOAs, but also in multifamily and residential properties with landlords.
And, it's been, kind of like the wild west for the last few years. There's been a lot of new areas that have developed and that I think giving people more freedom to have these emotional support animals that I'm sure are very important and do serve a role. But the fear is always, where's that balance? Right? There's the balance between someone's rights and somebody else's rights. So, to start off what do you want to tell us about the differences between what a service animal is and what as, an emotional support animal.
Sal Jurado: Yes. And that's an important distinction. Before I get into the service animal and the emotional support animal, I do want to read through, what the intent of the HUD laws are. So you have what's called the Fair Housing Act, right. And I'm going to read it verbatim:
The Fair Housing Act states that it is unlawful for a housing provider to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation that a person with a disability may need in order to have equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling.
So in a nutshell, what that means is if you need an animal to allow you to enjoy your residence, just like any other person kind of thing. Then you should have the right to be able to bring that animal with you into your, into your dwelling. So the rule has been made, it's a good rule. It has, you know, good intentions. But like Ana said, you need a balance, because you do have homeowners that they push and
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 in the cleaning, associations should also try to communicate with landscapers that service the commun
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 longer waited for a court to decide these issues: they instead specifically passed laws that prevented d