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Community Update

August 2019

In this Issue

Community Associations must learn to effectively communicate amongst themselves. Over time, more and more messages have become electronic, social media has become a popular platform for communication, and the lines between personal/professional messages have become increasingly blurred. It’s now more important than ever to understand the rules and regulations regarding these distinctions.

Our featured article, “Who Said What?” Board Officers Should be Careful How They Handle Their Official vs. Personal Communications to Members – Part I,” delves into why it is important to keep the message of community association boards, and the personal opinions of members separate. This is especially true in the age of social media.

Email has changed the way community associations communicate with residents. However, it’s important to understand the limitations and regulations. Learn more in our article, “E-Notice for Everyone.”

“Illegal Rentals Might Mean Jail Time” This statement is a possibility if you live in Miami Beach. The City of Miami Beach is on the forefront of municipalities cracking down on illegal Airbnb Rentals.

Lastly, under the Condominium Act, associations have to give residents notice when they hold meetings or change common elements. What can you expect from these requirements? Find out in, “What Notice is Required for a Rule Amendment?”

Don’t miss our new Spanish feature! Scroll down to learn more, subscribe, and read this month’s featured article, “Mi Voto Cuenta.”

If you have new members on your board or a new manager for your community and want them to be part of our Community Update, have them subscribe:

We look forward to seeing you next month!

Marilyn J. Perez-Martinez, Editor

  • E-notice for Everyone E-Notice for Everyone

    It is 2019 and e-mail has, for many, replaced the U.S. Postal service and our voicemails. In the community association setting, many boards send their members communications regarding construction projects, newsletters, and simple FYIs via e-mail and members respond in …

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  • Illegal Airbnb Illegal Rentals Might Mean Jail Time

    Owners with illegal unit rentals can end up in jail. At least they can if they live in Miami Beach. The City of Miami Beach is on the forefront of municipalities cracking down on illegal Airbnb rentals. The city announced …

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  • What type of notice should be used? What Notice is Required for a Rule Amendment?

    Where a condominium association’s governing documents authorize the board of directors to promulgate rules regulating the use of the units and/or the common elements, it is important, when such rules are amended, that the appropriate notice requirements be met. Under …

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Can They Do That?

Drones in Our Neighborhood- “Can They Do That?” – Episode 08 is Live!

A neighbor is flying a drone in the neighborhood and there are concerns he is spying on residents even though he assures the association that he has proper permits. Can he do that? Find out in Episode 08!

A neighbor is flying a drone in the neighborhood and there are concerns he is spying on residents even though he assures the Association that he has proper permits. This is raising the question, “Can They Do That?”

Don’t miss out on new episodes of “Can They Do That?”
Subscribe to Becker’s YouTube channel!

The new and improved BeckerBALLOT.com is finally here! We have partnered with SHYFT digital to offer an easy-to-use, secure, electronic-voting solution for community associations across the state of Florida and beyond. It’s the same great software – only better!

Along with flexible pricing options, if your community signs up for annual unlimited voting, BeckerBALLOT.com provides you with access to a unique survey tool, allowing you to solicit opinions from your community outside of formal votes.

New Spanish Feature: CondoMundoUSA

Read This Month’s Article: PART IV – Mi Voto Cuenta

A few years ago, my colleague Marty “Martica” Platts and I started a Spanish blog “CondoMundoUSA”.  Given the vast Latin and Hispanic culture throughout Florida we wanted to make sure this vital part of Florida was enjoying the same benefit of knowledge and information we have been providing for over 40 years.  The Spanish edition was a labor of fun love that we are excited to bring back in 2019, depending on demand.

This month, we feature an article in Spanish touching on an important community association issue.  If you are interested in receiving this type of content, please subscribe below.  We also welcome your feedback and any article topic requests that you may have. Please reach out to us at CondoMundoUSA@beckerlawyers.com. If demand is great for this new service, we will incorporate the feature on a regular basis going forward.


Mi Voto Cuenta

“For Some Condo Associations, ‘Short-Term Rentals’ Are Dirty Words,” Miami Herald

Short-term rentals are “dirty words” in some condominium, cooperative, and homeowners associations’ vocabularies. A large number of residents and board members believe that platforms like Airbnb will increase crime and nuisances in their communities. Recently, there has been a major push to prohibit these activities altogether.

Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger has penned an informative article on the matter for the Miami Herald. Click here to read the article in full.

Condo balcony photo

Kathleen O. Berkey Newly Minted as Florida Bar Board Certified in City, County, and Local Government Law

Kathleen O. Berkey is now Florida Bar Board Certified in City, County, and Local Government Law. Board certification demands rigorous testing and is in recognition of having the highest standards of skill, specialty knowledge, proficiency, professionalism, and ethics in a particular area of the law.

This specialty encompasses the preparation of laws, ordinances, regulations, and legal instruments, as well as addressing legal issues of county, municipal, other local governments, special districts, agencies, or authorities. This includes land use and zoning, taxation, sunshine law, public records law, eminent domain, sovereign immunity, and procurements.

Ms. Berkey frequently represents community association clients with the management and operational aspects of governing their communities, as well as zoning and land use matters.


Click here to read more.

The Legal Buzz

Property Insurance Claims – Episode 1

In this episode of The Legal Buzz, Hugo Alvarez speaks about property insurance claims, particularly as they relate to a hurricane.

When your home, property, or business is damaged by a storm, fire, hurricane, sinkhole, flood, plumbing break, mold, roof leak, or another sudden and accidental occurrence, you want to make sure you are adequately prepared. In Florida, hurricanes are especially pertinent for coverage. Some homeowners associations don’t understand what insurance coverage they have and they set their deductible so high that they don’t hit it after a storm comes. This means they don’t receive adequate payment. Now is the time for associations to get all of their documents in order — tax documents, profit and loss statements, etc. The first question the insurance company will ask is, “how much money were you making before?” You must let the insurance company come in and inspect, otherwise it is the prime opportunity for them to deny your claim.

The Legal Buzz is a series covering everything from property insurance to non-competition agreements. Stay tuned for more episodes!


Click here watch Episode 1 of the Legal Buzz.

Donna DiMaggio Berger Appointed to Board of American Lung Association in Florida

Becker, a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast, is pleased to announce that Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger has been appointed to the board of the American Lung Association in Florida.

Ms. Berger has been involved for several years in the assistance and promotion of community associations creating smoke free building policies which limit residents and staff’s exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke.

Click here to read the full article.

America Lung Association

Becker’s Community Classroom

As leaders in Community Association Law, we not only helped write the book of law – we also teach it.

Did you know Becker provides over 200 educational classes per year throughout the State of Florida on a variety of topics ranging from Board Member Certification to Compliance, and everything in between? To view our entire class roster, visit www.floridacondohoalawblog.com/classes

Pioneers in Community Association Law
Becker grew out of its pioneering role creating the law pertaining to the operation of common ownership housing, with many of the leading cases in the field bearing the firm’s name. In keeping with our committment to our clients and the industry, Becker attorneys provide over 200 educational classes per year for board members and managers, and also advocate on behalf of clients through the firm’s lobbying arm, the Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL).

Moreover, Becker has 21 Florida Bar Board Certified Attorneys in Condominium and Planned Development Law – the largest, dedicated team in the state of Florida. Board certification demands rigorous testing and is in recognition of having the highest standards of skill, specialty knowledge, proficiency, professionalism, and ethics in community association law.

Question of the Month

Q: My homeowners’ association is attempting to amend our governing documents. At the membership meeting where the vote was to occur, the board announced that not enough of the members had participated and the board was continuing the meeting to allow more members to vote. Is that allowed?


Click here to find out the answer from Shareholder Joseph Adams.

Becker’s Legislative Guide is Here!

Every year Becker prepares a Legislative Guide providing you with not just an easy-to -use reference guide for the most recent legislative changes affecting community associations in Florida, but also practical application pointers. It is prepared in digital form and readily available to you via download from your iOS, Android, or Windows device from our CALLBP website.

In other news, for all our high-rise communities in the State, you can breathe a little easier when it comes to Engineered Life Safety System (ELSS) installation. House Bill 7103 was signed into law providing those buildings constructed before 1992 and 75 feet or higher, four more years to complete their ELSS installation. Four years may seem like a long time, but trust me it is not..

An ELSS is designed based on the age and construct of your building in conjunction with the Fire Marshall. Bidding, contracting, permitting, and funding for this project will take time that should be factored into your estimated installation completion date. Do not sign any contract or enter any bank loan without first seeking the advice of your community attorney as safeguards in favor of the community are necessary.

CAll BP Legislative-guide-2019