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Community Update

December 2020

Stay up to date with Becker’s dedicated resource page on COVID-19. All information is posted to educate and inform our clients but does not constitute specific legal advice for your community. Please consult your Becker attorney for questions specific to your own community. CLICK HERE

In this Issue

Since early on in the pandemic, boards and management professionals have shouldered the immense responsibility of ensuring the safety of their residents. Now, with the imminent rollout of the vaccine, they will face a whole new set of challenges which we delve into in this issue of CUP. For those who wish to discuss this topic in greater detail, we encourage you to reach out to your Becker attorney. As always, we are more than happy to offer our assistance to you.

Also featured this month is a collection of the year’s most popular articles. Read on for helpful information on everything from voting certificate requirements to preparing budgets, holiday decoration restrictions, and collection policies.


Is a voting certificate required if a unit or parcel is owned by more than one person, a corporation, or another entity? Find out in, “Is a Voting Certificate Required if a Unit is Owned by an LLC?”

Boards may be wondering how best to prepare a budget when it’s anticipated that members will vote to waive or partially fund reserves. Get the answer to your questions in, “Does My Association Include Fully Funded Reserves in Its Proposed Budget?”

Does your association have the power to put the kibosh on neighbors’ over-the-top holiday displays? “Restricting Holiday Decorations in the HOA Setting,” examines this issue.

You’ve tried to collect payment from a delinquent owner and there’s been no movement on their end to settle the balance. What should you do? Find out in, “How Does Your Collection Policy Stack Up?”

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 here:

Mark D. Friedman, Esq. & Jay Roberts, Esq., Editors

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Happy Holidays

Becker is tremendously grateful to our clients, colleagues, and communities and wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous holiday season!


Is a Voting Certificate Required If a Unit Is Owned by an LLC?

Many governing documents include a provision requiring a voting certificate if a unit or parcel is owned by more than one person, a corporation, or another entity. In some cases, there is an exception for spouses, and other times, a voting certificate is only required if the unit or parcel is owned by a corporation. It is important to look at the actual language of the governing documents to determine when a voting certificate is required.

Click here to read more


Does My Association Include Fully Funded Reserves in Its Proposed Budget?

With the budget season approaching, many condominium associations may wonder how to prepare a budget when it’s anticipated that members will vote to waive or partially fund reserves. The board must create a proposed annual budget that includes estimated revenues and expenses. In addition to annual operating expenses, Section 718.112(2)(f)(2)a, Florida Statutes, requires the proposed budget to reserve money for roof replacement, building painting, pavement resurfacing, and any other item that has a deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost that exceeds $10,000. Reserves are calculated based on a formula contained in the Florida Administrative Code, designed to accrue money over the useful life of the individual assets so that the association is not forced to impose special assessments to repair or replace the assets. Budgeting for reserves is complex because it requires estimating the remaining useful life of the building components, their future replacement cost, and accounting for the funds previously saved. The association should retain a reserve specialist to produce a reserve study periodically and work with its accountant to budget for reserves.

Click here to read more


Restricting Holiday Decorations in the HOA Setting

The holidays just ended but it seems the question of holiday decorations lives on. Every year, holiday decorations seem to appear earlier and get more extravagant, and not just in the retail setting. While studies are showing that people who decorate for the holidays early are happier, what constitutes “too soon” or “too much” in a residential community can vary greatly depending upon individual homeowners’ nationalities, cultures, faiths, and even simply personal taste. Dealing with residents’ complaints about their neighbors’ decorations, while trying to maintain holiday cheer in the community, can leave an association feeling like it’s fighting a losing battle. With a bit of pre-planning, however, an association can take some of the stress out of the already hectic holiday season.

Click here to read more.


How Does Your Collection Policy Stack Up?

Collection of your community’s assessments is critical to maintaining a steady flow of income to support the association’s maintenance responsibilities and maintain the association’s overall fiscal health. Yet, with the more urgent day-to-day demands on property managers and volunteer board members, collections can often be neglected or completely overlooked.

Click here to read more.

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Short-Term Rental Developments: Profits Not Necessary to Violate Residential Use Covenant

Short-term rental arrangements continue to plague community associations, with owners and powerful lobbying groups for companies like Airbnb constantly devising new tactics for avoiding restrictions.

The good news is that courts are providing a bulwark against such arguments in some cases. That’s what happened in a recent case out of Michigan where the owners asserted a novel theory for why their short-term rental activities didn’t violate the association’s residential use restriction. (Cherry Home Ass’n v. Barker, Leelanau Cty., Mich. Aug. 26, 2020).

The court’s ruling not only rejected the owners’ defense, it also provides some hope to associations that haven’t been able to amend their documents to deal with the onset of short-term rentals.

Click here to read the full article from the Community Association Management Insider.


Question of the Month

Q: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of the seasonal owners in our condominium will not be returning this year. This raises concerns about how we should conduct the election for directors. We understand that owners cannot vote in the election by proxy, and we don’t use electronic voting. Is there an exception that will allow owners who cannot travel to Florida to participate in the election?

Shareholder Joseph Adams weighs in on the answer to this question and others.

Click here to read more!

Statewide Suspension of Community Association Classes

Becker has been closely monitoring the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) developments. In the continued interest of the health and safety of our clients and colleagues, we have made a decision to continue the suspension of all Community Association classes until further notice.

As always, we will keep you informed of any changes and updates.




As a service to the community and industry, we are pleased to offer some of our most popular classes online! While our in-person classes remain suspended until further notice due to COVID-19, we are thrilled to bring you the following classes to participate in from the comfort of your own home.


2020 Legislative Guide

2020 Legislative Guide

Our 2020 Legislative Guide is designed to help your volunteer board and management professionals understand and implement the new laws which impact community associations each year. Given the significant percentage of Florida’s population which resides in shared ownership communities, we are virtually guaranteed to have numerous association bills sponsored each year with some of those proposals becoming new laws.

Click here to view the 2020 Legislative Guide!



COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Presents New Challenges for Boards and Their Management Professionals

As we turn to a new year, exciting news of advancements and wider distribution of COVID-19 vaccines appear on the horizon. While this is of course a welcomed development, the vaccines in and of themselves will bring new decision points for boards and their management professionals with respect to whether their associations are going to modify COVID-19 protocols which have been in place for much of 2020. From an executive level perspective, these protocols break down into two broad categories: (1) restrictions related to facilities; and (2) restrictions related to people.

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a fluid and difficult situation. However, with the welcomed news of vaccine distribution, boards need to initiate discussions and potential adjustments to their association’s COVID-19 protocols as you will likely receive questions or demands from your residents related to the vaccine. Naturally, any changes to your community’s COVID-19 protocols will need to be properly adopted at a duly noticed board meeting and those changes properly communicated to your residents.

Click here to read our full message regarding this topic.

If you are interested in discussing this in greater detail, please contact your Becker attorney.

Upcoming and Recent Webinars

Construction Road Map for Community Associations

Construction issues are a natural occurrence in the lifecycle of any community association. From issues found in new associations transitioning from developer control to those arising in mature communities, we’ll discuss everything managers and board members need to know to effectively navigate the construction dispute process, including what sources of recovery are available to you. Join us January 11 for this informative webinar with special guest Steven Mainardi, an expert in the fields of building restoration and construction defects. Register now!

January 11
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series: Season 2, Episode 5

Becker Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 5 of the second season of Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. She was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly as they continue exploring topics including the challenges associated with re-opening communities.

COVID-19 Stole the Holidays?

The holidays are a time for celebration and cheer, but, just like everything else, they’ll look a little bit different this year. Join members of our Community Association Practice for a discussion on how boards and managers can safely navigate this holiday season in the midst of a pandemic.