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Community Update

November 2019

In this Issue

As we prepare for the holidays and other year-end festivities, associations are also beginning to look ahead to the needs and demands of the coming year. This month’s edition explores some of the issues that associations may encounter from time to time and discusses best practices for putting your community’s best foot forward.

If your association is taking the time to thoughtfully create a name and logo, it only makes sense to protect that investment. This month’s featured article, “Why Should Your Community Consider Trademarking Its Name and Logo?” addresses this issue.

Does an owner signing a secret ballot invalidate their vote? Find out in, “Are Signed Condominium Election Ballots Valid?”

Have you had a poor experience with a vendor and now want to sound the horn so others don’t fall victim to same? Our third article, may give you pause. Learn how your association can protect itself from a defamation claim, in “Say What?”

Read our fourth article, “The Use of a Power of Attorney to Document at Association Meetings and Elections,” for an explanation of the limitations of a POA.

As a board member, you may be using your personal phone to conduct association business. But, did you know that in the event of a lawsuit you may be required to turn over your phone for e-discovery – meaning in addition to business information, your personal information could be exposed as well? Read our last article, “Dos and Don’ts for HOA Board Members When It Comes to E-Discovery,” for tips on how to protect your personal information.

Also, don’t miss this month’s Spanish Feature, “Es la temporada de las reuniones anuales y las elecciones. ¿Está usted seguro que sabe cómo conducir la elección de directores? PRIMERA PARTE.”


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 hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing you next month!

Marilyn J. Perez-Martinez, Editor

  • Are Signed Condominium Election Ballots Valid?

    For the most part, voting in a condominium election is supposed to be by secret ballot but many times owners sign their ballots. Does this invalidate the ballot? No, it does not. This issue was addressed in the arbitration case of Alvarez v. Club Atlantis Condominium Association, Inc. In this case an association rejected …

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  • Say What?

    In terminating a third party vendor, a board of directors must be careful in disseminating information concerning the basis for its decision – especially if the decision was due to poor performance or contractual violations by the vendor.

    In Florida, a cause of action for defamation can be brought against a corporation, …

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  • The Use of a Power of Attorney Document at Association Meetings and Elections

    A power of attorney (“POA”) is a legal document delegating authority (specific rights set forth in the POA) from one person (the principal) to another (the agent). Association boards and managers may have encountered these from members who wish to designate someone else to act on their behalf and many questions arise as a …

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  • Dos and Don’ts for HOA Board Members When It Comes to E-Discovery

    You were just elected as a member of the board for your association and with that election comes a series of responsibilities. With so many people living in your building, along with those who service the building, odds are you may deal with a legal issue or two during your tenure. If any of …

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Spanish Feature: CondoMundoUSA

Read This Month’s Article: Es la temporada de las reuniones anuales y las elecciones. ¿Está usted seguro que sabe cómo conducir la elección de directores? PRIMERA PARTE.

Primero, tenga en mente que una elección no es necesaria al no ser que haya dos o más candidatos elegibles para una vacante en la junta.    Además, una elección general debe llevarse a cabo a la misma vez, y en el mismo lugar de la reunión anual, independientemente de si hay o no hay un quórum presente.

La Junta Directiva no debe crear o asignar ningún comité con el propósito de nominar a un candidato o candidatos para ser elegidos a la junta, pero puede crear o asignar un comité de búsqueda para alentar a personas calificadas a ser parte de la junta.


Becker Launches Association Adjusting

Virtually every community association will experience a significant property damage claim at some point during its lifespan. In addition to windstorms, fires and floods there are the everyday water leaks with which volunteer boards and managers must contend. While it is reasonable to believe that after years of dutifully paying your insurance premiums your damage claims will be paid quickly and in full, the reality is often quite different.

Time-strapped volunteer board members and managers are at a significant disadvantage while trying to shepherd an insurance claim on their own. And the insurance company’s adjuster is not there to help you maximize your claim-in fact, it is the opposite. The insurance company’s adjuster is there to minimize or even deny your claim if possible. Our team intimately knows your business and will fight hard to maximize your insurance payout.

Association Adjusting is a licensed and insured Public Adjusting Firm led by Chris T. Cury, an advocate for insurance consumers for more than a decade. Mr. Cury serves on the Board of Directors of FAPIA, the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, which is the largest state trade association in the nation for the public insurance adjusting profession since 1992.

Recognized as an authority in the community association industry, Association Adjusting has the expertise and experience to help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Our team of public adjusters, led by Mr. Cury, provides clients with only the highest level of professionalism and excellence – whether you’re dealing with a claim that stems from hurricane damage, water damage, theft, fire, mold, roof leak, or any other type of calamity, our singular goal is to ensure your interests are always protected.

You’re Invited to a BRAND NEW CLASS!

Navigating Construction Defect Claims for New Developments and Renovation Projects Under Chapter 558

Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes, known as the Florida Construction Defect Statute (FCDS), requires property owners, contractors, and developers to participate in a pre-suit process to resolve construction defect claims before proceeding to litigation.


In this course, participants will review the important requirements that must be followed before any legal action can be brought for alleged construction defects and will learn their rights and remedies under the FCDS.


Don’t miss out! Join Shareholders Neil Levinson and Donna DiMaggio Berger on December 3 for this informative new class.

Click here to register.

You Ask, We Deliver: New Webinar Dates Added!

Join us for an educational program to learn more about our state-of-the-art website development service MyCommunitySite.com. It’s a smart, easy, and fun tool designed to take the drudgery out of community association website management and put you in the driver’s seat.

Here’s what you will learn during the webinar:

  • Walk through of the MyCommunitySite.com dashboard
  • Tour other association websites that were designed via MyCommunitySite.com
  • ​Learn about flexible pricing options
  • Explore how to create different pages
  • ​Find out what documents you can upload, available settings, and general ways to take advantage of the program’s features
  • Participate in a Q&A with our customer support team to answer any questions you may have.

Click here to view upcoming MyCommunitySite.com webinars. 

Technology is an unavoidable and critical part of any business. As such, why not consider implementing a state-of-the-art online voting platform to your associations portfolio of services? BeckerBALLOT.com is the perfect solution to help you streamline operations for your community, is extremely easy to setup, and it will give you the added advantage of increasing both your relevancy and residential appeal, thereby setting you apart from your competition!

Here’s what you will learn during the webinar:

  • Walk through of BeckerBALLOT.com and its administration section/voting portal
  • See examples of how others have successfully utilized the platform to benefit their communities
  • View a demonstration on how to upload users, how to set up a vote, how to cast a vote, and more
  • Learn about the functionality and ease of use
  • Find out about flexible pricing options
  • Participate in a Q&A with our customer support team to answer any questions you may have

Click here to view upcoming BeckerBALLOT.com webinars.

Condo Boards Can’t Turn Down Applicants Just Because They Don’t Like Them

It is important for boards to strike the right balance when evaluating purchase and lease applications — doing their due diligence while not exceeding the scope of their authority set forth in the governing documents or violating applicable law. A board’s approval decisions have legal consequences as a disapproval has a direct financial impact on the current owner so advance communication with association counsel is always a good idea.

Click here to read the full article by Donna DiMaggio Berger.

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.

Can They Do That?

Adjacent Development Planned Next to Community – “Can They Do That?” – Episode 11 is Live!

There’s a developer that wants to build a brand new neighborhood right next to ours, but we’re worried it’s going to be disruptive. Can we oppose the development? Find out the answer in this month’s episode!

When it comes to association rules and bylaws, there seem to be more questions than answers. Becker’s video series, “Can They Do That?” tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer questions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. From service animals to nudists in your community, we get to the bottom of it and let you know – “Can They Do That?”

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

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

Question of the Month

Q: I am an owner, living in a community with a homeowners’ association. I would like to know if a member of the board of directors who has been “recalled” (removed by a member vote) can run again for the board.  Our membership, following all the proper procedures outlined in Florida Statutes relating to the recall process, had this owner removed as a director earlier this year.  Our governing documents do not state anything regarding this issue. Our election process will begin shortly with the annual meeting and election occurring in December.

Shareholder David Muller discusses the answer to this and other questions.

Click here to read more!

Did You Know?

Call Summer Survey Series – The Results Are In! (Part I)
Over the summer, CALL released three surveys to garner opinions on hot-button community association issues such as short-term rentals, Emotional Support Animals, and the role of public adjusters in pursuing association insurance claims. We wanted to hear directly from board members, community managers, and owners about their experiences and sentiments on these important topics.

Thanks to all of you who participated in one or more of our surveys – we received an overwhelming response and are excited to share the results with you over the coming weeks. As we gear up for the 2020 Florida Legislative Session, your input will help provide real data to our public policymakers and aid in the drafting of much-needed legislation.

Find out what communities throughout Florida really think about short-term rentals like Airbnb in the results summary for our first survey, “A Match Made in Heaven or Hell? Airbnb and Your Community.”

Click here to read the full report.