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Community Update

September 2019

In this Issue

As technology moves forward, community associations are becoming more and more self-sufficient. This is, at its core, a great thing. Associations can run their own websites and their own social media, among other activities. It’s important, however, that with this new freedom board members also remain informed on best practices.

This month’s spotlight article, “Attorneys Need Not Always Be Your Attack Dog,” stresses the importance of education for board members and community associations getting educated in regards to what they can, or should, do in particular situations. Sometimes legal action isn’t necessary.

Our second article, “’Who Said What?’ When Members Use Social Media and Other Platforms to Inappropriately Communicate about Association Business – Part II,” discusses community associations and social media. What happens when an association member airs the board’s dirty laundry on Twitter? What options do you have?

We all know that it’s important for associations to have a website, but should ADA information be available on the page? Learn about the precedence that was set in, “Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Accessibility for Websites.”

Finally, short-term rentals like Airbnb are the hot button issue this year for private residential communities. What are your options for taking control of the situation in your community? We explain in, “Adapting to Short-Term Rentals: What You Need to Know About Restrictions”

Don’t miss our new Spanish feature! Check out this month’s article, “¿Que es la Regla de 80/20?”

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

New Spanish Feature: CondoMundoUSA

Read This Month’s Article: ¿Que es la Regla de 80/20?

La ley Federal de Vivienda Equitativa prohíbe la discriminación por motivos de raza, color, religión, género, discapacidad, estado familiar u origen nacional. Varios Estados tienen sus propia Ley de Vivienda Equitativa. Por ejemplo, la ley contra discriminación de la edad y estado civil se puede encontrar en el Capítulo 760 de los Estatutos de la Florida. ¿Entonces, como es posible que hayan comunidades que pueden legalmente prohibir a niños menores de 18 años a convivir en ellas? Muy simple, toda ley tiene sus excepciones y la Ley de Vivienda Equitativa es una de ellas. La Ley de “Vivienda para Personas Mayores”, en inglés, “Housing for Older Persons Act,” es una excepción que permite a las comunidades funcionar como viviendas para personas de “55 años” o mayor.

Hace unos años mi compañera de trabajo, Marty “Martica” Platts, y yo iniciamos un blog en español: CondoMundoUSA. Dada la vasta cultura Latina e Hispana a través de la Florida, queríamos asegurar que esta parte vital del estado pudiera disfrutar los mismos beneficios de conocimientos e información que hemos estado brindando por más de 40 años. La edición en español fue una labor divertida de amor que estamos muy complacidos de reanudar en el 2019, dependiendo de la demanda.

Por los próximos meses, presentaremos un artículo en español sobre algún asunto importante relacionado con asociaciones de comunidad. Si usted está interesado en recibir este tipo de contenido, por favor suscríbase. También apreciamos sus comentarios sobre cualquier tema que usted pueda tener. Favor comunicarse con nosotros a: CondoMundoUSA@beckerlawyers.com. Si la demanda es grande para este nuevo servicio, lo incorporaremos en adelante regularmente.



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.



Can They Do That?

Refusing to Install Fire Alarm Speakers – “Can they Do That?” – Episode 09 is Live!

Residents of a neighborhood were required to install fire alarm speakers in their bedrooms as part of Association policy, but one couple refused. Can they do that?

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!

CALL’s Summer Survey Series Winners




Thank you to everyone who participated in CALL’s Summer Survey Series! We had over 2,000 participants voice their opinions on hot-button topics including Airbnb, Emotional Support Animals, and insurance claims and the role of public adjusters. We were able to gather valuable data that we will soon be sharing with all respondents, policymakers, and the media. It’s because of people who care, like you, that we are able to effect change within Florida residential communities. Among those who responded, three lucky people were chosen as the winners of a $100 Amazon gift cad! rCongratulations! If you didn’t win this time around, don’t despair, there will be plenty more opportunities to receive great prizes in the future! Thank you to all of the participants and for the overwhelming amount of responses. The results will be published soon!

Becker CFCAM Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to Tiffany Jackson of St. Petersburg who was presented with the Becker CFCAM Scholarship in Tampa. Becker is proud to promote excellence in the Community Association Industry through continuing education. The Becker CFCAM (Certified Florida Community Association Manager) Scholarship is awarded to CAMs who have attained the highest level of Florida-specific professional training and includes all tuition, certification costs, and FCAP membership for one year.

Howard J. Perl Named to College of Community Association Lawyers

Shareholder Howard J. Perl has been named as a fellow to the College of Community Association Lawyers. The CCAL has fewer than 175 members who distinguish themselves through contributions to the development of community association law. Congratulations, Howard!

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.

The Legal Buzz

Lawsuits: Can They Be Good For Business? – “The Legal Buzz” – Episode 02

In this episode of The Legal Buzz, Hugo Alvarez explains how litigation is sometimes necessary and could actually be a path to great profitability. This rings true especially for small businesses. If you are willing to take on the behemoth companies in the courtroom, it could propel your small company into the spotlight and give you the capital needed to turn a corner.

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

Click here watch Episode 2 of the Legal Buzz.

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 understood that Florida law permitted a unit owner in a condominium to install hurricane shutters to protect their unit. I was recently told by my association that only a specific type of shutter could be installed and that any other type of shutter was prohibited including putting plywood over my windows. Can the association limit my rights to protect my unit? (M.W., via e-mail)

Find out the answer from Shareholder Joseph E. Adams.

Becker Chief Marketing Officer Doreen Fiorelli (right) pictured with LMA National President Cynthia Voth.

Becker Takes First Place for Innovations in Technology

Becker’s Chief Marketing Officer Doreen Fiorelli accepted a first place award from the Legal Marketing Association South East Region during its 2019 annual conference. Becker was recognized for its launch of cutting-edge technology products, BeckerBALLOT.com and MyCommunitySite.com. Both products were developed to assist community associations in streamlining important business functions such as voting and website management.

Did You Know?

BeckerBALLOT.com the original online voting software, is newly relaunched. You used to know us as BPBALLOT – we are back with a new name, but the same great product you have come to know and love. BeckerBALLOT.com was launched by Becker in partnership with SHYFT Digital to provide a simple, convenient, and easy to use platform for your members to vote online.

Our system is live and ready for your association to sign up for those upcoming important association votes – board of director votes, document amendments, reserve votes, and more. Save your-self time and money and have your association take advantage of voting ONLINE today.

BeckerBALLOT logo in card