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  • Karel Costa-Armas

Condo and HOA Measures to Protect Assets



The surfside condo collapse of Champlain Towers has brought to light the very much needed reform of many rules and regulations pertaining to associations. It is quite obvious in most associations in need of repairs, that there is pushback and many times, tense arguments against taking on expensive projects. The law currently allows owners to opt out of, or minimize the amounts that need to be collected for reserve funds. There is also the ability to opt out of, or delay newly implemented code requirements or life safety measures that buildings should be retrofitted with.


So what needs to be addressed? How do the owners at associations get a better handle on what is possibly their largest financial investment?

  • Make sure Reserve Funds are being collected annually

  • Update the Reserve Study every 3 years

  • Confirm Board of Directors are truly adhering to their fiduciary duty

  • Elect only directors that seek to improve the property and not run for the position to vote against higher maintenance fees

  • Work with qualified licensed and insured vendors

  • Seek legal counsel when negotiating contracts and specified warranties

  • Make sure there is proper project management of large contracts

  • Perform financial audits annually

  • Interview and properly vet the Management company

  • Hire only experienced association managers (preferably with the CAI designations of CMCA, AMS, or PCAM)

  • When bidding out for repairs, confirm the RFP was properly written and by the appropriate professional. Sometimes committee and board members mean well by writing specs but they are not qualified or up to date with the latest codes requirements.

  • and yes, Special Assess for projects when the money is too low to proceed. This is where the biggest opposition will appear and get the loudest. Be strong and move forward.

A recent news report by NBC mentions some of these obstacles in associations. Click here for that article: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-florida-condo-associations-wielded-political-power-surfside-collapse-n1276681


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