Management Company vs Self-Management
Florida condominiums can be managed by a Property Management Firm or Self-Managed. In both cases the Board is ultimately responsible for management of the Association. The difference is whether the Property Management Firm or the Association employees report directly to the Board.
|1. Helps assure professional consultation, advice, guidance and management.
2. Requires less hands-on involvement by association’s Board members.
3. Provides a larger labor pool to meet association maintenance and administrative needs.
4. Eliminates Board’s need to deal with staffing issues such as hiring, promotions, performance reviews, disciplinary actions, salary adjustments, bonuses, etc.
5. Generally, provides more continuity through changes of property managers.
6. Helps assure maintenance and administrative staff quality through broader interviewing, candidate selection and training.
7. Takes advantage of economies of scale in payroll processing and vendor negotiations.
8. Helps assure compliance with governing documents, Florida Statutes and government regulations.
9. Usually provides systems and tools for managing work orders, processing rent/transfer applications, and providing community websites.
10. Better and more-professional financial and records management, generally through improved systems and controls.
|1. Adds a monthly property management fee, staffing fees, and extra service fees which increase total cost.
2. Reduces association income by directly receiving payment for member support/interface transactions such as delinquency notices, estoppels, transfer fees, collection fees and attorney turnover fees.
3. Reduces Board flexibility to make decisions and control costs.
4. Is generally more difficult for members to have their problems receive attention and get addressed. (They’re dealing with a large “impersonal” company instead of their fellow association member.)
5. Management company is not as familiar with the property, local issues and history as a resident board member.
6. More difficult to change property management vendors or to switch to self-management.
Property Management Agreement Requirements
Per Florida Statute 718.3025(1), No written contract between a party contracting to provide maintenance or management services and an association which contract provides for operation, maintenance, or management of a condominium association or property serving the unit owners of a condominium shall be valid or enforceable unless the contract:
(a) Specifies the services, obligations, and responsibilities of the party contracting to provide maintenance or management services to the unit owners.
(b) Specifies those costs incurred in the performance of those services, obligations, or responsibilities which are to be reimbursed by the association to the party contracting to provide maintenance or management services.
(c) Provides an indication of how often each service, obligation, or responsibility is to be performed, whether stated for each service, obligation, or responsibility or in categories thereof.
(d) Specifies a minimum number of personnel to be employed by the party contracting to provide maintenance or management services for the purpose of providing service to the association.
(e) Discloses any financial or ownership interest which the developer, if the developer is in control of the association, holds with regard to the party contracting to provide maintenance or management services.
(f) Discloses any financial or ownership interest a board member or any party providing maintenance or management services to the association holds with the contracting party.
Community Association Management
As stated in the Roles & Functions page of this website, "A condominium association in Florida that has more than 10 units or a budget of $100,000 or greater is required to have a property manager or management firm licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
In order to be licensed in the state of Florida, a Community Association Manager (CAM) must receive education, pass a state exam, and be competent in the following areas:
- Condominium Law,
- Budgeting & Financial,
- Insurance, and
- Management & Maintenance.
The CAM's training and skill-set makes him/her uniquely qualified to address the complex issues associated with condominium property management. The following information demonstrates the wide range of knowledge and skills required.
Systems & Procedures Requirements
Human Resource Management
Jupiter Bay has 7 employees comprised of a property manager, a receptionist, an administrator and 3 maintenance workers.
Professional management of the Association staff requires at least the following:
- Employee Handbook, providing information on the association's HR policies & procedures;
- Position Descriptions listing position objectives, responsibilities, skill requirements, and job dimensions/scope;
- Employee performance appraisal process/forms measuring quality/quantity of work, teamwork, job knowledge, initiative, interpersonal relations, health & safety compliance, communication abilities, planning & organizing, problem analysis & decision making, and dependability;
- Merit salary-increase planning;
- Payroll processing;
- Time and attendance recording;
- Staff work assignments;
- Safety procedures/training;
- Regular staff meetings (generally weekly); and
- Employment interviewing/processing procedures and standardized employment application.
The Forms page of this website provides templates for many of the HR and other required forms.
Various manual or automated systems help assure smooth operation of the Association:
- Work order processing & aging system,
- Preventative maintenance programs/schedules,
- Lease processing systems and tenant check-in procedures,
- Unit sales/purchases and transfer of responsibility procedures/forms, and
- Project management & tracking process.
Many of the Association's financial procedures are included in the the Financial Policies document. Some of the routine financial processing procedures include:
- Invoice review, approval and posting,
- Contract review and approval,
- Monthly financial reporting,
- Monthly & annual journal entry,
- Reserve schedule spreadsheet update,
- Generation of delinquency notices,
- Estoppal preparation,
- Delinquent account turnover to attorney for collection,
- Check request,
- Check signing,
- Coupon book generation & mailing, and
- Annual budgeting.
Other required standard operating procedures and policies include:
- Owner inquiry response,
- Unit alteration approval,
- Property inspection process,
- Website Policy and updating procedures,
- Hurricane Preparedness & Recovery Plan,
- Bulletin board notices posting procedure, and
- Newsletter preparation and publication process.
Besides financial records, the Association is responsible for maintaining several databases including:
- Unit owner roster, including name, address, phone number and email address;
- Parking permits issued, including condo unit number, name(s) of occupants, drivers license information, and automobile make, model, color & registration information;
- Approved Unit alterations (filed by unit);
- Standard vendor list, including phone number(s), address, contact(s), etc;
- Vendor master file of correspondence, invoices and contracts;
- Unit damage reports and insurance claims; and
- Unit sales and purchases.
The Association must maintain unit and limited common area alteration standards including:
- Screen doors,
- Window replacements,
- hurricane shutters,
- sound-absorbent under-laying
- patio painting
- patio flooring
(a) From the inception of the association, the association shall maintain each of the following items, if applicable, which constitutes the official records of the association:
1. A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the developer pursuant to s. 718.301(4).
2. A photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium of each condominium operated by the association and each amendment to each declaration.
3. A photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association and each amendment to the bylaws.
4. A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the association, or other documents creating the association, and each amendment thereto.
5. A copy of the current rules of the association.
6. A book or books that contain the minutes of all meetings of the association, the board of administration, and the unit owners.
7. A current roster of all unit owners and their mailing addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, and, if known, telephone numbers. The association shall also maintain the e-mail addresses and facsimile numbers of unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The e-mail addresses and facsimile numbers are not accessible to unit owners if consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is not provided in accordance with sub-subparagraph (c)3.e. However, the association is not liable for an inadvertent disclosure of the e-mail address or facsimile number for receiving electronic transmission of notices.
8. All current insurance policies of the association and condominiums operated by the association.
9. A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or other contract to which the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or responsibility.
10. Bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the association.
11. Accounting records for the association and separate accounting records for each condominium that the association operates. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or destroys such records, or who knowingly or intentionally fails to create or maintain such records, with the intent of causing harm to the association or one or more of its members, is personally subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d). The accounting records must include, but are not limited to:
- a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.
- b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly statement of the account for each unit designating the name of the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the amount paid on the account, and the balance due.
- c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and financial reports of the association or condominium.
- d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to be performed are also considered official records and must be maintained by the association.
12. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers and electronic records relating to voting by unit owners, which must be maintained for 1 year from the date of the election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates, notwithstanding paragraph (b).
13. All rental records if the association is acting as agent for the rental of condominium units.
14. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504.
15. All other written records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.
16. A copy of the inspection report as described in s. 718.301(4)(p).
17. Bids for materials, equipment, or services.
Official Records Retention & Requests
The following Official Records must be permanently maintained from the inception
of the association:
- Copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the developer.
- Photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium of each condominium operated by the association and each amendment to each declaration.
- Photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association and each amendment to the bylaws.
- Certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the association, or other documents creating the association, and each amendment thereto.
- Copy of the current rules of the association.
- Book that contains the minutes of all meetings of the association, the board of administration, and the unit owners.
All other official records must be maintained within the state for at least 7 years.
The records of the association shall be made available to a unit owner within 45 miles of the condominium property or within the county in which the condominium property is located within 10 working days after receipt of a written request. This paragraph may be complied with by having a copy of the official records of the association available for inspection or copying on the condominium property, or the association may offer the option of making the records available to a unit owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records to be viewed in electronic format on a computer screen and printed upon request.
The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the frequency, time, location, notice and manner of record inspections and copying. A unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages of $50 per calendar day for up to 10 days.
The association is not responsible for the use or misuse of the information provided to an association member or his or her authorized representative pursuant to the compliance requirements of this chapter unless the association has an affirmative duty not to disclose such information pursuant to this chapter.
Question & Answer Sheet Requirements
- Role of the board in conducting the day to day affairs of the association on behalf of, and in the best interests of, the owners.
- Board’s responsibility to provide advance notice of board and membership meetings.
- Rights of owners to attend and speak at board and membership meetings.
- Responsibility of the board and of owners with respect to maintenance of the condominium property.
- Responsibility of the board and owners to abide by the condominium documents,
rules adopted by the division, and reasonable rules adopted by the board.
- Owners’ rights to inspect and copy association records and the limitations on such rights.
- Remedies available to owners with respect to actions by the board which may be abusive or beyond the board’s power and authority.
- Right of the board to hire a property management firm, subject to its own primary responsibility for such management.
- Responsibility of owners with regard to payment of regular or special assessments necessary for the operation of the property and the potential consequences of failure to pay such assessments.
- Voting rights of owners.
- Rights and obligations of the board in enforcement of rules in the condominium documents and rules adopted by the board.
Compliance with Florida Employee-Related Laws
An article in the August 13th, 2012 publication of the Florida Sun Sentinel listed the following laws as applicable for associations that have one or more employees:
- Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This law establishes minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and youth employment standards. This law also prohibits wage discrimination based on sex as well as prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under this Act.
- Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This law establishes minimum workplace safety standards for private sector employers and prohibits retaliation against whistle-blowers.
- Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970. This law promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. This law prohibits employers from using a third party to obtain a consumer report on an applicant or employee unless the individual gives authorization by signing a separate disclosure and consent form. This law also requires an employer to provide the applicant with a copy of the consumer report and written summary of rights before denying employment or taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the consumer report.
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. This law establishes minimum standards for most voluntarily-established health and welfare benefit and pension plans in the private sector. This law requires employers to provide plan participants with information about plan features and funding. This law also imposes fiduciary responsibilities on those who manage and control plan assets and requires plans to establish a grievance and appeals process.
- Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This law prohibits the employment of individuals not authorized to work in the U.S by requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all employees.
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988. This law prevents employers from requiring or requesting employees to submit to lie detector tests either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exceptions. This law also prohibits retaliation against an employee or applicant who refuses to take a lie detector test.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. This law protects civilian jobs and benefits for veterans and reservists. This law requires employers to re-employ returning service members in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. This law also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate a disability which has been incurred or aggravated during military service. Lastly, this law requires employers to make reasonable efforts (such as training or retraining) to enable returning service members to refresh or upgrade their skills to help them qualify for re-employment.
- Florida’s Minimum Wage Act. This law establishes state minimum wage standards for employees.
- Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Law. This law provides monetary benefits to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. This law suggests that employers should establish standards of conduct for employees and implement a 90-day probationary period for new hires.
- Florida Health Insurance Coverage Continuation Act. This law provides employees and covered family members not covered by COBRA with a temporary extension of group health care coverage under certain circumstances.
The foregoing laws impact associations who have even just one employee. Naturally, the more employees an association has, the more government regulation to which it will be subjected. Associations with two or more employees will be subject to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1954 and the Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law. If an association has fifteen or more employees, it will be subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.