The provider of the laundry machines at the Pavilion, Laundry Systems USA, has increased the fees over 16% without the prior knowledge of the owners and residents. The amount has gone to $1.75 from $1.50 per load.
The Association, at least, needs to ask the provider for an explanation of this increase. After all, all the owners pay for the water ,electricity and upkeep of these commercial units.
Please, contact the Association to let them know your concerns and to request them to act in our behalf.
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Location: Social and Activities Room (Mezzanine Level)
Place: 5601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140
I. Call to Order – Calling of the Roll – Quorum Determination.
II. Old Business:
- Confirmation of Waiver of Reserves Funding for 2015.
IV. Open Forum.
A three minute time limit will be in effect for any owner who has a question pertaining to AGENDA ITEMS ONLY.
Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Karina T. Panait, LCAM
By Eric Glazer, Esq.
We often times blog about how a Board member or a manager stole a few thousand dollars from the association and how they should be prosecuted for it. If someone should be prosecuted for stealing a few thousand dollars, what should happen to the people that steal 16 million dollars from condo owners over the last five years? Ask your esteemed
legislators, because it’s them that stole your money. Florida
Florida Statute 718.501 reads as follows:
Each condominium association which operates more than two units shall pay to the division an annual fee in the amount of $4 for each residential unit in condominiums operated by the association. If the fee is not paid by March 1, the association shall be assessed a penalty of 10 percent of the amount due, and the association will not have standing to maintain or defend any action in the courts of this state until the amount due, plus any penalty, is paid.
All fees shall be deposited in the Division of
Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund as provided by law. Florida
As all of you know, the fees collected from each of you are placed into this Trust Fund, and must be used to help administer the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes. The monies should be spent on resources, arbitrators, investigators, staff, educational materials, seminars and more.
Despite the fact that these monies are allocated to the DBPR each and every year, it is not getting spent in its entirety and each year there is a huge surplus of a few million dollars. Instead of reducing or suspending the collection of these fees from condominium unit owners, or returning your money to you, The Florida Legislature has a better idea……..JUST KEEP IT AND SWEEP THESE FUNDS INTO THE GENERAL REVENUE FUND.
That’s right. Condo owners are in effect paying monies to the state that were supposed to be spent on them. The funds are not being spent on them and instead are going to whatever else the state wants to allocate those funds to.
How about this? If you’re outraged and want this theft to stop, respond to this e-mail and demand that it stops. If we get a lot of responses, I’ll submit it to The Florida Legislature and keep the fight going. If we don’t get responses, you apparently don’t care much about getting stolen from and feel free to leave your credit card information and bank account numbers below for all to see.
One of the most distressing issues confronting board members is how to comply with their fiduciary duty to shareholders and unit owners. Although misconceptions abound as to the precise nature and scope of this obligation, a breach of the fiduciary duty could result in grave consequences for both the offending board member and the community which he or she represents. Perhaps the most widespread misconception is that fiduciary duty is related to the degree of competence or zeal with which board members perform their management responsibilities. For example, I have often heard it said that, The board has a fiduciary duty to operate on budget, or, As a board member, he has a fiduciary duty to regularly attend meetings. In fact, the fiduciary responsibility has nothing to do with board members' skill or fervor. Basically, a breach of the fiduciary duty to shareholders and unit owners occurs whenever a board member's abuse of such power results in harm to one or more of his constituents.
It turns out that in Miami the average family spends 45 percent of their yearly income on rent. The old adage is that people should spend no more than a third of their income on housing and utilities.
By Eric Glazer, Esq.
It seems like no matter how early, or on what day of the week we hold our Board Certification seminars for both condominium and HOA members, the classes are packed to the rafters. There’s often times complaints about communities going to hell because of unit owner apathy. When you see a room full of hundreds of owners at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday attending an educational course, you realize that while there certainly are people out there who would never participate in the affairs of their community, there are countless others who do care and who care about becoming educated and striving to be the best board member they can be. For me, it is truly inspirational every time I address a crowded audience. What an honor!
And then there’s the flip side. For those of you that have attended my seminar, you know how angry I am that the law still allows Board members to get certified by signing what I call a silly self-serving affidavit that certifies :
in writing to the secretary of the association that he or she has read the association’s declaration of condominium, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the association’s members.
The same ridiculous affidavit can be signed by condo board members and HOA Board members. Simply by signing this affidavit, the person is certified to the same extent as anyone else who bothered to attend a class.
The affidavit does not even require a director to acknowledge that they read or even know that Florida Statutes 718 or 720 exist. Moreover, many of you have illegal provisions in your governing documents (for example – no children allowed even though you’re not a 55 and over community). Yet, this affidavit requires the director “to uphold such documents and policies to the best of his or her ability.” You’re actually swearing to uphold illegal provisions.
Some of you are disappointed that The
Legislature won’t allow the DBPR to assist homeowner associations in our state. You’re upset that there’s little to no protection against fraud or theft in your community. You’re upset that even when fraud or theft is found, nothing is done about it. Unfortunately, to correct much of these problems would require legislative change which is somewhat out of your hands. Florida
There is one way to help yourselves. There is one option that lies exclusively in your hands and one way to immediately bring change to your community. This same law allows owners to get certified within one year before getting on the Board of Directors. If someone cares about your community and is serious about doing a good job, they should only get your vote only if they have already become certified by participating in an approved class. Countless people have taken the course I teach before getting on the Board, because they care enough to learn something before taking over the awesome responsibility of running your community. On the contrary, shame on any director who is too lazy to learn something for a few hours while sipping coffee and eating breakfast or who won’t attend a class because they think they already know everything, having been on the board for decades. How about…….No vote for you if you’re not interested enough to take a class and learn something?
Meetings of the board at which a quorum of the directors is present and discussing association business constitutes a board meeting and must be open to all owners. There is no getting around this; if there are enough directors sitting by the pool discussing association business to constitute a quorum, it is a de facto board meeting that should have been properly noticed in advance so owners could join in or listen to the discussion.
There is no exception for "executive sessions", brief chats or emails that substitute for a discussion that should more properly take place during a board meeting that is open to the members. Asking your association counsel to sit in on a board meeting does not, in and of itself, make it a closed meeting. Your counsel must be present to discuss proposed or pending litigation to warrant closing the meeting to the owners and even then the closed meeting must still be properly noticed to the members as a closed discussion with counsel regarding litigation issues.
Florida law requires associations to post notice of all regular board meetings at least 48 continuous hours preceding the meeting except in an emergency.