by John Tight, CEO, Campbell Property Management
Does your community have a lake or multiple lakes? According to Sherry Boas of the Orlando Sentinel, “Florida contains more than 30,000 lakes that cover a little more than 3 million acres of land.” These bodies of water are everywhere, including many South Florida neighborhoods. Many communities in South Florida feature these beautiful lakes to enhance the appearance of the neighborhood and offer recreational opportunities for the residents. However, the erosion of these lakes and their shoreline is a recurring problem and is inevitable.
There are many factors that cause lake bank erosion, including:
- Continuous change in water elevation due to the change of seasons
- Strong winds that cause waves that damage the shoreline
- Stormwater runoff that causes damage due to improper draining practices
- Fish, such as the armored catfish, that burrow into the lake banks, causing them to collapse
There are many other ways a lake’s shoreline and bank can erode. Nevertheless, there are solutions that can restore and protect your lakes like:
- Littoral shelf planting – the planting of native aquatic vegetation along the shoreline that helps reduce and even prevent erosion from happening in the future
- Installing riprap – a combination of rock and other material used to armor and protect the shoreline from erosion; riprap can help aid in protecting the shoreline from any future erosion
- Click here to see the full list of solutions and a case study on Lake Restoration
Have you experienced lake bank or shoreline erosion first hand? How did you or your community fix the problem? Let us know in our comment section below.
by Dan Tiernan, COO, Campbell Property Management
How important is the quality of the people who manage your community? Manager and staff turnover is highly disruptive to the operation of a community. To help ensure the smooth operation of your community, hire a management company with qualified staff and a low employee turnover rate.
A good management company will hire quality people and provide them with great support. The company is only as good as the people they hire, develop, and retain. Evaluate how they recruit and hire new staff by analyzing these 4 key community staffing processes:
- Sourcing – How do they find the right candidates?
- Evaluation – How do they measure the critical skills of the candidates?
- Onboarding – How do they welcome new hires into their company culture?
- Development – How do they help them learn and grow?
A company’s employee turnover rate is greatly affected by the fourth key community staffing process, development. Does the staff have access to a wide range of experts, systems, events and information that they can rely on when they need help? Make sure the management company has the necessary tools and support systems in place for their staff.
When choosing people to staff and manage your community, it is necessary to evaluate these four key processes. To read more about these processes and how they can help you, click here.
What processes do you implement? Do you have any suggestions?
by Brian Tight, Director of Developer Relations & Lake Worth Regional Director, Campbell Property Management
Has your community had to deal with tree roots damaging your sidewalks by causing cracking or lifting? Florida hosts a wide variety of tree species. Many of these species, such as Oak trees, can be seen near or around your home. When trees are planted near concrete, such as sidewalks or curbs, the tree roots can sometimes uplift the concrete and cause many problems. In communities, tree roots uplifting sidewalks and curbs are not only unattractive, this tree root damage is also extremely costly and causes safety issues for residents.
Uplifted sidewalks can ruin the aesthetic appeal of a community. These uplifted sidewalks can also become a hazard to residents of the community. People walking at nighttime or those who simply do not see the uplifted sidewalk can fall and injure themselves, resulting in legal action against the community.
If you come across a cracked sidewalk or other concrete area, verify that tree roots are indeed the problem. Sometimes sidewalks can crack due to weather patterns or old age, and not because of tree roots. If tree roots are in fact the problem, there are many solutions to help repair these cracks:
- Constructing a ramp (made from either wood or concrete) over the protruding roots can help reduce cracking.
- Spreading a 3-6 inch layer of soft rubber chips over the roots and then re-pour concrete over the chips.
- Placing a layer of one-inch diameter washed gravel can also be spread over roots with concrete then re-poured on top.
- For additional solutions including more permanent solutions, visit https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/urban-sidewalk.shtml
Tree roots can cause many issues in communities. However, they can be easily fixed if found early. Have you experienced concrete uplifting or cracking in your community due to tree roots? How did you solve the problem? Let us know in the comment section below.
by Dan Tiernan, COO, Campbell Property Management
Do you know what bills were passed this year? The 2013 Florida Legislative Session ended on May 6th, 2013 with the main issue of whether the Mortgage Foreclosure Bill or HB 87, would successfully pass. The bill, taken up by the Senate, passed 26-13 and is now on its way to the Governor.
There were also many other bills that were passed this week. HB 277, which related to the Assessment of Presidential and Non-homestead Real Property, “implements a constitutional amendment which prohibits consideration of certain improvements in the assessed value of real property,” says Yeline Goin (Florida Condo & HOA Law Blog). SB 468, HB 7025, and HB 999 were also passed.
For those of you would like more information on these bills, you can visit legiscan.com/FL/legislation. Here, you will not only find information on the bills that were passed during this session, but also information on bills that were passed during previous legislative sessions. You can also visit www.leg.state.fl.us for general information regarding the Florida Statutes that govern community associations. Condo associations can view their statutes, Chapter 718, by clicking here. HOA’s can view their statutes, Chapter 720, by clicking here.
The Community Association Leadership Lobby, or CALL, will be hosting a webinar on May 16th, 2013 from 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM. Rep. George Moraitis will act as a special guest, where he will be primarily discussing the following bills:
- HB 73, Relating to Residential Properties (impacts Condominiums, Cooperatives and Homeowners’ Associations)
- HB 7119, Relating to Homeowners’ Associations
- HB 87, Relating to Mortgage Foreclosures
CLICK HERE to sign up for the webinar.
Let us know what you think about the bills that were passed by commenting below.
by William B. Campbell, III, VP of Sales and Marketing, Campbell Property Management
How many times has someone tried to nickel and dime you or your community association? Unfortunately, nickel and diming happens quite frequently in the service industry because certain companies prefer to gain your business with an appealing “low price” and then add on extra charges down the road that are “not covered by your initial fees”. They also use this “low price” approach to gain your business to drive work like painting and concrete projects to their subsidiaries.
We don’t see this happening just in the service industry, but in most sales. Think back to the last time you purchased a car. In my most recent experience, I felt like the dealership was trying to nickel and dime me for every little thing. Now having bought cars before, I knew that the advertised price is never what it seems… this being said I expected some fluctuation in the price with the “extras” being offered. However, what I didn’t expect was a surprise additional administration fee that got added onto the total after spending 3 hours at the dealership and having completed all the paperwork except the final sales sheet. Now, not only was I paying for warranties, features, registration fees, and the car… they were trying to get me to pay for another fee. Luckily for me I caught this additional fee before signing. I ended up staying another hour, till midnight, to get it waived since I hadn’t signed the final page and they had never mentioned the fee before.
Just like we do side by side comparisons when purchasing cars, we need to carefully do side by side comparisons with all of our vendor and management proposals. Make sure to compare all of the fees in the proposals, not just the “management fees”. Doing these comparisons, are more easily said than done because not all management companies clearly lay out their itemized proposals. We have drafted up a list of 18 common charges to look for in a property management company’s proposal to help you and your community avoid getting nickel and dimed. Click here to view the list.
Let us know what you think about the list and if would suggest looking for other items in our comment section below.
by Evan Bradley, CFO, Campbell Property Management
Are you ready for the upcoming hurricane season? South Florida’s 2013 hurricane season is approaching quickly. The National Hurricane Center states that the hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends November 30th. We all know Mother Nature doesn’t read any calendars and these tropical storms can occasionally hit as early as May.
Now is the time to make sure your family and your community have Disaster Preparedness Plans in place. We have put together a Community Hurricane Preparedness Guide with 15 steps to help prepare you. At the end of the guide, we have three other major resources including a link to FloridaDisaster.org’s Family Disaster Planning website, which allows you to create and customize your family’s own disaster preparedness plan. Click here to read the full guide and get access to more resources.
What do you think about our 15 steps? Would you recommend additional steps or resources? Please share them with everyone below in the comments.
by Dan Tiernan, COO, Campbell Property Management
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Should communities have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available for medical emergencies? “Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death, killing more than one million people worldwide each year. SCA can strike persons of any age, gender, race, and even those who seem in good health. When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the heart is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body, and in more than 90% of its victims, death occurs. A defibrillator is required to restore a natural rhythm. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the sooner the defibrillation, the better the victim’s chances of survival.” (https://www.cardiacscience.com/resources/aed-education-materials/about-sudden-cardiac-arrest.php)
If your community association has amenities including fitness centers, tennis courts, basketball courts, or pools; discussing the addition of community AEDs with your community and attorney might be a good idea. This decision should be looked at on a case by case basis, as there are a variety of factors to consider before placing an AED in common areas.
Jacqueline C. Marzan, Esq., wrote a great article, Association’s Civil Liability with Respect to the Use of CPR Equipment in its Community, which addresses Florida Statute 768.1325, F.S. entitled “Cardiac Arrest Survival Act; Immunity from Civil Liability”. In the article she discusses how AEDs are widely recommended and supported by the State Department of Health and how recent cases in the media involving private facilities were found liable for not having an AED present.
Click here to read the full article.
Engage Unbiased Construction Advisors!
by John Tight, CEO, Campbell Property Management
Image courtesy of fotographic1980 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How should a community, whether it is professionally managed or self-managed, handle major construction projects?
One ugly truth is that every community, no matter how new or impressive, will have to deal with major construction projects over the course of its life. When major repair and replacement projects are being considered in a condominium or homeowner association, a lot of questions are raised that may be difficult to answer:
- What is the root of the problem?
- Are there regulations we need to comply with?
- Should we pursue a short-term or long-term solution?
Unless you are lucky enough to have an in-house expert that is up-to-date with the area in question, you might need some help in figuring out the best path forward. Even if your property manager has some experience in the problem area, he/she should not be considered an expert beyond the actual job for which he/she was hired: property management. The cost and risk of these projects can be significant.
If not properly diagnosed, defined, sourced, and managed, the association could suffer from any of the following:
- Budget over-runs
- Extended closure of common areas
- Ineffective repairs that result in additional work and/or wasted funds
- Unplanned special assessments
Who can you trust to be your unbiased construction advisor? Using a management provider’s contractor might lead to them recommending whichever solution drives business to their subsidiaries. Consulting a vendor can be risky and confusing because they are more motivated to sell their product than solve your problem. Hiring an engineer may be a good solution, but be cautious of them recommending the highest cost, lowest risk solution to limit their liability. The ideal advisor for construction and repair projects is:
- An experienced contractor with relevant, practical expertise
- One who is unbiased toward any particular solution
- Focused on satisfying the needs of the community
- Readily available and reasonably priced
Click here to read the full article from Florida Community Association Journal, which includes key steps the construction advisor should follow and real case studies about how they have saved associations money.
What do you think about construction advisors? Feel free to share your experiences and tips for handling major projects in your community association below.
by The Campbell Property Management Team
Image courtesy of nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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