The firm’s latest Miami Herald “Real Estate Counselor” column was authored by Christyne D. Santisteban and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article, which is titled “Growing Condo Association Budgets Require Deft Touch by Directors, Property Managers,” focuses on how condominium associations should respond to the increased costs and financial pressures they are now facing. Her article reads:
. . . [M]any condominium associations are being forced to increase their annual budgets and augment their monthly dues, and/or to implement special assessments to pay for specific unexpected shortfalls.
Needless to say, anytime costs and collections go up dramatically, questions will arise from concerned owners over how their associations’ funds are being spent. That is why transparency and communications will play a key role for associations that are increasing their budgets and assessments.
The best approach for associations and their directors to adopt will be that of full disclosure and complete transparency, which actually begins by determining where cost-cutting adjustments could possibly be made. This may entail meetings and negotiations with key vendors.
Association directors should also schedule and hold discussions over such budgetary and collections increases at all the necessary board meetings that it takes to address owners’ questions and concerns.
In fact, owners who demonstrate a particular interest in vetting associations’ expenses at these meetings should be encouraged to volunteer to serve their community as a member of its finance/budget committee. Such a committee, which typically reports to the treasurer of the association, can become an excellent path for owners who wish to consider the possibility of serving as a future director. Its members would be charged with developing annual budgets and submitting them to the treasurer and other board members for consideration.
Full disclosure and transparency with the owners should also include concerted communications efforts to alert them of the budgetary increases. This begins with mail/email and posted announcements starting prior to the first discussion at a board meeting and extending through the final approval of the new budget/assessments. . .
Christyne concludes her article by noting that by taking such an open and transparent approach to the inevitable growth in condominium budgets and assessments in communities in South Florida and across the state, directors will be able to effectively make these increases as comprehensible as possible for all the member owners of their associations.
Our firm salutes Christyne for sharing her insights into these vital and timely issues for Florida condominium associations with the readers of the Miami Herald. Click here to read the complete article in the newspaper’s website.