Welcome To The November Edition Of "The Green Marble" Newsletter

The November  Issue Includes:

- Time Is Running Out! FLCAJ Readers' Choice Award
- Single Family Residential Use Restriction. What It Means, What It Prohibits.
- Upcoming Seminars/Events/Meetings
- Is Your Annual Meeting Coming Up? Are You Sure Your Meeting Docs Are Legal?
- Looking For Budget Conscious Legal Packages?
- Fall Cleanup, Trim Up, And A Splash of Season Color
Service Contracts, Open Meetings, And Your 2017 Budget
- Abandoned And Abused Pets Need You!
- Lights!  Camera!  Action!  It's Showtime!
- Time For A New Manager? We Can Help!
- Reserves And Reserve Studies - Part II  

Time Is Running Out!
Clayton & McCulloh is honored to be nominated for the 3rd year in a row for the Florida Community Association Journal's Readers' Choice Award in the law firm category. Voting for the Award ends December 15, 2016.  All of us at Clayton & McCulloh would very much appreciate your vote by using the link in the logo below:
Vote for Clayton & McCulloh . . . the law firm that Embraces Community !

Single Family Residential Use Restriction.
What It Means, What It Prohibits
By: Neal McCulloh, Senior & Founding Partner

The term "single family" has been interpreted to mean multiple if not numerous things.  In fact, the term may encompass a group of unrelated individuals living as a single household unit. Similarly, a religious group may qualify as a single family.  As such, the term is not even necessarily limited to an individual and his or her significant other. Consequently, single family restrictions within associations' governing documents may have little or no teeth with which to restrict who and/or how many individuals can reside within a unit. In fact, this development has severely, if not completely, undermined the ability of associations to use the "single family" use restriction(s) found within their documents to prohibit a multitude of activities.   Continue Reading...

Upcoming Seminars/Events/Meetings

Get your education here! Here are our upcoming seminars and events where we are featured as a speaker:
Thursday, November 10 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Melbourne Office.  Registration at 6:00 p.m. Partner, Joe Stayanoff, will be presenting an "HOA Board Certification" program.   A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information or to register, please click  here .

Tuesday, November 15 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Maitland Office.  Registration at 8:30 a.m. Partner Joe Stayanoff, and Jared Pizzuti of Sihle Insurance, will be presenting on "Association Insurance: What do You Really Need?" A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information or to register, please click here.

Wednesday, November 16 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Maitland Office. Registration at 6:00 p.m. Partner, Brian
Hess, will be presenting a "COA Board Certification" program. A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information or to register, please click  here .

Thursday, November 17 - Hosted by Clayton & McCulloh
Maitland Office. Registration at 7:00 p.m. Partner Russel Klemm, will be presenting "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Association Records" program. A complimentary class with refreshments including a complimentary glass of wine. For more information or to register, please click   here.

If you w ou ld like to suggest a topic for a future seminar, please do so by clicking here .
Is Your Annual Meeting Coming Up? 
Are You Sure Your Meeting Docs Are Legal?
By: Arlene Ring, Director of Public Relations

Holding an annual meeting of the membership for the purpose of  electing directors/officers is an important requirement of your Governing Documents, as well as a statutory requirement of Florida Law for all Associations. We are proud to present our Annual Meeting Package Service.  We will prepare the necessary documents for your Association's Annual Meeting.  Properly prepared documents, coupled with legal advice of the correct procedures and time frames that must be followed by your Association, can avoid election and Annual Meeting challenges for the Association.
Looking For Budget Conscious Legal Packages?
By: Arlene Ring, Director of Public Relations

A re you a budget-conscious Association? If so,then one of 
the several Annual Legal Packages we offer should have a strong appeal to your Association. We have created twelve different Annual Legal Packages offering different levels of discounted legal services. These packages feature discounted attorney hourly rates for consultation services.  Annual Legal Packages are paid in advance of services being requested and run for 12 months beginning with the date we receive your payment.  This program is structured for the legal services to be utilized during this 12 month period.  Unused hours may not be carried over to a later time.  For more information on our Annual Legal Packages, please ask for the Annual Legal Package Brochure or f or more information about this flat fee service, please contact our Public Relations Department by clicking here.
Fall Cleanup, Trim Up, And A Splash of Season Color
     By: Brandon Silverstein, President of US Lawns

Although the growing season may be slowing down, landscape maintenance is needed this time of year as much as any other. Fall cleanups contribute to the long-term health of your landscaping. Pruning trees and shrubs is integral to establishing strong and healthy structure within the plant. Fall is a great time for pruning because once dormant, it is easy to identify dead or dying limbs and branches.

Fall is also the time to plant seasonal color to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Marigolds are a reliable Florida annual, and perfect for fall color.

We'll help you clean up, trim up and put a splash of season color on your property that everyone will notice.
Brandon Silverstein is the President of US lawns and guest writer in this issue. He can be contacted by email at: brandon.silverstein@uslawns.net, and by phone at: 321-636-0655
Service Contracts, Open Meetings, And Your 2017 Budget
With 2017 budgets well into production, it is important for all
Community Associations to remember some specific state rules when seeking new service contracts. Florida Statute Section 720.3055 mandates that any time an Association seeks a new service contract that will cost more than 10% of the annual budget that competitive bids for the contract are to be gathered. While not all service contracts such as those for "employees of the association, and contracts for attorney, accountant, architect, community association manager, engineering, and landscape architect services" are bound to the rule above, best practices and many governing documents dictate the rule still applies. Additionally whenever a new service contract is being negotiated, an open meeting often should be held for discussion by the Association. The last thing an Association wants during the budget building process is to break the se rules causing the New Year to start off with a big headache

Our Abandoned And Abused Pets Need You!
I magine sleeping on a cold, hard concrete floor.  Imagine your pet in a shelter - all alone, scared , without any warmth.  Well, this isn't going to happen if Clayton & McCulloh has anything to say about it.  We are taking on a new charity!  The Pet Alliance (the Greater Orlando Humane Society), and the Humane Society of South Brevard is in need of your donations for the coming winter months.

If you have any old towels, blankets, and/or new pet food please consider donating them to this worthy cause.  We will b e collecting donations at both our Maitland and Melbourne Offices. We will then take these donations to their respective local Humane Society. Our first collection period will end on December 16, just in time for the little critters to snuggle up as the cold weather hits.  Please find it in your heart to help these poor, scared, unloved pets. Donate your old towels, blankets, or new pet food today, and if at all possible - adopt a new member for your family from one of these amazing organizations. 


We are now accepting your donations. If you have any questions, please contact our Public Relations Department here. 

Lights!  Camera!  Action!  It's Showtime!
Think of your Annual Meeting as a Theatrical Production to ensure success   
By: Arlene Ring, Director of Public Relations

It's Showtime!   Your annual meeting is the most important meeting of the year and it is your time to shine.  Think of your annual meeting as a theater production and your owners are the audience.  If the production is appealing, they will attend. 
If your community does not have a clubhouse, consider holding your annual meeting at another location other than within the community.  For example, if your Association has a dry retention pond (and it is not in the middle of the rainy season) you could hold the annual meeting at the retention pond.  You can rent an open gazebo type tent (to shield the owners from the sun) and plastic folding chairs at a minimal cost.  Don't have a retention pond?  Another idea would be to hold the meeting at the end of a cul-de-sac.  By having your meeting within the community, you counter one of the common excuses (didn't have a means of transportation to get there) for not attending.  The more comfortable the surroundings and easily accessible the location, the more likely the owners will attend the meeting. 

To generate more interest among the owners to attend the meeting, offer door prizes.  These may be gifts that are donated either by individuals within the associations or local merchants.   For example, if there is a Mary Kay lady or Amway dealer in your community, perhaps they would be willing to donate merchandise as a door prize.  And don't forget to tap the sometimes overlooked business segment of the neighborhood - the teenager who mows lawns on the weekend.    Not only can the Association obtain door prizes to boost attendance, but businesses obtain valuable exposure at minimal cost.  Another way to entice a business person to donate a door prize is to provide him one month's free advertising in your newsletter. The possibilities are endless.  Once you've obtained the door prizes, don't forget to recognize the businesses in your mailings and at the meeting.  This way it is a win-win situation for both the members and the business owner.

Another great attendance getter is to have refreshments available.  There are two ways to approach serving refreshments.  A committee could donate baked goods or perhaps a local merchant could donate refreshments in exchange for mentioning their business and providing them free advertising in your newsletter or membership directory depending on the value of the refreshments.  However, do not use Association funds to purchase door prizes or pay for refreshments.  This would expose you and your Board to criticism as to the propriety and possibly the legality of, by some, for expending association funds for improper social purposes.

A lot of Associations feature a guest speaker at their meetings.  The following are a few suggestions for speakers to appear at your annual meeting:
  • Landscape professionals giving tips on maintaining your property as well as the owners' property - which may result in new business for them.
  • The principal from one of the schools in your district speaking on what direction the school is taking with its students.
  • If there is a hot issue, consider asking your attorney to speak to the membership.
  • Realtors providing tips on how to showcase your home to get the best possible price.
  • Elected officials speaking on topics of interest to the association (especially during an election year).
  • Candidates for public office who will explain their position on the issues.  This gives them some valuable and free exposure.
  • An attorney to speak on such day-to-day issues such as the importance of having a will or consumer law issues. 
The possibilities are unlimited.  Try to think of topics which interest your membership.  A little bit of imagination goes a long way.

You will also want to provide professional and eye-catching notices for your annual meetings.  Preparing the correct and legal notices (among other documents) for your annual meeting can be very tricky.  Inquire if your attorney offers an annual meeting package.  Many firms will prepare all the documents and notices you need for an annual meeting at a special reduced fee. 
(Editors' Note:  Clayton & McCulloh offers an Annual Meeting Package as a flat rate service).  By distributing professional and legal annual meeting notices and documents, you appear more knowledgeable and competent and avoid possible risk to your Association. 

Don't forget to give your residents plenty of notice.  Your Association's Governing Documents may only require a fifteen-day notice, however, consider giving additional notices such as thirty days, seven days, and three-day notice.  You might even want to call your membership the night before the meeting to remind them.  Yes, it is extra work, but many people have a short memory, and they forget.  Try appointing a committee to assist you in this endeavor if you have a large association.

In order to ensure a quorum, encourage owners to provide the board (or a trusted neighbor) with their proxy, and if they can make the meeting, then the proxy can be returned to the owner.  At least this way, you will have a quorum at your annual meeting.

As a board member, you want to make your meeting as interesting and appealing as possible.  By providing comfortable accommodations, refreshments, door prizes, plenty of notice, and eye catching notices, you should attract a significantly larger number of owners than normal.  In fact, you may never face the dreaded problem of having to re-notice the meeting again due to lack of interest.  Just remember - It's Showtime!

Time For A New Manager? We Can Help!
It's that time of the year again when Associations are thinking "Wow! This is more work than I want to do" or "Not sure about our present manager - maybe we should look into possibly hiring a new one?" Does this describe how you are feeling?
If so we can help. Whether you are a client or a non-client, we provide a complimentary Management Company Referral Service to help you find a Manager or a new Manager! If you have a Manager presently, we always recommend trying to work it out with them as you have a history which is quite valuable. If you are uncomfortable about approaching your current Manager or Management Company, as one of our clients, we can contact the company or manager to see if we can assist in resolving the issues.

If you do not believe your differences can be worked out or if you do not have a Manager presently and would be interested in hiring someone to take the daily routine off your plates contact us for our Referral Service.
Here's the service for non-clients:
  • We send you a list of at least three management companies in your area with contact information
  • All we ask in return: Please advise us as to which manager/management company you selected
Here are the highlights of the service for clients:
  • We send you a list of at least three management companies in your area with the contact information
  • A meeting at any of our offices with our director of Public Relations wherein you will receive guidance in what to consider when hiring a Manager/Management Company, the pros and cons of a management company versus an independent Manager, and preparation of a list of questions to ask your prospective Managers;
  • Attendance and assistance at the Manager interviews.
For more information on this service, please call our Director of Public Relations at any of our offices via extension 129 or at (407) 808-2553 after hours/weekends. 

Reserves And Reserve Studies - Part II 
(Continued from October's issue of The Green Marble)
   By: Matthew C. Kuisle of Reserve Advisers

How long does a reserve study generally take?
They can take anywhere from one to six months, depending on the provider, level of service and time of year.  Our studies generally take about 5 weeks to complete following the inspection due to a stringent internal review by a team of engineers from various disciplines and backgrounds to ensure accuracy and the most cost effective advice.  Best practices suggest starting the process early in the year to allow the Board plenty of time to review the study, ask questions of the provider and prepare for any upcoming projects later in the year.  Many times, our engineers identify items that may be discretionary like carpet replacement or party room renovations.  Many Boards like to explore alternate replacement or funding scenarios after reviewing a draft study.  They can even break items into smaller or phased replacements less than $10,000 which would allow them to be excluded from the study.  We encourage getting a head start to review and explore these scenarios in an effort to tailor the study prior to budget season, usually in late summer for most Associations.
We have reserves for specific items but need to replace something that is not on our schedule.  Can we borrow from another item to pay for the unanticipated expense?
Condominiums, Cooperatives and HOAs with restricted reserves can only spend the reserve funds on their intended purpose unless approved in advance by a vote of the owners.  Statutes 718 (Condos), 719 (Co-ops) and 720 (HOAs) contain identical language:
"Reserve funds and any interest accruing thereon shall remain in the reserve account or accounts and shall be used only for authorized reserve expenditures unless their use for other purposes is approved in advance..."
Many associations are looking into "pooled" reserves which is a grouping of the assets into one larger reserve fund.  While this does allow for some flexibility when funds are needed, the same restrictions apply.  Pooled reserve funds should only be spent on items in the defined group of assets.
How much should a study cost?
It depends on what you're looking for.  A study should cost as much as the value in which the association board sees that firm providing.  Some providers will deliver reserve studies that simply determine standardized replacement costs and lifing analyses.  We believe that boards should look for a more custom, comprehensive reserve study provider that considers their strategic plan, provides advice and makes recommendations that will save the homeowners money over the long run.  At the end of the day, the reserve study should help the Board maintain a community where the members look forward to coming home every night. 

Mr. Kuisle is a frequent speaker and author and can be reached in the firm's Florida office at (800) 980-9881 or Matt@reserveadvisors.com.

Get The Latest Trending News!
Like us on Facebook and you will receive:
  • Late breaking news on topics affecting community associations;
  • Seminar invitations;
  • Legal Updates;
  • Human Interest Stories; and
  • Much more!
This isn't your parents' law firm Facebook Page. Like Us on Facebook !

Join Us In Celebrating These November Birthdays!

Darcie Madison -  Manager, Leland Management's Rockledge Office - November 22
Robin Wood - Human Resources Manager, Clayton & McCulloh - November 23
Doreen Acevedo -  Manager, Space Coast Property Management of Brevard - November 26

Like us on Facebook Like us on Facebook     Connect on LinkedIn View our profile on LinkedIn

Orlando Office: Maitland

The Clayton & McCulloh Building

1065 Maitland Center Commons Blvd.

Maitland, FL  32751

Phone: (407) 875-2655

Fax: (407) 875-3363 

Melbourne Office: Suntree/Viera

Baytree Corporate Park

1341 Bedford Drive, Suite A

Melbourne,  FL 32940

Phone: (321) 751-3449

Fax: (321) 751-3450 

Toll Free: (888) 793-1486
After Hours / 24/7: (407) 808-2553
You are receiving this e-mail as you fall into one of the following categories:

* You are currently a client or client's manager; and/or
* You have requested to be on our mailing list.

If you elect to be removed from this e-mail service, we will no longer be able to send you seminar invitations, information on changes in the law concerning Community Associations, newsletters, or any other information regarding the Community Association industry.  You will not receive solicitation for business unless you have requested that information.  We sincerely hope we can continue to assist you with the challenges that face Community Associations today through this service.