|A good and honest
management company or manager can be an excellent asset for any
community. But a bad one can be very costly for the owners.
Statutes 468.431-438 regulate that profession, but it's obvious that
the rules are not strict enough.
Lack of enforcement of these rules jeopardizes
association management. Investigations
of complaints are obviously far behind schedule and some
managers are well aware of this opportunity to just play the
system to their financial advantage.
If a complaint filed in 2002 has not been completed and
dealt with by 2007, it's obvious that the system has serious
flaws, especially if complaints against the same
manager keep piling up.
Managers who take over the community from weak
and inexperienced board members pose the greatest danger to the
community’s welfare. Plainly,
a manager can totally run the show, while working to fill his
own pockets. Some
managers have gone to extremes to prevent owners from taking
back their communities. Please
see the latest example from CAM Ray McDonald in the FONTAINEBLEAU
TERRACE OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. in Panama City
Some tips for board members and owners
For owners it is
important to always control the actions of the manager. Never
forget: Managers are hired hands who should always be closely
supervised by the board. Managers are hired to help the board
members perform the tasks necessary to run the association! Not
to give orders to the board members!
usually not attorneys, so avoid getting legal advice from them
-- including the often used phrase, "Our attorney said
As a board
member, you have to keep a close eye on managers, because any
mistake made by the manager will come back to haunt the owners.
Owners pay the bills for these mistakes -- or owners pay
for lawsuits caused by overeager “management.”
And beware of managers that take over the elections. Managers
have a definite interest in keeping in office certain board
members who will support renewal of their contracts. Costly election
disputes can be the result!
Board members working as CAMs
We see more and more board
members that make money on the side, despite Florida Statutes
clearly stating that board members cannot be compensated for
their positions as CAMs unless otherwise stated in the
“governing documents.” We see examples of board presidents
that receive compensation as a
without even having the necessary license. In an extreme case a
board president even ignored a "cease and desist"
order from the DBPR, only to be finally arrested
by a police detective who charged her with
practicing community association management without a
Managers can do a lot of good
for communities, but they can as well create lots of havoc. For
board members it's important to supervise the managers closely
and don't let them take off on their own. See below how CAMs are
regulated, what to watch out for, and read about some extreme
cases. As long as the DBPR cannot properly regulate this
profession, it's up to board members and owners to keep a close
eye on them!
Never forget, many boards
have been recalled by owners that were unhappy with the actions
of managers and attorneys. When
the board is recalled, then the managers and attorneys can be
removed as well.