Humane Society Calendar Reminder

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Everyone is reminded that the Humane Society of Manatee County 2013 Calendar is still available. C&S is a sponsor of one month and you will see a beautiful lab pictured for the month. The calendar can be mailed to you or picked up at the HSMC. Click here for more information and to order. Enjoy your calendar while you help change the fate of animals in Manatee County.

New Federal Mortgage Guidelines

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) has long been following and offering assistance during the development process of the federal mortgage guidelines.    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has this month released the new guidelines and we have received the below information from CAI.

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On January 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its long-awaited federal Qualified Mortgage (QM) standard. The new federal guidelines, which are required by the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly known as the Dodd Frank Act), establish minimum requirements for all mortgage loans.
 
As anticipated, the QM standard considers community association assessments a key factor when determining if a borrower is qualified for a mortgage. Ensuring borrowers can afford to pay association assessments will lead to stronger communities and prevent foreclosures.
 
“The Ability-to-Repay standard will ensure home buyers are able to fulfill all their financial obligations related to owning their home—including their association assessments. This will create a greater degree of financial stability for community associations, while at the same time helping to ensure fairness and equity for all owners in the community," said Thomas M. Skiba, CAE, chief executive officer of Community Associations Institute.
 
Under the QM standard, lenders are required to prove borrowers have the financial resources to pay mortgage principal and interest, insurance premiums, property taxes and association assessments. Lenders that extend mortgage credit without fully documenting a borrower’s income and assets and ensuring the borrower has the ability to make all monthly mortgage payments will face stiff penalties and fines.
 
Lender documentation of association assessments and special assessments required to meet the new ability to repay standard will be a key issue for CAI members. CAI will continue to work with the CFPB and the banking industry to ensure that all parties understand the role played by community associations to provide lenders assessment information in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
 
Key features of the QM standard include:
 

    Ability to Repay—lenders must document that borrowers have sufficient assets and income to make monthly mortgage payments and pay other mortgage-related obligations such as community association assessments.
    Borrower Debt-to-Income Ratio—borrowers may not spend more than 43 percent of their monthly income for payment of mortgages and mortgage-related obligations such as association assessments.
    Legal Safe Harbor for Lenders—except in the case of high-cost mortgages, lenders that comply with the ability to repay standard will be offered protection from borrower litigation.
    High Risk Loan Terms Prohibited—lenders are no longer permitted to offer mortgages that allow loan balances to increase (negative amortization) or interest-only payments. Mortgages may not have terms of greater than 30 years.
    Transitional Standard—all loans eligible to be guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or for Federal Housing Administration insurance will be granted QM status during a transitional period.
    Delayed Effective Date—lenders will have one year to comply with the QM standard, which is effective January 2014.

 
CAI is reviewing the final QM standard and will provide additional updates to CAI members once a full analysis has been completed. Summary documents provided by the CFPB may be viewed here.
 
With more than 32,000 members dedicated to building better communities, CAI works in partnership with 59 domestic chapters, a chapter in South Africa and housing leaders in a number of other countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. CAI provides information, education and resources to community associations and the professionals who support them. CAI’s mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in communities that are preferred places to call home. Visit www.caionline.org or call (888) 224-4321.

Property Management Sarasota

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We are so excited for all of the new projects we have coming up in 2013. C&S Management is one of a select few Sarasota property management companies to be an Accredited Association Management Company. We are very proud of this accomplishment, the highest designation a company can receive, and are looking forward to another year of success and satisified customers.

C&S Management and all C&S managers are licensed by the state of Florida. We, as a property managment company in Sarasota, are a member of the Community Associations Institute along with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.

We are well known as one of the best Sarasota property management companies and would love the opportunity to show you what our company can accomplish for you in the New Year. Give us a call and we can talk about all the services we can offer you. Property management is so important and we are your number one resource for Sarasota to make it happen.

Property Management Bradenton

Bradenton Harbour

We are so excited for all of the new projects we have coming up in 2013. C&S Management is one of a select few Bradenton property management companies to be an Accredited Association Management Company. We are very proud of this accomplishment, the highest designation a company can receive, and are looking forward to another year of success and satisified customers.

C&S Management and all C&S managers are licensed by the state of Florida. We, as a property managment company in Bradenton, are a member of the Community Associations Institute along with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.

We are well known as one of the best Bradenton property management companies and would love the opportunity to show you what our company can accomplish for you in the New Year. Give us a call and we can talk about all the services we can offer you. Property management is so important and we are your number one resource for Bradenton to make it happen.

Property Management St. Petersburg

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We are so excited for all of the new projects we have coming up in 2013. C&S Management is one of a select few St. Petersburg property management companies to be an Accredited Association Management Company. We are very proud of this accomplishment, the highest designation a company can receive, and are looking forward to another year of success and satisified customers.

C&S Management and all C&S managers are licensed by the state of Florida. We, as a property managment company in St. Petersburg, are a member of the Community Associations Institute along with the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.

We are well known as one of the best St. Petersburg property management companies and would love the opportunity to show you what our company can accomplish for you in the New Year. Give us a call and we can talk about all the services we can offer you. Property management is so important and we are your number one resource for St. Petersburg to make it happen.

New Year's Greeting for 2013

The C&S staff wishes everyone a happy, safe and prosperous 2013!

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Condo/HOA Board Member Class

Jessica Christianson and Ellen Brown from C&S will be the instructors for the class: How to Run an Effective Board Meeting. All community association volunteer leader (CAVL) members of CAI are invited to attend. See flyer below.

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C&S Thank You and Holiday Greeting

Thank you to all our clients and we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.

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C&S 2013 Holiday Schedule

C&S follows the County Holiday Schedule.  For this reason, C&S holiday closings will sometimes be different than the State and Federal Holiday Schedules.

2013 C&S HOLIDAY SCHEDULE

New Year’s Day          January 1, Tuesday
 
Martin Luther King Day          January 21, Monday
 
President’s Day          February 18, Monday
 
Memorial Day          May 27, Monday
 
Independence Day          July 4, Thursday
 
Labor Day          September 2, Monday
 
Veteran’s Day          November 11, Monday
 
Thanksgiving Day          November 28, Thursday
 
Thanksgiving Day After          November 29, Friday
 
Christmas Eve          December 24, Tuesday
                                               
Christmas Day          December 25, Wednesday

Help Stop Crime

lighted buildingEveryone wants a safe place to call home, and our communities strive to make all residents feel secure. While the Boards of Directors and management are diligent in their efforts to reduce possible dangers in our communities, we can’t do it alone. It’s up to everyone to pitch in to keep crime rates down. Thankfully, taking a few simple steps can go a long way in keeping theft, vandalism and other felonies and misdemeanors out of our communities.
 
Know Your Neighbors. And not just the neighbors on your block or in your building, but also the neighbors from all parts of the community. At the very least, you’ll get a better idea of who actually lives (and in turn, who belongs) here. Talking with your neighbors will also give you the chance to find out if they have noticed any crimes or suspicious activity in the association recently so that you can be on the lookout as well. Consider creating and distributing a list with everyone’s contact information so that you and your neighbors can alert each other of any problems that arise. Of course, be sure to get your neighbors’ permission first to put their information on the list. Your specific community may already have a Neighborhood Watch program with a contact tree for whenever an alert needs to go out.
 
Leave The Light On. A good way to deter felons from breaking into your home is to make sure your front porch light stays on all night, even when you’re out of town. Not only does it signal that someone’s home, it also makes it harder for vandals to hide among the shadows. If you’re worried that you’ll either forget to turn the light on at night or off in the morning, you can purchase an inexpensive timer that will automatically do that for you every day. Also, if you see any street lights around the association that are burnt out, please let the board or management know so that it will be replaced for everyone’s safety.
 
Lock Up. If you want to keep unwanted guests out, don’t make your home inviting. Even when you’re around, it’s best to keep all doors, garages, (gates if you have them) locked at all times. It’s also a good idea to keep your windows closed and locked when possible, especially if they’re on the ground floor.
 
Put On Your Walking Shoes. Taking as stroll around the association isn’t just good exercise. You can casually patrol the community for anything suspicious or usual, as well as swap information about criminal activity in the area with other neighbors who are out and about. Also, when more residents regularly walk around the association, it can help scare off hooligans who are afraid of getting caught in the act.
 
Clean It Up. Picking up litter, not only makes the association look better, but also sends the message that our residents are diligent about keeping a watchful eye on the neighborhood.  This can help discourage potential criminals from believing this would be a good location to steal from.
 
See Something, Say Something. If you notice a crime or a suspicious activity, regardless of how small the incident may seem, notify the community neighborhood watch if there is one, or the Sheriff’s Office/Police.  Of course, only call 911 if it is an emergency; otherwise, contact law enforcement on their non-emergency line.  
 
We all have a responsibility to our communities to help keep them safe, and incorporating even a few of these tips can go a long way. Do your part to make your condominium or hoa community a place you’re happy to call home. 

Community Survey Results

mom and girlWe’re confident that most residents are happy living in our communities—and we certainly hope that you are among them.

But how do the more than 62 million Americans who live in homeowners associations and condominium communities feel about their own associations? Are they happy with their elected boards? How do they feel about the rules? What about their association assessments?

The Foundation for Community Association Research, an affiliate of Community Associations Institute (CAI), sponsored a recent national public opinion survey to answer these and other questions.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • 70 percent of residents in common-interest communities say they are satisfied with their community association experience, while 8 percent express dissatisfaction and 22 percent are neutral on the question.
  • 88 percent of residents believe their association board members strive to serve the best interests of the community, while 12 percent disagree or aren’t sure.
  • 73 percent say their professional managers provide value to their communities, while 21 percent say their managers aren’t an asset to the association and 6 percent say they aren’t sure.
  • 76 percent believe their own community association rules “protect and enhance” property values. Only 3 percent say the rules harm property values, while the rest see no difference.
  • 81 percent of residents say they get a “good” or “great” return for their association assessments, while 18 percent say the return is “not so good or bad.” The rest were unsure.


We’d like to think that we can do even better than the national averages, so please tell us what you think we can do to make our communities a better place to live.   If you’re especially pleased about your community, share that too! It’s always good to know we’re on the right track.

Ducks Unlimited Sponsor

ducks for blogC&S is proud to again be an annual sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, the world's leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Ducks Unlimited started in 1937 during the Dust Bowl when North America’s drought-plagued waterfowl populations had plunged to unprecedented lows.  Determined not to sit idly by as the continent’s waterfowl dwindled beyond recovery, a small group of sportsmen joined together to form the organization that became known as Ducks Unlimited.  Thanks to decades of abiding by that single mission of habitat conservation, Ducks Unlimited is now the world’s largest and most effective private waterfowl and wetlands conservation organization.

Hurricane Isaac Notice

hurricaneHurricane Isaac:  Storm Preparedness Plan Activation Notice

We have activated our Storm Preparedness Plan (SPP) in order to manage potential items related to the inclement weather conditions approaching the Florida west coast.   Our operations have been placed on high alert and we are prepared to support your Association’s needs due to the storm.

Additional backup procedures have been completed today to secure computer data.  For further updates, as they occur, please log on to the C&S Management Website .

Board Member Certification Course

Chris Brown was an instructor for the Board Member Certification Course today in Sarasota covering Condominium Elections: Requirements and Best Practices. The Certification Course is one of the two options that new Board members have available to them to fulfill the State requirement within 90 days of becoming a Board Member. The other option is to sign the Certification Form affirming that they have read the association's Declaration, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and will uphold the Documents. The two hour classroom Certification Course was presented by the West Florida Chapter of the Community Association Institute (CAI). Below are a few candid photos from the class.


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Chris is being introduced by CAI West Florida Chapter President, Gail Stephens.

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Chris with CAI West Florida Chapter Executive Director, Vicki McClenathen.

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Chris talking with President Gail Stephens.

FEMA Stops Insurance Rebates

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For many years C&S Management has worked with their association insurance providers of flood insurance to provide associations with a significant rebate (10% or more) on their flood insurance premiums. This has saved associations tens of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately the federal government has decided to end this practice effective October 1, 2012, passing on this additional cost to those associations needing flood insurance. To read the letter from the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA click here.

Citizens Insurance and Assessments

citizensA.M. Best Company, Inc., has filed this report regarding Citizens Insurance.

Florida lawmakers have passed — only a few minutes before their session ended — a bill that changes the way Citizens Property Insurance Corp. issues deficit assessments.

The bill, H.B. 1127, was voted on by the Florida Senate March 9 at 11:35 p.m. and the legislature adjourned for its regular session at 11:59 p.m., according to the Florida Office of the Senate Secretary. It streamlines the three layers the state's insurer of last resort uses to issue assessments to cover deficits on its three accounts — commercial, personal and coastal.

It gets rid of two layers of regular assessments by eliminating them on commercial and personal lines accounts, according to the bill. Regular assessments will still be levied for the coastal account, but it reduces that assessment to 2% of premiums from 6% and lengthens the time limited apportionment companies have to pay the bill. Regular assessments are levied on nearly all property/casualty policies in the state, but not on Citizens' policies, according to the bill.

If Citizens runs out of money, it will now issue assessments first to its own customers on future policy premiums; then by regular assessment for deficits in the coastal account; then by emergency assessments on both Citizens' and nearly all other property/casualty policies in the state up to 10% of the annual premium. The three accounts calculate deficits and assessments independently, so assessments can be levied when any or all of the three Citizens’ accounts has a deficit.

Regular assessments can significantly impact private insurers' cash stores, Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute previously told Best's New Service. She said that places a burden on private insurers because those companies are already paying claims from a catastrophic event (Best's News Service, Feb. 29, 2012). Jack McDermott, spokesman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, said the OIR supported the bill because "it will attract investment."

Citizens was formed in 2002 by combining two residual-market associations and was supposed to be the insurer of last resort (Best's News Service, Dec. 11, 2011). The company has taken recent steps to shrink their share of the Florida market and cut $1.5 billion from its exposure. The company has previously told Best's News Service they want to get down to 800,000 policies from their current 1.5 million.

CFO's ON GUARD for Seniors

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State of Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, has started a new website to help protect senior citizens.

Florida’s seniors are inundated with investment offers and requests for charitable contributions and are being exposed to targeted fraud opportunities. The result - financial decisions can be overwhelming. CFO Atwater is committed to ensuring seniors have the information they need about insurance, reverse mortgages and financial transactions, so they can stay on guard and ask the right questions to make sound financial decisions.

The website is www.myfloridacfo.com/onGuard

2012 Session Ends Without Help

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The 2012 Legislative session ended Friday without any real legislation to help associations still trying to survive from significant delinquencies and foreclosures.

The Senate failed to take up SB 680 by Senator Bogdanoff.  This was the Senate companion bill of HB 319 by Representative Moraitis.  These bills would have postponed costly elevator upgrades, removed the requirement for a member vote in order for condominium board members to serve two-year terms, and clarified the amounts paid by persons and in particular banks, when taking title to a foreclosed unit. It has been suggested that the bills would have significantly discouraged litigation and excessive collection fees and helped to prevent any unnecessary delays of foreclosed unit re-sales.

The Legislature also failed to approve SB 1890/HB 213 which would have given associations the right to expedite stalled mortgage foreclosure cases through an order to show cause.  This procedure would have been similar to a "motion to compel" which we presently use but unfortunately when we file a motion to compel, it has only had limited success.   This bill would have created real force.  There was an attempt to place the order to show cause language in SB 670/HB 671 pertaining to residential liens, but the Senate failed to also take up SB 670 and the order to show language was never adopted.   In my opinion this was one of the most important steps to help associations that the Legislature was considering.   It is very unfortunate that it did not find its way through to become law. 

More Books Heading To Buddies

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C&S team members continue their support of the Literacy Buddy Project of the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County. Above is a picture of some of the C&S team getting the books ready to be sent off to their Literacy Buddies. The purpose of the Literacy Buddy Project is to teach children about correspondence, communication, and promote early literacy while providing children with quality books that they take home. The project also supports parents as partners in their children’s learning. For many of the children, a Literacy Buddy provides the only opportunity for them to have books of their own at home.

Anyone, any age, anywhere can become a Literacy Buddy and it doesn’t take much time, but makes a large impact in the life of a child. Exchanges occur three times per year. For more information about the Literacy Buddy Project and the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, please check out their website: http://www.earlylearningcoalitionsarasota.org

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C&S Is Set Up For CA Day 2012

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The C&S booth is all set up and ready for CA Day 2012, tomorrow March 9th from 8:00am to 3:00pm at the Manatee Convention Center. Stop by and visit with your home town management company! Also fill out an entry form for a $100 Publix Gift Card that C&S is giving away. See you tomorrow!

Bradenton

4301 32nd Street West
Suite A-20
Bradenton, Florida 34205
Phone: (941) 758-9454
Fax: (941) 753-3062

Sarasota

4672 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, Florida 34232
Phone: (941) 377-3419
Fax: (941) 377-6218

Saint Petersburg

111 2nd Avenue North-East
Suite 900
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701
Phone: (727) 456-0027
Fax: (866) 890-0548

Venice

871 Venetia Bay Boulevard
Suite 230
Venice, Florida 34285
Phone: (941) 786-3552
Fax: (866) 890-0548
©2017 C & S Community Management Services, Inc., AAMC All rights reserved.