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!

CA Day 2012

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C&S Management is very proud to be a major sponsor of CA Day 2012

Community Association Day 2012 Spring Training
Free Trade Show & Educational Expo presented by CAI West Florida Chapter


Board Member?  Home or Condo Owner?  Don your baseball caps and jerseys, Training Season is here!  Plan now to attend the 2012 Community Associations Day Spring Training sponsored by the West Florida Chapter of the Community Association Institute (CAI).  This FREE annual educational expo and tradeshow event is having a spring training baseball theme this year and will be held on Friday, March 9th, 2012 at the Manatee Convention Center located at One Haben Boulevard, Palmetto, FL.
 
Who should attend? Anyone living in, serving, or managing community associations such as condominiums, cooperatives, and home owner associations. That means Board Members, Community Association Volunteers and Association Managers. FREE Educational seminars will run from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Vendors supporting community associations will have over 150 booths set up during the show with experts on hand to address your questions. Food will be available and prizes will be awarded!
 
Board members and CAMs who are looking to satisfy credits toward educational requirements can register for the FREE Board of Directors Certification Course and Community Association Managers continuing education courses offered throughout the day. Come prepared to ask questions and visit with industry experts!
 
Save the date and plan to attend. Admission is FREE but Seminar seating is limited. Pre-registration is recommended. A limited number of tradeshow booths are still available for vendors serving the community association industry. For more information or to pre-register, please visit www.caiwestflorida.org, or call (941)927-1910.


CAI West Floridais the local Sarasota-area chapter of CAI, a national organization that provides education and resources for community associations.
 
CAI (Community Associations Institute)is a national non-profit membership organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, competent, harmonious common-interest communities. Founded in 1973, CAI and its 59 chapters provide education, tools and resources to the volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them.

Care When Using Space Heaters

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Our insurance agent forwarded us information for using space

heaters and we thought it was good information to pass on.
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With the cold weather we've been having, we thought it would be a good idea to share some safety tips for those of you with space heaters.

Please read!

  • Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from household combustibles.
  • Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are not intended to replace the home's heating system.
  • Do not use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.
  • Inspect the heater's cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord.
  • Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. This could be the sign of a potential home wiring issue.
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture since they may fall and become damaged or break parts in the heater.
  • Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, do not use in damp, wet areas.
  • Look for the UL Mark on your electric heater. This means representative samples of the appliance have met UL's stringent safety standards.
  • If you have a liquid-fueled space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment was designed for and cause a serious fire.
  • When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool down completely before adding fuel. Wipe away any spills promptly.
  • Before you buy a kerosene heater, check with your local fire department to ensure that it is legal

Check A License Phone Apps

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Have you ever been out with only your cell phone and want to verify that a contractor or professional has a current license?  Well the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers iPhone and Android apps.  You can search for state licenses by name or license number, enabling people to check instantaneously whether an individual has a business or professional license in the State of Florida.

The iPhone app is available in the Apple iTunes marketplace, online at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dbpr-mobile/id421389533?mt=8

The Android app is available in the Android marketplace, online at: https://market.android.com/details?id=us.fl.state.dbpr&feature=search_result

The DBPR licenses more than one million businesses and professionals including Community Association Managers, Accountants and Contractors. More information about the department and its divisions is available online at hhtp://www.MyFloridaLicense

CAI Educational Program in Bradenton

Chris Brown, President of C&S, will be one the panelists for the January 12, 2012 CAI Educational Program "What Every Association Board Member Needs to Know". The program is for both condominium and homeowner associations. Below is information from CAI along with a link to CAI to register.

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January 12, 2012 - FREE to Members and Non-Members

What Every Association Board Member Needs to Know
 
Board Meeting Structure
Understanding Association Documents
Communicating With Homeowners
Financial Reports and Obligations
 
Location:
Renaissance on 9th
1816 9th Street West
Bradenton, FL 34205
 
Check-in begins at 8:00am
 
8:00am - Registration/Refreshments and Mini-Trade Show
8:30am - 11:00 Education Session with one 30 minute break
 
CAI website to register:   CAI Calendar and Registration
 
(Any questions regarding registration,
please call CAI office 941.927.1910)  

Presented by:

Kevin Edwards, Esq. - Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.

Jack Gages, CPA - CondoCPA, Inc.

M.H. Chris Brown, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
C&S Condominium Management Services, Inc. AAMC

Chris Harrington - Beachside Resorts Vacation Rentals (Moderator)
 
Participants must pre-register. Class size is limited! 

Preparing for Emergencies in 2012

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FEMA has launched a campaign which urges Americans to make preparedness a new year’s resolution.  The prioirty campaign is named: Resolve to be Ready in 2012.  More than 20 disaster declarations covered much of the southeast U.S. in 2011. All of these events have served as important reminders that disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, and being prepared is one of the most effective things we can do to protect our homes, businesses and loved ones.

“One of the most important lessons we can take away from this year is that disasters can impact all of us, no matter what part of the country we live in,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Phil May. “Resolving to be Ready in 2012 could be the most important pledge you make this year.”

By making a resolution to take a few simple steps in advance, Americans can minimize the impact of an emergency on their families, homes or businesses. To take the pledge, visit www.ready.gov/resolve.

C&S 2012 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.

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Email Server Maintenance

The C&S email server will be down for scheduled maintenance from 9:00 AM, Saturday, December 31st to 10:00 AM, Sunday, January 1, 2012.  Any email sent to C&S while the system is down is not lost and will be delivered when the system is back online.

Update:  Email is back up and running several hours ahead of schedule.

DBPR Enforcing Unlicensed Activity

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Ken Lawson, the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is asking all Floridians to help in the enforcement of unlicensed activity in all professions. "Unlicensed activity is illegal and can result in misdemeanor or felony charges if an individual is convicted. Floridians should report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1-866-532-1440."

For the complete letter from Secretary Lawson, click Secretary's Letter.

C&S New Year's Greeting

The C&S staff wishes everyone a happy and safe New Years!

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Florida Dismal Foreclosure Update

Community Associations struggling to make ends meet, due to a large number of homes or condominium units in foreclosure, will see more negative news today.

CNN reports that the average time to complete a foreclosure in Florida is now up to 1,027 days.  This clearly shows how inadequate the current law is since banks pay only 365 days of past due assessments or less, when they take title from the foreclosure.   The law also protects the nonpaying owner whereby they often live for years in the home or condominium unit for free, while their neighbors pay their expenses.  Here is the full CNN article: CNN Foreclosure Article
 
Florida Commercial News headline reports that "Florida Supreme Court Admits Failure of Its Residential Mortgage Mediation Program: Sad News for Florida as Foreclosure Crisis Continues."  There are already over 350,000 foreclosures sitting on court dockets in Florida right now with many more waiting to be filed.  Here is the full Florida Commercial News Article:  Mortgage Mediation Article

C&S Christmas and New Years Holiday Closings

The C&S Offices will be closed Monday, December 26, 2011 for the Christmas Holiday.  The offices will reopen on Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

The offices will be closed Monday January 2, 2012 for the New Years Holiday.  The offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy the holidays.

C&S Christmas and New Years Holiday Closings

The C&S Offices will be closed Monday, December 26, 2011 for the Christmas Holiday.  The offices will reopen on Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

The offices will be closed Monday January 2, 2012 for the New Years Holiday.  The offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy the holidays.

C&S Thank You and Christmas Greeting

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

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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.