2016 Holiday Schedule

2016 Holiday Schedule

DateHolidayDay of WeekDays Closed
Jan. 1 New Year's Day Friday 1 day
Jan. 18 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday 1 day
Feb. 15 Presidents' Day Monday 1 day
May 30 Memorial Day Monday  1 day 
July 4 Independence Day Monday 1 day
Sept. 5 Labor Day Monday 1 day
Nov. 11 Veterans' Day Friday 1 day
Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Day  Thursday 1 day
Nov. 25 Thanksgiving Friday Friday 1 day
Dec. 23 Christmas Eve Observed Friday 1 day
Dec. 26 Christmas Day Observed Monday 1 day

2016 Board Member Forum Coming Up

2016 Holiday Schedule

16 HS

C&S follows the official Manatee/Sarasota County holiday schedule.    

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy_Thanksgiving_2015.jpg

Smash The Home Tax Press Conference

Learn about this hidden tax and contact your represnetative to vote no on House Bill 203.

Watch the Smash The Home Tax press conference here.   Watch press conference media coverage here.

 

 

Happy Labor Day 2015

Good News! Erika has Dissipated!

Erika Heads to Suncoast Bringing Heavy Rains

 

Based on the most recent storm report, Erika is not likely to produce a lot of high winds to our area but will leave about 10 to 20 inches of rain.   C&S will continue to monitor the storm throughout the weekend and into the week.  

In the event emergency action is needed, you can see our emergency procedures here.   While C&S will be concentrating our attention on the common grounds and common elements of the community, for your convenience you can see the ABC 7 Suncoast Hurricane Guide here for important information for homeowners and condo owners.  

Hopefully Erika will be mild and we will post additional information as needed. 

 

CALL 2015 Community Legislative Guide

 

The Community Association Leadership Lobby has released their 2015 Legislative Guide.  The new laws and changes to the laws that affect Florida community associations are addressed.  

Click on the image to read or download the 2015 Guide.  

 

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

New IRS Tax Rule/Penalties Start July 1st

Based on information in the below news story link, the new IRS rule and penalty begins July 1st and may affect many community associations that pay all or part of the insurance for their employees.  We are reviewing the new law and will provide additional information when available.  

Update:  Senator Chuck Grassley introduced an amendment to the Affordable Care Act this year to stop this penalty against small employers trying to help their employees. Unfortunately the amendment, as reported by his office, did not get out of the Finance Committee as a different bill was brought forward "to fix another Obamacare problem."

It is hoped that Congress will pass an amendment to correct this problem.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/07/01/starting-wednesday-obamacare-will-punish-businesses-who-help-employees-with/

C&S Presents Board Certification Class

C&S is presenting a Board Certification class for board members of their client communities on June 23, at 6:30 PM at the Comfort Inn located at the intersection of I-75 and Highway 64.  New board members are required by Statute to become certified within 90 days of being elected or appointed to the board.  

Class materials will be provided and seating is limited so we must know in advance that you wish to attend.  Please call Janet Fernandez at 941-758-9454 ext. 121.  Our annual Board Member Forum in February of each year is open to all communities, however the class on June 23 is only for C&S clients.  There is no charge to attend. 

Florida Again Number One For Community Associations

During 2014, Florida remained the number one state for community associations with 47,100. That is 7,900,000 Floridians living in community associations.  Nationally Community Association value is $4.95 trillion.   For a look at all the numbers see the Community Association Institute (CAI) 2014 Statistical Review.   

Pickin' Picnic Memorial Day Weekend

Realize Bradenton will rock Bradenton's Riverwalk Memorial Day weekend with the fourth Pickin' Picnic 2015 showcasing the region’s music scene. C&S is an event sponsor.  
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3:00pm – 4:00pm Chasing Jonah
4:15pm – 5:15pm Hymn For Her
5:30pm – 6:30pm The Dram
6:45pm – 8:15pm Lions After Dark
8:30pm – 10:00pm Have Gun, Will Travel
 

 

Senate Passes Bad Bill - Needs Major Surgery

Roger Kesselbach: Bad bill for homeowners needs major surgery

 

Florida’s homeowners and neighborhoods need a doctor.  We need someone who can perform surgery on a very bad bill, a bill that sticks homeowners in the heart with what amounts to a legislatively mandated dues increase.  I want to be crystal clear about this: CS/CS/CS/SB 736 aka, the “estoppel bill,” will force homeowners’ dues to go up.  Here’s how:

 

The Florida Senate passed a bill that requires condominium and homeowners’ associations to cap the cost of preparing a legal document known as an estoppel certificate. Sometimes these documents take many hours, accountants and lawyers to prepare in order to make sure they are accurate. When that happens, the cost goes up. It’s that simple. That’s how the free-market works.

 

These certificates are not easy to prepare. We must verify the absolute correct address of the property, resolve any inconsistencies in it, make sure the owner’s information is also perfectly accurate (oftentimes either through a marriage, divorce, or other significant life events, someone’s name can and will change), and then the collection status must be verified and supported via documentation. This part of preparation alone can be especially complex when the homeowner has a large number of outstanding charges, many of which are often disputed. Further, assessment levels can differ from home to home and condominium and homeowners association boards of directors, who are generally volunteer community residents untrained in such matters, often must have professional help in verifying the pay-off figures and ensure the certificates are correctly completed.  In short, even a so-called, “simple” estoppel certificate can take many hours to accurately prepare.

 

And this must be stressed; these things HAVE to be accurate because when a homeowner fails to pay thousands in past dues or fees and sells their home, the neighbors end up stuck with the bill if they are not.  But the Senate has said that not only will homeowners no longer be guaranteed payment, the actual price we can charge will be capped at an absurdly low amount. This price-fixing move will force neighbors to pay the extra cost of preparing these documents.

 

The Senate has decided that the best role of government is to interfere in a private transaction and set an artificial limit on what one party may charge another. It’s not just morally reprehensible; it is flat out unfair to homeowners who will now be forced to pay the extra cost.

 

The bill is now headed to the Florida House – the last place it can be fixed. The Florida House is the last hope for homeowners and neighborhoods. The Florida House is the last stop for true conservatives to step up and say, “We believe in less government, not a government that believes in price-fixing and government-imposed caps.”  And I ask because this session, the voices of homeowners are not being heard. We – actual real live homeowners are going to pay the price for this bad legislation. 

 

This bill will put an unnecessary burden on Florida home and condominium owners and on the association volunteers who donate their time to manage the not-for-profit community associations for the residents. It is the homeowners who will be footing the bills for the balance of the cost of estoppel certificate because of the arbitrary and artificial caps this bill impose, costs that delinquent owners should be paying, not their neighbors.

 

It is these small not-for-profit association volunteer boards who will be stuck trying to jump through legal hoops knowing that their communities may no longer be able to afford the costs caused by delinquent owners. It is they who will be stuck tracking real estate transactions that the association they manage should NOT be involved in in the first place.

 

And the Florida House – where this bill now resides – is the last stop where this bill can be thrown on the table, put under the knife and surgically repaired.

 

So I ask, “Is there a doctor in the House?”

 

Roger Kesselbach is president of the Space Communities Association, a non-profit all volunteer organization representing nearly 20,000 residential units and their owners in Brevard County. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   Column courtesy of Context Florida. 

Senate Bill Passes - Needs Major Surgery

 

 

Roger Kesselbach: Bad bill for homeowners needs major surgery

Florida’s homeowners and neighborhoods need a doctor.

We need someone who can perform surgery on a very bad bill, a bill that sticks homeowners in the heart with what amounts to a legislatively mandated dues increase.

I want to be crystal clear about this: CS/CS/CS/SB 736 aka, the “estoppel bill,” will force homeowners’ dues to go up.

Here’s how:

The Florida Senate passed a bill that requires condominium and homeowners’ associations to cap the cost of preparing a legal document known as an estoppel certificate. Sometimes these documents take many hours, accountants and lawyers to prepare in order to make sure they are accurate. When that happens, the cost goes up. It’s that simple. That’s how the free-market works.

These certificates are not easy to prepare. We must verify the absolute correct address of the property, resolve any inconsistencies in it, make sure the owner’s information is also perfectly accurate (oftentimes either through a marriage, divorce, or other significant life events, someone’s name can and will change), and then the collection status must be verified and supported via documentation. This part of preparation alone can be especially complex when the homeowner has a large number of outstanding charges, many of which are often disputed. Further, assessment levels can differ from home to home and condominium and homeowners association boards of directors, who are generally volunteer community residents untrained in such matters, often must have professional help in verifying the pay-off figures and ensure the certificates are correctly completed.

In short, even a so-called, “simple” estoppel certificate can take many hours to accurately prepare.

And this must be stressed; these things HAVE to be accurate because when a homeowner fails to pay thousands in past dues or fees and sells their home, the neighbors end up stuck with the bill if they are not.

But the Senate has said that not only will homeowners no longer be guaranteed payment, the actual price we can charge will be capped at an absurdly low amount. This price-fixing move will force neighbors to pay the extra cost of preparing these documents.

The Senate has decided that the best role of government is to interfere in a private transaction and set an artificial limit on what one party may charge another. It’s not just morally reprehensible; it is flat out unfair to homeowners who will now be forced to pay the extra cost.

The bill is now headed to the Florida House – the last place it can be fixed. The Florida House is the last hope for homeowners and neighborhoods. The Florida House is the last stop for true conservatives to step up and say, “We believe in less government, not a government that believes in price-fixing and government-imposed caps.”

And I ask because this session, the voices of homeowners are not being heard. We – actual real live homeowners are going to pay the price for this bad legislation.

This bill will put an unnecessary burden on Florida home and condominium owners and on the association volunteers who donate their time to manage the not-for-profit community associations for the residents. It is the homeowners who will be footing the bills for the balance of the cost of estoppel certificate because of the arbitrary and artificial caps this bill impose, costs that delinquent owners should be paying, not their neighbors.

It is these small not-for-profit association volunteer boards who will be stuck trying to jump through legal hoops knowing that their communities may no longer be able to afford the costs caused by delinquent owners. It is they who will be stuck tracking real estate transactions that the association they manage should NOT be involved in in the first place.

And the Florida House – where this bill now resides – is the last stop where this bill can be thrown on the table, put under the knife and surgically repaired.

So I ask, “Is there a doctor in the House?”

Roger Kesselbach is president of the Space Communities Association, a non-profit all volunteer organization representing nearly 20,000 residential units and their owners in Brevard County. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Column courtesy of Context Florida. 

C&S 2015 Paw Partner with Humane Society

C&S is very proud to again be a Paw Partner with the Humane Society of Manatee County for 2015.  The Humane Society of Manatee County is a community-based private non-profit organization that relies entirely upon donations to do their lifesaving work. They receive no monies from any national organization or government entity.   For more information: www.humanemanatee.org

C&S Wins Multiple Awards

 

Thank you sincerely, to our clients for all your support.  2015 is off to a great start....

Condo - HOA Owners Face Increased Fees by Legislature

Barry Berkowitz: Key fact about estoppel bill: it's bad for homeowners

Barry-Berkowitz1

Two bills speeding through the legislature, CS/SB 736 and CS/CS/HB 611, are set to change complex and nuanced areas of real estate law. They deal with such arcane things as estoppel certificates and who pays what at real estate closings.  Those concepts may be complex to the average reader, so I’d like to frame it in terms everyone can understand: If these bills pass, homeowners’ association dues will go up.   How will they raise homeowner’s fees?

 

These bills create an artificial cap (Can you say “price fixing?”) on the fees charged by homeowners’ associations for their time and effort in researching and preparing what are known as “estoppel certificates” – which can often be a complicated process. Estoppel certificates are like an account statement of money owed by a homeowner to a homeowners’ association. They help determine how much needs to be paid and by whom.

 

The bills also require the homeowner’s association to provide this service without payment until the closing – or later – which can be several weeks or months after the service is provided. And if the closing doesn’t occur (or the requesting party decides not to pay), the homeowners’ association may have to go to court to get paid. The bills also penalize associations that cannot provide the certificate within the new, shortened deadline – by waiving payment of the fee.

 

If these bills pass, homeowners’ associations – and therefore, the homeowners themselves – will be on the hook for a host of fees, dues and additional costs.  And if that happens, literally millions of Florida residents will be forced to cover the costs that should be – and currently are – borne by a seller and a buyer in a private sales transaction. In short, CS/SB 736 and HB 611 will hurt average everyday Floridians and will do so in three distinct – and unfair – ways.

 

First, when someone is buying (for example) a condominium, and the owner hasn’t paid the association fees, the homeowner’s association must verify the outstanding balance. No problem. This however, often takes time as the actual number can be a moving target (as each month passes the dues/fees will continue to accrue) and sometimes it requires extra time to get an exact figure. The bills in question will shorten that time frame. If the homeowners’ association gets it wrong (thanks to being rushed) the homeowners may be stuck paying the difference – or they may be barred from collecting the correct, but higher, amount.

 

Second, the bills severely and artificially limit the fees to compile and produce such data – irrespective of the actual costs incurred to figure out the outstanding balance(s). If the actual costs are more than the capped fee arbitrarily picked by politicians, the homeowners are again stuck paying the difference.

 

Third, the bills allow the party requesting the service to delay payment. Instead of paying at the time service is rendered, the homeowners association only gets paid – if at all –after the closing. This delay will not only cost homeowners money (notice the recurring theme here), but if the fees are not paid, the homeowners will need to seek a court judgment to pay the fees. Who ends up paying for that? You guessed it, the other homeowners in the association.

 

This last point is especially unfair because if this bad idea were to become law, the homeowners would be the only ones providing a legally required service yet not getting paid until after the home is finally sold. No sale, no payment. This is a lot like someone getting a haircut and not having to pay for it for several weeks, while then forcing the salon to chase down the customer long after the service was provided. Nobody else in this kind of real estate transaction is subject to such unfair practices, nobody except the homeowners.

 

The issues behind the so-called estoppel bill are complex and are difficult for anyone but real estate attorneys to understand, but the impact of these bills is easy to grasp: if they pass, homeowners will see higher association dues and fees as a direct result of these measures becoming law.

 

Homeowners’ dues and fees will go up. It’s that clear and it’s that simple.

 

Barry Berkowitz, CPA is the Managing Director of Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. an independent CPA firm. Mr. Berkowitz represents a 483-unit condominium association in Florida and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Condo - HOA Owners Face Increased Fees by Legislature

Barry Berkowitz: Key fact about estoppel bill: it's bad for homeowners

Two bills speeding through the legislature, CS/SB 736 and CS/CS/HB 611, are set to change complex and nuanced areas of real estate law. They deal with such arcane things as estoppel certificates and who pays what at real estate closings.  Those concepts may be complex to the average reader, so I’d like to frame it in terms everyone can understand: If these bills pass, homeowners’ association dues will go up.   How will they raise homeowner’s fees?

Barry-Berkowitz1

These bills create an artificial cap (Can you say “price fixing?”) on the fees charged by homeowners’ associations for their time and effort in researching and preparing what are known as “estoppel certificates” – which can often be a complicated process. Estoppel certificates are like an account statement of money owed by a homeowner to a homeowners’ association. They help determine how much needs to be paid and by whom.

The bills also require the homeowner’s association to provide this service without payment until the closing – or later – which can be several weeks or months after the service is provided. And if the closing doesn’t occur (or the requesting party decides not to pay), the homeowners’ association may have to go to court to get paid. The bills also penalize associations that cannot provide the certificate within the new, shortened deadline – by waiving payment of the fee.

If these bills pass, homeowners’ associations – and therefore, the homeowners themselves – will be on the hook for a host of fees, dues and additional costs.  And if that happens, literally millions of Florida residents will be forced to cover the costs that should be – and currently are – borne by a seller and a buyer in a private sales transaction. In short, CS/SB 736 and HB 611 will hurt average everyday Floridians and will do so in three distinct – and unfair – ways.

First, when someone is buying (for example) a condominium, and the owner hasn’t paid the association fees, the homeowner’s association must verify the outstanding balance. No problem. This however, often takes time as the actual number can be a moving target (as each month passes the dues/fees will continue to accrue) and sometimes it requires extra time to get an exact figure. The bills in question will shorten that time frame. If the homeowners’ association gets it wrong (thanks to being rushed) the homeowners may be stuck paying the difference – or they may be barred from collecting the correct, but higher, amount.

Second, the bills severely and artificially limit the fees to compile and produce such data – irrespective of the actual costs incurred to figure out the outstanding balance(s). If the actual costs are more than the capped fee arbitrarily picked by politicians, the homeowners are again stuck paying the difference.

Third, the bills allow the party requesting the service to delay payment. Instead of paying at the time service is rendered, the homeowners association only gets paid – if at all –after the closing. This delay will not only cost homeowners money (notice the recurring theme here), but if the fees are not paid, the homeowners will need to seek a court judgment to pay the fees. Who ends up paying for that? You guessed it, the other homeowners in the association.

This last point is especially unfair because if this bad idea were to become law, the homeowners would be the only ones providing a legally required service yet not getting paid until after the home is finally sold. No sale, no payment. This is a lot like someone getting a haircut and not having to pay for it for several weeks, while then forcing the salon to chase down the customer long after the service was provided. Nobody else in this kind of real estate transaction is subject to such unfair practices, nobody except the homeowners.

The issues behind the so-called estoppel bill are complex and are difficult for anyone but real estate attorneys to understand, but the impact of these bills is easy to grasp: if they pass, homeowners will see higher association dues and fees as a direct result of these measures becoming law.

Homeowners’ dues and fees will go up. It’s that clear and it’s that simple.

Barry Berkowitz, CPA is the Managing Director of Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. an independent CPA firm. Mr. Berkowitz represents a 483-unit condominium association in Florida and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Bradenton

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Suite A-20
Bradenton, Florida 34205
Phone: (941) 758-9454
Fax: (941) 753-3062

Sarasota

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Phone: (941) 377-3419
Fax: (941) 377-6218

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Phone: (941) 786-3552
Fax: (866) 890-0548
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