The firm’s latest Miami Herald column was authored by shareholder Gary M. Mars and appears in today’s edition of the newspaper. The article, which is titled “Real Estate Counselor: Owners’ Gripes Over Legit HOA Budget Increases Prove Detrimental,” focuses on a scenario that is becoming increasingly common at South Florida condominium associations and HOAs. Gary writes that highly effective and scrupulous directors are being subjected to unwarranted accusations and mistrust by unit owners who become frustrated over necessary budget increases and special assessments, causing a great deal of discord and disharmony that often exacerbate associations’ financial strains while also diminishing community appeal and property values. His article reads:
. . . Many South Florida community associations have been forced to increase their annual budgets and dues to account for today’s economic conditions, including rises in insurance and staffing costs. Some have also had to enact special assessments to raise funds for specific immediate needs, such as new roofs, elevators, HVAC systems, etc.
Associations are bound by Florida law and their own governing documents to maintain such common elements.
If they have waived the funding of reserves in the past and are unable to pay for such repairs/replacements when they inevitably arise, special assessments possibly combined with lender financing represent their only options for securing the necessary funds and beginning the work as expeditiously as possible. Boards of directors are simply left with no other recourse and must implement such assessments to meet their duties to the communities they serve.