KASS: An open question for Community Association boards

By: Benny Kass//September 18, 2018//

KASS: An open question for Community Association boards

By: Benny Kass//September 18, 2018//

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Are you concerned about cybersecurity in your association? Have you taken any steps to protect the association’s assets and records. I just read an interesting report based on a national survey of more than 600 community associations managers, board members and professionals.

There were two important findings: first only 56 percent have policies and procedures in place to protect member information. Second, although there are many types of cybersecurity threats, fraud and theft topped the list.

The report is free and available on line: https://foundation.caionline.org/ and click on Research Projects/ Technology and Security.


New Condominium laws are popping up all over the country. For example, as of July 1, 2018, Virginia associations can hold their meetings electronically. We are in what is now referred to as “virtual meetings”, and while there are real benefits to electronic voting and meetings, there are real negatives. In my opinion, the most significant negative is that owners in such electronic meetings cannot express their concerns verbally with the view toward trying to educate others to a certain point of view. In other words, freedom of expression is, in my opinion, limited electronically.

And effective July 1st, 2018, Florida condominium law has changed. For example, board members are limited to serving only 8 consecutive years unless approved by two-third vote of all votes cast in the election. Once again, I have reservations about term limits. Yes, 8 years is a long time; but institutional and historical memory is important. And often, as we all know, it is difficult to find owners willing to serve as a board member. In my opinion, there are already term limits on board members: that’s called “elections”. If owners are dissatisfied, they don’t have to vote for a board member again.

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Q:   Our condo board of directors is considering cancelling the contract we have with a company that supplies life guards. For as long as I remember, we have always had two lifeguards during the summer season, but now the board wants to cancel it after this season. Is that a good idea? Harvey.

A:     I know that many jurisdictions have imposed strict restrictions on swimming pools, restrictions that can be costly. But having no lifeguard can, in my opinion, be more expensive, if a serious accident (or death) occurs in the pool. It should also be noted that if the association cancels its pool service contract, it is highly likely that the condo’s insurance premiums will increase.

And if there will be no lifeguards on duty, a large sign at least 3 by4 feet should be posted at every entrance to the pool stating: “No lifeguard on duty; swim at your own risk”.

I also understand that some associations where there are no lifeguards also require those using the pool to sign a release holding the association harmless should there be an accident.

And while I am on the subject of swimming pools, just a reminder. There are very strict requirements for public pools, such as having an ADA compliant lift for access in and out of the pool. Legally, ADA (American Disability Act) does not apply to condominiums. However, if they open the pool to the public, then yes, ADA will apply. What are examples that would trigger ADA? (1) selling memberships to access the pool; (2) allowing swim competitions to be held in its pool whereby outsiders get to compete: (3) if the association is functioning as a hotel (called a “condotel”), such as many associations in oceanfront locations that are primarily for one or two week rentals.

On all these matters, the board must consult with its attorney for the appropriate guidance.

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Q:     I live in a large condominium complex. Some of my neighbors are very satisfied with their decision to live in a community association, while others are constantly grousing about this and that. Curious, are there any studies on the level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of associations?   Tom.

A:     Glad you asked, because the Community Association Institute (CAI) just issued such a report. Here are the results: 85 percent of residents rate their experience as positive; 84 percent believe their elected board of directors “absolutely” or “for the most part” serve the best interests of their communities; and 73 percent approve of the work done by property managers.

Editor’s Note: This is Benny Kass’ final column as he has retired. He thanks his readers for the many years of success.

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