Hurricane Sally was certainly an event that all of us along the Gulf Coast will long remember. Property damage appears significant and lives have been disrupted. Recovery will take time. Fortunately, we are members of a resilient community. Many of us have been through this before. We will help our neighbors and will again get through this together.
Choosing disaster recovery vendors
One of the most important tasks for an association manager or board in the post-storm phase is to carefully choose the companies or individuals to assist in the clean up or restoration of your property and to obtain review and proper approval of contracts. Community Associations Institute (CAI) maintains a database of business partners as a valuable resource. Search by state or by “North Gulf Coast Chapter” to locate vendors who support the community association industry: https://directory.caionline.org/. Be sure to also use the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, trusted associates or other sources to carefully vet those who seek your business. Check licensing with DBPR (https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID=) and with your local authorities and always verify insurance.
Florida community associations may also choose to invoke emergency powers in the aftermath of a hurricane to more readily conduct association business control access to damaged areas. The emergency powers are contained in Section 718.1265 (for condominiums) and Section 720.316 (for homeowners’ associations) of the Florida Statutes. However, the emergency powers are limited in application so seek legal advice regarding the association’s particular needs. CAI also offers helpful information for recovery best practices on its website: https://www.caionline.org/HomeownerLeaders/DisasterResources/Pages/HelpingOurNeighbors.aspx.
Staying connected and sharing information
I will be participating in a panel discussion with the North Gulf Coast Chapter of CAI on Wednesday September 23 about how COVID-19 has impacted community associations: https://www.cai-ngcc.org/. This is still an important issue, even now. It is also more important than ever that we continue to “gather” to share ideas and best practices on the various issues facing community associations. Please consider joining CAI as a member and participating in its upcoming educational virtual events as we work together to tackle the many issues with which associations must contend.
As always, Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon is by your side in business and life. Our full-service law firm stands ready should you need us in these trying times. Do not hesitate to contact Suzanne Blankenship at email@example.com or 850.439.5992.