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THE LEGAL TEAM

COMMITTED TO ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

News & Blog

4 Steps to Building a Better Community

Building a Better Community in 4 Simple Steps

Having a great community isn’t just about meeting your bottom lines, it’s also about ensuring that residents and employees are happy. Your community may be doing just fine, but we’re betting it could be doing better by taking steps towards creating a sense of unity and properly managing the property. As a community association or property manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the community is a great place to live, and we’re here to help.

 4 Steps to Building a Better Community PeytonBolinHere are 4 steps to building a better community:

  1. Honest Assessment: The first step to building a better community is to first complete an honest assessment of the current state of the community. What needs improvement and why? What has been falling through the cracks? What is working and what isn’t? Only after a proper assessment can you take steps towards improvement.
  2. Proper Budgeting and Planning: For any community to be run effectively, there needs to be proper budgeting and planning in place. Take the time to sit down and figure out your budget and how much money you have to spend. Once you know what you can spend, it’s time to sit down and allocate the money. What needs attention now and what can wait? Having a great new pool doesn’t mean much if the rest of the community is run down, so make sure you really understand where your money is going to be most useful.
  3. Communication: Communication is key in any association. As a community association or property manager, you need to ensure that you are properly communicating with not only the other people working in the community, but also the residents living in it. They want to feel as though someone is on their side, and while you may not always be able to accommodate what they want, you should at least be available to them.
  4. Develop a Sense of Community: To have a great community, it’s not just about how the community is run and what it looks like, it’s also about how people in the community interact. Hold events for neighbors to get to know each other and encourage people to use common areas. Take efforts to turn them from residents into neighbors.

To build a better community, you need to focus on the exterior, as well as the interior. Make sure that the building or neighborhood is one that you would want to live in (clean, safe etc.), and encourage neighbors to interact. A close community is a happy community so use these tips and start building your way to a better community.

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Turn Homeowners Into Neighbors In 4 Easy Steps

How to Turn Homeowners Into Neighbors

When we think of a successful community we think of not only one that is one properly run and that meets its bottom lines, but also one that has taken steps to turn homeowners into neighbors. It’s not just your specific home that’s important, it’s the overall community you live in. A wonderful home can be ruined by awful neighbors, and a home that isn’t necessarily up to one’s standards could be amazing because of the people surrounding it. So how do you turn homeowners into neighbors? It’s all about fostering a sense of community and encouraging open communication.

Turn Homeowners into Neighbors in 4 easy steps peytonbolinHere are 4 tips to help you turn homeowners into neighbors

  1. Orientation for new homeowners: When new homeowners move into the neighborhood, they should receive some sort of orientation packet or welcome tour. The more comfortable they feel with the neighborhood, the more likely they are to interact with their neighbors and immediately make their new house their new home.
  2. Invest in common areas: It’s not going to be easy for residents to get to know each other if they have nowhere to do this. Invest in and maintain common areas like lounges, pools and tennis courts to give your residents a place to meet outside of their homes.
  3. Hold events: Holding events like resident appreciation events or holiday parties is a great way to get a lot of residents in one place at a time, and common areas are a great place to do this. As a property manager or community association, you and your team should be doing your best to get the conversation flowing and make everyone feel at ease.
  4. Build an online portal: Building an online portal is great for communication that isn’t face to face. Have forums for residents to voice their opinions and give them a space to post job offerings, furniture for sale, questions about the neighborhood etc. Some people aren’t always comfortable immediately when meeting people face to face, so this lets them communicate in a less personal way.

When it comes down to it, it’s your job as a property manager or community association to turn homeowners into neighbors and ensure that they get more out of your neighborhood than just a roof over their heads. Whether it’s a condo building where neighbors see each other all the time in elevators and hallways or a huge neighborhood that makes it difficult to interact outside of events, you need to get creative and find ways to bring everyone together. A community is more than just a row of homes, it’s a community of people sharing a neighborhood and living in the same space- so do your best to turn homeowners into neighbors.

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American Opinions on Community Associations

Statistics detailing the perceived relationship between residents and community associations

CAI recently released a report discussing findings from a national survey conducted in early 2014 by Public Opinion Strategies, and the findings reaffirm what we’ve learned from previous surveys in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2012. We’ve highlighted the most important information for you below, but to see the full report, click here (http://www NULL.caionline NULL.org/about/press/Documents/2014%20National%20Homeowner%20Survey NULL.pdf).

The 2014 survey found, among other statistics, that 90% of residents rate their overall community association experience as positive or neutral (65% positive and 26% neutral). 92% say they are on friendly terms with their association board and 83% of residents said that their community managers provide value and support to the residents and association. 70% of residents believe that their association’s rules protect and enhance property values, and only 4% say that the regulations harm property values.

The report also details the best and worst aspects of living in an association. Residents agree that a clean, safe attractive neighborhood is the best aspect of living in a community association, and that paying assessments is the worst aspect. The report also discusses disagreements with associations and found that 24% of respondents have experienced a significant disagreement or issue with their association.

American Opinions on Community Associations PeytonBolin
So what’s the biggest key takeaway from the findings in the report? Community Associations work. The number of community associations in the US has increased from 10,000 to over 328,000 since 1970, and they help build a sense of community in a neighborhood. Part of the increase in popularity of community associations is a result of the benefits they provide including amenities and options, expanding affordable homeownership, maximizing efficiencies, privatizing public functions and a useful collective management structure.

To learn more about community associations and how to make sure that as an association, you’re protected, click here.

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What Happens if a Condo Decides to Dissolve a Condo Association?

5 Tips for Keeping Condo Residents Happy

A condo association is a legal entity, so when it comes to dissolving it, it can be very difficult, but it is possible with good reason and the support of enough people. If a community decides they no longer want a condo association, they can “terminate” the association, and while it isn’t easy, you don’t want to get into this battle. It is time consuming and a pain to deal with. So how do you ensure that your residents will not want to dissolve a condo association?

http://www.peytonbolin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/What-Happens-if-a-Condo-Decides-to-Dissolve-a-Condo-Association-peytonbolin.jpgHere are 5 Tips for Keeping Condo Residents Happy:

  1. Know what you can and can’t do: Many complaints about associations and boards comes from overstepping boundaries. You need to find a good balance between what needs to be done and what is best for residents, and always know what your boundaries are so that you never overstep them.
  2. Be clear about rules: When you live in a condo, there are certain things you must accept. Common areas have to be shared with others, and sometimes building staff may need to access your apartment when you’re not there (ex: if your apartment is flooding into the apartment below you). Be clear on what the rules of the association are from the start and you’ll have less trouble with tenants who misunderstood the regulations.
  3. Be accessible: The condo association should always be accessible to residents and in the case of an emergency, they sometimes need to be accessible quickly. Don’t just ignore complaints, respond to them. Let the residents see the face behind the association, and they’ll feel more comfortable living there.
  4. Think about security: Security is a tricky issue, especially in condo buildings, so you need to have a set security plan in place for any event. You want your residents to feel safe, and being prepared is the best way to do this. Install video cameras and consider using key fobs to get around the building.
  5. Budget properly: As with any business you must budget properly to have success. If you’re responsible for keeping the condo building clean, you must maintain this or you may run into problems with residents. Residents who buy or rent a condo expect a certain level of value- and if you stop giving them something they expect, they may question why they really need you.

These tips will help you ensure that your residents do not want to dissolve a condo association. As an association, your residents are at the core of your business, so in order to keep your business successful, you must make them happy while still hitting your bottom line. For more information on condo associations and their legal rights, click here.

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Building a Successful Relationship Between Property Managers and Boards

3 Tips for Collaboration Between Property Managers and Boards

When trying to build and maintain a successful community, it is important that property managers and boards to work together to reach their goals, but it’s not always easy. It’s sometimes hard to see things from someone else’s point of view and making a decision is usually more difficult the more people that are involved. So how do board members and property managers work together to effectively run a community? They realize that they are in a relationship that requires some give and take, and they know that their partner’s role is just as important as their own.

Building a Successful Relationship Between Property Managers and Boards peytonbolin

Here are 3 tips for a successful relationship between property managers and boards:

  1. Set Expectations: You have to be clear on your expectations if you expect someone to meet them. What are the board’s duties and what are those of the property manager. When do their roles overlap? What are you trying to achieve as a community and how can working together help you achieve those goals? You need to lay out a clear plan in order to have a successful relationship.
  2. Communicate: Communication is a must. If the property manager doesn’t understand the board’s vision, how will they put it in motion? Disputes must be settled in a civil manner and communication has to be open. You both have the same overarching goal: to have a successful community. Open communication is the only way to get there efficiently and effectively.
  3. Remember Who is Responsible for What: Don’t ever forget what your place is. If the board is responsible for the overall vision, the property manager must remember that their position is to take actions to reach the goals of the board, not necessarily their own. On the other hand, the board must remember that the property manager is responsible for the day to day activities and will likely work better without anyone hovering over their shoulder. Collaboration can be great, but both property managers and boards must remember what their responsibilities are and what they are not.

Whether you’re a board member or a property manager, you must always listen to your partner and never immediately dismiss what they have to say. Remember, you both have different strengths and weaknesses and you both have certain responsibilities that fall under your roles. To effectively work together, you must meet your own responsibilities while making it easier for your partner to meet theirs and collaborate efficiently to meet to overall goals of the community.

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3 Reasons You Need A Community Association Monthly Newsletter

Keep Residents Informed With A Community Association Monthly Newsletter

As a community association, it is essential that you keep your residents informed of everything going on in the community from events to maintenance, and whether you just have a few tenants or you have hundreds, the most simple way to do this is through a community association monthly newsletter. Whether you create a print newsletter that is put under people’s doors or a digital newsletter which has become increasingly popular over the past couple years, it is up to you to make sure that your residents have all the information they need to happily reside in your community.

3 Reasons You Need A Community Association Monthly Newsletter PeytonBolin

We’ve put together a list of 3 reasons you should have a community association monthly newsletter:

  1. Share Important Updates: If the pool is going to be closed over the weekend or if there is going to be maintenance done on the elevator, residents need to know ahead of time. Use your monthly newsletter as a way to share everything going on in the community to ensure that residents are kept in the loop and that you won’t have to deal with tenants who are unhappy because they planned a BBQ on a day that the grills were being replaced.
  2. Show the Voice Behind the Association: You want your tenants to think of you as more than just the “association” that makes the rules. Show them the person behind the association, and interact on a more personal level. Sign monthly newsletters with a name and invite readers to contact you if they have any more questions. Residents are more likely to be good tenants if they feel like you’re on their side, not against it.
  3. Build a Sense of Community: Use your monthly newsletter to invite residents to community events, share photos and stories from past events, and generally just build a sense of community. Some residents would probably jump at the chance to be featured in a newsletter, so that take to your advantage and give tenants some insight into the lives of their neighbors.

Having a monthly newsletter is important for every business, but it is especially important for community associations. It’s up to you to make sure that your residents are happy and informed, and a community association monthly newsletter is one of the easiest ways to do this. It keeps residents in the loop and helps reassure them that the association is there to make their community experience better and safer, which makes your job easier and keeps your pockets full.

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Can a Grandfather Clause Help You?

Why Grandfather Clauses Can be Useful in Community Associations

Environments change as time goes on and rules and regulations must change with them as a result. While rule changes may be necessary, they aren’t always easy to implement. Community associations and property managers must devise the best practices for introducing new rules and they must also deal with residents that aren’t happy with the new changes.

When it comes to rule changes in community associations, grandfathering can be useful in keeping residents happy and making sure that the rules reflect the best interests of the association. You’ve probably heard of the phrase “grandfather clause” but unless you’ve been directly affected by it, you may not know what it really means.

What is a Grandfather Clause?

Grandfathering or a “grandfather clause ( http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Grandfather_clause) is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases.” Anyone who is exempt from the new regulation is said to have “grandfather rights,” though the exemption is usually limited.

When is it Useful?

Grandfather clauses can be useful in a variety of situations and it really depends on the Can a Grandfather Clause Help You? PeytonBolinindividual community association. Lets say someone with a dog buys a condo in a building that allows pets, but then 2 years later the association decides that the building is going to be a no-pet community. The community may expect residents to be in compliance with the new rules, but it is unrealistic to think that condo owners with pets are going to move or give away their furry friend without a fight. Instead, the condo association can give grandfather rights to residents with pets. New residents would not be allowed to bring pets, and while current residents with pets wouldn’t be able to get any new ones, they could stay with their current pet as long as they were registered with the building.

Making changes in a community association is sometimes necessary to ensure the success and survival of the community, but changes are not always easy to implement. It’s important for community associations and property managers to understand what tools they have, like the ability to use grandfather clauses, so that they can ensure the happiness and safety of their residents, while still respecting the wishes of the board and ensuring the prosperity of the community.

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5 Tips for Getting Newly Elected Board Members Ready to Serve

Get Your Newly Elected Board Member up to Speed

As exciting as getting new board members is with all the opportunities it presents, it can be difficult to get them up to speed with everything that is happening. Just as with other jobs, you can’t expect to put someone in a brand new position and for them to just know exactly what to do and what not to do without any prior training. Just as each organization is different, each community association is different and it takes time to get new board members informed of everything they need to know to get the job done properly.
5 Tips for Getting Newly Elected Board Members Ready to Serve peytonbolin

Here is a list of 5 tips for getting newly elected board members ready to serve:

  1. Schedule an orientation meeting: Once a new board member has been elected, the first thing to do is schedule an orientation meeting. What you go over will vary depending on the community association, but the point is basically to get the new board member up to speed. Figure out who needs to be present for what conversations and map out what you will go over.
  2. Introduce new board members to others: This one may seem obvious but it’s important to give the new board member a chance to meet the other board members. This can be done during the orientation meeting or you can schedule some sort of welcoming event. A newly elected board member will perform better in a situation where he or she is comfortable with the people they are working with and feels as though they are part of a team effort.
  3. Go over all rules and regulations: This part can be extensive, but it’s important to go over all the rules and regulations concerning the community and the board. To truly be valuable, the board member needs to understand what can and cannot be done by anyone associated with the community.
  4. Discuss the past, present and future: While the new board member may not need to know that a leak was fixed 6 months ago, they may need to know if someone was recently robbed or if there have been multiple complaints about the gate to the pool. Things that have happened in the past affect decisions that you make in the future, so it’s important to go over everything that the board member may need to know from past problems to current predicaments and future projects.
  5. Check in: Once the board member begins to serve, make sure you check-in to see that they are comfortable in their position and have everything they need to get the job done. Ensure that they aren’t afraid to ask questions and that they understand what is expected of them and how to meet those expectations.

A newly elected board member means new potential opportunities for the community association as long as the board member is ready to serve. He or she may bring ideas you have never thought of or have a solution to a problem you didn’t even know you had, but in order to reach their full potential in their position, they have to know what they are getting themselves into. It’s your responsibility to help them get settled in and ensure that they have everything they need to bring value to the board and the community association they are serving.

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Miami-Dade County New Ordinance

New Miami-Dade County Ordinances went into effect on July 1, 2014.

PB Miami-Dade OrdinanceMiami-Dade new ordinances have gone into effect and every community association should understand what this means for them. In the past, a community association had no obligation to tell a prospective purchaser or renter why an application was rejected. The rejected purchaser or renter had limited options for relief. In some cases, rejected purchasers or renters would be told to file discrimination claims or hire an attorney

Miami-Dade County has taken away the associations’ abilities to keep their reasons for rejection hidden with the enactment section 11A-18.1. This new code sets timelines for the associations to respond to the applicants and to provide notifications of incomplete applications. While some of the timelines and rules might conflict with some associations’ existing regulations, the ordinance creates a rebuttable presumption that an asso-ciation that does not comply with the ordinance’s requirements has acted in a discriminatory manner.

To learn what this means for Miami-Dade associations, download our Miami-Dade County New Ordinance.

About PeytonBolin
PeytonBolin, PL is a Florida-based law firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale with offices in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa (by appointment only), and West Palm Beach (by appointment only). PeytonBolin is focused on the practice of Community Association Law, providing legal services to associations and individual owners.  Partnering with condominium and homeowner associations throughout Florida, PeytonBolin PL provides collections services, covenant enforcement, and guidance to boards to successfully manage their community affairs. Representation for both associations and individuals encompasses the key areas of insurance, construction, contract disputes and debt collection. At PeytonBolin, we are committed to practicing law in a way that is refreshingly unique – always accessible and never pretentious. Obtaining our clients’ objectives in the most strategic, creative and economically efficient way possible is our highest priority. PeytonBolin, PL was named as the only Readers’ Choice 2014 platinum level law firm for Legal Services in Florida (its highest ranking) by the Florida Community Association Journal.

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PeytonBolin Nominated for Second Annual FLCAJ Readers’ Choice Award

PeytonBolin has been Nominated for Florida Community Association Journal’s Second Annual Readers’ Choice Award.

FLCAJ-ReadersChoiceLogoBack in January, Peyton Bolin was awarded the FLCAJ (http://www NULL.fcapgroup NULL.com/) Readers’ Choice Award for Legal Services, and we are proud to announce that we have just been nominated again! The award winners will be announced on January 15, 2015 at a special ceremony at The Show in West Palm Beach. Readers’ Choice Awards are organized by business and category and, as was the case last year, will have three levels of achievement: Diamond, Platinum, and Gold.

The level of achievement is directly related to the number of votes cast for the service provider, so please vote for us an help us secure an award for the second year in a row! To vote for PeytonBolin for the FLCAJ Readers’ Choice Award, click here (http://www NULL.flcaj NULL.com/readerschoice/Vote_start NULL.cfm) and check out the photo below of last year’s award!

FLCAJ Readers' ChoiceAbout PeytonBolin
PeytonBolin, PL is a Florida-based law firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale with offices in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa (by appointment only), and West Palm Beach (by appointment only). PeytonBolin is focused on the practice of Community Association Law, providing legal services to associations and individual owners.  Partnering with condominium and homeowner associations throughout Florida, PeytonBolin PL provides collections services, covenant enforcement, and guidance to boards to successfully manage their community affairs. Representation for both associations and individuals encompasses the key areas of insurance, construction, contract disputes and debt collection. At PeytonBolin, we are committed to practicing law in a way that is refreshingly unique – always accessible and never pretentious. Obtaining our clients’ objectives in the most strategic, creative and economically efficient way possible is our highest priority. PeytonBolin, PL was named as the only Readers’ Choice 2014 platinum level law firm for Legal Services in Florida (its highest ranking) by the Florida Community Association Journal.

 

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