What is an H06 Condominium Insurance Policy, and why do I need one?
A: A HO-6 policy is like a regular homeowner’s policy, but for a condominium unit, and with a lot more extras. HO-6 insurance policies cover the interior of the unit and personal property inside–commonly known as “studs in” or “walls in” coverage. Under the new Fannie Mae (FNMA) and FHA overhaul of condominium lending guidelines, lenders are now requiring HO-6 policies for new condo unit purchases. Sounds like common sense, but HO-6 policies weren’t always required by lenders, and many condominium unit owners were under the mistaken impression that the master condominium insurance policy covered all damage to the interior of their unit as well as damage to furniture, appliances, etc. That isn’t so. In most cases, that master insurance policy covers common areas such as the hallways, roof, basement, elevator, boiler, and common walkways, for both liability and physical damage–but not the inside of units.
What is a condominium association?
A: It is a corporation registered with the state and managed by a duly elected board of directors. It is governed by Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes. Most associations are registered as nonprofit corporations. Its purpose is to maintain all common areas and to govern the community in accordance with the provision of the governing legal documents: declaration of condominium, bylaws and articles of incorporation. The corporation is financially supported by all members of the association. Membership is both automatic and mandatory. Most condominiums are either cat-walked buildings or high rises, but can be almost any physical type of multi-family housing.
What are the Governing Documents?
A: The governing documents consist of the Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation, and the By-Laws. Together, they are the guidelines for the operation of the homeowners or condominium association. The Declaration of Condominium defines the boundaries of what is Association property and responsibility, and what is the unit owner’s property and responsibility. The bylaws define the duties of the various offices of the board of directors; how elections will be handled; the terms of the directors; the memberships’ voting rights; required meetings and notices of meetings; and the principal office of the association, as well as other specific items that are necessary to run the association as a business.
What is the Board of Directors?
A: The Board is an elected team of unit owners charged with the governance of the association. The powers and duties of the board include: set and collect annual assessments; use and expend the assessments collected to operate, maintain, repair replace, modify, care for, manage and preserve the common areas; procure, maintain and pay premiums for insurance; contract for and discharge management of the association; amend and add to the rules and regulations governing the use of the common areas; purchase equipment; and more.
Are there any other rules?
A: In addition to the Declaration and the By-Laws, there are also be Rules and Regulations established by the Board.
If I am having a problem with a neighbor for a violation of the Policies and Guidelines, what can I do?
A: Any problems should be reported to the Property Manager. Please note that the Association does not arbitrate any disputes between neighbors, but only those issues that impact the Community as a whole, or behaviors and/or actions that directly violate the Governing Documents.
Are Board Meetings open to all residents? If so, where and when are they held?
A: Yes! The By-Laws of the Association generally specify when they are held, so check your documents for details. Furthermore, state law does require that notice be posted at least 48 hours in advance. That notice will be posted in each building, and also on this website. As a general rule, the Association’s meetings are held in the Clubhouse.
Is there a unit owner meeting? If so, where and when are they held?
A: Florida Statute Ch 718, as well as the Association’s governing documents, require that an annual meeting of the Association Members, which consist of all unit owners. Per the bylaws, this meeting is held on the first Monday of February each year, at 7:30pm in the Clubhouse. The meetings specific purpose is the election of the directors of the corporation, as well as to vote on any proposed amendments to the governing documents. Notice of this meeting is given at least 60 days prior, and a second notice is given 14 days prior, by postal mail and an electronic notice will be available on this site.
If I want to serve on a committee, how do I find out what committees are active and how can I get involved?
A: Contact the office! Volunteers are always appreciated.
What is my due/assessment?
A: The assessment is the periodic amount due from each owner to cover the operating expenses of the common area or areas and to provide for reserve funds for replacement of common facilities in future years. Your assessments are due on the first of the month, and are considered late if not received by the 13th of the month. Late fees and interest then apply. Statements are typically sent for assessments as a reminder of the amount due if your payment is not received within 13 days.
How is the amount of my dues/assessment determined?
A: After developer turnover of the association, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to annually determine the amount of dues each member will pay during the next year, following the guidelines specified in the governing documents. Dues are required to be paid monthly, and coupon books are mailed to all unit owners as a courtesy. Please note that it is the responsibility of the unit owner to ensure they are aware of the current fees due, and to make their payment on a timely basis.
Will my dues/assessment go up?
A: They say nothing is certain but death and taxes, but it’s fairly safe to say your dues will go up, although not necessarily every year. The dues are simply the expenses of the association split over all the unit owners. As the association’s bills go up due to inflation and other economic factors, then the assessment will have to increase as well to compensate.
What happens if I do not pay my dues/assessment?
A: The maintenance of the Association is dependent upon timely receipt of the assessments due from each homeowner. Late payments will result in a late charge, as assessments are due on the first of the month of your assessment cycle. In addition, the CC&R’s (covenants, conditions and restrictions) allow the Association to charge interest, and proceed with a lien on your property or foreclosure proceedings for nonpayment of assessments. They also contain the authority to accelerate the remaining amount of the annual assessment, making the entire budget year due in full immediately. Please remember the association has lien rights on your property, and is effectively a “mortgage” on the property. If you don’t pay, they have the right to foreclose.
What expenses are paid with dues?
A: The annual budget of the Association states the expenses anticipated each year. Usually the expenses provide for items such as insurance, operating and maintenance of common facilities (such as pools, clubhouses, etc.), common areas and entrances. The funds are not used to maintain any individual home or unit.
Who determined the assessment amount?
A: The Board of directors, together with their advisors (people such as the property manager and the association’s accountant) put together the proposed budget. The governing documents specify the exact formula by which that budget is then spread over the varying units within the Association. The budget is mailed to all unit owners at least 14 days before the board of director’s meeting at which the budget will be voted on.
Who makes the decisions about association matters?
A: The Board of Directors determine the policies, rules & regulations involved in the operation of the association’s business affairs. Any amendments to the governing documents themselves, however, must be approved by a vote of the unit owners.