SPEND NOW OR SPEND LATER

By Eric Glazer, Esq.

Published September 25, 2017

  • But we donít have money to fix our roof.

  • I canít believe how expensive it is to replace the landscaping.             

  • Why is our deductible so high?

After what just happened in that Hollywood Nursing Home, shouldnít generators be required in 55 and over communities?

              

These are just some of the comments and questions Iíve been dealing with since Irma lashed our state.  The first 3 all come from communities that year after year vote down the funding of a reserve account.  The people in these communities generally take the position that itís unlikely that their condo or HOA will get hit with a hurricane, and even if it does, weíll worry about the money when we need to worry about the money.  This month, many of these owners learned the hard way that itís now time to worry about the money.

 

With deductibles so high, and landscaping generally not covered by insurance, unit owners across the state are quickly coming to grips with the fact that their insurance doesnít help much to fix the damage they suffered and as a result itís the owners themselves who now have to pay the bill for repairs.  Unfortunately, most of these same owners routinely vote against the funding of reserve accounts in their community, year after year, so thereís no source of funds to now tap into.  Scary.  Special assessments are now coming.

              

Why is it that so many people are against funding reserve accounts?  One reason is that I just think people donít like planning for and thinking that bad things can actually happen to them.  Itís not denial.  I just think itís fear of dealing with bad things.  People will save for good things like a new home, new car, a wedding.  But almost nobody today puts money aside for funerals and tombstones, even though you know at some point they will be paid for one way or another.  Same thing with refusing to fund reserves. In 55 and over communities older people think that itís crazy to put away money for a roof for the next ten years when thereís a decent chance they wonít be around in ten years to see the new roof.  Thatís a poor excuse.  Suppose youíre unlucky and you live?  (Iím kidding)  But a hurricane rips off your roof again and now your 10 years older and donít have the money for a special assessment?  Can you imagine facing foreclosure proceedings when you canít come up with several thousand dollars at once?  Believe me, at that time you will be wishing that you had funded reserve accounts over the last ten years with a few bucks per month.

              

We arenít just sometimes cheap with reserve accounts.  We do the same thing when it comes to money versus safety.  We canít imagine that a fire will break-out in our condo, so we root for legislation that allows us to forego sprinklers in our condo in order to save the money.  Even though nobody in the State of Florida has ever died in a building that has sprinklers, we donít want them if it means saving some money.  I was asked this week if I though mandatory backup generators in 55 and over communities is a good idea.  My initial reaction was that I loved the idea, after seeing some of the horror stories on the news about elderly people who had no electric and a/c.  However, that would mean the unit owners would have to pay for it.  Even though they know they will likely have power failures again during Floridaís scorching heat, my guess is that nearly everyone would vote against it if it meant taking some money out of their pockets to pay for it. 

              

So we wonít put away money to fund our roofs should they blow off.  We wonít agree to pay for fire sprinklers or engineered life safety systems that may save us from burning alive during a fire.  We wonít shell out money to install generators so we donít die from the heat.  If we wonít spend money on these items, then what in the world are we willing to spend on?  Well I heard the new I-Phone came out this week.  Itís a thousand bucks.  Iím guessing lots of people who wonít spend a dollar on all of these life safety issues will be first on line at the Apple store.  I donít know what makes this new phone so special, but for a thousand bucks, I hope the phone also acts as a fire sprinkler and back-up generator.


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About HOA & Condo Blog

Eric Glazer Eric Glazer graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community association law for more than 2

decades and is the owner of Glazer and Associates, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples, Fort Myers and Tampa.

 

Since 2009, Eric has been the host of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.

   

See: www.condocrazeandhoas.com.

   

He is the first attorney in the State of Florida that designed a course that certifies condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000 Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the best interest of Florida community association members.


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