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Outgoing board members to return all official records

Outgoing board members to return all official records

  • Posted: Feb 21, 2016
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Florida a new law goes into to effect that was legislated under HB 807 to section 718.111(12) of the condominium act.   This new law obligates “outgoing board members to return all official records … to the incoming board.” Now as benign as this may seem it speaks to a greater problem and that issue is: Where are all the association’s records? Why did the legislature have to go out of its way to create a specific law to obligate a proper transition from one board to the other? There must be a problem here.   The problem is that community associations have a lot of records and it goes beyond what a board of directors has control of because managers and management companies also have control of essential documents that very often go missing. Let’s take a few examples to demonstrate the problem. A big wind comes and knocks off a couple of roofs in your association, it happens all the time. Well, the first thing that the insurance company wants are the maintenance records roofs going back seven years before they pay for the claim. No records…claim denied and its lawyer time. Another good one relating to community association collections, is that the board has decided to foreclose on Mister Delequaint for non-payment of assessments for the past five years. Mr. Delequaint arrives in court and his lawyer asks the association’s attorney to provide the proof of mailing for the budgets for said five years and they are nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact even the budgets are stone cold lost. The judge can very well possibly rule in favor of Mr. Delequaint (no association foreclosure) and even award him prevailing attorney fees. All these maladies could have been avoided if the association had a document retention policy and followed the protocol. Let’s face the facts and understand that community associations are volatile environments and calling them dynamic is kind. Boards of Directors change, emotions run high, management companies are dismissed frequently, as are attorneys, vendors and whoever else gets an opportunity to work for an association. In the middle of all of this mess records, contracts, ledgers, insurance policies, minutes, proof of mailings, warranties, governing documents, proof of meeting notices, notes and everything else that can be put on paper fall into a deep dark abyss never to be found again. Sometimes by accident and often by design by disgruntled board members, dismissed employees (managers), or untrained office staff who may feel that the round file is for everything that is over a year old. So now that the problem has been identified what is the solution?   First as mentioned above, the board of directors must establish a record keeping policy and protocol (vote on it and put it in the minutes). Don’t lose those minutes and approve them at the next meeting. Said policy should identify all the records that an association must keep and for how long. This is easy because it’s all in the statutes (for Florida condos 718.111 and Florida HOAs 720.305) and I doubt that any state does not address this issue. The next thing is: HOW can an association keep these records from disappearing never to be found again?   There are many ways to go about this and technology may have the answer. Although it might seem to be expensive it is possible that all documents be kept electronically and not just on paper. Have them scanned and put them away on a remote server. This technology also gives an association a backup just in case that big wind comes and blows away your office or the management office. Once again referring to Florida condo statutes 718.111(12)(b) it is crystal clear that documents can be maintained in digital format. In Florida HOA statutes 720.303(5) the legality of keeping records in digital form is not so clear but it is still a prudent idea. No matter what your board comes up with you should be able to easily get your hands on the minutes of a meeting from five years ago or all the maintenance records for the roofs. Try it and if you cannot put your eyes on them it proves that your community association has a problem that needs to be fixed right away. Read more informative articles on our blog, Written by Industry Professionals, Legal by KBR Legal, and members of SFPMA.com  …

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E-Mails and E-Mail Addresses

E-Mails and E-Mail Addresses

  • Posted: Feb 21, 2016
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Who is entitled to the e-mail addresses of your association’s members? Are e-mails sent between board members part of an association’s official records? What about e-mails sent by a board member to the manager?   Only the e-mail addresses of unit owners who have either consented to receive notice by e-mail or have consented in writing to the disclosure of their e-mail addresses are subject to review during an official record inspection. Section 718.111(12), Florida Statutes, provides, with regard to unit owner e-mail addresses, that “[t]he association shall also maintain the electronic mailing addresses… of unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The electronic mailing addresses… are not accessible to unit owners if consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is not provided in accordance with [this subsection].” This topic was discussed in Cohen v. Harbour House (Bal Harbour) Condominium Association, Inc., Arb. Case No. 2012-02-3139 (Summary Final Order / Lang / June 29, 2012).   In the Cohen case, a unit owner requested a list of all of the e-mail addresses of the members, however did not receive such a list. The unit owner alleged that she was improperly denied the e-mail addresses. However, it was discovered that the association did not have consent from any members to use their e-mail for the purposes of receiving official notices nor did the association have written consent to disclose the protected information from any member. Therefore, the arbitrator held that “[b]ecause, under the statute, no unit owner has submitted his or her email address for notice requirements or consented in writing to disclosure of his or her email address, the [a]ssociation did not improperly deny access by [the unit owner] to its list of email addresses.”   In today’s instant world, e-mail allows us to express our thoughts at anytime, anywhere. It is so convenient that it is unavoidable for board members to use it to discuss association business. As the official records of condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations are subject to inspection with limited exception, the question often asked is whether e-mails, including e-mails between board members and between one or more board members and the association’s manager, constitute part of the association’s official records that are subject to inspection by the members.   Several categories of records, while still constituting a part of the official records, are not subject to a member’s inspection request. For example, attorney-client privileged correspondence, medical records, information obtained by an association in connection with the approval of the lease, sale or other transfer of a unit and social security numbers, just to name a few, are not subject to a member’s inspection request but still constitute a part of the association’s official records.   On March 6 2002, the then Chief Assistant General Counsel of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) issued an opinion which provided that “[c]ondominium owners do have the right to inspect e-mail correspondences between the board of directors and the property manager as long as the correspondence is related to the operation of the association and does not fall within the… statutorily protected exceptions… [The DBPR does not have] regulations expressly requiring archiving e-mails, but… if the e-mail correspondence relates to the operation of the association property, it is required to be maintained by the association, whether on paper or electronically, under chapter 718, Florida Statutes.”   In Humphrey v. Carriage Park Condominium Association, Inc., Arb. Case No. 2008-04-0230 (Final Order / Campbell / March 30, 2009), an arbitrator of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes held that “…e-mails… existing… on the personal computers of individual directors… are not official records of the association… Even if directors communicate among themselves by e-mail strings or chains, about the operation of the association, the status of the electronic communication on their personal computer would not change. Similarly, an e-mail to an individual director or to all directors as a group, addressed only to their personal computers, is not written communication to the association.” The arbitrator reasoned that “this must be so because there is no obligation to turn on [the] personal computer with any regularity, or to open and read emails before deleting them.”   Simply stated, if one was to rely on the guidance cited herein, e-mails solely between board members, even a board majority, are not part of the official records, e-mails between the board and the manager are part of the official records and unit owner e-mail addresses are only subject to inspection where a unit owner has either consented to receive notice by e-mail or has consented in writing to the disclosure of his/her e-mail address. That having been said, it is in my opinion that e-mail communications that involve a board majority are still subject to the board meeting notice requirements already required by Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, more commonly known as the “Condominium Act.”…

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Vacation Rentals Your home away from home.

Vacation Rentals Your home away from home.

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2015
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Vacation Rentals Your home away from home. Magazine Articles written by Fort Lauderdale Stay’s – http://www.fortlauderdalestays.com/fort-lauderdale Read the Article in the December Florida Rising Magazine – http://joom.ag/F5Sp “Staying in a fully furnished vacation home. not just for vacations any more.”   Vacation rentals have been around for years and are gaining popularity among vacationers. It’s no wonder, because whether you rent a cottage, condo or home, renting a vacation property provides all the comforts of home along with great value. If you think that renting a vacation home is reserved for the rich, think again. The price is often comparable or even less than a hotel room. That is particularly the case for large families who are left with few options in a hotel. They must either cram a cot into a regular room and share a very crowded bathroom or break the budget by booking two rooms. Plus, families can save additional money when they rent a vacation home by eating some meals in. The benefits don’t end there. Rent a vacation home and everyone has their own bedroom… and often their own bathroom too! Pools are an added plus in many Florida vacation homes – and they don’t come with screaming kids (unless you add your own). Most vacation homes come fully, and beautifully, furnished. Many include bed linens, towels and fully-equipped kitchens. All you bring is your clothes, personal items and food.   Renting a vacation home has got to be the most relaxing and convenient vacation experiences ever. No traipsing down a hallway for ice, no slamming doors, loud voices or flushing toilets waking you at midnight and no getting up early for a stale continental breakfast. Instead, you can enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and a bagel by the pool in the morning… in your bathrobe. I bet you ‘ve never considered doing that at a hotel.   Vacation Rental Homes are cheaper than hotel rooms Considering that vacation homes generally have 2 or more bedrooms and can comfortably sleep a number of guests (some vacation homes sleep 8 or more), a vacation rental home is a great value. Most vacation homes have a fully equipped kitchen for cooking which can save you a lot of money when you consider the costs you can save by cooking your own breakfast, lunch and dinners. Most hotel rooms and common facilities (like pools, beaches and lobbies) are jammed with tourists. Rooms tend to be small and often time you can hear a noisy neighbor through the walls. Many vacation rental homes are located on quiet residential streets with their own secluded beach or private pool. Plus, you vacation home includes a nice living room and most have outdoor patios and lanais where you can relax and enjoy yourself.   “It is a good investment – you get use out of the property and use the rent to cover the mortgage.ˮ Thinking about investing in Real Estate in South Florida, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or Miami Beach as a second or third home but you are not sure whether if you are willing to invest on a property that will be used just for a short period every year? SFPMA has Managers that can help you. We will pair you with Property Managers & Real Estate Professionals that will help you with finding the perfect investment for you so you can make money and offset the costs of your property while you are gone.  …

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Watch out for Squatters on your property.

Watch out for Squatters on your property.

It’s getting Cold outside, Watch out for Squatters in your property. Read the Article in the December Florida Rising Magazine – http://joom.ag/F5Sp   Trident Ground Protection: Has a Service for Property Owners – Physical Patrols. Trident Ground Protection provides professional monitoring of your CCTV, fire detection and intrusion alarm systems 24 hours a day. Our staff of highly trained video patrol officers and telecommunications will actively patrol your property utilizing your equipment and systems and notify you and emergency first responders to any occurrence of criminal or suspicious activity. http://www.tridentgroundprotection.com/ Owner: Colin Geoffrey Taylor   1. Figure out if it really is a squatter. The first question to ask is if the people that you see on your property really are squatting or if they are in fact simply trespassing. A trespasser is a much less substantial problem. It’s someone who has come onto your land or buildings unlawfully. Trespassers usually do not stay long. Vandalism is a common motivation for trespassers, but they could be there for any reason. A squatter is someone who has essentially moved into your place and is treating it as their home, explains Colin Geoffrey Taylor of Florida Based Security Firm Trident Ground Protection. “This practice is more common if the property is a vacation home and/or the owner rarely comes to check on the place,” he says. “For the most part, squatters can’t be removed without some sort of civil eviction action.” If someone doesn’t move out when their lease expires, that is actually a different type of problem – called a holdover tenant. Holdover tenants can be difficult to get out of the unit, requiring legal paperwork that is not necessary in the case of a true squatter. Complicating the issue, though, squatters can become holdover tenants if they can prove that they have been living on your property for a specified period of time. For instance, in Florida, the time period is 30 days. While someone who has been renting from a landlord and refuses to leave in Broward County Palm Beach or Miami Dade County its according to the lease payment time, from month to month rental to Year to Year rental both with different eviction procedure’s. a squatter graduates to holdover status after just one month. Generally around the country, it’s much easier to get rid of squatters than holdovers, but a holdover action frequently delivers better results, according to NationalEvictions.com “Often times, a holdover proceeding seems to give the landlord a more guaranteed approach to recovering their property,” explains the eviction expert at NationalEvictions.com. “The trade off is that with a holdover proceeding, the time to evict is often a little longer.”   2. Move to evict. All right, so you want to kick these squatters to the curb. The first thing to do is deliver an eviction notice. What you are basically going to be serving to the squatters is what’s called an unconditional quit notice. In other words, the squatter needs to vacate the premises and move out all their belongings, and there are no conditions in which they would be allowed to stay. As NationalEvictions explains, these documents are also used for extreme situations in which the landlord wants the tenant out of the building immediately, without any chance for corrective action. In most states, they can’t be used with actual tenants unless they have failed to meet lease guidelines multiple times, been late with the rent repeatedly, torn apart the property, or used the environment for criminal purposes. They with a tenant in that case you can issue them a 7-Day notice to Quit, and in the event of an repeat action of any of the above you then issue the Tenant a 7-Day Notice that they now have no chance to cure and you will be evicting them. This again takes time. Here’s the thing: Just like tenants who have done considerable damage or are blatantly non compliant, squatters may disregard your notice. If they won’t move out, the next step is an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Once you win the suit, then you can get a court order. Let the squatters know about the court order. If they won’t budge, the police will help you enforce the court decision, says NationalEviction, who also warns that “Taking matters into your own hands by forcibly removing squatters could land you in legal trouble. With Real Estate and Owners that live in other states Trident Ground Protection has a solution to bring piece of mind for your property. They have clients that own some homes in Miami and Broward County that are million dollar properties, Trident has great rates where they physically patrol the properties do inspections and walk grounds, they check for any sign of doors windows broken or entry into the homes. “Just last month a NY client that has many investment properties they are holding for sale called and agreed for Trident to start patrolling. Colin said in the week that he started one of the homes he noticed a light that should not have been on, Police called and a woman in her early 30’s was living in the house, That could have been worse if she was living their a while then we would need a court order to remove her. She just got in and was there only a few days before i took over the daily weekely patrols.”   3. Don’t get blindsided by adverse possession laws. No one can just break into your place and claim it, of course … or can they? Squatters actually can take over ownership of your property if they have lived there long enough – typically multiple years, although parameters vary around the country. Although all the conditions of adverse possession laws must be in place in order for the squatter to win, Trident advises property owners on taking precautions. “Your best bet in preventing this result is to go and visit all your property locations at least once a month to check for…

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Truant Board Members

Truant Board Members

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2015
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Truant Board Members Read the Article in the Florida Rising Magazine – http://joom.ag/F5Sp Truant Board members By: Mitch Drimmer, CAM    Most students by law they are required to either attend school or prove that they are being properly home schooled. In a very similar parallel the law in Florida requires that board members of HOAs and Condos attest in writing that they have read the governing documents of their community associations or attend a two hour board certification class. Both students and board members must either prove that they have gone to school or done their reading. The parallel ends here because when it comes to students that are either home schooled or go to accredited schools the government has standards. When it comes to board members in Florida there are no standards, and most certainly two hours of board certification or merely reading governing documents without requiring comprehension is a requirement without any measure of competency. Find out abut upcoming courses given by our Legal Members – KBRLegal.com   Without exaggeration there are billions of dollars of real estate assets that are in the hands of boards of directors. People’s homes, investments, security and lives are put into the stewardship of volunteer boards. It’s a democratic process but it does not guarantee the ability of those who are elected to govern your community association, and that is where the trouble begins. Many associations hire community association managers who are required to take at least 20 hours of continuing education classes every two years and although it is a system that is wanting it does require that managers have a modicum of knowledge. Some management companies also have excellent in house educational programs and that is also very helpful. Having trained professionals manage communities may gong a long way, but only if they are allowed to practice their craft. All too often it is the case that boards of directors do not understand what is required of them, and more times than not community association managers are too timid to stand up to a board of directors for fear of being dismissed and losing their jobs when the boards are out of order and need proper direction. It will never come to pass that the attitudes of board members will change and they will forever misunderstand that their job is to set policy, assume fiduciary responsibility, and insure that the managers they hire are doing a proper job. It is not their place to manage and run their community association albeit it is their right. There will always be boards of directors who over reach and interfere with licensed managers or take associations “self-managed.” So how do we address this quandary?   Volunteer boards of directors must do more than just volunteer one hour a month to sit at a meeting, they should assume to take the same CEU courses that are offered to managers. It is very fortunate that in Florida these Community Association Management CEU courses are given often, in many locations, and often for no cost. There are also many good community association schools that provide educational opportunities and any association who budgets and spends money will see a great benefit in return. A month does not pass by when a trade event is not presented in any given area in Florida without a complete curriculum of courses being offered for managers that board members are welcome to attend. From September through December dozens of these courses are offered at no charge to managers and board members by various organizations, trade event providers, and industry specialists. Educational opportunities also abound throughout the year but the season is more towards the end of the year. There are no truant officers for board members and if they want to govern their associations properly they must realize that two hours of a board certification class is not near what they need. Without this education they are going to put their associations in harm’s way and eventually create costs and problems that could have been avoided. Classes and seminars for board members can easily be found in your area with a simple search on your home computer. I urge board members to take the time to come to class and get the education that they need to govern their own associations better.   MITCHELL DRIMMER, VP, CAM Tel: 866.736.3069 ex. 804 Fax: 866.774-2997 e-mail: mitch@snapcollections.com Web Site www.snapcollections.com…

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ASSOCIATION BUDGETING FOR DUMMIES

ASSOCIATION BUDGETING FOR DUMMIES

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2015
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ASSOCIATION BUDGETING FOR DUMMIES Read the article in the December Florida Rising Magazine – http://joom.ag/F5Sp by Steven J. Weil, PhD, EA, LCAM, Royale Management Services, Inc.   A “dummie,” in this case, is a first-time association member and/or someone with little or no association budgeting experience who wants to know more about how and why the budget is created before they vote on it.   Is it really necessary to go through all that work year after year? The first answer is, yes, because it’s the law. Florida law (718.112 (2) (f) 2) requires that annual budgets be prepared and, further, that reserve calculations be made by using a formula that estimates useful life and replacement cost. The real answer is that the budget is a tool used by the association’s board to determine how much owners will be required to pay in maintenance costs for the coming year in order to keep the association financially stable. The budget is a financial plan, a guide; but the process is an art, not a science. That’s why it’s important to leave room for unplanned expenses. A shortfall may result in an assessment, which will not make anyone happy. The only thing owners hate more than a maintenance fee increase is a special assessment that is necessary because the budget does not adequately cover the ongoing operating and maintenance costs. The tricky part of the process is to balance what is required with the often competing interests of those who want the lowest possible increase with those who are willing to pay more for better services, better amenities or other improvements.   There are two parts to every budget: the operating budget and the reserve budget. • The operating budget should include all the necessary regular and recurring expenses that are expected in the coming year, no matter how small, such as repairs, maintenance, payroll, utilities, supplies, insurance and administrative costs.   • The reserves are designed to accumulate funds for major ongoing repair and replacement. Statutes make it mandatory that reserve budgets first include estimated expenditures for roof replacement, building painting and pavement resurfacing at a minimum.   Aside from what the law requires, a good reserve budget also covers other large capital items that will wear out and need to be replaced over the life of the association, such as: elevators, windows, common area air conditioners, docks, generators, et al. Projected estimates take into consideration the cost to replace each item, prorated over the years of its estimated life. A common mistake in estimating this value is the failure to take into account the rise in replacement costs that occurs over time.   Reserve funds cannot be used for purposes other than those intended without a majority owner’s vote of approval in advance.   How do you build a budget that works? The big secret is to start months before your current budget year ends! 1. Step one is the information-gathering process, including a review of long-term contracts, upcoming expected maintenance and repairs, details of possible fee increases and a “wish list.” This time-consuming step includes getting quotes from vendors, examining recurring contracts for things like insurance policies, lawn and landscaping, trash removal, etc. Sometimes closely-scrutinized contracts can be renegotiated to save money. It’s also important to use caution when reducing maintenance and repairs numbers to delay an expense outlay. That could result in increased costs in the long run.   2. Step two is to compare and, using a spreadsheet or special budget software, enter into the appropriate columns the year-to-date income and expenses — projected through year end — with the budget for the current year, to review for increases, and show the percent of difference.   3. Step three: compare projected expenses for the coming year with “other” income (non-assessed) — such as laundry income, application fees, clubhouse rental, dock rental and any other items for which the Association collects fees other than maintenance fees. Using those figures, it is then possible to calculate the maintenance fees needed to fund the budget for the coming year. These required maintenance fees are calculated by subtracting the total projected “other” (non-assessed) income from the total projected expenses. This number is then allocated by the formula shown in the association documents. (The number is often based on the number of units or on square footage.)   According to the Statutes, owners may petition the Board if it adopts a budget where assessments rise more than 15% over those for the prior year. The budget must be in keeping not only with the State Statutes but also with the association’s documents, which may be more stringent. Final approval by the board where the proposed budget is adopted must be done at a properly noticed budget meeting. A notice of this meeting, along with a copy of the proposed budget, must be sent to all owners at least 14 days prior to the meeting. Only association members may vote to waive or reduce the budgeted reserves through full or partial funding. Failing to fund reserves at all puts everyone’s future at risk. If owners can’t afford the monthly cost how are they going to come up with the money when the roof, elevator or other capital component needs replacing? Often this is done by borrowing, making monthly maintenance payments higher because of what is required to pay back a loan, creating a double whammy of current debt repayment for past depreciation and creating an excuse not to meet current obligations. In some buildings this can create a death spiral….

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Rental real estate provides more tax benefits than almost any other investment.

Rental real estate provides more tax benefits than almost any other investment.

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2015
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Every year, millions of landlords pay more taxes on their rental income than they have to. Why? Because they fail to take advantage of all the tax deductions available for owners of rental property. Rental real estate provides more tax benefits than almost any other investment. Often, these benefits make the difference between losing money and earning a profit on a rental property. Here are the top ten tax deductions for owners of small residential rental property. 1. Interest Interest is often a landlord’s single biggest deductible expense. Common examples of interest that landlords can deduct include mortgage interest payments on loans used to acquire or improve rental property and interest on credit cards for goods or services used in a rental activity.   2. Depreciation The actual cost of a house, apartment building, or other rental property is not fully deductible in the year in which you pay for it. Instead, landlords get back the cost of real estate through depreciation. This involves deducting a portion of the cost of the property over several years.   3. Repairs The cost of repairs to rental property (provided the repairs are ordinary, necessary, and reasonable in amount) are fully deductible in the year in which they are incurred. Good examples of deductible repairs include repainting, fixing gutters or floors, fixing leaks, plastering, and replacing broken windows.   4. Local Travel Landlords are entitled to a tax deduction whenever they drive anywhere for their rental activity. For example, when you drive to your rental building to deal with a tenant complaint or go to the hardware store to purchase a part for a repair, you can deduct your travel expenses. If you drive a car, SUV, van, pickup, or panel truck for your rental activity (as most landlords do), you have two options for deducting your vehicle expenses. You can: deduct your actual expenses (gasoline, upkeep, repairs), or use the standard mileage rate (56 cents per mile for 2014; 56.5 cents per mile for 2013). To qualify for the standard mileage rate, you must use the standard mileage method the first year you use a car for your business activity. Moreover, you can’t use the standard mileage rate if you have claimed accelerated depreciation deductions in prior years, or have taken a Section 179 deduction for the vehicle.   5. Long Distance Travel If you travel overnight for your rental activity, you can deduct your airfare, hotel bills, meals, and other expenses. If you plan your trip carefully, you can even mix landlord business with pleasure and still take a deduction. However, IRS auditors closely scrutinize deductions for overnight travel — and many taxpayers get caught claiming these deductions without proper records to back them up. To stay within the law (and avoid unwanted attention from the IRS), you need to properly document your long distance travel expenses.   6. Home Office Provided they meet certain minimal requirements, landlords may deduct their home office expenses from their taxable income. This deduction applies not only to space devoted to office work, but also to a workshop or any other home workspace you use for your rental business. This is true whether you own your home or apartment or are a renter.   7. Employees and Independent Contractors Whenever you hire anyone to perform services for your rental activity, you can deduct their wages as a rental business expense. This is so whether the worker is an employee (for example, a resident manager) or an independent contractor (for example, a repair person).   8. Casualty and Theft Losses If your rental property is damaged or destroyed from a sudden event like a fire or flood, you may be able to obtain a tax deduction for all or part of your loss. These types of losses are called casualty losses. You usually won’t be able to deduct the entire cost of property damaged or destroyed by a casualty. How much you may deduct depends on how much of your property was destroyed and whether the loss was covered by insurance.   9. Insurance You can deduct the premiums you pay for almost any insurance for your rental activity. This includes fire, theft, and flood insurance for rental property, as well as landlord liability insurance. And if you have employees, you can deduct the cost of their health and workers’ compensation insurance.   10. Legal and Professional Services Finally, you can deduct fees that you pay to attorneys, accountants, property management companies, real estate investment advisors, and other professionals. You can deduct these fees as operating expenses as long as the fees are paid for work related to your rental activity.    …

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HOLIDAY CYBER SAFETY

HOLIDAY CYBER SAFETY

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2015
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HOLIDAY CYBER SAFETY Magazine Articles – Read the article in the December Edition of Florida Rising. http://joom.ag/F5Sp   What a beautiful time of the year when we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa with family and friends and do our best to give each person on our shopping list THE perfect gift. To find that perfect gift we can fight the traffic and crowds at the mall or save time and aggravation by shopping online. Let’s go with the online approach. To successfully shop on line it is important for you to be aware of cyber criminals and the inventive and aggressive methods they employ to steal your money and identity, and there are many. What are some of the popular schemes? The Fraudulent Classified Ads or Auction Sales and Nondelivered Merchandise are two that are easy to fall victim to. Let me explain; the Fraudulent Classified Ads or Auction Sales is a scam where the seller post items that are stolen or is purchased with a stolen credit card. The Nondelivered Merchandise is a scam where merchandise is sold that does not exist. The buyer purchases items online which is never delivered. How do you avoid becoming a victim and totally ruining your holiday shopping? Well, here are a few tips to best protect yourself:   ● Get to know as much about the seller as possible. Start with a Google search paying special attention ratings, comments or complains. Research the BBB, many scam “artist” are listed on the FBI web site at ( www.fbi.gov/scamssafety/fraud ) or research your states business licenses sitesFlorida residents can log on to www.sunbiz.org or myfloridalicense.com. ● It is best to play it safe and buy from reputable companies you are familiar or have done business with in the past. ● Avoid companies that do not have a physical address. No company is based in a post office box. ● Send an email to make sure it is valid and call the contact number to make sure the company even exist. ● Don’t base your decision to do business with a company on their web site. It is easy to set up a flashy web site which is just that…flash. ● When possible pay with your credit card so you can dispute the charge if there is a problem. ● Avoid dealing with foreign companies. It is almost impossible to verify the legitimacy or get a refund from companies not in the US. ● Never respond to special investment offers because there is a real possibility the “company” is only after your banking information to seal your identity. ● Beware of price differences, for example a designer hand bag for $19.99 which sells at Macy’s for $125.00 is, in all likelihood, fake. ● The old saying: “If it is to good to be true, it is.” applied back in the day and still does today. Shopping online can really simplify your holiday preparations if it is done with caution and due diligence. Article by: Sandy Glover, All American Tenant Screening Results you can trust. Stay current with my monthly articles…

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When are Budgets due?

When are Budgets due?

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2015
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Within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year, or annually on such date provided in the bylaws, the association must have prepared a financial report on the financial activities of the preceding fiscal year. Within 21 days after the financial report is completed, but no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year, the board must provide each member with a copy of the financial report or, at a minimum, provide written notice that a copy of the financial report is available upon request, at no charge to the members. The financial report must consist of a complete set of financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The level of financial reporting that must be prepared by the board is based on the total annual revenue (including reserves) of the association, as follows:   1. An association with total annual revenues of $150,000 or more, but less than $300,000, shall prepare compiled financial statements. 2. An association with total annual revenues of at least $300,000, but less than $500,000, shall prepare reviewed financial statements. 3. An association with total revenues of $500,000 or more shall prepare audited financial statements. 4. An association with total annual revenues of less than $150,000 shall prepare a report of cash receipts and expenditures.   Interestingly, if the board desires to raise the level of financial reporting, it may be increased without membership approval by board action alone, unless the governing documents provide otherwise. In addition, if the board is not inclined to approve a heightened level of reporting, but the members want to do so, then upon twenty (20%) percent of the parcel owners petitioning the board to increase the level of financial reporting from that required by Statute for that fiscal year, the board must notice and hold a membership meeting within thirty (30) days of receipt of the petition. To raise the level of financial reporting, a majority of members present at such meeting must cast their vote in favor of doing so.   However, lowering the reporting threshold is a different matter entirely because only the members can make that decision. To accomplish this, a majority of members present at a properly noticed membership meeting must cast their vote in favor of lowering the level of financial reporting. The meeting must take place prior to the end of the fiscal year in question.  …

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