By the People, For the People
Did You Know?
Our community is governed by a set of rules called by-laws. Every homeowner should have a copy of these. There are two books that have a yellow cover with the Quatraine logo.. If you didn't get a set when you moved into your home, then you need to call the property manager.
Besides the by-laws, there is the Florida Statutes section 720 which covers homeowner associations. This section provides information about how a homeowners association is run. A link is provided here. The by-laws and section 720 are what the board of directors use to run the community.
Florida Statutes 720
Those looking for official information about rebuilding their shadow box fence can go here.
Shadow box fence is 5 feet tall. 3 rails with 4x4" posts every 5-8 feet. The posts are anchored into the ground with concrete.
Did you know there are 170 homes in the community?
I've been on the board of QIII since 02/28/2006, including the master association. I've learned a lot about boards and would like to share that information with everyone. There are books on how to run an effective board, but they don't cover the real life examples. I will explain the pit falls of boards and how to correct them. This is only my opinion on the subject.
1. Boards fail when they turn over control
to the property manager. Board members need to stay hands on.
2. The president is the one the property manager pays most attention too. This should not happen, but it does.
3. The best way to monitor spending is to enter all checks into Excel and let all board members review them.
4. Do not hire a property manager that owns their vendors. This causes a conflict of interest.
5. Vendors usually slack off after getting into a routine. They go through the motions in order to collect a check each month. That's why boards switch vendors and property managers, to shake things up.
A board is the smallest form of government.
Board members are not paid, they do it to "make a difference" in the community.
Let's review the forms of government and that will put things in perspective.
1. Federal Government - The USA
2. State Government - State of Florida
3. County Government - Broward County
4. City Government - City of Plantation
5. Quatraine III HOA - The board, run by homeowners who volunteer. Most stay on for 3 years, then never do it again. Call it your community service. Some stay on longer. The reason I'm on the board is to figure out why it's so complicated and to communicate with the homeowners. It's complicated because an HOA is a form of government. Politics are involved, even at this small level.
Board meetings happen every 2 or 3 months. What I've found is these meetings get side tracked by un-important issues, which drag on and makes everyone want to leave. The attention span of most people at these meetings is about 10 minutes. After that everyone wants to leave and go home, yet there are important issues to discuss, and the meeting can drag on for an hour. Board members will speak up and mention things that need to be repaired. Most of these requests are written down by the property manager, then nothing happens. When it comes to getting bids, the rule you hear about is 3 bids. Yet this rarely happens because it's a lot of work to get bids from vendors. That's why property managers usually have a group of vendors they already work with to do most jobs. This can be a good and bad thing. Good if the vendor is established and gives fair prices, bad if the vendor is going through the motions to collect a check or if the property manager owns the vendor.
Big projects (such as tree trimming) are usually botched because the property manager doesn't come on site to watch the work being done. They don't have to be on site the entire time, because some jobs can take a few days to complete. But they do need to be onsite each day and work with the vendor. Why is it so hard for the property manager to be onsite for a big job? Because they have other problems they are dealing with. They have to deal with 10+ problems and each one can take hours to solve. Property management companies fail because they hire a CAM, and dump 30+ properties on them. That's why most boards look to hire a property manager who is small in terms of how many communities they are dealing with.
Plantation is known as a tree city. The reality is that most people's jaws drop when ever you talk about trimming trees. Why? Because it's just about impossible to trim trees without getting in trouble or having to follow strict rules. These rules are actually started from Broward County, and upped to the extreme by the city. What does this cause? Boards don't trim trees as much because the arborists come out and don't do much. If you try to mention this to county or city officials, they point fingers at each other. So it's really a waste of money to trim trees in the City of Plantation because of the strict rules they have. You can't trim more that 25%. What happens is arborists come out and remove a couple branches from the middle of the trees, but don't round them off or reduce the size. Nurseries also don't like to sell to homeowners in Plantation looking to replant trees. Why? Because of the strict rules, I found this out first hand when I was required to replace two trees around my home.
What tips can I give you to run a better board? Stay hands on and get all board members involved. Take the checks home with you and enter them into Excel before signing them. Use the bank statement to verify the checks and keep track of your operating and reserve account balances. Track the deposits by asking for a deposit detail from the property manager. Publish your rules and regulations by sending them out with a news letter to all homeowners. This let's everyone know the violations to watch out for.
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