Floridians are no strangers to tropical storms and hurricanes, but many still fail to take the proper precautions every season, including community associations. It is never too early to prepare your community for hurricanes, but there is a point where it can be too late. Here are 3 simple things to keep in mind as you prepare for the hurricane season!
The board of directors and community manager should review the insurance policy for the association as soon as possible. When reviewing, it is critical to understand the policy’s duration, deductibles, and exclusions in coverage. It is recommended that you contact your insurance agent for clarification on any terms which are unclear. Ensuring the proper coverage now can save the Association a lot of money in the future.
Unfortunately, a hurricane does not revolve its scheduled around board meetings. Therefore, a board should understand when an emergency decision can be made without a meeting.
In addition to insurance policies, board members should review the governing documents and Florida Statute to understand when and how emergency powers can be exercised. In order for the board to take action, there must be a vote conducted at a duly noticed meeting. Unfortunately, a hurricane does not revolve its scheduled around board meetings. Therefore, a board should understand when an emergency decision can be made without a meeting.
It will be helpful to take updated photos of the community in case an insurance claim must be filed. These photographs should be time and date stamped and should be stored electronically by the community manager.
Hurricanes have the power to cause massive damage to communities usually from fallen trees or debris. The Association has the responsible to repair and maintain certain areas within the community. Depending on your documents, the Association can be responsible for entrance gates, landscaping, or even rooftops.
Ensuring that known common area damage is repaired, or maintenance is completed prior to a hurricane can prevent serious damage to the community and its members. Associations should also communicate to its members to repair any damage to their property and remove any debris which may cause damage from the high winds. Fully securing or moving loose items from outdoor locations should be done by the Association and homeowners.
It is recommended that hard copies of official records be kept in a water-resistant container above ground level.
Having both electronic copies and hard copies of association records are good practice for an association, but especially in preparing for storms. It is recommended that hard copies of official records be kept in a water-resistant container above ground level. In the event electricity is unavailable, resorting to hard copies will be the only solution. If the hard copies become damaged by water or fire, electronic copies can be obtained for review.