Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Science Behind Picking Up After Your Pet

The Science Behind Picking Up After Your Pet  

Who hasn't experienced the nose-pinching displeasure of having to hose off a shoe after stepping into a pile of a neighbor's thoughtlessness? But the inconvenience left behind by folks not picking up after their pets is only a small part of the story.

Did You Know:

∙ Giardia, salmonella and E. coli are only some of the contaminants that can flourish in animal waste, and can be transmitted to both humans and animals via storm-water runoff and ingestion of infected groundwater.  

∙ Animal waste contains high levels of nitrogen, which following a rain often gets into nearby ponds, lakes and canals, and depletes oxygen. This toxicity can wipe out fish and underwater grasses and promote algae blooms.  

∙ Remember warnings not to run barefoot outdoors or suffer "worms"? While as kids our imagined version of the offending critters might not have been entirely accurate, round- and hookworm can thrive for long, long periods in waste and surrounding grass, and can transmit to humans.  

At CAMS, we thank you for picking up after your pet and know your neighbors appreciate it too.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

Electricity: The Power in You 

Universal Precautions for Staying Safe

Electricity is one of the most helpful resources in existence. It's also one of the most dangerous. But if you follow the following safety measures, your chances of suffering a home fire or electrical shock and injury drop dramatically.  
  • Never overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
  • Never plug in any cord that is cracked, frayed or otherwise damaged or that gets hot to the touch.
  • Never allow cords to crimp against walls or furniture, or run them under rugs or across doorways, and never hang them over nails.
  • Replace old or damaged outlets with modern, grounded, 3-wired, polarized receptacles.
  • Never cut off or bend the ground pin of a three-pronged plug.
  • Never alter the wide prong of a polarized plug to fit a narrower outdated outlet.
  • Always protect young children from electrical shock by installing plastic safety inserts in unused outlets.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Are you prepared in the event of a major storm?

Article Written BY:
Jayme Gelfand, PCAM
Vice President, Relationship Market Manager
BB&T Association Services
19631 State Road 7
Boca Raton, FL 33498-4766
(561) 251-1980

Preparation is the hallmark of good management practices.  The official hurricane season runs from June 1 through October 31. To prepare for storm related events it is best to have a plan in place prior to hurricane season for your communities. To help you take this import step, we have created a checklist of some preparation items you should include. Take the time now; if a disaster affects your community, you will be glad you did.

Having a line of credit is one of the most important actions you can take to allow for available resources to make quick decisions on repairs and fund unplanned expenses.

  • Fund reserves at least partially; the absence of any cash reserves will hinder an association’s ability to make a deposit to an available contractor Consider a special reserve to fund insurance deductibles and/or items not covered
  • Consider making arrangements for a line of credit with your bank, so that you will have available cash to meet emergencies and secure contractors
  • Consider applying for an association credit card to allow managers to purchase preparations or recovery items
  • Seek a loan from your bank for reconstruction or upgrades to property including storm proof windows and shutters
  • Review current investments in CDARS, ICS or Certificates of Deposit; know the maturities and consider shorter terms or non-renewals during recovery if funds might be needed to avoid early closing penalties
  • Communicate with your banker if your association or management company is closed  
  • Know all of the available payment methods for your homeowners and remind them in the event one of the methods is unavailable:
    • US Mail – Local post offices may be closed or mail not delivered
    • Local Branch – If power or internet is out in certain areas, does the local branch accept payments?
    • Online payments by credit or debit card or eCheck – Are you enrolled to allow your homeowners to pay online to avoid mail delays?
    • ACH – Encourage automatic payment to avoid mail delays and internet outage interruptions
    • Bill Pay – Advise homeowners to use their bank or a bill-pay vendor to initiate payments online
  • Recognize that because of storm related damage including post office delays and power outages, you may receive fewer payments during this time or homeowners may be late on payments
  • Use online banking services to transfer funds, monitor account balances and retrieve bank statements – Be sure you know your online access information
  • Keep a printed copy of the banks contact information to use in the event you cannot obtain electronically

  • Request your insurance carrier to conduct an engineering review of your facilities
  • Gain a clear understanding of items not covered by insurance
  • Require an annual board review of the deductible amounts of all insurance policies and consider informing all unit owners of the results
  • Remind owners of the limits of the association’s responsibilities

  • Develop an emergency plan to contact board members and managers immediately should a dangerous situation develop; remember, the first responsibility of the association board is to take the appropriate steps to secure the property
  • Prepare alternative means of communication; phone, text, email
  • Prepare staff
  • Monitor school closures for their impact on staffing levels
  • Reassign staff from closed offices to assist other functions
  • Secure important papers and sensitive information and back up records
  • Create a hurricane or storm preparedness guide for homeowners that includes reminders of insurance, evacuation, pet arrangements etc.
  • Consider allowing board members emergency board powers in the event of a disaster
  • Know your bylaws and your state statues regarding rights and claims

§  Conduct regular roof inspections
§  Inquire if roofing contractor offers annual inspection/maintenance program
§  If your association is facing roof replacement in the near future, consider alternative style and materials
§  Consider an independent engineering study of your buildings, especially if the building is more than 10 years old; schedule updates on a recurring basis
§  Pay attention to carports, which typically are not as stable as other structures
§  Develop a building evacuation plan
§  Prune large trees and shrubs before hurricane season arrives
§  If your association has rules covering the allowable parking locations for boats, trailers, golf carts, etc., police rules regularly
§  Protect association machinery, equipment, and business records
§  Consider rules concerning personal property on lanais and decks
§  Prepare common areas such as club house or pool and secure items
§  Create an open lot to stockpile tree debris
§  Energy failures are one of the biggest results of a storm. Electrical power outages can compromise elevators, air conditioning and other critical systems
§  Take pictures or video of the facility and preparation conditions

§  Review your business partner and vendor contracts and know what to expect
§  Maintain a healthy business relationship with your service providers and vendors.  Courteous behavior and prompt payment of their bills will go a long way to assure their timely response when you really need them
§  Engage a tree-trimming company with an agreement that the association would be its top response priority in the event of hurricane or storm related damage. 
§  Secure appropriate vendors that can aid immediately after a storm
§  Obtain bids if major reconstruction is necessary.  This process could take months working with engineers and contractors before actual cost is determined. 

Being proactive is the best way to show an association you are working in their best interest. Don’t wait until there is no water, no electricity and trees are falling all around you.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

It's HOA Annual Meeting Time 

To Stay in the Know, You've Got to Go!

At CAMS, we highly recommend attending your community's annual meetings. Staying engaged gives you knowledge about your community, which gives you power.  

Often, important items addressed at HOA meetings include election of board directors, budget ratification, annual assessments and other votes critical to the year ahead.  

You may not be particularly fond of meetings. But if you can manage the time and gumption to attend your HOA's annual meetings, you'll be more knowledgeable about your community and quite possibly afforded the opportunity to effect change in the place in which you live.   

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fifth Annual Readers’ Choice Award Winners Announced

March 1, 2018—Florida Community Association Journal magazine announced its fifth annual Readers’ Choice Award winners in the March 2018 issue of the magazine with an expanded section profiling notable winners for the year.

One of the more notable Dimond level winners was:

Community Association Management Systems, Inc.
1037 S. State Road 7
Suite 302
Wellington, FL 33414

The FLCAJ Readers’ Choice Awards is a unique recognition program that shines a spotlight on the positive and productive contributions by community association service providers across Florida. They are presented to service providers that demonstrate through their commitment to the community associations they serve an exemplary level of proficiency, reliability, fairness, and integrity.

Since being founded in 2013, the Awards have grown every year, with more than 390 service providers nominated for this year’s awards and more than 7,500 votes cast.

There is no fee to enter the Awards and the entire submission process is done online. Winners are chosen based solely on the total number of votes.

For more information, please visit

Monday, March 5, 2018

Creative Low-Cost to No-Cost Ways to Avoid a Break-In    

Think Like a Bad Guy to Deter Burglary

While most folks are familiar with basic home security---things like high-quality locks and a monitored security system---there are numerous creative low-cost to no-cost ways to deter the bad guys. But you have to think like a burglar.  

Consider incorporating some of the following 10 items to help keep your home secure whether you're away for a few minutes, a few days or all season.  
  1. Monitored, closed-circuit cameras are great, but they're also expensive. At a glance, fake cameras can deter criminals, especially kids and other inexperienced thieves.
  2. Stop delivery on mail and newspapers or enlist a neighbor to pick them up daily. Also ask your neighbor to clear your porch of flyers and menus if they're left by solicitors. And don't leave boxes for new items by the curb, particularly electronics. They're like signage announcing "Great Stuff to Steal Inside." 
  3. Keep your landscape neat and grass manicured when you're away. Nothing says you're not home like an uncut lawn .
  4. Install timers on interior and exterior lights and even on your television.
  5. Pretend to say goodbye to someone inside every time you leave to deter anyone possibly casing your home.
  6. Don't leave your ladder outdoors and help a potential burglar gain easier access to an upper entrance or window.
  7. Angle interior mirrors away from the control panel of your security system so as not to offer thieves the opportunity to study your alarm from outside.
  8. Don't list status updates on social media. Nothing announces to the world that you're not home quite like a public online post announcing that you're not home.
  9. Display generic security system signage and decals. But don't use signs branded by the company that monitors your system. Putting a thief in touch with your monitoring company can help them work around your alarm.
  10. Pack up your car before departing on a trip in the privacy of your garage with the door closed. Again, avoid announcing to anyone who happens to see that you're leaving. 
Fortunately, burglars are essentially lazy opportunists. In most cases, it's not your home in particular they're looking to burglarize; it's any home that provides easy access. Give the bad guys a reason to avoid yours, and they likely will. But you have to put on your thinking cap---or in this case, your hoodie and dark glasses---and think like a burglar.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Why Serve on Your Board? Here are 10 Great Reasons

Some are Drawn to be Involved. Others Not. No Matter Which Way You Lean, Consider the Following Reasons to Volunteer for Your HOA Board: 
1. To protect property values and maintain quality of community.
2. To correct a specific problem like a parking or maintenance issue.
3. To give back to your community and neighbors.
4. To be sociable by meeting your neighbors and making friends.
5. To advance your career and build your resume.
6. To help fill your time and have fun taking part in a large, positive project.
7. To educate yourself on the many facets of running a community association.
8. To express yourself and design creative solutions to residential issues.
9. To earn recognition and satisfaction in a job well done.
10. To give back to your community, your home, the place in which you live and derive pleasure, comfort and security.  

Not to mention, of course, that there's a very good chance your neighborhood association could use your help. Strong board members seem to be in demand these days.   

GET INVOLVED TIP: For many communities, HOA annual meetings are now beginning. This is the perfect time to inquire about a position on the board, or even just to attend a budget meeting, for example, to see where your monthly dues are being spent and how the decision process works.