01.19.2024 | Webcasts & Podcasts

The Marcus Hour | Ep. 12 | 1.19.24 | Top 10 Things Managers and Boards Should Know for 2024

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Jake Marcus: Alrighty.

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Jake Marcus: So as people start to come in.

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Jake Marcus: we welcome you to the twelfth edition of the Marcus hour. This one’s a exciting

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webinar that we’ll be discussing a lot of the

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Jake Marcus: recent developments and what to look for as property managers, as board members, as unit owners, basically, all the biggest developments in

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Jake Marcus: the condo world and what to look for in 2024. So we have, Steven, Marcus.

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Jake Marcus: Introduce yourself, Steven.

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Stephen Marcus: Steven. Marcus. II work for Jake, Marcus

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Stephen Marcus: Jake has admitted in both Massachusetts and Florida.

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Stephen Marcus: and I think we have a cross section of people from both the North East, and from Florida, and probably a lot

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Stephen Marcus: that we can learn from larder on some of the topics we’re gonna be discussing.

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Jake Marcus: That’s right. That’s right, Stephen. There’s a lot of topics that are progressing in Florida, and even though it seems like it’s just a Florida issue and a lot of our seminars. We would warn people in New England and other States that

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Jake Marcus: if it happens in Florida that’s usually the Mecca for Condo related issues, and it will most likely make its make its way throughout the nation and up the coast and into the northeast. So we’re going to get into the top 10 topics. And we have a busy session today. So let’s talk right into it. Yeah, do you? Wanna even though this is a

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Stephen Marcus: firm webinar. Yeah, we’re both big fans. of

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Stephen Marcus: the Community Association Institute, which is a national nonprofit with an office. And in New England a chapter in New England, Jake, do you wanna give? That? Couldn’t be on the call to give an introduction. But we think, everybody should be members of Cai. There’s a lot of value to. It’s fairly minimal cost. You want to give up

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Jake Marcus: introduction. Yes. So if if you are in this webinar. there’s a good chance that you would benefit from being a member or participating in Cai Cai is the Community Community Associations Institute.

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Jake Marcus: and we are part of the Cai New England, which is headed up by Claudette Karini as well as Cai South, the South, East Florida, and we represent throughout Florida as well. There are about 3 chapters in Florida that are also worth joining. Cai. New England, in particular. Is was established in 1979, is one of the largest chapters in the country.

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It has a a monthly publication called Condom Media

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Jake Marcus: Which addresses the timely issues and current challenges in the condo world which we hope to do today in our seminar, and really just is is really good educational resource for anyone who has an interest in this area. And clearly, if you are at this seminar, this lovely Friday morning

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Jake Marcus: you have some type of connection with the condol world, and it is, it is definitely worth pursuing further and seeing what we can do to help you with getting involved with Cai. They have national events. They have local events, golf tournaments different type of happy hour events and and and the like. They have

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Jake Marcus: online things, resources that you can use and and plenty to do so. If you have any questions about Cai Ci, New England CIA Florida. Please feel free to reach out to us. We can get you in touch with

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Jake Marcus: Claudette Karini. And if you’re a part of the New England chapter, and it would be a a a a great benefit to you to to join and that’s kind of our plug for Ci. It’s it’s it’s a worthwhile endeavor. And we’ll get to this this, this very important seminar today about

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Jake Marcus: the top 10 issues of 2024 and if you’re like me, it’s it’s probably your. Your. Your. The time is going too quick. It seems like it was just Christmas and New Year’s yesterday. But we’re already hitting the ground, running with

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Jake Marcus: everything that comes with the New Year. And with that

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Jake Marcus: we are. Have these new goals, new aspirations, everything that you need to know for this year. And that includes what you need to know is a as a property manager and a board for 2024. So we’re gonna get into the top 10 issues or what we consider the top 10 issues for this year and this. And if you wanna kinda take a look at that, and you know it might differ, depending on what your associations dealing with, what your clients are dealing with.

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Jake Marcus: What you’re dealing with as a unit owner directly. But this is generally what we see as the biggest issues that you need to know legal issues that you need to know. And and and what are you gonna do to address them? How? What’s the latest? And and how can we? How can we help? How can you? How can who can you reach out to to help. And and you know, as as volunteer board members, I think that’s one of the biggest issues.

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Jake Marcus: sometimes it’s hard to navigate and figure out what is most important on a day to day basis. So we’re here to kind of streamline that for you, and go from there. So just to give you a rundown, we’re gonna go through the corporate transparency act.

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Jake Marcus: Condo blacklist. If you haven’t heard of either of these that is okay th, these are, these are new and developing topics. But they’re developing quickly and very important to be ahead of insurance insurance premiums.

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Jake Marcus: structural and facade inspections. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lending guidelines, reserve requirements common expense assessments that that is also known as collections, budgets repairs and improvements finds and unit owner misconduct.

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Jake Marcus: So first topic we’re gonna get to is the corporate transparency act.

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Jake Marcus: That’s scary has the federal financial crimes enforcement network logo on the side raise your hand. I guess you can’t raise your hand.

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Jake Marcus: I’m get. If I were to guess, and if you and and ask if you could raise your hand and say, if you knew about the corporate Transparency Act, I’m guessing a lot of you would probably not raise your hand.

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Jake Marcus: Would you agree, Stephen?

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Stephen Marcus: Oh, someone did III agree. But I think yeah,

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Stephen Marcus: people gonna be hearing about it

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Stephen Marcus: pretty quickly. For example, mass was weekly headed as a lead feature in their Monday edition. So it’s gonna move quickly to the top of the list.

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Jake Marcus: Okay? And I’m saying I am seeing a lot of hands raised. So that’s good. Yeah. So so it’s definitely an emerging topic. And as of January first, 2024, it’s effective.

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Jake Marcus: There is. And and basically what it is meant to do. It reports basically members of

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Jake Marcus: companies or corporations or Llc’s or other entities that are created. And

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Jake Marcus: the the purpose that that we’re being told is that it is to prevent anti laundering terrorist financing corruption, fraud and other illicit activity. And the basically the Us. Corporate entities will be required to report to the Us. Treasury’s Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Finsen, and this is under the corporate transparency act.

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Jake Marcus: we believe. And it’s it’s still a little bit, you know, of a gray area, because it is an emerging topic. We believe that this does apply to condos because those are corporations not for profit corporations which will need to file the the the the

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Stephen Marcus: who their directors are, as far as the the corporate Transparency Act. Also, just to know, because Massachusetts uses typically has trustees versus

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Stephen Marcus: corporations or trust versus corporations. Our reading of the Corporate Transparency Act is that by filing the declaration of trust with the Registry of Deeds that they that all kind of mediums and homeowner associations are under an obligation to report, not just those that are in in corporate it.

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Stephen Marcus: We we also believe, for the for those who are saying, Why would the Federal Government care about kind of many associations of all things for money laundering.

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Stephen Marcus: But I think, yeah. Well, Ci National is attempting to get kind of minimum associations and homeowner associations exempted. My feeling is that the Federal Government and fencer is gonna say that money laundering can happen, and all sorts of days, and that kind of one

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Stephen Marcus: I see somebody ask the question about the the trust versus corporation. Well, we, we believe that the trust by reporting it

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Stephen Marcus: with the Registry of Deeds. Even though it’s not with the Secretary of State. Is an entity which is required to comply with the act and submit a under a secure portal. The information required of the act

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Stephen Marcus: which is, gonna include some information that trustees and board members might be reluctant to give. But the Government assures us that it is secure. But it’s gonna be the individual full legal name, birthday, residential address, and image of a drive, drivers, license, or us passport. We received another question, what about the management companies that aren’t incorporated?

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Stephen Marcus: So II feel like that this one back and forth on does the management company exert substantial influence over the Condominium Association or Hoa I believe. Though we’ve heard both arguments

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Stephen Marcus: is that management companies and property managers are not required to report under the Act

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Stephen Marcus: as to the Condominium Association, or Ho a. As a management company, they probably have an obligation to to Re to report, but not in their role as managing agents, and there’s exception in the

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Stephen Marcus: in the act for agents not having to report. So we believe that as they

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Stephen Marcus: yeah Condominium board, that is kind of have to report this information and not the property managers.

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Jake Marcus: A. And II think, just as another part for the property management companies. However, they’ll have to report as well

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Jake Marcus: separately for their and individual entities. It involves every entity. So it would also be important if you if you’re involved with, then this is uncondo related. But if you’re involved with another entity Llc. Corporation.

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Jake Marcus: those have to report as well. This applies to, and this is the biggest thing this is affecting is small businesses and that wades into our area of Condola

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Jake Marcus: and

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Jake Marcus: to to where we can help is we do have a secure portal. You wanna make sure these are being done correctly. We’ve already, even though this was just into effect. January first, 2024. This is something that is already in this tech world that we live in, already experiencing some

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Stephen Marcus: hacking and fraud issues. So so we have a secure portal on our website, which we’re happy to share and and making sure it’s done correctly not to, you know. It’s already a kind of daunting issue enough. But to to to add in the the issue of cyber security, that’s just a more, a more generic issue.

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Stephen Marcus: The Association were created prior to January first, 2024. The reporting date is by January first, 2025. So essentially have until the end of December of this year to to report.

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Stephen Marcus: But our thinking is that the requirements are not likely to change, to exempt associations.

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Stephen Marcus: and therefore, to avoid millions of tens of millions of people reporting on December 30, first, 2024.

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Stephen Marcus: We believe that there’s no good reason not to do the reporting now the form that the government wants filled out is available, and I guess there’s no time for the presence, and you can check it off your list as something that you

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Stephen Marcus: in compliance with versus waiting until December 30, first, 2024. One additional item is that every time there’s new a new election. There’s additional reporting requirements, because you have to report the new

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Stephen Marcus: Board members to the Government as as well. So this will be painful at the beginning, but I think association will get used to it. And yeah, maybe time to move on to the condo black. Let’s check.

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Jake Marcus: Well, yeah. And I’m just gonna

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Jake Marcus: send out to everyone a link to our secure portal. That should give you. I mean it. It gives you a taste of what to expect, what we do. But yeah, I mean, this is gonna be the the biggest thing is to take away from this is beneficial owners are the ones who will be

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Jake Marcus: conducting, you know, or will have to be

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Jake Marcus: reporting on this. You know. And and then, as Steven mentioned one. And how this is effective. January first, you have until January first, 2025 and just to give another kind of a word of caution. How will the Cta be enforced? Violations of the reporting requirements, including

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Jake Marcus: civil penal, could include civil penalties 500 per day, not to exceed $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 2 years. And and yes, but before moving to 2.

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Stephen Marcus: But to give at least my overview of these 10 items, and I assume probably Jake’s is

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Stephen Marcus: it is unfortunate, but it’s become very difficult with regulations. Danny May, Freddie Mac issues in the insurance world without availability or extreme price. Spikes in in insurance

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Stephen Marcus: it is especially difficult, difficult, and is going to be more difficult than 2024 to be a volunteer board member for your kind of minimum association, or to be property managers who are responsible or expected at least by the boards, whether they right or wrong, to know all these regulations and issues and how to deal with them.

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Stephen Marcus: But the bad news is that it’s tougher in 2024 to be a board member, the or manager. Then maybe it was 1020, or 30 years ago. With that take you want to go to the condo black list which is the condo blacklist? And this is another important emerging area that has been

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Jake Marcus: at least in the last month or 2 has has had some more favorable information or to areas that come out. Basically,

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Stephen Marcus: I’m sorry question came up, but I think a lot of people will have it about what the presentation be available next week. Tuesday, Wednesday Dina from our office will email, all registrants a copy of this Powerpoint. So yes, you will have it so you can share it with your other board members.

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Jake Marcus: Sorry for interrupting. Yes, so the the next topic is the condo blacklist. And this is a it’s called a condo blacklist. It’s also called an unavailable list. It is essentially a list that has been

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Jake Marcus: ongoing since September 2,003, which is

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Jake Marcus: Fannie Mae’s list of associations or condos that have been unable to or put on a list that because they’re unable to obtain lending and now this is important and and mainly developed because of

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Jake Marcus: or has become more important because of the Champlain Towers surf side collapse. Unfortunately, that resulted in the deaths of 98 people, and lenders were starting to get more and more worried. About this about

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Jake Marcus: lending and and and and lenders were nervous to basically give out loans to associations with you know, because of structural integrity, because of failure to maintain proper reserve requirements. And we’ll get to all of that as we go through this session.

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Jake Marcus: cause. This is this is actually a huge topic in Florida, where the the law is already in effect, to comply with certain reserve requirements to comply with certain

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Jake Marcus: structural integrity, requirements, inspections and the like, and that is most likely gonna make its way up throughout the nation. As to the blacklist in particular.

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Jake Marcus: it’s no coincidence. Probably a third of the list is Florida associations

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Jake Marcus: our our, so our firm has obtained a copy of the Blacklist as of December 2023 and we have been successful at getting associations off the list.

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Jake Marcus: The reasons why you end up on it vary from, you know the the ones I mentioned. Structural integrity

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Jake Marcus: reserve requirements. But just to go through them one is, if if I believe this is actually 35, if it’s greater than 35 commercial and that is by square footage of the condo. If it’s a condo tell or transient property. So we see a lot of these hotels. And you know, there’s a lot in downtown Miami. There’s some it throughout

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Jake Marcus: throughout New Boston. Some of these high rises are hotels, but they’re also condos. there’s a also insufficient budget is another reason, insufficient reserves, the 10% rule that’s gonna go into effect. And it also relates to deferred maintenance special assessments. If there, if it’s 15% of the owners are delinquent. That’s usually a red flag. As to being put on the blacklist if there’s critical repairs needed. That’s another reason, that kind of ties directly into structural

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integrity

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Jake Marcus: inadequate insurance which we’re gonna get to in the next slide. And con. If there’s ongoing construction litigation. And and now this is important. Because if you’re on the black list, it’s obviously not something you wanna be on but it makes basically results in condos it. It basically means that the condos are ineligible for financing, at least for Fannie Mae back mortgages.

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Jake Marcus: you can go to local lenders and try to do it that way. But long and short of it is, if you’re on the list, you wanna end up off of it. We’ve been successful at getting associations off the list. If you’re not on it, you wanna make sure you’re doing the right things to avoid getting on the list and we have been able to discuss certain strategies. Sometimes it’s as simple as you know. If it’s a structural, you need an inspection or instructional integrity report done.

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Jake Marcus: It’s simple as that. Sometimes it’s a little more nuanced, and you have to get more in the weeds. And we’re we’re we’re happy to work with, you know, filling out the London questionnaires. And and going from there but it is a case by case basis. Not every association is built equally and this is an important topic, just to know that. If you’re on it, how to get off of it if you’re not on it

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Jake Marcus: ways to avoid getting put on it. And just to be add another layer. We we have been at the forefront of this area our firm, and Fannie Mae is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have agreed to be more transparent

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Jake Marcus: with these lists. So there will be more transparency the the the may be the biggest issue we saw is associations didn’t know if they were even on the list, basically until they applied for a loan, or if they where to request or or or reach out to our firm and ask if they were on the list. That didn’t seem like a very

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Jake Marcus: a fair way for associations to know about this. So we’ve been really at the forefront of trying to raise awareness in this this

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Jake Marcus: pretty important topic.

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Stephen Marcus: II expect that Freddy says Friday back says that by February 26 it should have a way for

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Stephen Marcus: folks to search the list. What’s interesting with Freddie Mac is first, they said, we never had the list because of the pressure put on for telling people how to get off the list. They now said they will have a their compiling a list and in

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Stephen Marcus: their regulations or their announcement, they said, by February 26, that should be available, I think Fanny May said. In this next quarter. So sometime between before box thirty-onest.

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Stephen Marcus: So the mystery should add at that point. So people know what they have to do to get see if they’re analysts and how to get off it.

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Jake Marcus: Yeah, there’s a question. Regard is the existence of a special assessment alone the criteria, or does it become the criteria? Only if 15 of the owners are delinquent, special assessment alone would not, would not result in a would not result in being put on the black list. But but but if you have a special assessment that’s based on a

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Stephen Marcus: negative structural inspection, so let’s say that you have something like surf side the surf side, Florida, where shambles south on June 20, fourth, 2021 pancake going tragically, 98 people.

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Stephen Marcus: If an engineer goes out and and tells you that you have 15 to $1220,000,000 worth of construction defects, then, when you answer, this is a special assessment, Danny and Freddie are gonna or the local lender who services that are gonna be asking for more details. So they determine whether it makes

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Stephen Marcus: the condominium knowledgeable, but not just because of the special assessment, but because the underlying Co reason is substantial distraction defects. And and we got another question. Well, the list indicate the reason they’re on the black list. And yes, that it it does something already does. Yeah, it already does.

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Jake Marcus: And

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Jake Marcus: the yeah, and it, it varies between these 9 reasons, but it can be a little more nuanced, and that’s where you know you. And the thing is with the attorneys can only do so much. And I’m state in the obvious, I guess. But

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Jake Marcus: we try to get you in touch with, or or whoever you work with, to get off the blacklist we work with.

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Jake Marcus: you know, the right insurance agent to make sure your insurance is correct. The engineers to get the right inspections in place. You know a reserve specialist to conduct a reserve study that’s gonna be required in Florida will likely end up being required in Massachusetts, New England States as well. You know different things to

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Jake Marcus: kind of do a temperature check on your association. If you haven’t already done it, even if you’re on the list or not. It’s important to do. Check in with insurance agents. Check in with the engineers. See what inspections need to be performed. And what have you? And we got another question. We’re gonna have a problem keeping up with the questions, Jake. But if I can add

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Stephen Marcus: one more. One more thing to that, and then maybe ask that question. But I think we’re gonna have to move on because we’re only a number number number 2 is the other thing that we can help you with is, if you’re on the list, for example, for having too much commercial space, we don’t have a way for getting you off

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Stephen Marcus: getting you under 35%. But perhaps we can approach local lenders. Who would be, lo willing to hold loans on their own to to give to get mortgage loans

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Jake Marcus: and to get financing that way, Jake, you wanna ask that question. And then I think we have to move. It was, it’s similar. Yeah, we will get to these questions. It is a similar question. It’s about the percentage or number of units. Does that result in automatically being on the black list? If you you know, have hotels or or rentals, short term rentals

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Jake Marcus: it wouldn’t be if you have 1 one person who’s renting out for 30 days. That’s not, gonna or for a weekend that’s not gonna result in being put on the black list.

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Jake Marcus: we’ll get to. I see some other good questions

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Stephen Marcus: when we send you the Powerpoint. Jake’s gonna cut and paste all your questions. and we’re gonna answer all the questions

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Stephen Marcus: so next week, Tuesday or Wednesday, not only will you receive this Powerpoint, but you’ll also get answers to the questions both that we’ve already answered and that we’ll get to. But I think we have to move on to insurance and share experience. Yes. And yeah, we encourage questions. But for the for interest of time, and we’ll get to them just maybe not during this hour.

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Stephen Marcus: So so on insurance. my worst is, I’m doing some consulting for some associations out in Montana. Big sky country Yellowstone country very expensive high end units. Just give one example into terms of where the insurance market is going, and Montana is one of those States with

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the serious issues with wildfires

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Stephen Marcus: is condominium. Then 2020 had premiums of $58,000 per insurance in 2023 now has premiums of $673,000 for insurance, and which is more excluding of of coverage. So $620,000 increase is something that’s gonna get

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Stephen Marcus: get your attention. So there’s one or 2 things that can happen that could be traumatic increases, or that can be exclusions. For example, some of the properties

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Stephen Marcus: in wild wildfire country of California in in Montana and other places. And II think there are wildfires in Virginia. Is there a policies being issued, whether excluding Wildfire. And obviously it’s a problem if you don’t have if you condominium doesn’t have insurance

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Stephen Marcus: for fire So

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Stephen Marcus: one of the things that we’re saying, possibly happening is although since 1979 associations have been ensuring more and more of the fixtures inside the unit the cabin cabinets, appliances for coverage, while coverings, etc. There are now some associations which are

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Stephen Marcus: looking into the idea of doing a full shift away from what we call all in coverage to basically go to be a walls coverage where the unit owner is responsible for ensuring all those within his or her unit.

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Stephen Marcus: and with an appropriate HO. 6. In some cases H. But with appropriate amounts of coverage, a loss assessment coverage.

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Stephen Marcus: We’re not sure yet if there’s gonna be a savings and premiums of amending that way. But it is being explored, and so far it seems like Carrie, is that issue policies for the homeowners versus the commercial properties to the associations

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Stephen Marcus: have not been as brutal in terms of making exclusions for fire or dramatic increases so overall. It may be a cost savings for the owners and the Association.

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Stephen Marcus: and it would get the association of manages away from dealing with the claims for damages to units, and, most importantly, would get the association away from damage to units where there is no coverage, because the carrier wouldn’t wouldn’t cover it.

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Jake Marcus: Excellent. And yeah, insurance. I mean just to go back to the, you know, sound like a broken record. But it it’s true. A lot of issues that occur in Florida end up making their way up

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Jake Marcus: throughout the nation. Insurance is a huge crisis in Florida

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Jake Marcus: or it seems like more of a crisis than a comparative to other States. Might be true. But that being said reasons why and the reason for that is, you know, the perfect storm of unfortunately, the Champlain Tower collapse. The hurricanes that hit

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Jake Marcus: in in Irma in 2,018 or 2017, and then hurricane Ian last year last was September of 2022. Even, you know, a hurricane that hits once every 5 years

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Jake Marcus: results in huge claims, huge numbers of settlements litigation. The claims process all that. Basically, the insurance issue is a big one, and with even more occurring in Florida in the next year. And throughout the nation, as things develop that we’re getting to in this this kind of seminar the insurance issue is kind of at the forefront as the the biggest thing that

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Jake Marcus: you know, that that associations need to look for and need to be cognizant of. Get the right insurance agent in place and kind of figure out the best way to to kind of ensure your association. And and and yeah, it might. It might be some trial and error. Figure out the best way to go. But you wanna be you wanna be covered and sometimes that can be trickier than just saying, Oh, let’s let’s go get the best insurance

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Stephen Marcus: talk to an insurance agent, see what fits your association. And and that’s and and and we we we’re fully aware that every one of these 10 items on the list for 24 for today could be the subject of its own hour or more webinar.

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Stephen Marcus: So we’re trying to highlight the issue.

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Stephen Marcus: But by all means call your legal counsel or contact us. If you want to discuss some of these issues in more detail.

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Stephen Marcus: because we’re simplifying them. Because, we only have 6┬ámin to cover each each topic. But if you really wanna drill deeper into these topics

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Stephen Marcus: again. Talk to your insurance, count And talk to your attorney or if you wanna call our firm. You can call my cell (781) 413-5226 or Jake, Jake, jake@amcondol.com. Are you ready for the for structural satisfaction? Shake?

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Stephen Marcus: Okay, task force on building inspections

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Stephen Marcus: after the tragic collapse of Chip Plank Tower south, and the idea was to ensure that this never happened happens again. With Cai coming out with the public policy in terms of what should be expected? And building inspections how often it should be done.

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Stephen Marcus: There was also a task force on reserves.

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Stephen Marcus: which also, which now includes a structural engineering component and the building inspection. The task force suggestions of Ci National now include a facade inspection as well. Is. Jake, yeah. Tells a lot of people the city of Boston does Re require inspections every 5 years.

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Stephen Marcus: But I’m not sure how many associations are doing, though, but the power policy of Cai. That’s not the law, but it’s best practices is to do a structural and facade inspection and a reserve study, and I can also report that with the good folks in New Jersey from Cai, New Jersey, just passed a new law on kind of many

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building inspections and and and safety issues and reserves.

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Stephen Marcus: So again, as Jake said, these things seem to be floating towards the northeast and across the country. So stay tuned.

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Jake Marcus: Yes, and just to that point, yeah, there is, I think, in Maryland, New Jersey, and Boston City of Boston, not the whole State of Massachusetts.

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Jake Marcus: The facade requirements are in place already. And Florida. There are. for stories of 3 or

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Jake Marcus: condos of 3 stories are higher. There are, certain requirements as to structural inspections which go hand in hand with, you know, the best practices for reserves, and soon to be requirements for reserves that are in effect, December 30, first 2024

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Jake Marcus: and also milestone inspections of 25 or 30 years that are gonna be required. And and and this is this is just a really developing. Issue it again. We can’t. The board can’t do everything. Property manager can’t do everything. The attorney can’t do everything

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Jake Marcus: we would recommend getting in touch with, you know, the best experts engineers inspectors, and and and people who really know how to look at spalling spot. The issues related to, you know, if there might be possible defects the layperson is not gonna be able to look and say, Oh, look! You know, look at that

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Jake Marcus: that dry wall? Oh, something’s something’s up there. II mean, I could say, yeah, something looks wrong. I don’t know. I don’t know. So get an engineer in. I think that’s important. Get these inspections done just another important topic that is big in 2024 and beyond and now we’re gonna get to the next one, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending guidelines. I’ll be

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Jake Marcus: brief on this one.

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Jake Marcus: This goes hand in hand with the condo blacklist.

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Jake Marcus: How you get put on the condo. Black list is generally how you fill out the lender questionnaire. These have changed since

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Jake Marcus: since the Champlain Towers collapse again. This was a big big event that occurred in 2021 June of 2021, and

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Jake Marcus: right after there were temporary guidelines change to the Fannie Mac, or the form 1076 lender questionnaire which added, put in an addendum that was just made permanent, as of September of 2023, which requires you to fill out or puts in new information related to you. Basically the the questionnaires. 8 pages. They added in

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Jake Marcus: 3 full pages to the 8 page questionnaire on structural integrity. I’ll pull up a example

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Jake Marcus: really quick.

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Jake Marcus: Da da da.

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Jake Marcus: just to give you an idea of what you see in this. sorry you’re saying all my

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Jake Marcus: tabs. So here’s the Condominium project. Questionnaire.

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Jake Marcus: First page is pretty generic. General information. Second section is project, completion. Information.

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Jake Marcus: Third is similar. It talks about whether it’s a newly converted or rehabilitated project. Fourth is financial information. 5 is similar ownership info.

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Jake Marcus: and then it gets into

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Jake Marcus: insurance, which we talked about important topic.

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Jake Marcus: And then there is the addendum

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Jake Marcus: starts on page 6, and it’s all about building safety structure, soundness, habitability.

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Jake Marcus: And there’s 3 pages of this. So yeah, just to just to. you know, really point out that structural integrity is really important. If you have questions on these lender questionnaires

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Stephen Marcus: contact your attorney contact. If you want to reach out to us happy to help on those, let me add add something that’s really important. There. There’s no law saying that a kind of mini and board of manager has to fill out these forms.

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Stephen Marcus: We typically like to assist people who are trying salary finance in their home. So so we like to have the Board of Manager try to fill out the forms, but we do it with a twist, and the twist is

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Stephen Marcus: that the manager fills out the form sends it to the attorney for the Association who might change the answers because there are some questions

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Stephen Marcus: such as on structural integrity, where boards were answering no problems. And that’s a dangerous answer better one is, Linda should bring out its own engineer, make its own determination. So we would change the answers. But the way we would then do. It would be the

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Stephen Marcus: person selling or the buy, or the bank would have to pay the association. But we charge the Association for our re review of the form, so there’s no legal obligation to fill out the form. But we want the associations to be

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Stephen Marcus: helpful to people buying and selling units but we think that should be with legal counsel for the Association, reviewing the answers and telling you what you should change before providing it to the lender or the buyer or the lenders attorney

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Jake Marcus: check. 6 Yup, 6 reserve requirements this is already going into effect in Florida. Starting technically, it’s already starting but will be even more stringent. Starting in December 30, first, 2,024 reserve requirements. We generally go by the 10 Rule 10 of the budget should be reserves. Reserves are effectively a way of

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Jake Marcus: preparing for the future. With all these issues we’ve been discussing structural integrity. Potential, you know, deferring maintenance for a few years. You want to have this kind of.

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Jake Marcus: you know, and ensure that you have a reserve account. We would recommend conducting a reserve study. It’s actually

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Jake Marcus: required in Florida. And you know, just making sure you get the get the right things in place to get your reserve account up and running there are reserve specialists. They do reserve studies. We can get you in touch with those those people. And they’ll help you kind of navigate that this kind of important area

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Stephen Marcus: and not the law. But say, eyes, national policy, public policy is that the reserves now include

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Stephen Marcus: to me, say, eyes re, public policy, a structural engineering and facade inspection. In addition to the the typical reserve components. So it’s that has gotten a little more stringent as well. Next logic.

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Jake Marcus: This is the common expense assessments also known as the collections process.

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Jake Marcus: yeah. So so this kind of this is an important area just to be aware of.

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Jake Marcus: As more people are delinquent in their payments. The the the biggest thing here is be aware of your statutory timelines. You know, for manage usually, I mean, typically if you’re managed by a a property management company. They’ll be kind of navigating the collections process in Massachusetts. Notify your attorney

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Jake Marcus: when the account is 60 days delinquent. At that point

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Jake Marcus: the attorneys will take over and then in Florida, after the notice of late assessment is sent out you can wait 30 days, and then it’s sent over to to to to the attorney and the attorneys then deal with the collections process ideally without headache. Sometimes it does lead to litigation.

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Jake Marcus: and just just an important area that you’ll need to be aware of as board members. How to deal with delinquent owners

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Jake Marcus: and and and and kind of the timeline of making sure you can institute the legal action appropriately, and serve the appropriate parties. In Massachusetts. There’s a super lean statute which I think Steven has some familiarity with and that basically places a priority lean for the Association on the on the Associate Owners.

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Stephen Marcus: 60 day approach to addressing delinquencies. is that the Massachusetts superlane? And this applies

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Stephen Marcus: to Condominiums, not Homeowner Association. So an action has to be taken within before the delinquency becomes more than 6 months old in a condominium to have a priority over the first mortgage holder. For the legal fees and costs and 6 months of fees.

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Stephen Marcus: So the rapid response has to be taken. I know that during Covid 2 things happen. One is boys were concerned about being too tough

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Stephen Marcus: on on home owners. But then the unique thing that happened was, the that delinquency is that we expected we’re gonna be a huge issue

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Stephen Marcus: the beginning of Covid, really weren’t. And we don’t know if that’s because of Ppp money, or for other reasons. But we’re still expecting that at some point like credit card debt, I believe, is increasing, and they’re lease signs that

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Stephen Marcus: collections could become more of a problem. So keep an eye on at work with your property manager and legal counsel to address them swiftly. And

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Stephen Marcus: would that check do you wanna do? 8?

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Jake Marcus: Yes, budgets.

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Jake Marcus: Is this one you?

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Stephen Marcus: Oh, we did get a question. We charge interest and late fee. After 60 days. Massachusetts, Massachusetts Condominium Act.

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Stephen Marcus: There’s not they. There’s no Home or Association Act. The message uses kind of medium act provides that you can charge late fees or interest. We. We suggest that it’d be

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Stephen Marcus: a set late fee amount, $25, or something of of that nature. and you can charge the legal fees and costs if it’s a condominium, not if it’s a homeowner association. So but just because the statue says that we think the board working with the manager should

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Stephen Marcus: then come up with a policy that you distribute to owners, saying, Here is what the late charge and interest and legal fee is is going to be as of a certain date. We even like reporting that, as a rule, and recording at the Registry of Deeds.

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Stephen Marcus: Jake, for Florida.

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Jake Marcus: Yeah, in Florida. It’s similar after it’s turned over to the

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Jake Marcus: attorney. You are still allowed to. Basically through the final judgment. You’re allowed to charge interest administrative late fees and the reasonable costs and attorneys fees. Attorneys is probably the the biggest one of those that tends to add up, especially if it goes to foreclosure and litigation.

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Jake Marcus: So as to budgets again. That’s another area that it’s important to know about. The timeline providing notice to your association preparing a budget

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Jake Marcus: and adopting the budget. Look at your governing documents. Make sure you know whether it’s a board. Can, you know, adopt the budget or or what it takes to put in the budget reserves again. Gonna keep harping on it.

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Jake Marcus: Whether you include reserves in the budget or not. You want to make sure you’re complying with the law and the governing documents.

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Stephen Marcus: and and the only other thing I’ll add is that so? Massachusetts says that there should be adequate reserves for condominiums. So look at what we’ve talked to so far today, we see problems with some associations with major spikes and insurance premiums. Certainly on the coastal areas concrete. And still men high rises

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Stephen Marcus: maybe less so for townhouse townhouses. We talked about reserve studies that could increase the budget as well as the insurance cost and then, if the structural inspection shows that is $500,000 of defects you have to have some wine item or some method for how you gonna how you gonna

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Stephen Marcus: find that whether it be an association loan or whether it be by us a supplemental assessment or by an increase in the in the annual budget or combination of the 3 of 3 of those. Think we’re ready for the next slide, Jake.

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Stephen Marcus: and so the with with with the snow and ice season up in the northeast.

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Stephen Marcus: the issue comes up every year in terms of who’s responsible for what in in Massachusetts. Look at you, mass the deed to see what the description of the units and limit common elements might be.

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Stephen Marcus: Then look at the maintenance and repeat seconds. Typically in Article 5 with the trust, if it’s Massachusetts.

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Stephen Marcus: and who’s responsible, for example, for the stupid sphere and and walkway repairs and then decide. Gee! Is this something that the association

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Stephen Marcus: should assume because owners would like the idea of the association taking care of the snow removal, for example. And there may be some risk by assuming the obligation to make the repairs.

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Stephen Marcus: But snow was just an example because of the last few days. You should also look at the the snow contract to see who’s responsible.

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Stephen Marcus: But with the reserve studies and all that you’re gonna have items such as with the roofs of them and the boilers, etc. And I think what associations have to do, which I don’t think historically, we’ve been good at doing over the past 40 years is coming up with a just standard operational review plan.

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Stephen Marcus: so that certain items perhaps with the help of of an engineer or an architect, or somebody who knows construction just to poke around, get the tires. Look at the roof. See if there’s any penetration. Look at the condition of the facade.

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Stephen Marcus: And see if there are any items that yeah, I would need a repair, and that should be budgeted. Because as board members, we know that you

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Stephen Marcus: don’t get compensated for that role. But you do have liabilities. so be proactive if you can, and have

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Stephen Marcus: an annual inspection, so you can spot issues much better to spot them now than 2 years from now, when they might be become multi 1 million dollar repair, though somebody or somebody gets hurt or injured, etc., or this property damage.

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Jake Marcus: and I kinda wanted to point out that another distinction to make is what is a repair versus an improvement. That is the law in Massachusetts, and in Florida it would be material alterations versus additions. So there is some

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Jake Marcus: language that is a a a little bit different. But the biggest takeaway here is to determine if it’s a in Florida material alteration versus an addition or in Massachusetts, whether it’s a repair or an improvement

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Jake Marcus: will dictate whether there’s a vote required or not. If it’s a repair or an addition, it would not require a unit owner vote so look at the nature of the project. And consider whether the project is necessary or elective.

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Stephen Marcus: Again, whether, when it’s over, you know, there will be something new or just a restored version of what there already was there. So that’s keep in mind as well. I’m gonna try to pick off a question, because I think we probably didn’t say clearly enough. On repairs costing more than 10,000.

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Stephen Marcus: That’s 10,000 per unit. And the question was those repairs costing 10 more than 10,000? Put you on the list?

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Stephen Marcus: No, what Danny and Freddy are looking for? Is it 10,000 per unit. So for or 10 units it’s 100,000. It’s a hundred do the math, but it’s not $10,000 total somebody else has to question that

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Stephen Marcus: about trustees or ho as, and I’m not sure what the question was. You can have trust these in an Hoa, you you typically have trust these in a Massachusetts kind of many. And you typically have board members out outside. somebody mentioned a board member who goes around doing small repeats to save the associations

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Stephen Marcus: money. I’m not sure. That’s a great idea, at the very least. Make sure that you have an if any work is comp policy.

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Stephen Marcus: so that if the person gets full injured that the Industrial Accident board could very well find that you were the employer for purposes of having somebody who’s responsible for the for the injuries. But I’d be very cautious of

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Stephen Marcus: somebody doing repairs on their own versus bring in a professional to do them. But if it has happened, perhaps bring in a professional contractor engineer or architect to look at what the repairs that have already been done, to see if the person did them right or not. I wouldn’t encourage

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great in terms of for the good of the community. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to have

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Stephen Marcus: unit owners support members floating around and making miscellaneous repairs. Unless you have direction from somebody who’s licensed as to what has to be done.

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Jake Marcus: Yes, in the last topic finds and unit owner. Misconduct. We we kind of agree or joke a little bit that, you know, as the pandemic and lockdown kind of occurred unit owners were becoming more contentious with each other. Unfortunately, this resulted in misconduct. This resulted in, you know, can we find, can we sue? Can we kick these people out different types of things like that.

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Jake Marcus: Biggest thing is as far as what we would recommend. Just look at your documents as far as what is allowed for finds and misconduct violation notices. What have you? Rather than immediately going forward with trying to sue everyone or evict everyone? I think the biggest thing would be is to become aware of what’s going on.

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Jake Marcus: consult the documents, the governing documents, the law, and figure out what is allowed as far as a procedure in implementing fines, implementing violations and and look to do a due process hearing and and see if you can bring the parties who are involved to the table and see if you can resolve it that way.

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Jake Marcus: And then you know kind of document everything that you come across as far as violations. And see if you can resolve it without needing to go to, you know, legal action, or anything of that nature. It happens in almost every community but something that hopefully, if you get in front of it can avoid.

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Stephen Marcus: so so what I’m gonna I think that’s great, Jake, I think, the one thing that before all of that, before the due process, hearing before the nasty letters or the warning letters is, something has happened in my 40 years of dealing with kind of associations that I don’t think happens with

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Stephen Marcus: single family subdivisions and it’s that you don’t expect that the board or the manager is gonna take care of all issues with neighbors.

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Stephen Marcus: And one of the things that for decades

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Stephen Marcus: has stopped, which is a horrible thing is, people have stopped talking to each other.

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Stephen Marcus: So there’s something to be said that if you have an issue with your neighbor, not packing the car within the lines of the packing space or making too much noise of unless there’s a concern with threats or violence. There’s nothing wrong with first attempting to talk to the owner.

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Stephen Marcus: Same thing with board members before calling manager and say, send a nasty letter telling this person may have just moved in the day before. Didn’t know the rules. then you better stop. Are you gonna show them? There’s something to be said for meeting with new neighbors welcome to the community as they have a problem or if there is an issue with their contact, first

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Stephen Marcus: calling them and saying, if it can be resolved that way. And unfortunately, I think with kind of manyms, with all the benefits it has. One of the drawbacks is

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Stephen Marcus: it has gotten people into the mode where somebody else is. Gonna take care of all these issues, whether it be the volunteer board or the manager, or the attorney for the Association, and people have gotten away from the idea of first talk, and then do all the steps that Jake talked about.

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Stephen Marcus: I’d I’d be interested if people have if we stay on for another minute or 2 actually did pretty good with that timing, Jake, because, thanks for keeping me under control.

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Stephen Marcus: Oh, yeah. First question

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Stephen Marcus: blank. Yeah. I heard this

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Stephen Marcus: channel 5 news or some news last night was, gee! How about that game where you were leading by 28 to 3, and we beat you on the super bowl? But I’m guessing even Bill Bell check didn’t ask that question. But what I was gonna say is, if there’s topics that you’d like to hear about our email. So there, let us know what topics you’d like to hear about. Also, if you have

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Stephen Marcus: I see one on property management obligations, which is great. would like to do topics that are interest to you and your kind of many. I’m a homeowner association and the other thing is, if there’s things that we could be doing better on these webinars for me

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Stephen Marcus: things such as talk loss and let Jake talk more. please let us know if there’s any. If you’re getting value out of today’s webinar. And yeah, if so, we look forward to episode 13

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Stephen Marcus: in February. Hopefully, by February we’ll be moving on to spring being looking ahead for us, at least in the North East. And I think, Jake explained to Florida today to deal with some some client issues.

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Stephen Marcus: but I suspect he doesn’t mind that it’s a little warmer there as well. So I think it’s a cool 77 today.

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Jake Marcus: Absolutely appreciate the time. Thank you all for tuning in. We will get. We got a lot of good questions that I’m kinda just looking over right now. We will get those out to you by next week.

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Jake Marcus: what I wanted to. I mean, I think the last thing that we went over was the fines and unit owner. Misconduct.

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Jake Marcus: It’s an important area, and it’s kind of a nice segue into leaving you for the weekend you know. Try to engage with your neighbors in a friendly and collegial manner rather than contentious or hostile manner. The world will be a better place in 2024 with that. So that’s just some

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Jake Marcus: non lawyer advice. you know, we’ll do the fighting as attorneys and hopefully, everyone can get along in 2024. So thanks everyone for joining, and we’ll have some

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Stephen Marcus: some good, so we’ll get to your questions and we have some good topics for the for the future. Thanks. Everyone.

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Jake Marcus: Enjoy your weekend.

 

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