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The Flight of the Snowbirds

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Every year the state of Florida experiences an ebb and flow of full-time and part-time residents; as the seasons change, so does the population. Part-time residents from the northern United States and Canada live and work in Florida for an extended time every winter, while a percentage of permanent residents of Florida migrate north during the warmest months, and even larger number of residents call Florida home 365 days of the year.

With 8,000 miles of shoreline and 1,300 miles of sandy beaches, it is easy to see why Florida is both the residential and seasonal destination for millions of Americans, Europeans, and international world citizens. It is unclear exactly when northern visitors to the Sunshine state became known as “snowbirds,” but Canadian singer Anne Murray made the term famous in 1970 with the release of her song bearing the same name.

However, this annual migration can be challenging for condos, HOAs, and the property management firms that work on a personal level with this segment of Florida’s population. After all, administrative and managerial duties remain constant regardless of the season. Security, emergency access to units, voting and ongoing communications can get complicated when residents are miles away for months at a time. Well-run buildings and associations have systems in place to manage the many concerns with proactive operating strategies tests all year long.

Preventing Problems

The best way to avoid problematic security and maintenance issues is to have owners provide out of state – or out of country – contact information as the official record with the association. Then all notices and official communications can and should be sent directly to the owners, keeping them fully informed. Having the correct, updated contact information is also necessary for proxies, and important votes.

Security

Security and maintenance issues for seasonal residents are often a matter of good communication between the residents and the association board. “Unit owners are responsible for maintaining the interior of the units. That means turning off water, leaving air conditioning on, making sure the electric bill is paid, etc.” Chapnick further explains condo associations have a statutory right to access units to prevent damage to the unit and/or the common areas. However, there is no corresponding right in homeowner’s associations.

A large portion of hurricane season occurs over the summer months when most snowbirds are up north. It is extremely important for property owners to ensure their units are secured while they are absent. Any patio or balcony furniture should be brought indoors, and the HOA or COA (condominium owner’s association) should be aware of all means of contacting the unit owners.


 

For more information on community association management services in Miami and throughout South Florida, contact ASG today. Call (954) 458-5557 for more info.

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