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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode 14 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series

Becker Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 14 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. She was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly as they continue exploring topics including the challenges associated with re-opening communities. Watch the webinar replay.  

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“Community Association Boards Completely Overlook the Significance of Who Is Serving as the Association’s Registered Agent.,” SFPMA

Far too many community association boards completely overlook the significance of who is serving as the association’s registered agent. I’ve found associations whose registered agent is a former board member who is either deceased or who has moved away or a former law firm or lawyer who no longer represents the association. Pursuant to Section […]

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“Lessons We’re Learning from COVID-19,” FLCAJ

The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the operational script for many industries, including the community association industry. As with most of life’s challenges, we are acquiring take-away lessons that will help us adapt even more quickly the next time a curveball heads our way. The following lessons our boards, residents, and managers have learned over the […]

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Webinar: Safeguarding Community Residents: Navigating a Shifting Landscape and the Uncertainties Ahead

All types of community associations throughout Florida implemented strict protocols in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These protocols included, in many cases, restricting entry to nonessential visitors, shutting down common areas and recreational amenities and requiring the use of facial coverings. As the push to reopen the economy continues while Florida’s COVID-19 numbers show […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode 13 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series

Becker Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 13 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. She was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly as they explored topics including the challenges associated with re-opening communities. Watch the webinar replay.  

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Virtual Town Hall “Move Forward? Slow Down? Shut Down? COVID-19: What’s Next for Florida Communities”

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger appeared as a panelist in a Virtual Town Hall sponsored by FirstService Residential. The Town Hall was titled, “Move Forward? Slow Down? Shut Down? COVID-19: What’s Next for Florida Communities.” With Florida moving through phased reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic – as infection rates are spiking in […]

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2020 Florida Session: Legislative Update

With the legislative session closed and the deadline expired for Governor DeSantis to veto Florida House or Senate bills, we now know the laws that will affect community associations. Below is a summary of some of these new laws impacting Florida community associations. Our forthcoming Legislative Guidebook will contain a more in-depth analysis along with […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode 12 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series

Becker Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 12 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. The series is being held bi-weekly to address how community associations can navigate the challenges brought on by this global pandemic. Donna was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly, who gave a touching tribute […]

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Community Update – June 2020

June means the start of Hurricane season in Florida and while we always hope for a quiet year, it’s important that your community take steps now to ensure preparedness should disaster strike. This issue includes Becker’s newly interactive 2020 Hurricane Guide which provides important tips and information to help prepare and protect your community. Make […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode 11 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series

Becker Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 11 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. She was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly as they explored topics including the challenges associated with re-opening communities. Watch the webinar replay.  

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Emotional Support Animal Bill Goes to the Governor

We are thinking of all of our CALL Members during these uncertain times and want to remind you that CALL remains a trusted resource for your community. Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis received the following bills from the Florida Legislature. The Governor has until June 30, 2020 to act on these bills.

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode Ten of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 Webinar Series

Becker Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated in episode 10 of the Castle Group’s COVID-19 webinar series. She was joined by Castle Group’s Founder and CEO James Donnelly. Donna and James explored topics including the challenges associated with re-opening communities. Watch the webinar replay.  

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Webinar: Are Your Board’s Emergency Powers Still in Effect?

The fluid nature of the pandemic, mixed with oftentimes inconsistent guidelines from all levels of government, has led to understandable confusion. Becker Community Association Shareholders explore the continuing state of emergency powers throughout Florida, best practices to follow when reopening facilities, how to handle allowing access to outside guests and contractors, and other timely topics. […]

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“Fuzzy Government Rules Leave Condo Boards in Coronavirus Quandary,” Miami Herald

The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the operational script for many industries, including the community association industry. As with most of life’s challenges, we are acquiring take-away lessons that will help us adapt even more quickly the next time a curve ball heads our way. The lessons our boards, residents and managers have learned over the […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appointed Chair of Florida Bar RPPTL Section Pandemic Task Force

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – June 3, 2020 – Becker, a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast, is pleased to announce that Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger has been appointed chair of the Florida Bar Real Property Probate and Trust Law (RPPTL) Section’s Pandemic Task […]

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Community Update – May 2020

We all know the old adage, “April showers bring May Flowers,” and while springtime is in full swing, it looks as though we may also be slowly emerging from the COVID-19 fog with businesses beginning to cautiously reopen across the state. The month of May also means that we are gearing up for the start […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode Nine of Castle Groups “Combating COVID-19 In Your Community Association” Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger appeared on episode eight of Castle Group’s weekly webinar series on COVID-19 and community associations. Donna was joined by CEO and founder of the Castle Group, James Donnelly, as they discussed implementing and adjusting re-opening plans and amending documents. Watch the replay here.

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2020 Florida Session: Legislative Update

If you’ve been wondering what happened to the legislation that the CALL Team tracked throughout Florida’s 2020 Session, we have been as well! All bills were held back and will not be released until Governor DeSantis receives revenue estimates to help him determine their fiscal impact. The State’s Operating Budget must be passed by July […]

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The HEROES Act Spells Disaster for Community Associations

Your association’s ability to collect assessments is in grave danger because of H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or The HEROES Act! By the time you read this CALL Alert, this bill will have likely eked out a narrow passage in the U.S. House of Representatives. The next step is […]

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Webinar: The Bounce Back: Safeguarding Your Community Association’s Financial Health in a COVID-19 Climate

Becker Shareholders Donna DiMaggio Berger and Joy Mattingly joined Affinity Management Services Co-Founder Raphael Aquino for “The Bounce Back: Safeguarding Your Community Association’s Financial Health in a COVID-19 Climate,” a webinar. The panelists discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many tenants, property managers, and business owners across the country to take some financial hits. […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode 8 of Castle Groups “Combating COVID-19 In Your Community Association” Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger appeared on episode eight of Castle Group’s weekly webinar series on COVID-19 and community associations. Donna was joined by CEO and founder of the Castle Group, James Donnelly, as they discussed implementing and adjusting re-opening plans and amending documents. Watch the replay here.

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears in Episode 7 of Castle Groups “Combating COVID-19 In Your Community Association” Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger appeared on episode seven of Castle Group’s weekly webinar series on COVID-19 and community associations. Donna was joined by CEO and founder of the Castle Group, James Donnelly, as they discussed how your condo or community association can implement a reopening plan for amenities and shared spaces. Click here to […]

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The “New Norm” for Community Associations in Light of COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus has substantially impacted all types of community associations throughout Florida. From closing amenities, to limiting access by non-residents, taking in travelers from other parts of the country, including those deemed “hot spots”, and reacting to the endless flow of emergency and executive orders from the state, counties, and municipalities, associations across Florida […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears on Associa’s COVID-19 Consideration for Boards Part IV Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger participated as a panelist on Associa’s “COVID-19 Consideration for Boards Part IV” webinar along with fellow panelists Sandra Gottlieb of Swedelson Gottlieb and Melissa Garcia of Altitude Law. The panel was moderated by Andrew Fortin, Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Associa. On this episode, the discussion revolved around […]

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Community Update – April 2020

 Our featured article, “Obtaining a Bank Loan; Step-by-Step,” explores the process of attaining a line of credit. A loan can help an association ensure they have necessary funding to navigate through an emergency, whether it be due to the coronavirus, hurricane season, or otherwise. We live in an age where the lack of civility has become […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Discusses Re-Opening Community Amenities in Light of COVID-19: Episode 6 of Castle Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger appeared on episode six of Castle Group’s weekly webinar series on COVID-19 and community associations. Donna was joined by CEO and founder of the Castle Group, James Donnelly, as they discussed the best time to re-open pools, common spaces, and other community amenities as states lift restrictions in place from the […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears on FirstService Residential Webinar on COVID-19 and Community Associations

FirstService Residential hosted a webinar on “COVID-19: Your Questions Answered” featuring panelist Donna DiMaggio Berger, Becker Shareholder, along with FSR Regional Director, Anthony Gragnano. The discussion was moderated by FSR Director Bill Worrall. Watch the replay here. Moderator: Bill Worrall FirstService Residential Director Panelists: Anthony Gragnano FirstService Residential Regional Director Donna Dimaggio Berger Becker Shareholder […]

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“Opinion: Condos and HOAs Should Avoid Rushing to Open Common Areas,” Miami Herald

With Jacksonville beaches now open for limited purposes and more to follow in the coming days and weeks, members of your private residential community may be even less tolerant about common amenities remaining closed. However, convenience must always be subordinated to life safety. The same steps used by your board to evaluate when and how […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears on Associa’s “COVID-19 Consideration for Boards Part III” Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq participated as a panelist on Associa’s “COVID-19 Consideration for Boards Part III” webinar along with fellow panelists Sandra Gottlieb of Swedelson Gottlieb and Denise Lash of Lash Condo Law. The panel was moderated by Andrew Fortin, Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Associa. Watch the replay here.

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Discusses COVID-19 and Community Associations on Castle Webinar

Becker Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger was a panelist on the Castle Group’s webinar series “Combating COVID-19 in Your Community Association.” In episode four of the series, Donna shared how the virus is impacting liability and insurance. She was joined by panelist Andrea Northrop of Insurance of America and moderator James Donnelly, founder and CEO of […]

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“The Strange Fear of Life in a Big Apartment Building at the Epicenter of the Pandemic,” Realtor.com

In Florida some emergency plans are being put in place to “prohibit nonessential visitors beyond caregivers, delivery personnel, and a limited number of immediate family members,” says Donna DiMaggio Berger, Becker Shareholder, in regard to COVID-19.     Click here to read the full article on Realtor.com.

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“Opinion: Condo Associations Must Set Clear Coronavirus Rules – and Enforce Them,” Miami Herald

Shared ownership communities have heeded the call and have implemented COVID-19 protocol, reshaping their daily operations to better safeguard their residents. In the past few weeks, the governor and Florida cities and counties have revised their emergency orders numerous times to take into account the pandemic’s growing threat. Many communities also revised and tightened their […]

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Vacation Rentals and Community Association Omnibus Bill

As a reminder, we want to direct all our CALL members to Becker’s COVID-19 webpage which is an excellent resource for information updated daily on the impact of the virus on community associations. Click here to visit the website. And, for those of you looking for some non COVID-19 related news, we are happy to […]

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Community Update – March 2020

  With a growing number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases throughout Florida and Governor DeSantis having issued a state of emergency, many are wondering what can be done. This month’s edition is focused on providing community association boards and managers with strategies that they can employ to help combat the spread of the virus. Know […]

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“Continuity and Closures: How Community Associations Are Addressing COVID-19,” Community Association Institute

Ensuring continuity of operations and residents’ safety has become top of mind for community association board members, managers, and business partners as the COVID-19 outbreak begins to impact more and more of the U.S. Donna DiMaggio Berger, a shareholder with Becker in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a fellow in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers […]

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“Limiting Person-To-Person Contact to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 in HOAs,” HOAresources

With an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, states and communities are taking action to slow its spread from person to person by minimizing close or frequent interactions. Social distancing includes cancelling public gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and conferences, limiting or shutting down public transportation, closing schools, adjusting business operations, and encouraging people to […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Discusses COVID-19 and Community Associations on WIOD with Brian Mudd

Shareholder in Becker’s Community Association Practice,  Donna DiMaggio Berger, was featured on WIOD AM 610’s “The Brian Mudd Show” to discuss COVID-19 and the emerging questions and concerns for community association managers. Donna shared how managers can better protect their community from the virus while navigating this uncharted territory.   Click here to listen to Donna’s broadcast.

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Session Ends and Long Awaited ESA Bill Passes!

Before we jump into the outcome of Florida’s 2020 Legislative Session, it is very important to note that the CDC has stated that gatherings of 50 or more people should be postponed for the next eight weeks. Bars, clubs, theaters and other places of public accommodation throughout the Sunshine State are being closed or their capacity […]

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Condos, Cruise Ships and COVID-19: Surprising Commonalities

The cruise ship industry has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19’s rapid spread amongst passengers. For those who were unfortunate enough to deal with a ship-board quarantine, the fact that they would eventually be able to disembark and return to their homes helped them cope. But what if your home posed the same risks as […]

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Becker Insider | March 2020

The Becker Insider provides recent news and unique perspectives into the Florida policy issues that matter most to you. At Becker, we believe that our strengths truly lie in our differences. Our local, state, and federal lobbying teams have deep and longstanding relationships across the political spectrum, allowing us to better champion the interests of […]

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“Managing Common Housing Under the Threat of COVID-19,” FCAP Managers Report

Managers are on the front lines of many challenging issues for private residential communities but managing a pandemic is uncharted territory for most. With the number of cases of COVID-19 increasing in Florida and the fact that Governor DeSantis has declared a State of Emergency, proactive community association management professionals are thinking about how this […]

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“How to Minimize Coronavirus Risk in Fla. Residential Communities,” Daily Business Review

With the number of cases of COVID-19 increasing in Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis declaring a state of emergency, proactive community association boards and their management professionals are thinking about how this virus might impact their residential communities and what can be done to blunt the impact. There is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 […]

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Covid-19 and Your Residential Community

There are now three confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus in Florida: one in Manatee County and two in Hillsborough County. By the time you read this, there may be even more. As a result, Governor DeSantis has declared a State of Emergency.  There is an increased risk for health care workers, individuals with respiratory […]

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Police Vehicles, Vacation Rentals and Emotional Support Animals

With only three weeks left in the 2020 Florida Legislative Session, your CALL Team has been busy. Last Friday, Governor DeSantis signed SB 476 (sponsored by Senator Ed Hooper) into law. This bill prohibits condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations from enforcing restrictions against police vehicles being parked inside their communities. This prohibition would apply regardless […]

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SB 802/HB 733 MRTA & Housing Discrimination

One of the most important and valuable aspects of a property owner’s rights is the ability to market and sell their property, and to do so free from the fear of “hidden” or outdated restrictions or claims which may have previously burdened their property. But, what to do when a person raises a claim of […]

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Regulation of Vacation Rentals, HB 1011 and SB 1128

It’s not the first time a bill regulating vacation rentals has been proposed by the Legislature, and it’s likely not the last. On the heels of last session’s failed Senate Bill 824 comes Senate Bill 1128 and the companion House Bill 1011, both of which again seek to preempt the regulation of vacation rentals to […]

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Session is Moving Fast – Are You Keeping Up?

Experts say that a habit can be formed in approximately thirty days. Given the brevity of Florida’s Legislative Session (60 days) it will be important for those of you who have been asked by your community to stay abreast of this year’s crop of association bills to get into the routine of following CALL’s Bill […]

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“Water leaks in your condo: Who’s responsible? | Opinion,” Miami Herald

There are many advantages to living in a multifamily condo or coop building in South Florida: great views, enviable locations and abundant amenities. However, there is always the possibility of water leaks. Not surprisingly, when these leaks occur, there is often an inherent tension and finger-pointing between the owner who suffers interior damage and the […]

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HonestESA Initiative Starts Now!

As previously reported by CALL, two bills are making their way through committee in the Florida House and Senate. House Bill 209, sponsored by Representative Killebrew and Senate Bill 1084 sponsored by Senator Diaz, aim to protect disabled Floridians and curb some abuses related to emotional support animals (“ESAs”). Growing frustration over perceived illegitimate ESA […]

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Learn to Use all of the Tools on the CALL Website

As we usher in the New Year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the features and benefits of the Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL) website. We hope that throughout 2020 you will find our updates on proposed legislation educational, but more than that we hope that the tools and resources found […]

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“Community Associations Threatened With Website Litigation Under the ADA,” Daily Business Review

In the last few months, a growing number of community associations across Florida are being threatened with litigation because their websites are allegedly not friendly to visually impaired users. The genesis for these association website suits may lie with the holding in the recent Domino’s Pizza v. Robles case. That case was originally brought by […]

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A Brief History of CALL

In the early aughts, high-rise associations throughout Florida were facing the prospect of retrofitting their buildings with sprinkler systems both inside and outside the residential units. The costs, labor, practical hurdles, and aesthetic concerns involved with a state-mandated program of that magnitude created the momentum for a grassroots advocacy initiative like the Community Association Leadership […]

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Proposed Florida Legislation Might Help Stem the Tide of Fraudulent Emotional Support Animal Requests

If there is one topic that unites all types of shared ownership communities regardless of their location, size, or demographics, it is a growing frustration over fraudulent emotional support animal (ESA) requests. Communities throughout Florida have seen their ability to enforce reasonable pet restrictions eviscerated as more residents make dubious claims about needing an ESA.

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Community Update – November 2019

As we prepare for the holidays and other year-end festivities, associations are also beginning to look ahead to the needs and demands of the coming year. This month’s edition explores some of the issues that associations may encounter from time to time and discusses best practices for putting your community’s best foot forward. If your […]

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Why Should Your Community Consider Trademarking Its Name and Logo?

Many communities rely upon name recognition and a certain style logo to attract attention from potential new purchasers as well as to enhance real property values for existing owners. I live in a country club community that has a distinct font and logo which is intentionally highlighted on our association website, advertisements, business cards, stationary, […]

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Associations Being Threatened with Website Litigation

If your association currently has a website (one you own or one which has been provided to you by your management company) or you are in the planning stages of creating an association website, please read this CALL Alert thoroughly as it contains important information for you. If you don’t have a website, feel free […]

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“Condo Boards Can’t Turn Down Applicants Just Because They Don’t Like Them,” Miami Herald

“If I like you, you’re in.” Those words were uttered by the board president of the first condominium unit I bought right out of law school. At the time, I wasn’t going to quibble about whether or not this screening procedure was legitimate. Many community association residents expect their board members and managers to thoroughly […]

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CALL Summer Survey Series: The Results Are In! (Part 1)

Over the summer, CALL released three surveys to garner opinions on hot-button community association issues such as short-term rentals, Emotional Support Animals, and the role of public adjusters in pursuing association insurance claims. We wanted to hear directly from board members, community managers, and owners about their experiences and sentiments on these important topics.

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“Opinion: Bill Would Benefit Condo Communities by Cutting Down on Support-Animal Fraud,” Miami Herald

Private residential communities currently deal with a plethora of Emotional Support Animal (ESA) requests, however there may be hope on the horizon. Newly filed bill, HB 209, could help grant some relief to those who are trying to fraudulently pass off their furry (or scaly companions), if it passes in the 2020 Florida legislative session. […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appointed to Board of American Lung Association in Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – September 10, 2019 – Becker, a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast, is pleased to announce that Community Association Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger has been appointed to the board of the American Lung Association in Florida. Ms. Berger has been involved […]

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“For Some Condo Associations, ‘Short-Term Rentals’ Are Dirty Words,” Miami Herald

Short-term rentals are “dirty words” in some condominium, cooperative, and homeowners associations’ vocabularies. A large number of residents and board members believe that platforms like Airbnb will increase crime and nuisances in their communities. Recently, there has been a major push to prohibit these activities altogether. Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger has penned an informative article […]

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Community Update – August 2019

Community Associations must learn to effectively communicate amongst themselves. Over time, more and more messages have become electronic, social media has become a popular platform for communication, and the lines between personal/professional messages have become increasingly blurred. It’s now more important than ever to understand the rules and regulations regarding these distinctions. Our featured article, […]

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Episode 08: Drones in Your Community- “Can They Do That?”

A neighbor is flying a drone in your community and there are concerns he is spying on residents even though he assures the association that he has proper permits. This is raising the question, “Can They Do That?” When it comes to association rules and bylaws, there seem to be more questions than answers. Becker’s […]

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“Weathering The Storm: A Top 10 List For Condo and HOA Boards,” Miami Herald

As all Floridians know, storm season can be a very hectic time. Preparation for – as well as the aftermath of – storms is stressful. Board members of community associations are hit particularly hard by the nerve-wracking days of hurricane season because not only do they have to worry about themselves, they also have to […]

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Airbnb and Your Community – A Survey and Chance to WIN $100

As many of you may know, SB 824 sponsored by Senator Diaz, would have made it much more difficult if not impossible for your private residential community to restrict or prohibit short-term rental activity on internet platforms like Airbnb. While that …

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Appears on Money Matters Top Tips Podcast

Shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger appeared on the Money Matters Top Tips Podcast with host Adam Torres. During this guest spot, she speaks to her vast experience including how she knew she wanted to become an attorney, how she helps her Community Association clients, legal issues unique to the condominium arena, and much more. Donna is […]

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27 Becker Attorneys Board Certified in Condominium and Planned Development Law

  Becker’s Community Association practice group has been an industry leader since we opened our doors in 1973. Today, we’re proud to announce that we have the largest, dedicated team of Board Certified attorneys in Condominium and Planned Development Law in the state of Florida. Board certification demands rigorous testing and is in recognition of […]

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“How to stop the erosion of civility in community associations,” Sun Sentinel

Raised voices, reddened faces and angry gestures. You might think you are watching a Congressional hearing on C-SPAN, but you are at your community’s board meeting. The erosion of civility in our society has begun to manifest itself in private residential communities. This comes in many forms, from rudeness and disruptive behavior at meetings, to […]

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“Armed and Dangerous,” CAI Common Ground

The increasing number of “active-shooter” incidents across the U.S. and abroad is creating troubling questions for community association boards. Is it time to think of the unthinkable? By Mike Ramsey Reprinted with permission from the May/June 2019 issue of Common Ground TM magazine, the flagship publication of Community Associations Institute (CAI). www.caionline.org IT WAS NOT […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for May 6, 2019

Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session ended last Friday, May 3rd with not a lot of change to report for community association residents. There is good news in the form of some relief for older high rises who had been facing the prospect of installing an Engineered Life Safety System (ELSS) by the end of 2019. Thanks […]

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Becker’s 2019 Shareholder Meeting

Becker Shareholders and Senior Management recently came together for the firm’s 2019 Shareholder Meeting. Attorneys and lobbyists from the firm’s 16 offices throughout Florida and the East Coast convened in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for a productive and educational weekend of relationship building, strategic planning, and camaraderie. Hosted at the Dalmar Hotel, attendees took part in […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for April 30, 2019

Our 60-day Legislative Session in Florida will end this week. It has been a real whirlwind in terms of proposed legislation which has the potential to impact how you operate your private residential community. We are fortunate to have once again had the opportunity to weigh in with these bill sponsors throughout the process to […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for April 18, 2019

I am delighted to report that the fraudulent ESA bill, HB 721, is moving along nicely and just passed its last House Committee (Judiciary) Tuesday with a unanimous vote of 17 Yeas. Previous Committee votes: Civil Justice – 14 yeas, 0 Nays // Children, Families & Seniors – 15 Yeas, 0 Nays. Also on Tuesday, […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for April 16, 2019

The issue of retrofitting with an Engineered Life Safety System (ELSS) impacts older Florida high-rises (buildings constructed in 1992 or earlier that are 75 feet or higher). However, the issues discussed in today’s CALL Alert are instructive for all types of community associations when an operational issue in a community hinges on legislative relief. When […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for April 08, 2019

HB 1153 (DuBose) and its companion bill SB 1270 (Farmer) seek to amend Section 501.172, F.S. to create the Florida Biometric Information Privacy Act. A growing number of Florida associations use electronic means to keep fingerprints and other biometric information on file when guests and vendors enter the community. Biometric information can include a retina […]

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Episode 03: Service Animals in Your Community Association – “Can They Do That?

When it comes to association rules and bylaws, there seem to be more questions than answers.  Becker’s video series, “Can They Do That?” tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer questions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. From service animals to nudists in your community, we get […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for March 26, 2019

This will be an active week for many of the bills CALL has been tracking for the past several weeks. Below is a summary of some of the House and Senate Committees that will be meeting this week and the community association-related bills those committee members will be considering. House On March 25th, the Civil […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for March 11, 2019

Today’s alert focuses on a bill that has some folks cheering and others cringing. HB 1259 (Fernandez-D-114) primarily addresses the issues of illegal kickbacks and fraudulent voting activity in condominiums, but goes a step too far in terms of criminalizing failed document inspection requests. This bill has the support of the Speaker of the House, […]

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“I SEE YOU”: The Growing Demand to Install Video Doorbells in Multifamily Buildings

Security concerns are always at or near the top of the list of priorities in shared ownership communities. With personal home technology evolving at a dizzying pace, many homeowners are considering the installation of video doorbells such as those offered by Ring or Nest. However, for owners living in private residential communities, particularly in multifamily […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for March 4, 2019

Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session commences Tuesday, March 5th. We have already read and analyzed more than two dozen bills and reached out to various bill sponsors to discuss our support on some bills and concern on others. Last week SB 1442 (Torres) was filed as the Senate companion to HB 155 (Cortes). These bills, known […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for February 26, 2019

Dear CALL Members, March 5th and the start of the 60-day, 2019 Regular Legislative Session in Florida is right around the corner. We are tracking several bills on behalf of communities throughout Florida and there is a lot of work to do to ensure that the most helpful bills pass. In order to make this […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for February 11, 2019

Today’s CALL Alert again brings good news and bad news. As for the good news, we have a legislative proposal that most of our CALL members have been hoping to see for quite some time. HB 721 sponsored by Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Polk County) answers the call of Floridians in pet-restricted and/or pet-regulated private residential […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for February 7, 2019

Let’s start with the bad. We have our first truly ill-advised piece of legislation in the form of SB 610 filed on January 30th by Senator Jason Pizzo (D, Miami-Dade). There is a lot of territory to cover with this bill and it currently has no committee assignments. We will delve into further aspects of this bill […]

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2019 Florida Legislative Session – CALL Alert for January 30, 2019

The 2019 Florida Legislative Session will start on March 5th at noon. As we’ve seen in years past, we can expect several Association bills to make their way through the committee process before ultimately being condensed into one or two main bills by the time Session is expected to end on May 3rd. We already […]

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Episode 01: Medical Marijuana Use in Community Associations – “Can They Do That?”

When it comes to association rules and bylaws, there seem to be more questions than answers.  Becker’s newly launched video series, “Can They Do That?,” tackles some of the unique problems that homeowners and renters face today. We answer questions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. From service animals to nudists in your community, […]

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Is Your Building Nearing its 40th Birthday?

Broward is one of two Florida counties (Miami-Dade is the other) which requires multifamily buildings that are larger than 3,500 square feet (in the case of Miami-Dade it is buildings in excess of 2,000 square feet) and are forty years old or older to be inspected for structural and electrical safety and “certified”. Thereafter, those […]

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“What Should We Expect from the Next Generation?,” Florida Community Association Journal

Despite statistics proving that the age of condominium owners in the Sunshine State is trending younger and younger these days, the stereotypical notion of a condominium dweller being retired and overly concerned with the lives of his or her neighbors still prevails.      With a healthy economy and new condominium construction offering more amenities […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger on WIOD with Brian Mudd

Condo and association law shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger was featured on WIOD AM 610’s “The Brian Mudd Show” on Tuesday, September 11. On this historically significant day, Donna discussed what board members, managers and residents need to know about preparing their associations for and after natural disasters and some of the lessons learned in Florida […]

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FL Division of Condos Proposes Greater Financial Penalties on Associations

Florida condominiums, cooperatives and, to a lesser degree, homeowners’ associations are subject to the imposition of fines and penalties by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshare and Mobile Homes (“Division”) for a variety of mistakes and missteps.  The Division plans to pass sweeping changes to Chapter 61B-21 of the Florida Administrative Code which may go […]

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How Will the Next Generation of Condo Owners Change Fla.’s Shared Ownership Communities?

Donna DiMaggio Berger wrote this commentary article about how the next generation of condo owners is changing Florida’s shared ownership communities that was featured in the Daily Business Review. Donna writes, “Despite statistics proving that the age of condominium owners in the Sunshine State is trending younger and younger these days, the stereotypical notion of a condominium […]

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Deadline looms for older Florida High-Rises to Install Engineered Life Safety Systems!

Florida’s 2019 60-day Legislative Session will begin on March 5, 2019 and is expected to end on May 3, 2019. The Florida Fire Protection Code, Section 31.3.5.12 of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 requires existing (pre-1992) “high-rise” buildings which are not otherwise exempt to be protected either by an automatic sprinklers system or […]

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Know What You Are Getting into Before Your Board Agrees to an Indemnification Clause

Many boards focus on only a few provisions of the contracts they sign. What service or materials are they getting? What are they paying? When will the contract commence? Far too many other crucial provisions are overlooked as boilerplate. Indemnification clauses are often seen as part of the standard boilerplate provisions in most contracts and […]

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What Are Your Board’s Rights and Obligations with Regard to Sales and Financing in Your Community?

On any given day in any given Florida community association, a manager or director may receive a frantic call from a real estate or title agent about an upcoming closing. These frantic calls typically include an immediate request for information in the form of affidavits, estoppel information, lender questionnaires or other records and information. Naturally, […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger, Community Association Shareholder, Talks Emotional Support Animal Issue

Listen to Donna DiMaggio Berger’s interview with Ana Sanchez Rivero, host of the “Community Association Matters” podcast. Ms. Berger, shareholder in our Community Association practice group, discusses what your condo association needs to know to handle the ever increasing requests for Emotional Support Animals (ESA). Donna takes a particularly close look at what the Board […]

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Should Your Association Eliminate Some of Your Outdated Rules?

Many of my conversations with my association clients involve an evaluation of their rules and regulations and their available enforcement tools.  We regularly discuss how previously overlooked rules can be revived through a process known as republication so the Board can once again enforce them prospectively.  We also discuss how rules must complement rather than […]

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Mental Health Issues in a Community Association Context

Over the years, I’ve met thousands of people living in shared ownership communities and without fail, at least one person in every community questions the mental health of someone in their community. Sometimes the suspect serves on the board, other times it is the person living next door, and other times it is simply a […]

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Summer Shut-Down Considerations for Seasonal Communities

If your community is a seasonal one that tends to thin out over the summer months, what rules or policies do you have in place to ensure that your association continues to operate smoothly and transparently over the summer months? The less crowded summer months in some communities provide an optimal time to pursue important […]

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When Construction Occurs Next Door, Your Board Needs to Get Involved Early!

It’s likely that at some point during your community’s lifespan, new construction will occur nearby and the impact on your residents will vary both short and long-term depending on the steps your Board takes early in the process. Sometimes new construction is welcomed enthusiastically by the members of an established community but more often than […]

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“Welcome to the Board…Now What?,” Florida Community Association Journal

If you are new to your community’s board of directors, thank you for agreeing to serve in this capacity. You will learn that the “job” can be both thankless and fulfilling at different times and for different reasons. The first thing you will need to do is to ensure that you have submitted your director […]

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Improve Your Members’ Chances of Casting a Successful Election Ballot

Every year, I attend many of my clients’ annual meetings and elections and it is always disappointing when some members’ election ballots must be discarded due to avoidable errors. For Florida condominiums and HOAs who have adopted a “condominium style” election process, the election protocol that was implemented to discourage voter fraud can also be […]

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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Board

Historians believe that the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions approximately 4,000 years ago. During a religious festival known as Akitu which lasted for a lengthy 12 days, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises (precursors to modern day […]

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Countdown to 7/1/18 and the New Website Requirements for FL Condominium Associations

By July 1, 2018, a Florida condominium association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshare units must have an independent website or web portal wholly owned and operated by the association or a website or web portal operated by a third-party provider. Creating an in-house website may prove to be too daunting […]

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Can Your Community Association Stop Bullying and Harassment in Their Tracks?

Bullying in any form cannot be condoned either in schools, workplaces or communities. While a newly filed bill by Rep. Emily Slosberg (HB 123) has the laudable goal of protecting Florida’s senior citizens from being bullied, just how feasible is it in a community association context? From some of the board and membership meetings I’ve […]

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A Rude Awakening: Your Board May Not Have the Right to Screen Leases and Sales at All!

Even in the frenzy of post-Irma repairs, ordinary life continues and for most volunteer boards and professional managers that means screening applicants who wish to lease or purchase in their communities. However, purchase and rental screening has become such a part of the fabric of community association life that some boards and managers have forgotten […]

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“Tackling Fraudulent Emotional Support Animals,” Florida Community Association Journal

Chances are that your community has some type of pet restrictions. It’s also a good bet that you have received one or more requests you deemed questionable with regard to a dog that does not meet those restrictions but the owner insists, nevertheless, that the dog is his or her emotional support animal (ESA). Many […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger on Hurricanes and Condo Associations in the Miami Herald

Donna DiMaggio Berger, shareholder with our Community Association practice group, was published by the Miami Herald in a September 20 op-ed piece titled “Community Associations Need to be Hurricane-Proof, Too.” Donna’s article discusses some of the key steps community association boards and their managers can take, both before and after major storms, to best prepare […]

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Associations Dealing With Unique Problems Post Hurricane Irma

Thankfully Floridians heeded the call and evacuated where necessary and prepared one and all for the monstrous Hurricane Irma. While Irma was a lengthy and dangerous storm, the effects on Florida were not as devastating as had been feared. However, for thousands of shared ownership communities, volunteer boards, professional managers and residents will be dealing […]

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Your Florida Board of Directors Now Has Emergency Powers as a Result of Hurricane Irma; What Will You Do With Them?

Governor Scott has declared a Florida-wide state of emergency which now deploys the emergency powers for volunteer boards found in Sections 718.1265, 719.128 and 720.316 of the Florida Statutes. Hurricane Irma may prove to be the testing ground for these emergency powers to determine, post-storm, if boards abused these powers and therefore the powers need […]

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Five Mistakes Your Board of Directors Can Avoid if Hurricane Irma Hits

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction and with Irma fast approaching the eastern US coastline, I could blog about the steps your community needs to take to prepare. I’ve written that blog post many times before and I often wonder how many board members, managers and community association residents have followed that advice.  At […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger on ABC’s Channel 10 News

Condo and association law shareholder Donna DiMaggio Berger was interviewed by Channel 10 News for a story that aired on last night’s broadcast. The piece covered issues around the recently vetoed legislation in Florida that would have allowed older high-rise condominiums to opt out of a fire sprinkler installation requirement. Donna told Channel 10 that if the […]

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Could Your Community Association Turn into the Next Confederate Symbol Battleground?

In light of recent events in Charlottesville, it should come as no surprise that symbols mean different things to different people and there will unfortunately continue to be disagreements (and at times violence) when it comes to interpreting whose rights deserve protection as they pertain to those symbols. While it is not likely that a […]

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“What’s in a Name?,” Florida Community Association Journal

When Shakespeare coined the phrase “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in Hamlet, he probably wasn’t envisioning that sentiment could apply centuries later to volunteer board members. However, the Bard was opining that bad things can happen to a person, and in the present-day context, if you are serving on a community association board […]

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When Differences turn into Dysfunction: Why Your Board of Directors Needs a Code of Conduct

The role of board members in a community association is fairly straightforward: keep informed on the association’s business operations; be familiar with and come prepared to discuss the agenda items for upcoming board meetings; encourage and participate in constructive, businesslike discussions of those agenda items; and use your judgement to represent the community and its […]

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Going Too Far Down the Rabbit Hole: How Our National Political Discourse Parallels Our Community Association Discourse

It’s hard right now to turn away from the 24/7 news cycle and its discord, rancor and heated rhetoric. When we spend the majority of our time discussing just 20% of the topics which concern us, we cannot commit time or energy to the other 80% which also demands our attention. It’s not surprising that […]

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“A Look Back at Online Voting’s First Year in Florida,” Florida Community Association Journal

“How much longer do you think it will be?” an owner hissed in my ear as she tapped on her oversized watch to indicate her growing impatience as we reached the three-hour mark in a 400+ unit condominium election. I told her it shouldn’t be much longer while secretly hoping my optimism was accurate. The […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger on the Airbnb issue in Daily Business Review

Donna DiMaggio Berger’s commentary on the First District Court of Appeal’s recent ruling on short-term rentals in private communities was published in the Daily Business Review’s May 16, 2017, issue. With Airbnb and similar short-term rental sites here to stay, Donna dissects the ruling’s impact on residential use restrictions in private residential covenants. She discusses […]

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Florida Legislature Approves Landmark Bill Allowing High Rises to Opt-Out of Installing Fire Sprinkler and Engineered Life Safety Systems

Becker & Poliakoff Lobbying Team Scores Win for Condo Associations FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – May 16, 2017 – In a major victory for Florida’s condominium owners, the Florida Legislature last week approved a bill allowing a key opt-out provision for installing fire sprinkler and engineered life safety systems in older high-rise buildings. Becker & Poliakoff shareholder […]

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Becker & Poliakoff Announces Launch Of Proprietary ‘BPBALLOT’ Voting Software For Community Associations

Law firm becomes first in Florida offering proprietary online voting software to address long-standing challenges for managed communities FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – March 22, 2016 – The law firm of Becker & Poliakoff today announced the launch of BPBALLOT, a proprietary, secure online voting software for community associations. As the only law firm in Florida providing […]

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New Law Puts Phony Service Dog Owners on Notice

A new law passed by the Florida Legislature takes the first tentative steps toward making it easier for business owners and airlines to keep phony service animals out of restaurants, away from condo swimming pools and off commercial airline flights unless they’re actually certified by the state. It’s the latest battle in a long war between pet […]

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Hurricane Recovery Team Benchmarking Guide

When a disaster occurs and an insurance claim must be filed, your insurance policy is an extraordinarily valuable asset. Reducing the time between filing of a claim and receipt of insurance benefits is paramount. The Benchmarking Program enables Community Associations to maximize the benefits available under their property insurance policies in the event of a […]

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Florida Supreme Court Ruling on Attorneys is Bad News for Condo Associations

Condo association boards hoping to cut legal fees by performing some everyday tasks in-house will need to reconsider after the Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed an earlier opinion that these duties constitute practicing law without a license. Still reeling from the last housing crash that left some filing for bankruptcy to remain solvent while scrambling to […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger was a guest on the “Condo & HOA Hour”

Attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger was a guest on the “Condo & HOA Hour” on radio station KKNW 1150 AM Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Ms. Berger provided commentary on national trends in the community association industry and discussed how technology is affecting HOAs and condos, and how volunteer board members are getting the education necessary to effectively lead […]

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Attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger will be a guest on the “Condo & HOA Hour” January 20, 2015

Attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger will be a guest on the “Condo & HOA Hour” on radio station KKNW 1150 AM Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Ms. Berger will provide commentary on national trends in the community association industry and discuss how technology is affecting HOAs and condos, and how volunteer board members are getting the education necessary to […]

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Community Association Leadership Lobby Announces Advisory Board

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, June 25, 2014 – The Community Association Leadership Lobby (CALL), Florida’s leading community association advocacy organization, today announced the newly appointed CALL Advisory Board, which will provide input on CALL’s vision, strategy and outreach. The Advisory Board consists of community association industry leaders and veterans from across the state who will assist CALL in […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger will be interviewed on WLRN’s Topical Currents

Becker & Poliakoff attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger will be interviewed and take calls from the wide-ranging audience on Topical Currents, the local news program on National Public Radio affiliate WLRN on  Tuesday, June 17th from 1-2 pm. Ms. Berger, who has counseled condominium, homeowners, cooperative, and timeshare association boards in South Florida since 1992 will be […]

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Donna DiMaggio Berger Rejoins Becker & Poliakoff Community Association Law Practice Group

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, March 5 — Becker & Poliakoff is pleased to announce that attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger has rejoined the firm’s Community Association Law practice group as a shareholder in Ft. Lauderdale. Ms. Berger served as a member of the firm’s Community Association Law practice group from 1992 to 2007. In 2007, she joined the Broward County-based law […]

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