Climate Change Is Coming for Your Association
Savvy community association managers have realized for some time that rising sea levels —whether in oceans, lakes, or rivers — pose a threat to their clients. “The problem is that it’s such a slow creep that it’s not visible to the naked eye,” says Brad van Rooyen, president of HomeRiver Group-Florida, the management company for about 160 associations in the state.
As the risks increasingly manifest on the coasts and elsewhere, though, managers and their boards need to start taking action, before it’s too late.
In 2020, residents in one of the most expensive coastal community associations in Orange County, Calif., noticed minor cracks in the clubhouse. By September 2021, the cracking had become more extensive.
Then a “mega swell” hit the beach, which had already been dramatically narrowed due to beach erosion, leaving less of a buffer between the water and the infrastructure.
“Depending on the level of erosion and how close a pool or deck or maybe a storage shed is located, it can absolutely affect the structural integrity,” van Rooyen says.
Look no further than the Orange County association for evidence of this. After the swell, four homes in the community also had damages, and a parking lot had a crack large enough to fit a human foot.
In Florida, van Rooyen reports that rising sea levels are creating problems for his clients located along canals. “As the water level rises, so does the flow of the sediment. The associations have to dredge more often so the boats aren’t sitting on sediment.” In one such association, each owner had to ante up an extra $4,000 for dredging.
“Any community that has a retaining wall along the canal or back bays, that will become a future consideration the association will have to look at,” van Rooyen says. “What’s the wall’s structural integrity? Will it have to be raised?”
Learn concrete steps you can take now to protect your association: