What Do the Surfside Report Recommendations Mean for Managers?
A grand jury recently released a report on the Surfside condo collapse. What do the report’s recommendations mean for managers?
The report doesn’t specifically refer to managers, but they would certainly feel the effects of any enacted recommendations. “I’d expect that if some of these recommendations are adopted, the burden will end up falling on the managers,” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif.
“Surfside is going to heighten our responsibility as an industry to give boards information that’s accurate, that paints the true picture of what’s going on,” says Brad van Rooyen, president of HomeRiver Group-Florida, the management company for about 160 associations in the state.”
You’d be wise to thoroughly document your efforts in this area. “The management company needs a clear trail of recommendations to the board on what needs to be done,” van Rooyen says.
“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the reality of the situation. Our job isn’t to placate them by giving them information that will make them happy and result in contract renewal — it’s to help them find solutions and given them professional advice. If that means it’s a $5 million special assessment, we tell them it’s a $5 million special assessment, not $3 million.”
Sandra Gottlieb, a founding partner of California homeowner association law firm SwedelsonGottlieb, agrees: “Managers are going to have to stand up more to their boards and tell them about their exposure to liability. I don’t think they can just let it go, thinking the board makes the decision, because everyone will be sued.”