Here’s where you’ll find recent articles about FirstService Residential, as well as our impact on the Florida markets we serve.
Landscaping Tips to Help You Prepare for Hurricane Season
For most Floridians, hurricane season means preparing our homes for the potential damage that comes from heavy rains and high winds. Oftentimes, however, we overlook a very important part of our homes and neighborhoods, and doing so can have disastrous results. That often-forgotten place is right outside your front door – your landscaping.
Make Sure Your Property Management Staff is Prepared for Hurricane Season
In Florida, we have two seasons most of the country doesn’t: tourist season and hurricane season. One is much more enjoyable than the other! The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, peaking in August and September. Rarely is there a storm before or after the season; some years, as when Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992, the first named storm isn’t until late August. It’s important to prepare for the hurricane season well ahead of time and no matter how nice the weather is. Preparation includes making sure that your onsite property management staff know policies and procedures, as well as their individual roles, when a storm is imminent.
Policies for Hurricane Season: What Your Community Needs to Know
It’s that time again. Hurricane season is almost here! From June 1 through November 30, we all pay close attention to every weather pattern and what’s going on off the coast of Africa. Hurricanes can be destructive and should never be taken lightly or dismissed. But thankfully, we do get plenty of warning before a storm hits. That time is critical to preparing for a storm, no matter the category.
Five Tips to Manage the Parking Policy in Your Community
Parking challenges in condominiums and residential communities are a fact of life. Although guest parking is probably the most cited issue, including guests parking in resident spaces (knowingly or not), there is a laundry list of other common parking issues.
Comprehensive Flooring Policy: Minimizing Noisy Neighbors in Your High-Rise
Does it sometimes sound like your upstairs neighbors are bowling in their living room? Do you hear every footfall and dropped item? Noises from above can be disruptive, especially when you’re trying to sleep…. But it might not be entirely your neighbor’s fault.
6 Tips To Manage Your Association’s Paperwork
Is organizing paperwork on your list of favorite things to do? No? You’re not alone! Although it’s not something that most people enjoy, maintaining good records is critical to the most important functions of your community association. That’s true whether you live in a Brickell area high rise, an Orlando gated community or on the beach in Destin. Following a good organizational system – and following it consistently – can streamline your operations and will increase efficiency, preserve the history of your activities and provide transparency.
The Surprising Way to Make Your Association’s Dollars Go the Distance
If you’re on the Board of a condominium, high-rise or homeowners association, you know that keeping your association’s finances healthy is one of your chief responsibilities. Keeping high levels of service while trying to save money and get the best deals possible is a hard line to walk. While any amount of savings is a win, what if you could save a lot? Like one association that saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in landscaping costs? Or the one in Tampa that is saving tens of thousands each year on its electric bills?
10 Tips for Managing Your Community Pool
Many people want to live in a community that has a swimming pool, and if there’s one in yours, you know how popular an amenity it is. In Florida, we are lucky that most communities are able to offer swimming pools and that most of us can use them year round. Of course, that makes managing your pool properly even more important, simply because of the amount of use it gets. There are maintenance and safety issues and even compliance matters that go into correctly operating a community pool.
Florida’s Service Animal Laws: A Nail without a Hammer
When it comes to service dogs and assistance animals, people often confuse the Federal American with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). The ADA laws apply only to commercial (non-residential) settings. They apply to specifically trained service dogs (and the very occasional miniature horse). The ADA laws specifically exclude emotional support animals of any kind. On the other hand, the FHA laws apply to residential communities and apply to pretty much all domestic animals, including dogs, cats, pot belly pigs, etc. The FHA laws allow a person living in a residential community access to both specifically trained and untrained animals and, importantly, include the sub-category of the much beloved emotional support animal, especially when they might be otherwise prohibited by the community’s governing documents. While the ADA uses the term “disability” and the FHA uses the term “handicap,” these two terms are, for all intents and purposes, interchangeable.
A Guide to Keeping Your Pool a Comfortable Temperature Year-Round
With so much sunshine and beautiful pools everywhere, spending an afternoon at the pool comes second only to spending it at the beach. Even in the sunny warmth of Florida, water in a swimming pool isn’t usually warm enough naturally for a lot of people to enjoy it. Solution? A pool heater. What kind of heater do you need? There are several options and each has its pros and cons, according to Chris Normandeau, director of FS Energy.
Landscape Basics: Why Mulching Matters
As a Board member, you may not think about mulching very much, but you should. Although some people think it’s just a cosmetic enhancement for landscaping, mulching is important for several reasons.
Should You Go National or Local When Choosing a Property Management Company?
For many condominium Boards, deciding to hire a property management firm is a move in the right direction. But there is a lot to consider when choosing a management company for your building, and oftentimes it is the size of the company that becomes the sticking point for many condo associations. Many worry that big companies will overlook their unique needs, while small companies might not be able to serve them adequately. There are pros and cons to both large, national firms and smaller, local companies. Read our article for four factors to consider when making your decision, and learn how the size of the company affects how it handles your condo association’s most critical needs.
Six Simple Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Committees
If you ask community members why they join committees, they are likely to tell you that they truly want to make a difference in their community. But while their intentions may be great and their hearts may be in the right place, life often gets in the way. The good news is that there are a number of strategies you can implement to keep your committees engaged and get the most out of these valuable volunteers.
10 Tips to Help You Plan Successful Community Events
If you’ve been tasked with planning an event for your community or condo association, have no fear. We’re here to help! While the task may seem daunting, it can also be fun. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to planning a successful event for your community.
How to Choose the Right Lifestyle Community for Your Needs
Thinking about buying a new home in a lifestyle high-rise or lifestyle community? You’re far from alone! Lifestyle communities are becoming one of the fastest growing sectors in today’s housing market. If you’re interested in considering a lifestyle community but don’t know where to begin, you’re in luck. We’ve put together five of the most common considerations that go into choosing the right lifestyle community for you.
Five Factors to Consider When Hiring a Property Management Company
Partnering with a property management company is a big step that will have a decisive impact on your community for years to come. Before making this decision, make sure you and your Board have done the research and are confident that the company you choose is the best one to meet your community’s needs. Read on for five things to consider when deciding which property management company is right for you and your association.
Seven Tips for Getting the Right Insurance for Your High-Rise
High-rises are hotter than ever! The amenities, convenience, security, access to exciting downtown cultural and business centers and even concierge services have made vertical living more appealing than ever. Of course, a complex high-rise has its, well, complexities, too, and one of those is insurance. Multiple residences require their own policies and the shared common spaces also require coverage. If you are a high-rise Board member, resident or property owner looking for the peace of mind that insurance is meant to provide, make sure you have the correct coverage for your needs. Follow our guidelines to ensure that you are properly insured.
High-Rise and Condo Fire Safety Tips
A lot of people fall in love with vertical living for the combination of sweeping views, convenience, on-site amenities and attentive service. There’s nothing like it! High-rises do come with their own challenges, and chief among them is fire safety. If you live in a high-rise or condo building, do you know how to prepare your family for a fire? Do you know what to do if a fire breaks out? Here are four Fire Safety Tips from the experts at National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Setting Holiday Décor Standards Without Being a Scrooge
It can be tough to balance festive and tasteful, being spirited and going overboard, when it comes to holiday décor. People decorate for holidays all year-round. How much is too much? Setting policies for holiday decorating will help maintain peace and goodwill for all within your association.
Five Tips for Creating a Preventative Maintenance Plan for your Condo
The benefits of having a preventative maintenance plan are many: detecting a problem before a critical failure, anticipating repairs and replacements, and most importantly, extending the life of almost every asset in your community. Designing and executing a comprehensive plan for preventative maintenance must be a top priority for your building.