If you’re reading this today,
I want you to do one thing…….smile. Yes, I understand your home
and car is damaged. I understand your personal property has
been destroyed. I understand we may be without power for a
while. But you already survived. Others did not. Your spouse,
children, parents, sisters, brothers, aunts uncles and friends
all made it through ………..ALIVE. Be thankful. It could have
been much worse. Much worse.
There are significant moments
in life that forever remain monumental in our thoughts. Where
were you when President Kennedy was assassinated? On 9-11? I
think Irma now falls into that category of life changing
moments. Just like with Hurricane Andrew, years from now
people will ask “Were you here when Irma hit Florida?” Going
forward there will always be a “before Irma” time period and an
“after Irma” time period. I saw the devastation of Hurricane
Andrew first hand. It was a difficult year or two for everyone
who got caught in the eye of that killer storm. But eventually,
homes and businesses were rebuilt, schools re-opened and
gradually life returned to normal, just like it always does. It
will just take some time. But things will return to normal.
If you’re serving on a Board I
know you are eager to immediately help rebuild your community.
That is admirable. But slow down. Don’t be eager to
accept settlement offers from your insurance company without
knowing if you are resolving them of any additional liability.
Don’t be eager to hire anyone to make repairs to the community
without verifying licensure and proof of insurance. Have legal
counsel review your repair contracts first to make sure your
contractor is not ripping you off and that the job is done
timely with proper permits. Don’t put down large deposits on
repair contracts or those funds may be lost. Get advice on
whether or not your intended fix is not actually a “material
alteration” that requires the vote of the owners for approval.
This is an incredibly difficult time to be a board member. It
is a challenge to say the least. But, if done right, it will be
very rewarding as you watch your community rebuild and thrive.
If not done right, you will be hiring lawyers to fight lots of
battles in the future.
Unit owners………..don’t expect
your Board to be able to rebuild overnight. Have patience. The
board wants a new roof and electricity as quickly as you do. If
you have any expertise in construction or engineering, now is
the time to step up and ask your board If they would like your
help in selecting additional contractors and deciding what
repairs need to be made.
Be kind to each other.
Everything damaged can be replaced. Let the insurance companies
cry about it, not you. I do feel sorry for those associations
that never thought a hurricane would come and didn’t bother to
fund reserve accounts. Your problems are now bigger than some
other associations. Unfortunately, special assessments now lie
ahead. Unit owners keep in mind that if you have an HO-6
policy, your policy will cover at least part of the special
So, let’s take a deep breath,
assess the damage and rebuild. Calmly. Stay focused and don’t
get taken advantage of. We will all overcome the devastation
together. Petty disputes and silly arguments only detract from
what we can accomplish together if we all help each other
succeed. Let’s act like neighbors and friends. And let’s not
forget that we still have our family, our friends and each