But we donít have money to fix our roof.
I canít believe how expensive it is to
replace the landscaping.
Why is our deductible so high?
After what just happened in that Hollywood
Nursing Home, shouldnít generators be required in 55 and over
These are just some of the comments and
questions Iíve been dealing with since Irma lashed our state.
The first 3 all come from communities that year after year vote
down the funding of a reserve account. The people in these
communities generally take the position that itís unlikely that
their condo or HOA will get hit with a hurricane, and even if it
does, weíll worry about the money when we need to worry about
the money. This month, many of these owners learned the hard
way that itís now time to worry about the money.
With deductibles so high, and landscaping
generally not covered by insurance, unit owners across the state
are quickly coming to grips with the fact that their insurance
doesnít help much to fix the damage they suffered and as a
result itís the owners themselves who now have to pay the bill
for repairs. Unfortunately, most of these same owners routinely
vote against the funding of reserve accounts in their community,
year after year, so thereís no source of funds to now tap into.
Scary. Special assessments are now coming.
Why is it that so many people are against
funding reserve accounts? One reason is that I just think
people donít like planning for and thinking that bad things can
actually happen to them. Itís not denial. I just think itís
fear of dealing with bad things. People will save for good
things like a new home, new car, a wedding. But almost nobody
today puts money aside for funerals and tombstones, even though
you know at some point they will be paid for one way or
another. Same thing with refusing to fund reserves. In 55 and
over communities older people think that itís crazy to put away
money for a roof for the next ten years when thereís a decent
chance they wonít be around in ten years to see the new roof.
Thatís a poor excuse. Suppose youíre unlucky and you live?
(Iím kidding) But a hurricane rips off your roof again and now
your 10 years older and donít have the money for a special
assessment? Can you imagine facing foreclosure proceedings when
you canít come up with several thousand dollars at once?
Believe me, at that time you will be wishing that you had funded
reserve accounts over the last ten years with a few bucks per
We arenít just sometimes cheap with reserve
accounts. We do the same thing when it comes to money versus
safety. We canít imagine that a fire will break-out in our
condo, so we root for legislation that allows us to forego
sprinklers in our condo in order to save the money. Even though
nobody in the State of Florida has ever died in a building that
has sprinklers, we donít want them if it means saving some
money. I was asked this week if I though mandatory backup
generators in 55 and over communities is a good idea. My
initial reaction was that I loved the idea, after seeing some of
the horror stories on the news about elderly people who had no
electric and a/c. However, that would mean the unit owners
would have to pay for it. Even though they know they will
likely have power failures again during Floridaís scorching
heat, my guess is that nearly everyone would vote against it if
it meant taking some money out of their pockets to pay for it.
So we wonít put away money to fund our roofs
should they blow off. We wonít agree to pay for fire sprinklers
or engineered life safety systems that may save us from burning
alive during a fire. We wonít shell out money to install
generators so we donít die from the heat. If we wonít spend
money on these items, then what in the world are we willing to
spend on? Well I heard the new I-Phone came out this week.
Itís a thousand bucks. Iím guessing lots of people who wonít
spend a dollar on all of these life safety issues will be first
on line at the Apple store. I donít know what makes this new
phone so special, but for a thousand bucks, I hope the phone
also acts as a fire sprinkler and back-up generator.