The right decision isn’t always the easy one

By Rafael Aquino

Published October 28, 2020  


From a management perspective, we have certainly received our share of requests for refunds or reductions to the monthly assessments. These were especially common at the beginning of the pandemic. We immediately gathered our leadership team to discuss the issue and help our clients deal with establishing a policy for communicating the best response to these requests and preparing our clients for a potential cash shortfall from reduced payments. In general, the association should not issue any refund or reduce its assessments in response to this pandemic or as a result of any unit owner's hardship. The following are a cursory review of just a few of the issues that should be considered:


  1. The Board's fiduciary responsibility is to maintain the property to preserve valuations and protect the association's most important asset, which is the right to levy assessments. Any mitigation of this fiduciary responsibility could present serious legal challenges with unit owners on different sides of the issue. 

  2. The association's cost structure, for the most part, has not and will not change. In other words, in our experience, most costs were not reduced during the pandemic. In some cases additional services were needed for enhanced cleaning, vigilance for safety compliance, registration systems for amenities uses, updates to websites for increased communications, legal fees to keep up with the multiple executive orders and guidance from federal, state, county, and city officials, improvements such as reception windows, signage, sanitizing stations, thermometers, staff safety equipment, additional cleaning supplies, etc. 

  3. The association faces risks of potential legal challenges to its handling of the pandemic, which means increased legal costs and operational considerations. This is incredibly costly when most insurance carriers do not cover any liability related to virus and bacterial infections.

  4. The operating budgets for an association are essentially set up to cover expenses that directly impact the community and, in most cases, are fixed in nature, which means that the expense will be incurred with or without the property being utilized. Most importantly, unlike private for-profit corporations, an association budget does not contemplate any profits, additional capital from bond or stock issues, or even a government bailout program. 

Our leadership team provided support to our clients in the form of disseminating information to board members and unit owners that helped educate all parties on the importance of maintaining financial stability for the association, the impact of reduced cash flow to the association, and the risks of reduced or interrupted services and maintenance. Additionally, impacted unit owners also received targeted information on seeking assistance from relevant government programs and non-profits organizations. Lastly, a unique process was created for any impacted unit owner claiming hardship and requesting the association's assistance. 

If we take another perspective on this matter, we can think about county property taxes or even our sales taxes. There was no reprieve or refund for these obligations that essentially make our local community function and allow for all essential services to fluidly operate to the benefit of each of us and our neighbors. 

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...




As the Co-Founder and CEO of Affinity Management Services, Rafael P. Aquino leads his team to redefine excellence. They serve community   associations   efficiently

and effectively with dedication and passion. Rafael’s energy and positive spirit is the foundation of Affinity Management Services’ company culture, which instills enthusiasm and excitement when providing expert advice to its board members and relieving the day-to-day burdens of running a community association.


Since 2007, Rafael has developed a work culture that values responsive and high-quality services. He has led his team by following a proactive vs reactive philosophy. The same approach Rafael instills in the day to day operations of each association. Today, Affinity Management Services maintains its success and benefits as a result of the foundation Rafael has built and continues to foster by providing educational seminars, continuing education classes for association managers and board members alike.

Rafael and his team help condominium and homeowners’ associations save money and improve their communities. His calm, personable, and service-oriented nature helps him to establish strong relationships with ease. Rafael is known as a sincere and honest leader who looks out for the best interests of his clients and communities, and he strongly advocates for their needs. His role requires coordination and communication, as such he takes logical and intelligent steps to approach challenges head-on.

As a graduate of Florida International University’s electrical engineering program and a licensed community association manager, Rafael’s education and skills equip him with unique insights to tackle complex problems through critical thinking. He understands how each component within a system works together in order to effectively arrive at solutions, techniques, and conclusions. Therefore, as he manages the multiple challenges of running a community association management company, he understands how each property is its own unique system and tailors’ specific services to assure that all their needs are met.

For more information about Rafael P. Aquino and Affinity Management Services please visit or call 1-800-977-6279

Doral Office: 8200 NW 41st ST

Suite 200

Doral, FL 33166

Broward Office: 150 S Pine Island RD Suite 300

Plantation, FL 33324

O: 800-977-6279 ● F: 305-325-4053

Sign up for Email Updates
For Email Newsletters you can trust