Reserve Studies - The Complete Guide is 436 pages explaining the concepts and process for making a reserve study. For more information and to order, click here.

 

 

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State of Florida

Title XL, Chapter 718, Condominium Associations, describes the responsibilities of the Board of Directors to budget for and determine reserve accounts for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance for which the association is responsible.

Common industry practice is that homeowners associations should perform periodic reserve studies as a prudent business practice.  Directors of associations are generally held to a “prudent businessman” rule in determining whether or not they have met the fiduciary duty of their position for the association.  A prudent businessman would establish a capital replacement budget (reserve study) to make sure he is generating enough revenues (reserve assessments) to provide for major repairs and replacements.

There is little discussion about whether an association should perform a reserve study.  The only significant areas of discussion revolve around how frequently a reserve study should be performed, and if there should be any minimum funding requirements.  Most states that have reserve study statutes require physical site inspections on 3 or 5 year cycles.  We believe that 5 years is too long.  3 years may be too long if significant reserve expenditures are being made during the subject time period.  However, the association should perform an update without site inspection every year as part of the annual budget process.

 

Florida Statute 718.112 (f) Annual Budget

1.  The proposed annual budget of common expenses shall be detailed and shall show the amounts budgeted by accounts and expense classifications, including, if applicable, but not limited to, those expenses listed in s. 718.504(21). A multi-condominium association shall adopt a separate budget of common expenses for each condominium the association operates and shall adopt a separate budget of common expenses for the association. In addition, if the association maintains limited common elements with the cost to be shared only by those entitled to use the limited common elements as provided for in s. 718.113(1), the budget or a schedule attached thereto shall show amounts budgeted therefor. If, after turnover of control of the association to the unit owners, any of the expenses listed in s. 718.504(21) are not applicable, they need not be listed.

2.  In addition to annual operating expenses, the budget shall include reserve accounts for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance. These accounts shall include, but are not limited to, roof replacement, building painting, and pavement resurfacing, regardless of the amount of deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost, and for any other item for which the deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost exceeds $10,000. The amount to be reserved shall be computed by means of a formula which is based upon estimated remaining useful life and estimated replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of each reserve item. The association may adjust replacement reserve assessments annually to take into account any changes in estimates or extension of the useful life of a reserve item caused by deferred maintenance. This subsection does not apply to an adopted budget in which the members of an association have determined, by a majority vote at a duly called meeting of the association, to provide no reserves or less reserves than required by this subsection. However, prior to turnover of control of an association by a developer to unit owners other than a developer pursuant to s. 718.301, the developer may vote to waive the reserves or reduce the funding of reserves for the first 2 fiscal years of the association's operation, beginning with the fiscal year in which the initial declaration is recorded, after which time reserves may be waived or reduced only upon the vote of a majority of all non-developer voting interests voting in person or by limited proxy at a duly called meeting of the association. If a meeting of the unit owners has been called to determine whether to waive or reduce the funding of reserves, and no such result is achieved or a quorum is not attained, the reserves as included in the budget shall go into effect. After the turnover, the developer may vote its voting interest to waive or reduce the funding of reserves.

3.  Reserve funds and any interest accruing thereon shall remain in the reserve account or accounts, and shall be used only for authorized reserve expenditures unless their use for other purposes is approved in advance by a majority vote at a duly called meeting of the association. Prior to turnover of control of an association by a developer to unit owners other than the developer pursuant to s. 718.301, the developer-controlled association shall not vote to use reserves for purposes other than that for which they were intended without the approval of a majority of all non-developer voting interests, voting in person or by limited proxy at a duly called meeting of the association.

 

Additional State Reserve Study Laws