Birds in flight may be beautiful, but their departure sometimes leaves the nest unprotected. And when that nest is in a condominium community, property managers and boards must do their best to compensate.
This region is full of snowbirds, who fly away during the hot, humid and hurricane-prone weather of summer, returning in the late autumn. The typical snowbird assumes a northern migration during Florida's annual hurricane season and summer. This flight pattern means prolonged absences from individual units, and this presents associations and managers with a different set of issues, ranging from governance to insurance coverage, to the consequences of unforeseen damage.
According to Ellen Bonder Lohr, president of AKAM On-Site based in Boca Raton, “In general approximately 30 percent of our total managed units are vacant for extended periods throughout the year.”
Statistics show that those in the 55+ age group are more likely to travel during the winter, with residents splitting their time between colder climes and sunny Florida. Planning for their absence is critical, he says.
“Typically, we prepare people in advance … to make sure certain things are accomplished,” Lohr says. “We request all personal contact information from each unit owner, updated on an annual basis, usually in May. We also request contact information [in writing] for anyone designated by the unit owner to be responsible for the unit in the owner’s absence.”