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- There are a number of general things to do in preparation for “flying north.” Make sure to update your emergency contact information with your Home Owners or Community Association including giving them the name of your emergency key holder and who has a key. If available, sign up for any Vacation Watch programs your community offers. Some police departments have vacation check programs. Notify them, and generally they will do a routine check of the house. While some will only drive by and look for suspicious activity, some will get out of their vehicles and inspect the grounds looking for any break-ins. If contact information is left with the police, they can phone the homeowners if there has been a break-in or disturbance.
- Arrange for services such as landscaping, pest control and pool services if needed. Contact your internet provider and cable company to stop service or start vacation hold. Arrange for mail forwarding and newspaper stop. Ask a neighbor to pick up stray newspapers, flyers, packages etc. and make sure that neighbor has your contact information and a key. Ask the neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally to make the home looks occupied. Consider using a professional home watch company to care for your home.
- If you have never done so, take photographs or videos of all your expensive items. If needed this would be helpful for both the police and the insurance agency to identify the stolen goods. Store valuables in a place that a burglar could not access. (i.e., take jewelry to a safe-deposit box, lock computers in closets, hide keys to extra cars, etc.) Be sure to remove all valuables from sight.
- In the kitchen remove food from the house to discourage pests. Store staples such as sugar or flour in sealed metal, glass or thick plastic containers. The best refrigerator solution is to turn it off, empty it and prop open the doors. The next best solution is to empty out items which will spoil and add items like bottles of water, etc. to help retain the cold and help the unit use less energy. Don’t forget to turn off the ice maker and place a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors.
- Regarding other appliances, put 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the dishwasher to keep the seals moist. Do not latch the door. Also put 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the garbage disposal to help keep it from locking up. Remember to unplug other appliances throughout the house.
- With telephones turn off the ringers so thieves can’t hear if no one is answering the phone. Don’t leave a message on the answering machine that tells callers you’re out-of-town. Instead, say you’re away from the phone and you’ll get back to them.
- Close blinds. If using timers, leave the blinds open slightly to let light shine out so the home looks occupied. Open all doors to rooms and closets to allow for air flow.
- Regarding water, in the bathrooms wrap toilet bowls with cling wrap to keep the water from evaporating. Turn off inside water valves at the washer, under sinks, and at toilets. Valves like to be used. Better yet, shut off the main water valve when leaving.
- Change the furnace filter(s) especially if you are leaving the A/C on. You could turn it off completely but if not, set it to a high temperature (95) in the summer. Check / close fireplace damper. Lock all doors and windows placing wood dowels in the tracks of sliders where possible.
- Outside the home pick the remaining ripe fruit from trees to avoid falling fruit accumulating under the tree. Trim trees and bushes away from the house so as not to obscure windows and doors. Set the irrigation timer to the summer watering cycle. Replace the 9v battery if not done so in a while. Drain water features and treat with appropriate chemicals to avoid mosquito infestation. Store the patio furniture and barbecue grill in the garage.
- Speaking of the garage, disconnect the car battery. Leave golf cart batteries on trickle charge. Fill the golf cart batteries and car battery. Turn the water heater to vacation or pilot. Disconnect hot water circulator or set it to the off position.
- Just before leaving shut off the house main water valve but do not touch the landscaping water valves. Unplug the garage door opener or lock garage door. Double check that all doors and windows are locked making sure the door between the garage and the house is locked. Leave by the front door and lock it!
Bulk Television and Internet Services
A resident of any parcel, whether a tenant or parcel owner may not be denied access to available franchised, licensed, or certificated cable or video service providers if the resident pays the provider directly. HOAs can enter into bulk purchase agreements for Internet and television services, but they cannot deny an individual resident to choose his own provider. This provision already applies for condos and was now also established for HOAs.
One year prior to the election or 90 days after the election elected directors can take a state approved course to become certified. The certification is valid for the entire time serving on the board. This provision applies to condos.
Eligibility to serve as director on the HOA board
Homeowners, who are delinquent on HOA fees for more than 90 days may not serve on the board. The same is true, if the person is a convicted felon.
Fire Alarm Exemption
Buildings with less than four stories and exterior corridors can opt out of the manual fire alarm installation. This law change applies to condo and coop.
HOA member can now address the Board at Meetings
HOA members are now allowed to address the board at meetings on items which are on the agenda. This revises the previous requirements to have a signed petition to speak.
Liability to a superior lien holder (Master Association)
An association or its successor or assignee, that acquires title to a unit through foreclosure is not liable for any unpaid assessments, late fees and such in favor of any other association which holds a superior lien (for example the master association). This provision applies to condos and HOA.
Owners may consent in writing to have their contact information disclosed. The association is not liable for the inadvertent disclosure of information, if the information is included in an official record of the association. This passage applies to condo and HOA.
Past and future fees due to the association can now be collected from the tenant. The association has to notify the tenant in writing explaining the obligation to pay the rent to the association. The law provides immunity for the tenant of any claim from the landlord in regard to rent paid to the association as long as the unit owner is delinquent. This provision applies to condo, coop and HOA.
Suspension of Use of the Common Elements
If a unit owner is delinquent, the use of the common elements can be suspended. This decision can be made during a normal board meeting; it does not require a formal hearing. However, suspension of use for violation still requires a hearing before a committee. This provision applies to condo, coop and HOA.