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Community associations find ways to thrive…

Keys are cutting costs and bringing in new revenue

In many ways, the Melrose Point at Monarch Lakes condominium community offers a beacon of hope — and a host of lessons — for scores of financially struggling South Florida associations.

Although the bad economy and record-low real estate market have devastated thousands of South Florida condo and homeowner associations, Melrose Point is among those that have been able to make ends meet and maintain well-run communities.

We have found ways to not only survive these tough times, but to thrive,” said Natalie Oliveros, who manages the 357-unit condo community in Miramar.

Melrose point is among about 200 associations self-nominated for the second annual Florida Communities of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Florida Community Association Journal and the Becker & Poliakoff law firm in Fort Lauderdale. About 30 of the submissions represent South Florida. That’s a big improvement over last year, when none in the region were nominated.

Since the beginning of the year, Melrose Point began tightening its finances and expenditures and found ways to shave as much as $30,000 from operating costs, said Oliveros, who works for Aventura-based AMERICAN MANAGEMENT GROUP.

To accomplish the financial feat, the condo renegotiated most of its vendor contracts for service, such as landscaping, pool service and pest control.

The association started a collections program for owners behind in maintenance payments, putting some on payment plans, and applied for rebates and refunds from Florida Power & Light and its insurance carrier.

“We saved enough money to reduce our maintenance fees by at least a little bit,” Oliveros said. “That made our owners very happy.”

Daniel Vasquez on Condos & HOA’s
Condo Columnist
as published on South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

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