Florida CCC 1331061 | CBC 1262426
Throughout gated community homes in Orlando and other gated communities in Florida, there are five hidden issues that gated homes share, but which also is hidden in plain sight; it is generally unknown to homeowner residents and goes undetected for the most part until a disaster strikes.
Orlando gated communities serve the well-deserved and growing retiree population of Florida with the comforts and convenience of a gate protected community. And in normal times this is the absolute best for many homeowners. However, when storm damage or disasters strike, we, like many contractors, receive dozens of calls from homeowners throughout Florida—but with the fewest calls coming from within gated communities. And the reasons are two-fold:
FIRST, unlike publicly accessible and non-gated subdivisions, gated communities are responsible for their own cleanup costs after a storm or disaster and homeowners painstakingly find out “later” that FEMA does not pay for such things if FEMA learns there is an HOA entity on the private community. As such, public assistance such as that provided by cities to public communities after disasters is not available to gated communities and thus places the burden on the gated residents to pay for the cleanup themselves. This then happens through HOA mandated cleanup and/or landscaping related special assessment fees etc.
SECOND, when natural disasters like hurricanes, windstorms, and hailstorms strike; the communities outside of gated perimeters are serviced sooner and readied for restoration faster as contractors have immediate access to them, give that contractors do not have to worry about the potential for gated-perimeter related trespassing violations.
THIRD, as public communities and subdivisions take up the slots and resources available from service contractors; gated communities need to wait “in-line” to be serviced.
FOURTH, a homeowner in a gated subdivision needs to first call a contractor and grant them entry access to the private community as the contractor cannot enter without private access granted or risk trespassing related violations.
FIFTH, when natural disasters strike, all homeowners watch the news. And this creates what we have come to label a false “in-the-news” perception by viewing homeowners that the damage ‘as seen on the news’ was not what they saw or experienced, and so, therefore, they must be “OK.”
“Yeah I saw in the news how bad it got around here, but no, we didn’t get it that bad; so we’re okay.”
Unfortunately, that perception is inaccurate as the greatest number of victims in storm damage events are not usually the homeowners in the core of the “damage zone”; but the outlying homes in the expanded rings of damage—a driving reason why a hail or wind storm claim can be filed for up to 5 years as it may take years before outlying homes see the damage to their property.
For example, during the March 20th, 2018 hailstorm that swept through Central Florida, the areas most impacted and with the severest damage made the news. And in the homes featured on the news, one could see serious damage to the property. However, what was not shown is the total storm swath which would show the complete extent and intensity of the storm as felt by all the affected areas.
Private gated communities like Delray Beach experienced first hand after Hurricane Frances what setbacks a private community can expect when seeking clean up assistance. Initially, the city told the community they would not help because their Homeowners Association had insurance; only to learn later that the insurance would not cover and pay for hauling debris and replanting toppled trees. Then, when the city sought reimbursement from FEMA, “state officials monitoring FEMA grants said homeowners associations, not the federal government were responsible for debris pickup on their turns.”
“As soon as you live inside a gated community with security guards and no public access, you’re saying ‘We’re going to handle all things inside here,'” said Jon Myatt, spokesman for the state’s emergency response team.”
This is a major problem and flaw in private gated communities and it is not the only type of hurdle that homeowners in gated communities need to be aware of and have an open discussion about including what part of their homeowners’ association fees go towards a reserve for disaster and storm clean up.
Further, when a gated development sets up its private perimeter; it is also setting up a self-imposed exclusion. For example here are some of the outcomes of some recent storms:
As a tornado swept through homes and some gated communities in Lakeland FL, residents came out to see the damage even as more than 10,000 customers in the area went without power. Contractors converged on the location for restoration services; however, the gated communities immediately took a back seat.
And while this may seem as the intended purpose of a gated private community in keeping solicited sales of services at bay; homeowners that saw the news and then saw their homes and then subsequently decided that the news did not match the damage on their properties then became the remaining victims of the tornado as they would not have their home and roof inspected.
The March 27, 2019 storm brought a hailstorm stretching for 20 miles and devastated the space coast area within a matter of minutes. Commercial buildings, apartment complexes, office buildings and all manner of public access homes and private gated communities were impacted.
And a quick records search of permits, despite the storm’s impact, shows there may still be well over 40% to 50% of the homes in gated communities uninspected and highlighting the message that truly the number one victim of storm-related damage continues to be gated communities.
Not because the gates prevented damage, but because the homeowner may not know they have damage from in-the-news related perception or because since the storm other things have since taken priority and first position in mind. However, a quick inspection with an infrared camera will quickly reveal yellow stains unseen with the normal eye, or, a quick inspection can deliver a set of eyes and fast opinion as to whether or not damage exists.
There are several benefits to living in a gated enclave including:
Likewise, there are several disadvantages to living in a gated commune including:
Please call our office 24/7 to schedule first a full storm and roof inspection for the community, designed to mark, note and record all the damage to a sampling of properties. Then, we will sit down with you and go over the entire process and illustrate to you inclusive of the written acknowledgement about our services for your review and satisfaction.
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