WHAT’S A MATERIAL ALTERATION?
Published January 15, 2021
That’s the Million-Dollar-Question that will in my opinion be
left unanswered forever. It’s one of the most disputed issues in
condos and HOAs – and arbitrators and judges have tried to solve
this riddle without coming up with a reasonable answer to that
Even something as little as a RING DOORBELL can
cause complicated and expensive lawsuits. Video cameras – in
every size and form – have caused myriads of lawsuits, mostly
caused by privacy concerns. Especially in condos, where people
live very close together, privacy is a major issue. Nobody likes
the neighbor to know who is visiting his/her unit at what time,
and when the visitors – or owners -- are leaving the unit. But
“Big Brother” is anyway everywhere and who can really be the
judge of what should be considered “privacy” and what should be
considered necessary for “safety”.
Digital technology develops
faster than laws and rules and in the past years we have seen a
multitude of new technologies that overwhelmed lawmakers and
That leaves us with the question: Will the “case of the ring
door-bell” reach an arbitrator – or a court of law – or will the
parties find inexpensive ways to come up with a reasonable
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking