WILL CONDO OWNERS EVER LEARN?
Published February 4, 2022
Anybody who thought that the collapse of the Champlain Towers
South would be a wake-up call for condo owners may have been
Even after the disaster, that has cost the lives of 98 people
living in this hi-rise building, many condo owners still cling
to the believe that “easy-living” promised to them when
buying into these condo associations is still correct.
Many of these, especially elderly owners, still want to ignore
the fact that these buildings need constant maintenance and
repairs – projects that take lots of money. And the money needed
to do the necessary repair and maintenance is missing in most of
these associations responsible for the upkeep of these
Since the Florida Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, removed
the mandatory requirement of funding reserves in 2010, many of
these associations plainly failed to continue to budget for
fully funded reserves.
The result: Now, when the money is needed to do expensive
repairs and maintenance, there is no money in the reserve funds
to pay for these construction projects. And since most banks
have withdrawn from the market of giving loans to condo
associations these projects can only be paid for by special
assessments. These special assessments can get as high as tens
of thousands of dollars, money many of these condo owners just
don’t have. And the so-called “specialized attorneys” are
licking their chops. Liens and foreclosures are big business –
little work with huge financial rewards for these attorneys.
Remember who was behind the bills that reneged the mandatory
funding of reserves in 2010? The same “special interests folks”
that are now seriously benefitting from the lack of reserve
And many condo owners still support the efforts of “special
interests” of watering down the common-sense bills filed by
legislators – bills trying to prevent a repeat of the collapse
of the condo hi-rise in Surfside.
This is the question condo owners complaining about increases in
monthly maintenance fees caused by insurance premiums and
mandatory reserves should be asked: “If you are unable to pay
$100 or $ 200 more monthly for the maintenance fees, how will
you be able to pay a special assessment of (maybe) $20,000.00
within 30 days if a structural repair is necessary?”
Condo owners should think about it before they dig themselves
into even bigger holes!
||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