By Jan Bergemann

Published March 13, 2020


Fair Housing laws often interfere with the regular rules of community associations – and it’s a legal trap many board members fall for.


There is a lot of misconception about the Fair Housing laws. People seem to forget that associations are not “PUBLIC” buildings – or even government buildings.


Legislators were very careful when discussing fair housing issues in the statutes regulating community associations. The provisions dealing with these issues are very vague and often lead to misinterpretations ending in lawsuits.


We again have to deal with the word reasonable – a word every lawyer just loves. It leaves the law open to interpretations, making attorney’s bank accounts very happy.


REASONABLE is a word that allows about every interpretation n the book. One person may think something can be considered a reasonable accommodation, while the next person thinks it’s plainly disgusting.


And that is exactly the reason why we see so many lawsuits with variable outcome.


There is not clearly a straight line, but no matter what, fighting with the government should be avoided by association boards under all circumstances, It’s normally a lose-lose situation, that can cost the owners of the community lots of money.


In my opinion: Make sure to use common sense when trying to interpret FAIR HOUSING laws. It may help your bank account!

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida 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 Tallahassee - 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 Florida 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 in Florida !

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