By Jan Bergemann

Published April 21, 2023


Every association requires contracts, meaning every board has to figure out if the contract is good or bad.


The problem with many board members: They have no business experience and often only read Page 1 of the proposed contract! Price is great! Let’s sign this contract. Especially community association management contracts are dangerous if you only check page 1. Many of these contract only tell you the real story of the contract on page 5 or 6 (just an example) when all the extra charges are listed in small print.


It’s often less expensive for the community if page 1 lists a price that is all inclusive, even if the price is much higher than the offer on other bids. Low-ball offers on page 1 turn often into extreme high-cost offers on later pages in small print when you add all the extra charges for lots of things that will happen on a daily basis. Watch out for charges on these contracts to supervise construction contracts. Your CAM is not an engineer and has most like as much knowledge about construction work as you do. But you want to pay him to “supervise” the licensed contractor?


And then there is the actual language of the contracts. Most of them are written by attorneys in legalese, often using words that are not in our daily vocabulary. Beware of these contracts! Always have these contracts checked by your association attorney who is familiar with legalese and knows the tricks of the trade.


And then there are the construction contracts. They are often lengthy and very tricky because they deal with issues nobody on the board might know anything about. Watch the small print on the final pages and compare the bids you receive. Make sure all the contractors you want to hire have the experience, doing such work for many years, the necessary licenses and insurance policies (check dates).


And then there are the bulk cable contracts. Today’s world of technology is fast advancing. What’s in today maybe outdated tomorrow. Don’t burden your association members with long cable contracts. Many people nowadays don’t use cable TV or land-line telephones anymore. All they need is high-speed WiFi. Why should they pay for cable TV? A little warning for associations where the long-term contracts with COMCAST are ending: A company named Blue Stream Fiber is targeting these associations and offers contracts sounding really great, especially for board members. In our day and age it may be a much better idea to have each owner make his/her own decision how they want to connect their TV, Internet and Telephone.


No matter what kind of contract you are contemplating to sign, look at all the “small” print and have some expert – like an attorney – check for all the little traps contained n many contracts. Remember: BUYER BEWARE!

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
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:

Educational Website:

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 !

Join the 

CCFJ Email List

For Email Marketing you can trust