FINANCES = UPROAR!
Published April 22, 2022
Apathy is rampant in community associations. Participation at
board meetings – or even annual meetings with elections – is
very low, often so low that the meeting can’t take place due to
the lack of a quorum.
To me it seems pretty obvious that most owners plainly don’t
understand that bad decisions of the board can ruin the personal
finances of all owners. For most people the purchase of a home
(or a condo) is the biggest investment of their life. Shouldn’t
they be interested in protecting this investment?
But only serious financial issues will get a majority of owners
in a community to raise their voices and complain. The easiest
way to get apathetic owners to finally show up at meetings is a
letter telling them that they have to pay for a special
assessment within 30 days – or that the maintenance fees have to
be increased by a big amount.
I often get these calls asking for information on how to “RECALL
THE BOARD”. People just don’t understand that it is
normally too late to make any changes once these letters have
been sent out, or the budget has been approved by the board.
This week I got a call from a lady who was upset about having to
pay a very high special assessment and wanted to recall the
board. When asking for the reasons I was told that an engineer
was working on the 40-year certification and told the board that
serious constructional work needed to be done. And guess what?
The association has barely any reserve funds to speak of since
the owners voted down reserve funding over the years.
Recalling the board would not change anything. What can a new
board do to avoid the special assessment? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
They can’t miraculously create reserve funds nor can they ignore
the necessary work that has been evaluated and stated in the
Postponing the work? Not really possible any more after the
disastrous collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside.
Building departments will enforce 40-year inspections and will
evacuate buildings that are not doing the necessary structural
In recent weeks we have seen quite a few condominium buildings
being evacuated – making the families living in these buildings
I guess the owners should be interested in avoiding this kind of
fate. Owners should participate in the association’s meetings,
knowing what is going on in their building.
DON’T START PARTICIPATING ONCE IT’S TOO LATE!
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