LEAVE KEYS? BUT BEWARE!!!
Published May 13, 2022
There is a lot to consider if you’re
leaving your unit for a longer period of time – like our
so-called “snow-birds” do every year. Actually, the best
solution is definitely to have “friendly” neighbors –
neighbors you trust – in charge of your unit while
you’re gone. There is always the possibility that something
happens in your unit that could create long-lasting damages not
only to your unit, but as well to neighbors or units below your
unit. You could be held liable for these kind of damages that
could be avoided if detected early.
But a lot of association documents
require owners to leave keys with management or the board. But
that definitely is a matter of trust – and many owners just
don’t trust them. And there have been lots of cases where board
members and/or the CAM abused this trust. Folks having installed
video cameras in their units discovered that folks entered their
units, watched TV, helping themselves to drinks and even
In one case in Naples the CAM, trusted
with the key and the exact date of departure and arrival back
for the winter, rented out the unit, making big bucks. But the
owner, realizing that somebody had been living in her apartment
for the summer, had a hard time proving it.
Here is my advice to folks who leave
their unit for a longer period of time and have to leave a key
with the office: Install video-cameras with motion-detectors in
some rooms of your unit, cameras you can watch over the
You may prevent some ugly surprises on
your return to your home and/or may deter disallowed use of your
You know the old saying: “TRUST
IS GOOD, BUT CONTROL IS BETTER!”
It still works, even if it’s a quote by
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