SB 154 -- WHO PAYS FOR ALL OF THESE PROVISIONS?
Published May 26, 2023
If condo owners have hoped that the bill – supposedly clarifying
lots of provisions that were enacted by the so-called CONDO
SAFETY BILL SB-4D, signed into law after last year’s special
session – would give them some financial relief are definitely
disappointed after reading the final version of this bill:
SB 154 (CS for CS for SB 154, 2nd Engrossed).
Actually the bill adds one serious financial burden for owners
who want to sue the board for violating Florida statutes:
PRESUIT MEDIATION! Most association attorneys are using presuit
mediation to add a lot of billing hours, knowing full well that
they don’t want to settle – just creating billing hours. My
suggestion to all owners: Pick a mediator with a 1-hour minimum,
go to mediation, make your demand and if the association
attorney is unwilling to give in to your demands, have the
mediator declare presuit mediation moot and go home. You
followed the law and you got away with just paying the mediator
for ˝ hour. That saves you money for the actual litigation which
will be expensive enough. Remember: In most of these cases the
owners are correct, the board violated rules and/or statutes.
That leaves association attorneys with only one defense:
Dragging out the lawsuits by filing motions over motions without
getting into the real court hearing, hoping that the owner will
run out of money paying his/her attorney. Believe me, that
tactic often works! Presuit mediation added even more cost to
already very costly litigation.
The promise of some legislators that the very high cost of all
these new provisions will be addressed next year, will not help
many families, especially folks who live on social security.
These owners have only two options: Sell their home or face
foreclosure! Is that the option our legislators had in mind?
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