By Jan Bergemann

Published June 22, 2018


Lots of folks are looking forward to the day when the developer finally turns over control of the association to the owners. I agree, it’s a day of celebration – but it requires a lot of work – and new board members that are willing to do some work – and have minimum a basic business understanding.


At turn-over the owners are electing a new board, replacing the board members appointed by the developer. Owners should make sure that the newly elected board members are not “close” to the developer, because they are the ones in charges looking into the developers’ past actions, the finances, contracts and quality of work, especially for the common interest property.


The newly elected board really has to do its homework.


Never forget: The service providers at the time of turn-over have all been picked by the developer. Some law firms and management companies have close relations to the developer. The new board may be well advised to terminate their services because of their close ties to the developer. The developer will most likely start a new project elsewhere, and these service–providers are hoping to get hired for the next developer’s project.


Make sure that the new board has real help in their fight for “independence.”


We have seen “bad” contracts between associations (actually the developer) and – for example – landscaping companies, with outrageous prices. Remember: Kickbacks are rampant in Florida.


For possible warranty issues (or buildings defects) it’s great to have a law firm on your side which is not compromised by a developer relationship.


Make sure the new board takes a serious look at the past finances. What was spent for what purpose? Where the reserve funds properly funded? Were all maintenance fees properly paid – and in time? Where all the bills paid really for purposes as intended – as described in “Use of Fees”?


Money is a hot topic at turn-over. Remember: A developer is in it for the MONEY. And even little “tricks” can make the developer lots of money – at the expense of the homeowners.


So, after finishing to celebrate the “TURN-OVER” make sure the new board is willing to do a lot of work. IT’S IMPORTANT!

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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:

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 !

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