FINANCIAL CHAOS?

By Jan Bergemann

Published July 15, 2022

 

I donít think there is any doubt that the provisions contained in the CONDO SAFETY REFORM BILL SB 4-D were absolutely necessary in order to avoid another catastrophe like the collapse of the Champlain Tower South that cost the lives of 98 people.

 

But the financial impact on these older hi-rise condos will be immense and will most likely create a financial chaos in these associations.

 

Make no mistake, in order to fulfill the requirements of this bill big amounts of money will be needed Ė money most of these associations just donít have.

 

We will see reports of huge special assessments these associations will levy, assessments many of these condo-owners plainly donít have. And, as we have seen during the real estate crisis in 2007/2008 it will have a domino-effect.  \With many owners defaulting on the payment, the other owners will have to pay even more, causing even more owners to default.

 

If you remember: Some of the owners in the Champlain Tower South received a letter shortly before the collapse requiring them to pay up to $ 70,000 on short notice. I can assure you, many of these mostly elderly condo owners donít have this kind of money laying around.

 

In the beginning, shortly after the bill passed and was signed into law by the Governor, nearly everybody was gung-ho, praising the legislators about a job well done. Remember: The vote in House and Senate was unanimous!

 

But now that condo-owners all over Florida begin to realize what financial impact this bill will have, we are seeing more and more media reports with condo owners expressing their concerns about the feasibility of actually coming up with the money required for all the safety provisions in the bill.

 

As much as I understand these concerns, this will mostly hit the folks who year for year voted to NOT FUND the reserves. This will now come back to haunt them Ė and they might even lose their homes over it.

 

I have to say one thing: Many owners were unwilling to fund the reserves because they saw their reserve funds disappearing for other purposes than intended, This happened a lot more often than many folks are willing to admit and the total lack of enforcement by the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares & Mobile Homes didnít help the cause. A bill trying to rein in fraud and embezzlement in community associations (SB 274 and HB 811) was ignored by the legislature, meaning that this will just continue to happen.

 

And the fact that the legislature again put the enforcement of the provisions of SB 4-D in the incompetent hands of the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares & Mobile Homes makes me seriously doubt that everything goes as intended by the Florida Legislature.

 

REMEMBER: EVERY LAW IS ONLY AS GOOD AS ITS ENFORCEMENT!


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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: 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 in Florida !


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