By Jan Bergemann

Published July 21, 2017


Let’s just face it: HOA reform fails in most legislative sessions because the HOA advocates face the strong opposition of the Community Association Institute (CAI) – the “ENEMY” of all homeowners. This “trade-organization” of “service-providers” – look at the long list of members – is led by so-called “specialized” attorneys who are making their money from the misery of homeowners. But do they really provide a “service” to the owners? I doubt it.


Remember: Associations are promoted claiming to provide peaceful “easy” living. Guess what: A peaceful environment wouldn’t create a big cash-cow for these attorneys – it wouldn’t even pay their office rent. So: What’s their service? Eating up huge amounts of maintenance fees fighting often lawsuits that in reality serve nobody and will have no winners but the attorneys?


I always get a good laugh when I hear owners supporting this organization, claiming that the CAI works in the interest of the owners. Any owner-friendly reform bill faces the strong opposition of these folks who make their money from the misery of property owners – and renters.


If you have ever participated in one of the so-called conferences where all “parties” to the community association bills meet with the bill sponsors – these conferences take place behind closed doors – you would know that the CAI members are always represented in huge numbers and are working hard on derailing any bill that would help to stop the scams, embezzlement and abuse in Florida’s community associations.


Their arguments are often ridiculous, but they often work due to the CAI presence at fundraisers of our legislators. They use the owners’ money to work against their interests.


See this year’s example at the conference of the Condo Reform Bill (HB 1237) – a bill that was later dubbed the “CONDO CRIME BILL.” Their argument trying to remove criminal prosecution of board members who are seriously violating the laws: “Associations will have a hard time finding volunteers serving on the boards if these provisions pass!” Let’s face it: Every owner in his right mind can really do without “volunteers” who are afraid of criminal prosecution of serious financial crimes. Actually, I have barely ever heard a more “ridiculous” argument – and in this case it obviously didn’t work with the sponsors of the bill.


Homeowners have to unite in order to get reforms enacted. “UNITED WE STAND!” is the only way to have success. Attorneys often try to turn board members against owners – and vice versa. That’s definitely the wrong approach. It has to be: Owners and board members together against the enemies of our wallets.


Remember: Owners have the numbers, but not the money to convince our legislators that reforms – with strong enforcement – is desperately needed in order to finally stop all the “nonsense” we are reading about daily in the media – or experiencing it ourselves.


And never forget: The money used to defeat our pleas in Tallahassee comes from us – the owners. In reality we are enabling our “enemies” to defeat us by filling their coffers.

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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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