By Jan Bergemann

Published July 30, 2021


With the Florida legislature watering down the initially demanded mandatory funding of full reserves by allowing owners to vote down the budgeted reserves, it was easy for owners to circumvent the payment for reserves – and many did. Especially the owners living in older hi-rises in South Florida are now paying the price. The government is cracking down on the old buildings, making sure that all safety-requirements are met, after the catastrophe in Surfside. We have seen in the last few weeks many reports about condo buildings being red-tagged and the owners evacuated. And as it turns out, most all of these associations don’t have any reserve funds worth discussing.


Not only will these owners have to find places to live until the problems are fixed and owners allowed to move back in, they will as well face steep special assessments in order to pay for the necessary repairs.


And I am pretty sure that some families will lose their homes after being foreclosed upon because they were unable to pay the special assessment – something we have often seen happening in the past.


And we need reserve-studies done by licensed experts, naming all required funds, not only the ones considered beautification. A “reserve study” shouldn’t be done by the board president who feels like he can save the association $10,000.00.


As we all know: Every home needs maintenance and repairs, no matter if it’s a single-family home or a unit in a hi-rise condo. And you, as the owner, will have to pay for it. That’s an undeniable fact of life!


Don’t you think that it may better to pay about $100 (?) more monthly with the regular maintenance fees than face one day a huge special assessment, or get kicked out of your home because the building was red-tagged – or even worse?


Well, I know what some of you will have to say: Our board uses the reserve funds for anything but the intended purpose – or somebody is even embezzling the money.


I agree: All these necessary changes to the law will only work if these newly created laws are strictly enforced. And that is the NUMBER 1 priority for the next legislative session. Florida’s condo owners pay annually millions of dollars into the Condo Trust fund to finance a regulatory agency called the “Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes” – and this Division is about as useless as a pimple.

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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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