MATERIAL ALTERATIONS – USE COMMON
Published July 31, 2020
Material alterations have caused many board members and owners
to suffer from headaches and sleepless nights. Attorneys must
love the issue of material alterations, because these two words
have caused lots of costly lawsuits, filling the bank accounts
of law firms.
In my opinion the Florida community association statutes are
very clear on that issue. It consists of two words: MATERIAL
– meaning the material used before and after – and ALTERATION
– meaning to change the existing material.
For example: If the building has carpet in the hallway and you
want to replace the carpet with tile your building undergoes a
In my opinion it doesn’t take Einstein to figure this out!
The Florida statutes require a super-majority vote of approval
by the membership since many years.
The interpretation of this provision should be guided by common
sense. Can you even imagine the stupidity of this scenario?
The board wants to redo the roof of the building, but wants to
replace the shingles with a metal roof. Clearly a material
alteration! But the board decides to redo the roof now – after
conferring with the association law firm -- since hurricane
season is starting soon. They forego the vote by the owners and
replace the roof using the new material. After the work is
finished one owner hates the look of the metal roof and, after
many complaints ignored by the board, files a lawsuit accusing
the association of violating the Florida statutes by ignoring
the provision requiring a vote by the membership to allow a
Any judge using common sense – unlike the one in the case Eric
had to deal with – will rule in favor of the owner. That would
mean that the roof would have to be replaced again – at the
expense of the owners. Shouldn’t the board members – or the law
firm having given bad advice – be responsible for the cost?
I think it’s time again that we hold people liable for their
actions – not always trying to find stupid excuses for ignoring
laws and rules.
||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