By Jan Bergemann

Published August 13, 2021


No building has an endless life-expectancy without proper maintenance and repairs. No matter if itís a single-family home or a hi-rise condo building, any building requires repairs and maintenance Ė and the owners have to pay for it. Itís just common sense to put money aside to pay for these repairs, or being one day faced with a sudden huge repair bill Ė in community associations known as special assessments.


For owners of single family homes itís pretty easy to estimate the cost of necessary repairs caused by wear and tear. In a hi-rise condo building itís a lot more difficult Ė and it takes experts to figure out the life-expectancy of certain structural parts of the building Ė and the estimated cost at the time when the repair is needed.


Thatís why it takes licensed experts to provide the necessary reserve studies to make sure that the required reserves are properly calculated Ė not just Joe Blow who thinks he knows it all.


I know people love to ignore the necessity of reserve funds and rather use the money to go for dinner or even take a cruise.


But isnít creating fully funded reserves the much smarter choice, instead of receiving one day a letter that you have to pay a huge special assessment within 30 days due to the fact that serious structural repairs are needed or the building will be red-tagged, meaning you have to leave your home? Did you read all the recent media reports about the buildings in South Florida being evacuated on short notice?


That is exactly what happens if the board postpones necessary repairs due to the fact that there is no money to pay for it.


Thatís exactly the reason why every condo owner should be interested in making sure that the association board is on top of these issues, making sure that there are reserve-studies created by licensed experts, fully funded reserves Ė used only for the purpose intended Ė and maintenance and repairs are taken care of as soon as known. Often small problems taken care of immediately prevent huge repairs at a later time. A small leak in the roof can quickly turn into the necessity of replacing the whole roof if not addressed immediately.


As much as I understand that lots of folks rather use their money to have fun instead of saving money needed in the future Ė be smart. Otherwise carelessness will come back to haunt you! Remember the fable written by Aesop more than 2700 years ago about the grasshopper and the ant? Who would you rather want to be in that story? The Ant or the Grasshopper?

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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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