ARE HOAs REALLY BETTER OFF?

By Jan Bergemann

Published August 26, 2022

 

Letís make no mistake: Floridaís hi-rise condo buildings just got hit with a serious financial burden that will force quite a few owners to sell their homes or face foreclosure. HOAs may seem to be the better choice in the moment, but it only seems that way. If you really take a close look you will quickly find out that HOAs have as well serious downfalls that can make the lives of families living in a mandatory HOA regulated by FS 720 pretty miserable.

 

HOAs need fully funded reserves as well or will one day face the same problem condo associations are facing now: SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS!

 

HOAs donít really need reserves for structural engineers or serious structural maintenance or repairs. But they have similar money-pits: Roads and bridges Ė for example. Maintaining and fixing them can as well cost an arm and a leg, and a firstborn.

 

Owners often forget that developers are allowed to build sub-par roads Ė roads that donít pass county inspections. Many of these roads deteriorate pretty fast  and the bills for trying to fix these roads can be horrendous.

 

And while condos have a Ė minimum by name Ė regulatory agency, HOAs have nothing of this kind and even simple matters Ė like record requests Ė have to go through litigation in court. Make no mistake: Even if FS 720.311 forces the parties to go to PRESUIT MEDIATION, thatís just another money pit most often going nowhere. Mediation only works if both parties approach mediation in good faith, but this isnít the case very often. There are too many association attorneys who are dragging the mediation out for many hours knowing from starters that they are not willing to settle the case, not only creating big bills for themselves but costing the owners lots of money, money they may desperately need later when the case is litigated in court. Donít fall for this trap!

 

In my opinion one system is as bad as the other. When neighbors were just neighbors, life in communities was much more civilized and disputes were settled mostly with very low cost. Remember the good old times when neighbors brought neighbors in need chicken soup and cookies. Nowadays neighbors serve neighbors with liens and foreclosure notices.


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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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