NO MATTER WHERE YOU START Ė LITIGATION IS COSTLY!

By Jan Bergemann

Published August 31, 2018

 

Only too often you donít really have a choice where you start, the Florida statutes already tell you WHERE you have to start. And it differs, depending on the statutes that regulate your association.

 

Personally I am not a friend of mediation. It only works if both parties show up with an open mind Ė willing to find a solution. Too many of the so-called specialized attorneys only use mediation to make some extra bucks. Mediation only works if both sides are willing to really mediate. I have seen too many cases where the association attorney dragged out the process to make some extra bucks, while the owners has to pay for his legal representation and half of the cost. In the end, after many hours of fruitless discussion, it became all too obvious that the association attorney never intended to settle. My advice for presuit mediation for owners: In HOAs itís required by law, so you need to jump through the hoops. Pick mediators that have 1 hour minimums, make your demands known immediately, and have the mediator declare the mediation moot after one (1) hour. In many of the cases there is only a YES or NO Ė nothing else to discuss. Anything else is just a waste of money.

Even the normally great solution of taking small disputes to Small Claims Court is not working in Florida. Unlike in many other states, where only the litigants are allowed to show up in front of the judge (all pro se), Florida allows attorneys into Small Claims Court, making even these cases very costly.

 

To make a long story short: Itís the lack of enforcement and the high cost of litigation that renders most rules and statutes useless. Itís a shame when owners canít enforce their rights just because they donít have the necessary finances to fight for their rights!

 

If laws are only good if you have the necessary money to enforce these laws the justice system is useless for us ďnormalĒ citizens.


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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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