By Jan Bergemann

Published September 15, 2023


In the last Legislative Session the Florida Legislature again refused to go after criminals in community associations.  They more or less killed the great provisions in the initially filed bill cited as act Community Associations Bill of Rights” (HB 919  + SB1114) and left very little protection for home- and condo-owners in the bill that was finally  signed into law By Governor Ron DeSantis.


Condo owners were totally snubbed, but were hit with mandatory funding of reserves (SB 154) after the Legislature refused to protect these reserves from abuse. Obviously our legislators think that there is no crime in condominium associations?


Remember, many condo owners always voted against fully funded reserves because many board members considered these reserves as their private piggy-bank or used the reserves for other purposes than intended.


It’s just amazing that our elected officials seem to protect criminals to the detriment of the victims – in this case community association members. It starts in Washington and continues with State Attorneys. Now its even the Florida Legislature?


The legislators passed a few tidbits claiming to protect homeowners in HOAs (HB 919 -- Chapter 2023-203), but in all reality these left-over provisions are pretty useless considering the fact that the owners have to finance the investigation and have to serve the proof of wrongdoing to the law enforcement agencies on a silver platter.


The media reports permanently about embezzled money, presidents taking kickbacks and reserve funds disappearing, leading to special assessments many owners can’t afford.


But the Florida Legislature does absolutely nothing to protect more than 50% of Florida’s population living in community associations against these criminals.


Since years the so-called “service-providers” (CAI, specialized attorneys and CAMs) are arguing in Tallahassee that laws creating government investigations into embezzling funds, taking kickbacks and/or abusing reserve funds would deter owners from serving on association boards. I have barely ever heard a more stupid argument!


Remember: There are laws -- and serious punishment -- against robbing a bank. But does that deter people from using banks? Only criminals have to be afraid of laws punishing criminals.

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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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