By Jan Bergemann

Published September 21, 2018


Itís the time of the ear where owners and board members are fighting about the budget. One side tries to avoid an increase of the maintenance fees while the other side thinks that money is growing on trees.


I get every year the same questions:

  • Is the Budget meeting public?
    Do the members have a say in creating the budget?

  • Can board members meet behind closed doors to work on creating the budget?

  • Is there a limit on how much the maintenance fees can increase?

 And the list goes on!

Most people get interested if their money is at stake. Always remember: Your home (unit) is collateral for any debts the association may occur!


And thatís why it is important to make sure that the reserve funds are up to par. Itís amazing what kind of arguments we hear when discussing the necessity of well-funded reserves. The most ridiculous I have heard: ďIím long dead before we need a new roof!Ē


Remember Wilma Ė and the days after Wilma when many South Floridaís homes and condo buildings had ďBLUEĒ roofs? Remember the special assessments that had to be levied by associations to pay for the deductible of the insurance policy? Remember the flood of foreclosures that followed because many unit-owners were unable to pay these special assessments?


For many owners, especially the retirees on a fixed income, itís difficult to come up with a chunk of money on short notice, but even if money is scarce a few dollars added to the monthly maintenance fees shouldnít create serious financial problems.


Hurricane Florence didnít hit Florida, but in all reality itís just a matter of time until the next hurricane will hit us.


Would you rather fund the associationís reserve funds on a monthly basis or do you prefer to get hit with a special assessment to be paid on short notice?

Think about it before the budget is finalized!

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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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