By Jan Bergemann

Published September 29, 2017


Let’s face it: Many of the foreclosures after Hurricane Wilma were caused by the lack of reserves. Associations had to levy special assessments in order to cover the extra cost caused by the need to remove debris from hurricane damage and to cover the high deductibles of the insurance policies. Many of the owners – especially the elderly living on social security – were unable to pay the special assessments and lost their home to foreclosure.


We’ll see in the near future if boards learned from this horrible experience – or if we see another wave of special assessments causing havoc in Florida’s community associations.


During town hall meetings in 2003/2004 we could hear the reluctance of many owners to put money aside. At occasions we were even verbally attacked, mostly by senior citizens, for even suggesting to create “RESERVE FUNDS”.


“I will be long dead before our condo needs a new roof. Why should I spend my limited resources on reserves that will not be needed during my life-time?” That was one of the most common comments we heard during these town hall meetings.


The need for a new roof came much faster than anticipated by many owners – and with no reserves in place special assessments had to be levied – special assessments quite some owners were unable to pay. THEY LOST THEIR HOME TO FORECLOSURE!


Recently we saw articles in the media complaining about the high cost of retrofitting the condo building with a sprinkler-system. But this dead-line was known for more than twelve (12) years – that’s how long this law was floating around in the Florida legislature. If the boards would have shown some common sense – instead of using association funds to lobby against the bill – they should have added just $1 or $2 to the monthly maintenance fees for a retrofit-fund. The money to pay for retrofitting would be in the bank and no special assessment would be needed. And we wouldn’t have to listen to the bitching of certain board presidents and lawyers who didn’t show common sense and failed to create the necessary reserve funds!

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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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