By Jan Bergemann

Published November 3, 2023


Whenever you see Op-Eds in the local media in the moment, you will see their “Editorial Boards” blaming the Legislature for the financial problems owners of hi-rise condominium units are facing.


I know that many condo owners may not like my opinion, but I think the Florida Legislature is only partially to blame for the financial disaster we are going to see in the near future.


The legislators in 2010 listened to the industry representatives: The Community Association Institute, many of the so-called “specialized law firms” and community association managers. They all lobbied heavily against mandatory reserve funds, claiming it would be a too heavy burden on the finances of the condo owners. The legislature listened and enacted a law (with bi-partisan votes), allowing the owners to vote down fully funded reserves. And many of these owners did vote down fully funded reserves – as expected. I can fully understand their motives: It’s a lot more fun to go on a cruise instead of paying for fully funded reserves.


But the results of this law enacted in 2010 [FS 718.112(2)(f)2.] are now disastrous for many condo owners: Many associations have no – or barely any -- reserve funds – and the deadlines for inspections and costly maintenance and structural repairs ( created by SB 154 ) are getting closer and closer. Many owners will be forced to sell because they will be unable to pay for the much increased maintenance fees (or special assessments) or will in the end face foreclosure on their homes.


Allowing owners to vote down fully funded reserves was short-sighted and many owners will now pay the price: Losing their home! The folks who lobbied in 2010 against fully funded reserves are already licking their chops, looking forward to extra income in late fees, liens and foreclosures.


I know condo owners don’t want to hear it: Owners of single family homes have to pay as well for many repairs when their homes are coming of age: New roofs, new air-condition units – and the long list goes on and on. There is nobody going to help these owners pay for these costs. That leaves the question: Why did many unit-owners think that reserve funds for maintenance and structural repairs were not necessary?


These are the folks I blame for the financial disaster many hi-rise condominium unit-owners will be facing soon:

  1. The Developers who are keeping the maintenance fees artificially low in order to sell more high-priced units.

  2. The Realtors, who are telling potential buyers that condo-living is “EASY LIVING”.

  3. The Community Association Institute members, who rather wanted the owners’ money in their pockets instead of being in the reserve funds for necessary maintenance and repairs.

  4. The Florida Legislature for listening to the “industry” in 2010.

  5. And last not least: The Unit-owners who voted not to fund the reserves.

The blame is far spread, but if common sense would have been used, all these problems could have been avoided.


Now blaming the Florida Legislature is the easy way out. I don’t want to read the headlines of all these “fancy” media outlets, if we would be facing another catastrophe like we saw in 2021 in Surfside when the Champlain Towers South collapsed killing 98 people, because there was no money for desperately needed structural repairs. Then the same editorial boards would blame the Legislature for not taking the necessary steps to prevent such a catastrophe.


Isn’t that the way the media works nowadays?

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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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