By Jan Bergemann

Published December 6, 2013


One thing is sure: We will again see in the very next future reports about HOA owners being threatened by their board for their holiday decorations. Just watch your local TV station and/or your local newspaper for headlines like: “Homeowner files lawsuit over Christmas decorations” or “Menorah lawsuit resolved in time for Hanukkah, but bad feelings linger.”


It is an old tradition to decorate homes and gardens for Christmas. But in recent years we have seen too many board members spoiling the holiday spirit for families living in HOAs. What’s wrong with some nice holiday decorations – they definitely don’t decrease property values.


As long as the owners are not going overboard – like Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation” – I think nobody should get “violation” letters and other threats for decorating the family’s home for Christmas.

If boards are afraid that some of the association members will go overboard, why not creating certain rules limiting the time of the display. Make no mistake, owners can always use the time limitations of
FS 720.305(2)(b) to circumvent being fined. Before the HOA can even send the notice and hold the required hearing in front of the grievance committee, the holidays are long over and the owner can come to the meeting saying: “I removed the decorations as required in your letter dated December ??!”


It’s the holidays – let people have some fun – especially the kids who love these Christmas decorations.


Or do you want to be considered the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

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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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