By Jan Bergemann    

Published March 22, 2019


The 2019 Legislative Session is in full swing. The newly elected leadership obviously wants to bring some “fresh air” into the process – and our new Governor Ron DeSantis got so far lots of praises from all sides. The newly appointed DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears has made quite a few changes to the staff of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, but we have to see if these changes will have the hoped for impact. Please give him a little time to create the changes he envisions.


Lots of bills related to community associations have been filed. You find them all listed on our PRIORITY BILLS webpage. But in all reality the only one really useful is HB 1259 filed by State Representative Javier E. Fernández and the similar companion Bill SB 610 filed by Senator Jason Pizzo.


This bill is aiming at stopping the misuse of funds from the Condo Trust Fund (it’s about time!) and provides criminal penalties for financial crimes, kickbacks,, use of association debit-cards, election fraud and certain violations relating to official association records. It’s about time to treat criminals like criminals – and not let them get away with a slap on the wrist. The bill has in the meanwhile been dubbed the “LOCK-THEM-UP BILL”.


As expected this bill isn’t well liked by Donna Berger – according to the CALL-newsletter of the law firm of BECKER (& POLIAKOFF). Understandably so, because in my opinion – and that of many others – this firm is partially making a living of protecting dictatorial – and otherwise unwanted – board members. I consider it a mass-production of so-called “Cease and Desist” letters mailed to owners who criticize these boards. As far as I was told, board members can’t use association funds to defend against criminal prosecution – and the association funds normally guarantee the payment of the legal fees.


This bill will hopefully find its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.


Next week I will talk about the myriad of bills filed in regards to Community Association Fire and Life Safety Systems. Amazingly enough, the Florida Legislature has failed for more than 15 years to find a final solution to this hotly debated issue. DO LIVES REALLY MATTER?

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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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