By Jan Bergemann

Published May 17, 2024


Financial hardship will cause many unit-owners to complain to the sitting board members – and are very often blaming the board members for the financial hardship caused by required inspections, construction cost and high property insurance premiums.


But these unit-owners are barking up the wrong tree. Former Florida statutes required the owners to vote against fully funded – or just partially funded – reserves. Actually, the unit-owners are actually to blame for the total lack of sufficient reserves in many of the older condo buildings.


I’m already hearing and reading about owners in the process of recalling the board. These owners should be aware that even a new board can’t change the statutes or lower the insurance premiums.


For many years – starting in 2006, CCFJ lobbied for mandatory reserves, protected by strict enforcement. But the “industry lobby” (like CAI) always opposed mandatory fully funded reserves – and they were able to convince the legislators that fully funded reserves are creating financial problems for many condo owners.


That was until the collapse of the Champlain Tower South in Surfside collapsed, killing 98 people. In order to protect other hi-rises from suffering a similar fate the legislature enacted new laws – laws that will cost owners in older buildings who year-for-year voted against fully funded reserves an arm and a leg – and even possibly their home.


All this financial chaos in many condo associations may create a problem in finding volunteers willing to run for the association board.


I think it’s finally time for owners with business experience to run for the board, using business sense to manage the association. In the past too many of the board members were sitting on the board figuring that being a board member will improve their social standing in the community without having any kind of business experience.


Condo associations are a business, quite a few of them with million dollar budgets. And just relying on the so-called experts – CAMs and attorneys – is not necessarily a recipe for success. Remember, these folks are in it for the money, and they want to get as much of the owners’ money as possible.


In this time of need board members and unit-owners should work together trying to solve the many problems condo associations are now facing. Fighting each other will only create more problems, without finding necessary solutions to help as many unit-owners as possible from losing their home.

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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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