By Jan Bergemann

Published July 28, 2023


It’s important that owners and board members understand that the word “SHALL” used in statutes means “MUST”.


Not only since the Florida Legislature amended FS 718.113, it was clear that it was the association’s responsibility to take care of maintenance and repair of the common elements.


There was always a rule of thumb: Anything the developer built during the initial construction of the building was responsibility of the association, anything added by the unit-owner was responsibility of the owner.


It got confusing when reading the governing documents of some associations when the documents claimed that – for example – windows and door were responsibility of the unit-owner. That even caused specialized attorneys to come up with very different opinions regarding the responsibility of maintaining and repairing these elements.


According to many recent media reports many associations, especially down South, did a horrible job of maintaining and repairing common elements and – with the new laws in place – this neglect is now coming back to haunt the owners.


And we can see the result: Owners in many condo buildings down South are willing to sell the whole building to developers, knowing full well that they will be unable to finance the necessary structural repairs.


Owners in other buildings are just trying to sell their units as fast as possible in order to avoid being foreclosed upon for non-payment of much increased maintenance fees and/or special assessments.

I have heard it from many condo-owners: “I wish we wouldn’t have voted down fully funded reserves!”

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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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