OWNER-FRIENDLY ASSOCIATION BILL READY TO ROLL!
An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published February 20, 2007
combined association bill is ready to roll for the upcoming Florida
legislative session. This bill
will help homeowners and condo owners deal much more effectively with the
multifold problems in associations.
Under the sponsorship of two well-known consumer advocates in the Florida Legislature, Senator Alex Villalobos (Miami) and State Representative Julio Robaina (Miami), this bill will quickly make its way through the legislature. Other legislators have already promised their active support for this bill.
Owners from all over the state have already thanked Senator Alex Villalobos and Representative Julio Robaina for sponsoring this important bill. Together with property insurance reform and property tax reform, this bill promises to help owners to keep up with the rapidly rising costs to live and own property in Florida.
Long overdue are the changes in statutes to regulate different kinds of associations. Representative Julio Robaina made it very clear why he feels so strongly about the much-needed reform (quote): "Without enforcement we have no laws! If a system didn't work for ten or twenty years, don't expect a miracle. We need to change it!"
The bill has many highlights, all aimed at owner protection. Daily examples show that association owners are in desperate need of easy enforcement of the laws, accountability of the people in charge, and good information and education for directors and members alike!
bill will provide easy enforcement of statutes, rules and regulations.
will create accountability of the people in charge.
will protect owners from frivolous lawsuits.
will provide the necessary tools to inform and educate directors and
Most of all, large sections of this bill will attempt to close loopholes in the wording as it now exists to stop capricious interpretations that lead to costly litigation.
PROSPECTIVE BUYERS IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS (FS 190) CAN LOOK FORWARD TO:
OWNERS IN COOPERATIVES (FS 719) CAN LOOK FORWARD TO:
OWNERS IN HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATIONS (FS 720) WILL BE THRILLED TO SEE PROVISIONS ENACTED THAT CREATE:
AND FOR ALL MEMBERS OF ASSOCIATIONS:
It doesn't help owners when our legislators pass good bills that help to reduce our insurance premiums and property taxes, but then we are hit with special assessments and huge monthly dues increases in our associations. Many of these outrageous increases in dues are created by financial mismanagement, caused by arrogance, incompetence or straightforward greed and -- as we have seen in recent times -- plain criminal misconduct.
This has to stop! We owners just can't afford that any longer!
This bill, hopefully enacted this summer, will help to stop the abuse and endless litigation in our communities.
Many of the issues will be hotly debated. CALL, the lobbing group of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, and the specialized attorneys will come again with their stupid excuse that “only a few unlucky owners are affected.” Legislators all over the nation have already stopped believing this fairy tale. CALL will be supported by the same board members -- like in the past -- who have all reason to look for the support of this group, because many of them are under heavy attack by owners in their own communities. Some who participated in last year's DOG AND PONYSHOW are no longer "leaders" in their communities and some just left the state -- for obvious reasons!
Last year CALL was accompanied to Tallahassee by a big delegation of the Galt Mile Association. I can surely understand why some of these board members need the support of these CALL lobbyists, looking at the recent developments in their communities, where they are accused of financial mismanagement, kickbacks and embezzlement. See: REVOLT IN THE GALT MILE GULAG?
Some of them are only still board members because they are hiding behind attorneys paid for by their neighbors' money!
Some already left -- or are in the process of leaving Florida: HOMEOWNERS -- THERE GOES YOUR MONEY! Criminals have to be severely punished, "unpaid volunteers" or not!
And as usual the attorneys and board members will come with the false claim that they represent all the owners. Far from the truth! Believe me, all owners are intelligent enough to speak for themselves. They don't need a paid mouthpiece to speak for them, even if many of the owners are afraid to speak up, fearing retaliation by board members!
All owners living in associations want a peaceful community, protected against financial mischief and personal abuses. And since it seems that too many directors are willing to abuse the system and force their personal agendas on their neighbors, we need strong regulations with easy enforcement, fair elections, accountability of the people in charge, and education -- and even more education.
What does it tell you when an owner adds a note to his check for the annual maintenance dues saying: "I am actually not paying my dues for maintenance, but I am paying them to be left alone!"
This is the big association bill many of Florida's owners living in mandated properties have been waiting for! Now it's time to act and tell your local legislators that you want them to support this bill and help the two sponsors, Senator Alex Villalobos and Representative Julio Robaina, to ensure safe passage in the legislature.
bill will protect you -- THE OWNER -- against abuses, financial losses,
power-hungry neighbors and frivolous litigation.