Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
July 7, 2008
homeowners battle their associations, spending millions of dollars in
legal fees, without ever really winning the war. In these battles there
are no winners – only losers! Whatever happens in the end – the
homeowners always pay!
Estimated 2.4 million
are located within mandatory homeowners’ associations. But the owners
living in these associations are treated by the
legislature like the stepchildren of our society.
Each year legislators
add some more unenforceable provisions.
has lengthy statutes (FS 720) to regulate these associations, but they
really don’t regulate anything. The best laws are useless if they are
not being enforced.
was the clear statement of the nine members of the House Select
Committee on Condominium & Homeowners Association Governance after
holding five (5) meetings in different parts of
during Spring 2008. More than 1500 owners attended, more than 200
testified and a wide majority of the owners had nothing good to say about
Rich Glorioso’s (
) statement said it all: "It's
criminal; it almost appears as if white collar crime has taken over our
homeowners' and condo associations! The problem is that nobody is
enforcing it. The current law has no teeth. You don't have this kind of
condo police or homeowners' association police."
So far so good, but
our legislative leaders in
had other things in mind. Instead of pushing an owner-friendly HOA reform
bill, House leadership decided to push another ill-advised association
bill – supported by special interest (H679/S2504). You could call the
bill the “ATTORNEYS' FULL EMPLOYMENT ACT.” It contained many
more convoluted provisions – badly written and even with legal flaws –
but again contained no provisions enabling owners to enforce the laws. The
mediation/arbitration provisions were complicated and difficult to
understand. The third rewrite in four years – none of them ever worked.
Legislators should finally understand that mediation only works if all
parties approach the dispute in good faith. That surely is not the case in
most homeowners’ association disputes. These are mostly very emotional
– families’ homes are at stake. Governor Charlie Crist saw the writing
on the wall: He
vetoed this ill-advised HOA Bill.
enforcement – and not even enforceable election provisions –
homeowners are really upset about legislators being unwilling to rein in
the abusive associations
that have been created by the legislature
but not because owners demanded these associations. They were lured
into these associations under the false pretense of “protecting property
is difficult to find a newer home to buy
that is not part of an association.
considering our bad economy, homeowners need laws that will finally stop the financial mismanagement, uncontrolled spending
and even clear embezzlement!
Representative Julio Robaina,
Chairman of the House
Select Committee on Condominium & Homeowners
Association Governance, has pledged to make homeowners’ association
top priority for the next legislative session.
the 2008 legislative session Robaina sponsored an excellent
owner-friendly condo bill (H 995) that has
already been signed by Governor Charlie Crist into law, effective
October 1, 2008.
Inc. will hold again town hall meetings this winter.
first of these meetings will take place in
on Saturday, December 6, 2008!
Julio Robaina will be one of the panel members of this town hall meeting.
The Homeowners’ Battle Cry For The 2009 Legislative Session:
ENFORCEMENT OF UNDERSTANDABLE LAWS
OF THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE
ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION AND EDUCATION
shouldn’t be treated like the stepchildren of our society!