CYBER CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE, INC.

“From Justice As A Foundation All Rights Flow”

    1156 Tall Oaks Road , Deland , FL 32720-1225     

Tel.:  386-740-1503        E-mail:  info@ccfj.net

2008 FLORIDA SURVEY

OF POSSIBLE LEGISLATIVE REFORMS

FOR  HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATIONS (FS 720)

   

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE DETAILED AND COMPLETE RESULTS OF THE SURVEY

 

SUMMARY, COMMENTS AND CONCLUSIONS 

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published October 1, 2008

   

Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. (CCFJ) is proud to publish the first comprehensive HOA REFORM SURVEY ever created in Florida with wide participation from all parties interested in this issue. We would like to thank all participants who took the time to submit the survey. It allowed us to create this very informative survey analysis.
   
I would like to thank Dr. David Goldenberg and our volunteers, who worked many hours to compile and analyze the data that created the analysis of this survey.

   

This survey, conducted by Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. during July and August 2008, received 1033 valid responses and many comments to 14 questions dealing with issues of utmost importance for reforms of FS 720, the statute regulating mandatory homeowners' associations in Florida.  Affirmative votes ranged from 75.1% to 96.9%, a clear indication that Florida's homeowners are very much in favor of needed reforms.

 

After State Representative Julio Robaina received a hard copy preview of this survey, he stated (quote): "After receiving the feedback from over a thousand State of Florida residents, it's clear to me that those who live in HOAs want to see changes in HOA laws."

   

Below you will see some of the results of the survey in an easy-to-read format and some comments and conclusions in regard to the survey results.  

     

For the detailed scientific results of the survey please go to:

COMPLETE SURVEY RESULTS

    

THE PARTICIPANTS (1033 Valid Responses)

1 OWNER 740 71.6%
2 BOARD MEMBER 130 12.6%
3 C.A.M.   13   1.3%
4 OTHERS + N.A. 143 13.8%
5 LAWYER     7   0.7%

THE SURVEY’S MOST IMPORTANT PRACTICAL CONCLUSION: 
93% of RESPONDENTS ACROSS FLORIDA WANT A HOA REGULATORY AGENCY

WITH ENFORCEMENT POWERS AND THEY’RE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT!


Question 1: ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY $4 ANNUALLY FOR A REGULATORY AGENCY? 

Homeowners' associations are not regulated in Florida. Creating a regulatory agency would help owners and boards to finally have an official entity they can turn to with questions, problems, complaints and legal matters.  An annual fee of $4 per household would fund this agency -- a real deal compared to the much higher cost for just a simple "opinion" letter from a specialized attorney.  An opinion from a state agency definitely carries a different weight than the "opinion" of an attorney.

The regulatory agency should have these duties and powers:

  • To enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of these statutes and rules promulgated pursuant hereto relating to the development, construction, sale, lease, ownership, operation, and management of residential property; 
  • To conduct inquiries and investigations upon complaints; 
  • To subpoena documents and witnesses; 
  • To issue orders to cease and desist; 
  • To bring action for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or restitution; 
  • To impose civil penalties;
  • To adopt rules to implement and enforce the provisions of the statutes; 
  • To issue declaratory statements; 
  • To conduct mediation and voluntary and mandatory arbitration; 
  • To provide training programs for residential association board members and lot owners; 
  • To provide information and education materials on request. 

SEE TABLE 1


Citizens from all over Florida participated in the survey, but especially newspaper articles created a stronger participation in certain areas. This survey shows that the problems are all over Florida, not just in South Florida, as some state legislators from Central Florida always tried to establish. 

      

Regions include the following counties:
North: Alachua, Bay, Bradford, Calhoon, Columbus, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrest, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Swanee, Taylor, Union, Wakula, Walton, and Washington 
Central: Citrus, Hardee, Highland, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, and Sumter 
West Coast: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Henry, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota 
East Coast: Baker, Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia 
South: Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach 

  

The participation in this survey showed that citizens from all over Florida are interested in HOA reform -- the request is not just restricted to certain areas.

 

With 96.9% the question with the most affirmative votes: 

   

ACCOUNTABILITY OF DIRECTORS

 

It's obvious that nearly all the folks who submitted the survey felt that this issue has the highest priority -- and the comments showed why.

 

Board members can easily ruin the best community association. And even though board members are volunteers, not all "candidates" are qualified to manage an association -- to phrase it politely. Even if the business judgment rule allows these board members to make "innocent" mistakes, it's time to hold them accountable for their actions, if bad intention and malice can be proven.

 

The high percentage of affirmative votes to all the questions below is a clear sign that HOA reforms are desperately needed. THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE HAS SPOKEN!


SURVEY QUESTIONS

QUESTION

EXPLANATION

Yes FOR SURVEY DETAILS SEE:
1* 93.0% ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY $4 ANNUALLY FOR A REGULATORY AGENCY?           TABLE 1
2* 93.5% CREATE HOA OMBUDSMANS OFFICE     

   TABLE 2

3* 89.8%

HOA ELECTION REFORM USING CONDO RULES

(FS 718) AS A MODEL 

 

  TABLE 3

4* 96.9% ACCOUNTABILITY OF DIRECTORS

  TABLE 4

5* 94.6% ELIGIBILITY + TERMS OF SERVICE OF DIRECTORS

  TABLE 5

6* 92.1%  PROHIBIT SALARY OR COMPENSATION FOR DIRECTORS

  TABLE 6

7* 89.1% EDUCATION + TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR DIRECTORS

  TABLE 7

8* 95.7% RECORD REQUESTS + ENFORCEMENT

  TABLE 8

9* 95.6% SAFEGUARDS BEFORE LIEN AND FORECLOSURE FILINGS

  TABLE 9

10* 96.8% OWNERS' RIGHT TO SPEAK AT BOARD MEETINGS

  TABLE 10

11* 75.1% RESTRICT LONG-TERM RENTALS IF NOT PERMITTED BY ORIGINAL  DOCUMENTS

  TABLE 11

12* 76.6% CREATE TIME RESTRAINTS ON CLOSING HURRICANE SHUTTERS

  TABLE 12

13* 90.9% EXTENSIVE DEVELOPER REGULATION

  TABLE 13

14* 91.1% REVITALIZATION CONTROL + ENFORCEMENT

   TABLE 14

FOOTNOTES

     

CONCLUSION

Although the recently published poll by Community Association Network (CAN) asks for more power for associations and the board of directors, nobody explained what kind of power they are looking for.  In our opinion -- and the views of a wide majority of survey participants -- it is definitely most important that common sense be re-introduced into our community associations.  Calling for more "POWER" surely will not solve the many problems that homeowners face.   

 

Florida's economy and the bad real estate market have shown that our associations are financially vulnerable, much to the detriment of the responsible owners. We have seen that community associations do not "protect property values" as advertised, but can create a serious financial liability even for the "responsible" owners.   

  

In order to protect the welfare of Florida's families living in community associations, it is imperative for Florida's legislators to create the necessary reforms to protect our citizens! The best laws are useless when there is no easy but strict enforcement of the laws and regulations.


WHY COMPARE HOA SURVEYS IN A FUN-HOUSE MIRROR?


DETAILED SURVEY

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