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

Published September 14, 2009


We have heard lengthy discussions about UNIFORM ASSOCIATION BILLS for many years.


Remember the discussions about the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA) that was initially pushed by the Community Associations Institute (CAI)? And no matter what certain people are trying to tell you: IT WAS A TOTAL DISASTER in the states that enacted it. No matter what arguments you hear in favor of this bill, it clearly fails to correct the many problems we are encountering daily in our community associations!


The DBPR even created a study in 2006 after Governor Jeb Bush vetoed the association bill H 391. See: DBPR REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS -- House Bill 391 Study. Even the DBPR -- not known for being consumer-friendly -- considered this bill unfavorable for consumers.


I didn't like UCIOA then -- see my RESPONSE House Bill 391 Study -- and I don't like it now!

And don't even consider asking homeowners' activists from states where different versions of UCIOA were enacted what they think of it! You'll get an earful!

Remember, the AARP "BILL of RIGHTS for HOMEOWNERS in ASSOCIATIONS" was written by David Kahne, Esq., as consumer-friendly response to UCOIA.


We all know that legislative changes are needed to protect the owners living in Florida 's community associations. The current system is killing many families’ finances, or what's left of them by the failing economy. We have heard about all kinds of "solutions" to keep failing associations above water, but they are all just temporary fixes. If the Florida legislature doesn’t act fast to work on a complete overhaul of the laws regulating community associations, we will see more and more of these associations going bankrupt, dragging down many families who bought homes in these associations, believing the industry propaganda of "protecting property values." Actually, the opposite is the case as we have seen in the last two years.


One of the biggest problems: The owners who are supposed to live by these statutes and rules are having a hard time understanding the complicated wording of these statutes. We have seen even specialized attorneys give opposing interpretations.


We can't expect this system to work if the people who are supposed to live by these statutes have a hard time understanding what they really mean! A high percentage of legal conflicts in these associations is caused by owners and/or board members who have different opinions about the meaning of rules and statutes!


Let's face it: The fact that all the statutes regulating these associations differ doesn't make it easier. We see cases where even the professionals mix up the statutes and create serious problems.


In the opinion of many owners -- and they are the only people who have a vested interest in this issue and are supposed to live with it on a daily basis -- mixing all provisions into one statute makes things even more complicated than they already is.



FS 718 (Condominiums);

FS 719 (Cooperatives);

FS 720 (Homeowners' Associations;

FS 723 (Mobile Home Park Lot Tenants)


But not as a Uniform Bill, but as separate statutes. The buildings in the associations differ widely, requiring various provisions caused by the variety of buildings and ownership in these associations. Adding all these different provisions into one bill would create endless statutes that would be even more confusing, creating even more legal conflicts.


But all the issues that have absolutely nothing to do with form and shape of buildings, insurance requirements, developer obligations and ownership issues should be the same. 


Below is a list of the issues that all these statutes should have in common, and where it doesn't matter what kind of building and ownership we are talking about.


LANGUAGE and ENFORCEMENT of these provisions should be exactly the same:

  • Election of board members

  • Eligibility to serve on the board

  • Compensation of board members

  • Staggered terms for directors

  • Filling vacancies on board of directors 

  • Receivership

  • Recall of directors 

  • Notice of Meetings

  • Board meetings

  • Membership meetings

  • Special Meetings

  • Quorum for meetings

  • Minutes of meetings

  • Right to speak at meetings

  • Recording of meetings

  • Right of owners to peaceably assembly

  • Amendments to governing documents

  • Proxy voting

  • Official records 

  • Inspection of records 

  • Association funds

  • Financial reporting 

  • Budget

  • Reserve funds

  • SLAPP suits

  • Enforcement of statutes and governing documents

  • Levy of fines

  • Suspension of use rights

  • Contracts for products and services

  • Bids for contracts

  • Terms of contracts

  • Prohibited clauses in association documents

  • Assessments and charges

  • Special assessments

  • Payment for assessments

  • Notice requirement

  • Lien claims

  • Liability for assessments 

  • Action to foreclose 

  • Estoppel certificates

  • Recreational leaseholds


  • Regulating Agency with Strong Enforcement Power

  • Ombudsman Office

  • Education and Information

  • Funding of Regulatory Agency: Protected Trust Fund ($4 annually)

Just add the exact same wording for these provisions above into the existing statutes. That makes everything easier to understand and to enforce. 


Just keep the existing statute numbers for the different community associations – but leave in these provisions that are specific to each different type of associations.


I can assure you: It will make the lives of all owners much easier -- because owners are the only parties with a vested interest.


Associations should be "..of, by and for the owners!" -- not just for the profit of the service providers!


Fairness In Associations Is The Goal