An Opinion By Jan Bergemann

Published May 7, 2005


The Florida Legislative Session 2005 ended and all bills filed relating to community associations died without ever getting a full vote of House and Senate.


The only bill that made it to a chamber floor was the infamous House Bill 1593 -- an industry bill from day One. But already the first committee hearing removed the dangerous part that would have empowered board members in emergencies and would have given the board and its agent immunity  -- invitation for more kickbacks?


But then they added language that would have been detrimental for the welfare of homeowners living in associations. Reinventing liens and foreclosures again for fines -- removed on recommendation of the HOA Task Force. 


See my opinion about the vote on the House floor:

HB 1593 Puts Florida Back Into The Middle Ages -- A HOUSE OF SHAME?

The Bill Died In Messages!

The Florida Senate saved us from this disastrous bill. Thank you, Senators!


All other bills relating to reforms for association statutes died in committees -- including the reform bills HB 1229 and SB 2632 . But like General McArthur said: "I shall return"


We owners will return for the next session -- better prepared with much greater support -- and more legislators already committed to support our quest for consumer protection, easy enforcement of existing laws, education and accountability for Condominiums, Homeowners and owners living in Community Development Districts!



The Condo Ombudsman finally got a budget he can work with and expand his services.

Here is the provision regarding the ombudsman's office from the budget conference:

From the funds in Specific Appropriations 2273, 2275, 2276, and 2278, six positions and $444,029 are provided for the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman. Beginning September 30, 2005, the Ombudsman shall provide to the Executive Office of the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a detailed report of quarterly expenditures of the office. The report is due on or before the 15th day following the end of the quarter.  
Many condo-owners will be very happy to hear this. His services so far already created very positive responses and many THANK-YOU notes. This is definitely some office that will benefit the welfare of the condo-associations and the unit-owners.

And from the provisions in the budget it is obvious that our legislators realized this as well and awarded him a very nice budget. A big Thank-You to all legislators who helped creating this office. It already showed in the short time of its existence that it will definitely help to improve the quality of living in Florida's condominiums.

His first quarterly report will be published next week! It sure will be an eye-opener how much can be achieved with small resources -- if there is a will!

An evaluation of all the issues of this session will follow! Stay tuned!