AARP targets condo, homeowner boards

COMMENTS ON BULLETIN BOARD

REALTOR
Pompano Beach, FL
Monday Aug 21
I have been a realtor in South Florida since 1979 and I would love to live in a Condo but because of the condo commandos, forget it. I hate to show certain condos because of the problems within the board and how hard they make it for someone to purchase it. They are hurting the people they are suppose to help and protect. I have seen boards sued and lose for stopping sales if they don't like someone. Too bad they aren't put in jail...........

OFC
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
I am not sure what is worse a Commando, or a completely non-functioning board.

My first experience with my Condo has left me with place my unit up for sale, and moving to a home with no associations whatsoever.

My experience has been costly and unnecessary due to utter stupidity of our board members.

Lakewood Village resident
Beverly, MA
Tuesday Aug 22
I think if the condo communities enforced rules that would make a huge difference it condo residents lives. Too many people purchase and rent to anyone not thinking of those people that purchase and actually live there. I find not enforcing rules makes problems multiply because residents feel that if they aren't enforcing that rule they can break others and it doesn't matter.
Kimo
Chicago, IL
Tuesday Aug 22
A lot of these condos are filled with old grumpy people that have nothing better to do. They come here to die and take out their suffering on everyone around them. Let the old people live together in misery.....there should be communities for people UNDER 55 ONLY!

Gani
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
And I'm still wondering why people pay so much for a glorified apartment building just to be controlled by a bunch of control freaks who run condo associations. Just wondering how retarded people are down here?

Jan Bergemann
Orlando, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
It was about time that the AARP is getting involved. The elderly on a fixed income are unable to fight for their rights against condo-commandos and their high-priced attorneys.

The comment of Robert Schulbaum,so-called "president of the Delray Alliance", shows clearly why owners need a Bill of Rights. His comment shows why owners need protection against condo commandos and why one of the ten rights listed is "The Right to Reasonable Associations and Directors". He seems to be a typical example for being unreasonable!

And Donna Berger's comment: Her typical attempt to distract from the real issue. Her statement is false -- like many others we have seen from her before: There are many people who have left Florida because of bad presidents supported by attorneys who don't mind filing frivolous law suits. That started long before the hurricanes and insurance problems hit Florida's homeowners. And the hurricanes clearly showed that many things are wrong in Florida's associations. So, take off the blinders and face the real world!

I can understand that Berger doesn't like the AARP getting involved, but the people she really represents are the cause for the many complaints consumer organizations all around the nation hear on a daily basis.
This has to stop -- and the AARP Bill Of Rights For Homeowners is a great step in the right direction!
Thank you, AARP!

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.
http://www.ccfj.net/

South Florida
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Condo's, are "great" places to live, especially for busy professionals. I would much rather live in a quality high-rise, then a boring suburban tract home with neighbors barking dogs and homes with 10 cars parked out front. The problems for condos arise with owners who don't pay their assessments -- which I believe is the crux of the problem.

Galt Mile Resident
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Before you give Donna Berger much credibility, check her status with the Florida Bar. There are six - count them - pending complaints against her with the Florida bar.

Young Thunda
Englewood, CO
Tuesday Aug 22
Gani wrote:
And I'm still wondering why people pay so much for a glorified apartment building just to be controlled by a bunch of control freaks who run condo associations. Just wondering how retarded people are down here?
A lot of the reason is that the prices are more in line with what people can reasonably afford. And with insurance usually wrapped into the HOA, it is simpler than trying to find insurance as an individual homeowner.

Plus I like apartments, but paying over 12k a year- I mean throwing 12k a year out the window- is senseless. I may as well reap the tax benefits.

South Florida
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22

We served 35 pages of violations on our Board - their response - NOTHING. Our Board President has a violent temper and has turned off the lights during evening meeting, leaving 150 people in the dark. People who try to end this dictatorship have been assaulted, battered, shouted down in meetings, had their cars keyed, and several have had their lives threatened. The response of the Board - NOTHING.

As we approach the one year anniversary of Wilma, we have no lobby because our Board is incompetent. They are all elderly, and two of them are untreated alcoholics.

The Fort Lauderdale police have evidence of the Board's criminal conduct and theft, but they chose to do nothing because of the political friends of our Board, because of the bogus Galt Mile Assn., and because of Becker & Poliakoff's Lobbying work.

It is time for some South Florida muckrakers to get rid of these abusers and protect the property rights of the Owners.

God bless people like Mr. Bergemann


Robert Page
Key Largo, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
I support AARP in their goal of protecting condo owners from abuse from their board of directors.

Gani
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Well I've got a one room shack out back (opps, sorry that is a one bedroom condo). Price is $250,000. I'll even insure it for you. Freaking bunch of idiots down here in South Florida. no wonder the area is so screwed up.

Susan Norris
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
AARP will get another donation from me pronto because this organization seems to fully understand how horrible it can be when a homeowner is targeted for termination by a dishonest board for simply voicing a concern at a meeting.
After reading their proposal on how to make homeowner associations a better place, I think AARP should get a medal of honor for caring more about all homeowners instead of pandering to the management companies and lawyers. Association boards are just flat lying when they say 95 percent of the people in homeowner associations are happy with their board.
In my opinion, AARP should be running the country and I agree with everything they have proposed regarding HOAs. They fully understand the reasons for all the disputes in HOAs and have come up with a comprehensive plan, once again, to solve the problems. I hope legislators listen and adopt this plan into law.
The first state to adopt these HOA rules, recommended by AARP, will be the best state in the union to own a home. As a result, homeowners and boards will be on an equal playing field where everyone has to abide by the law.

Artsy Fartsy
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
I sold a condo in Ft. Lauderdale just over a year ago. The sale was almost stopped because the board would not approve the buyer with just a credit report. They were requiring that he give them pay stubs, tax returns, etc., as if he were trying to qualify for a loan. When I moved in, I was approved with a credit check. I asked the president to provide me with the condo by-law and any state law that supported her position. She faxed me a newspaper article/advice column about assessment fees that had nothing to do with the issue we were fighting over. After a quick call to the association’s attorney, the matter was cleared up and the buyer was approved. The president was clueless when it came to what her powers were and what the limitations on those powers were. The bottom line is many associations are being run by people who don’t understand the law. There is a fiduciary duty the association member’s take on and a breach of that duty may make them personally liable to the residents.

MLF
New York, NY
Tuesday Aug 22
I find it offensive that Bob Schulbaum, of Delray Beach, president of the Delray Alliance would say We may be retired but we're not retarded. If he is implying "retarded" is equal to stupid he should issue an apology. He should think before he speaks.

Oakland Park Condo
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
There are many problems that can plague a condo. But poor or uneducated board members actually do the most damage. I live in a condo where on average 40% of the owners do not pay on time. Just Lovely!

I think reform is need across the board. Regardless of age of the owner.

Our only outlet is the DBPR, which is a joke. I have filed complaints months ago. Get this.... they still have not gotten to it YET!!!!! Our taxes paying dollars at work...It sucks. I as a responsible unit owner, I am victimized by the deadbeat within my association. Because they are shocked that the cost of living has increased right along with the value. DUH!

Sally Rockrise
Lake Worth, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Hopefully, legislation will extend to Homeowner Associations which have the same problems as Condominium Associations. The legislature's reluctance to "regulate" homeowner associations is disingenuous. In addition to legislation on the AARP issues there must be a regulatory body established to review complaints, with accompanying supporting documents, which has the authority to render decisions promptly (similar to Arbitration). Mediation is a waste of time since there are boards and their attorneys who will not mediate the matters raised by homeowners brought before the mediator.

The problem is
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
That both sides have valid points. A weak association that doesn't enforce he rules is bad for owners. A strong association that is overly picky in enforcing the rules is bad for owners.

Most people who move into condos don't have any idea what they are taking on and what it means to be joint owners. They forget that they give up some of the "rights" of home ownership in exchange for the benefits of condo living (its the same or worse in homeowners associations).

If people really want to solve the problem, rather than fighting or litigating, how about requiring boards and board members attend training and maybe even make prospective owners do it too?
Abdon Obregon
Tallahassee, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
AARP position is an excellent one. Homeowners and condo-owners has been victimized by unscrupulous attorneys and associations for decades.
The State Governments responsible for enacting laws that can be enforced has just sitting idle and, perhaps, enjoying the show, without really taking the issue seriously; it's our opinion that, sometimes, there are legislators that siding with these unscrupulous people, disregard homeowners complaints for the continuous abuses against their own constituents.
IT IS ABOUT TIME TO STOP THESE ABUSES.
THANK YOU AARP for your concern for homeowners and condo-owners.
Abdon R. Obregon

Ernest Ciccotelli
Palm Harbor, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
If there were not so many dissatisified HOA/Condo members this would not be an issue. At least, with AARP in the fray, perhaps someone will listen to the very real horror stories and abuses of Condo/HOA's. The fact remains that directors have no accountability and can selectively enforce code and make deals as they see fit under the guise of "benefit to the community.

Richard
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Hooray, maybe we can get some justice. I had a Board led by an attorney/Board President sue me for a $350 wooden gate which other homeowners and the developer had put up all over the community, and he ran up $67,000 in legal fees on the POA side making me comply. The judge only allowed the POA to collect $43,000 from me. The reason he didn't allow all of the expenses, is that they were unreasonable, and allegedly there was a referral fee back to the attorney/Board/President. My expenses came to $36,000 for a whopping total of $103,000 spent strictly on attorneys, over a $350 fence. In 6 years there has never been any similar lawsuits, and the rest of the story is that I previously ran for the Board challenging the Board in power, three times. They were obviously trying to shut me up.

doreay
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
It's long overdue. Who wags the tail?
We have been living in a Condo for 12 years (after retirement) and all the Board Meetings are run by the Directors but controlled by the Management Company. We pay the bills by high cost of Condo fees but have no say on how it's spent. They do what they want and the Board goes along with them.
Grayson Walker
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Dear Sun Sentinel and Joe Kollin:
Great article. I hope we see follow-ups to this article until something is done to improve the plight of the Condominium Owners.
Thank goodness for the efforts of Jan Bergemann. Until Jan came along, the rights of the Owners were being trampled on by the lobbying organization of the state's largest law firm. Until Jan came along, the voice of the Owners were being gagged by such organizations as CALL.
Thank goodness for the work of the AARP, in promoting a "Bill of Rights." How sad that any organization must fight for a "Bill of Rights" in the United States.
Florida law is inadequate to protect the rights of the Owners of Condominiums and homes within home owner associations.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is staffed with dedicated professionals. However, they are staggeringly overworked. Worse, they are limited to attempting to enforce Florida 718 and 61B. Although the key condominium documents are the Declaration of Condominium and By-Laws, these can only be enforced by a Civil Law Suit against the Condominium Association. The Association will then use YOUR money to fight your lawsuit.
Even when the DBPR finds violations, they are not policemen or judges. When our Board was found to have violated our right to a secret ballot in the Board election, the only sanction was a letter from the DBPR.
We need training and continuing education for those who would serve on a Board. They must have training similar to the Condominium Association Manager before they are elected to a Board, and then they must earn continuing education credits.
Most Boards do not recognize that a condominium or homeowner's association is a corporation. A Board President is accountable to the other members of the Board, who can fire him/her at any time. The President of a Board may actually have less power, for s/he servers at the pleasure of the Board.
Many confuse this, fact, probably because of the title of president. This has nothing to do with the INDEPENDENT powers exercised by a head of government, such as the President of the United States. In a corporation, the president has no special powers.
I salute the efforts of Jan Bergemann – and hope that he stays the course.
I salute the efforts of the DBPR – and hope that our Legislature will give them the powers to enforce not only 718 and 61B, but also our Condominium Documents!
I salute the efforts of the AARP and its creation of a Bill Of Rights for Homeowners.
I challenge our Governor and Legislature to give us the AARP's Bill of Rights, and to empower the DBPR to enforce our rights!
Thank you, AARP!
Grayson Walker, Ph.D.
Southpoint Concerned Citizens
http://www.Southpoint-Condominium.org/

Michael Brown
Port Charlotte, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Many Associations in Florida abuse their powers and need to be more closely controlled by legislation. AARP represents many people in the USA and has as much right to lobby as any other group. I urge the state legislators to get behind this movement.

Michael Brown
Punta Gorda, FL

Janice
West Palm Beach, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Good News for Homeowners everywhere! I will join ARRP just to help promote their actions towards this issue!
SVPT
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
In my experience as both a condo owner and a board of director, it's the directors that are abused by the unit owners.
We work as volunteers, but it doesn't stop unit owners from knocking at my door at all hours, expecting me to handle matters that are not in the realm of my responsibility.
We have owners that look for every opportunity to make our job more difficult with constant complaints, but when told that we would welcome their participation and involvement on the board, they want nothing to do with it.
As far as term limits for the board of directors, I would fear that the development would go into receivership because nobody wants to take on the responsibilities it involves. Each year, it's the same people, the ones that are concerned about the investment they have in their homes.

I know that some unit owners think that I'm high and mighty because I'm on the board, but I would gladly give up the positions I hold so I could have a life of my own again!
Bert Langdon
Houston, TX
Tuesday Aug 22
Good for AARP and its members. For too long, many homeowner associations and their managers have run roughshod over the constituents they are supposed to serve.
The homeowners bill of rights is a great step in the right direction.

Annette Krass
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
Joe and Sun Sentinel, I sent in my reply but did not put the name of my community. It is 14 Gardens West in Weston. Thanks.

Becca
Melbourne, FL
 
Tuesday Aug 22
In every Condo/homeowners association I have ever heard of there are serious problems with the management and the board...If I told my story it would be a rehash of someone else's story...Therefore, I applaud the AARP in their efforts to help make the government realize their sole purpose is to protect the citizens that hire them...whether that be from terrorists, corporations or condo commandos.
Eric Gallagher
Tampa, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
The problems with HOAs are the parasitic attorneys who make their living off of them.

Knowing that the law states otherwise, these attorneys inform the boards that the law is whatever the board decides at their discretion.

Many boards, due to the deliberately misleading advice they get from their attorneys, operate these HOAs under the false belief that they are part of a strong central government, empowered with the authority of legislative and judicial review.

Then when the board asserts authority that they do not legally have, legal disputes are created that allow the attorney to collect legal fees, no matter the outcome of the dispute.

These HOA board members simply do not understand that they are not empowered to write the law or interpret the law, instead, they are only empowered, and obligated, to obey the law.

The people who serve on these boards simply do not understand that just because they govern the community, does not mean that they are the government, and that they and their personal inadequacies which cause them to seek out an opportunity to dominate their neighbors, are being exploited by a lawyer who is just trying to make a fast an easy buck.

Lloyd Fraser
Milton, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Absolutely right-on. I'm on the board of directors of our HOA but I'm also a homeowner. Let's make sure our personal freedoms are protected as well as our right to quiet enjoyment of our homes.
Go get 'em, Jan, et al.

carol martin
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
it's time for the unit owners to get their heads out of the sand. Wake up, I'm sick and tired of hearing from these old folks, well I won't be around to see the changes so why should I get involved. Well I bet these are the same people who didn't get out and vote and look at the mess this country is in now. it doesn't take much
effort to really see these associations and management co's are enjoying spending YOUR MONEY and you say you don't have time. Well that's about all. A lot of you have plenty of  time. A lot of you are just passing time doing nothing but waiting to die. Get involved maybe you might find out there are a lot of nice people
in your building. So get out and care what happens.
Robert Young
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
This is only the tip of the iceberg. These apartments that are, and still are, being converted to condos will be a nightmare in the future. They were originally approved by the permit process to be fully managed by the owner/investor. Basically for short term residences. Now owners have bought into construction that was designed to make money via a ROI. That is the rent would go up to cover the expenses. They will not get the benefit of tax advantages, etc. They will not understand why their association dues will be sky-high.

CRT
United States
Tuesday Aug 22
It's past the time when some standard of 'reasonableness' is 'enforced' not just written into law. Anyone that has had to live with the overblown egos of board members on power trips will be able to appreciate this. Thank you AARP, homeowners need all the help we can get.
Vox Populis
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Many boards run things like they are the final word, and throw common sense out the window. They don't care if the unit owner is right, they just want to prove they are all powerful, no matter how unjust their actions are. Those tyrants should be held personally liable for damages. The boards should be set up so common sense prevails.
Equal Justice
Lakeland, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
A few comments:
Donna Berger does not know how many people leave the state or move just to get out from under HOA's and Condo associations. Her comments clearly show she wants to redirect attention away from the problems in these associations and does not want homeowners to have any rights in my opinion.
One of two major reasons that there are not more complaints filed or active participation in these associations is “apathy”. Many association members could care less what goes on unless it affects their personal pocketbooks! The other is that it is invariably always a “lose-lose” scenario for homeowners and very costly to try to exercise their rights to fight abuses, and try to enjoy their remaining years within the lost dream of your "home is your castle" concept. This is no Bill of Rights for homeowners in Florida! One must contest or sue the very association to which they belong, i.e. sue yourself against abuses, discrimination, selective enforcements or violations of governing documents. Moreover, the associations have unlimited funds and legal resources to fight you and even cause you financial ruin or take your home from you (after all their monies come from you and all of the other members!) If process and legal costs were non-existent for the owners I can most assuredly guarantee the complaints would go up very dramatically. However, under the current systems, the average owner would overwhelmingly decline to resist because of the consequences and costs they will incur.
In addition, it is enlightening that boards of directors are never accountable, responsible, or liable for their actions. All of those organizations, developers, CAI, lawyers, lobbyists and other groups who seek greed and benefits of keeping things the way they are prevent progressive rights and freedoms to all owners.
I hope the AARP and Robaina are able to bring the scales of justice into balance and not with the financial burden being placed on the home and condo owners. More power to them! They have my full support.
Gary

Mary McGarr
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
The Community Associations Institute, a trade organization representing the lawyers, management companies, street number painters, security companies, and all the other vendors who make money off the homeowner, finally has some organized opposition. It is understandable that the AARP's endorsement of the Homeowner Bill of Rights is bad news for them. They've had free rein to run roughshod over homeowners for twenty years. Hooray for the AARP. Thanks for coming to our aid!

Marianne_A_Musella
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
I am very happy that the AARP is representing its membership in the controversy of HOAs and Condos. The absolute power held by officers and managers of these organizations is unAmerican and probably unconstitutional. As a person who almost lost my home over painting a driveway the same color it has been for 10 years, i think any law restricting the powers of HOA and Condo Boards is sorely needed.

Beanie Adolph
AOL
 
Tuesday Aug 22
Congratulations AARP! AARP is the first national organization to recognize the need for protection of homeowner rights. State and local governments have abdicated the responsibility of providing residential community infrastructure. They have ceded it to private organizations resulting in HOA homeowners losing their constitutional rights.

Shaun Goeckner
Valrico, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
An obvious bluff & bluster tactic on Donna Berger's account. CALL must indeed be running scared-I can't wait to hear the response given by AARP in rebuttal of the " mind their own business" comments!
Janet Jettman
Jacksonville, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
 
My husband and I are senior citizens and have had real problems with our homeowners association. We could not afford to fight them so they got away with their abuse. Senior citizens of Florida need all the help they can get. The dirty little secret that no one tells you when you buy into an association is that you are signing away your constitutional rights. Who would have thought that could happen in America. Thank goodness people are starting to wake up to the problems with these associations.
David Parker
United States
Tuesday Aug 22
Everyone in Florida needs to be assured of property rights and the AARP bill goes farther than legislators so far have gone. We need to get support from legislators who support these reforms and who will stop caving in to the big law firms and their muscle. The AARP "bill of rights" is a good start towards leveling the playing field for homeowners who are usually the victims of an overzealous or dictatorial association leadership.

Barbara Gatlin
Houston, TX
Tuesday Aug 22
I live in Houston Texas. Both Florida and Texas rank high in homeowner association abuse incidents. Both states also have a strong presence of lobbyists in the state's capitol funded by the HOA industry. This industry represents attorneys and management companies who favor HOAs' maintaining a strong arm in forcing homeowners to comply with the dictates of their HOA board. I’m a member of Texas Homeowners for HOA Reform, Inc. We are not against HOAs or the benefits they provide over non-HOA communities, but recognize the need for legislation to put a stop to HOA abuse. I suggest that Bob Schulbaum, of Delray Beach, and others who feel as he does should read the Bill of Homeowners' Rights carefully. It doesn’t take away from an HOA board’s ability to enforce deed restrictions, collect maintenance dues and provide amenities. It adds a process by which homeowners and their HOAs can solve disputes in a fair and reasonable manner without unnecessary legal involvement and the high cost of attorney’s fees. It forces those out-of-control HOA boards to be accountable for their actions and gives homeowners the less expensive recourse they’ve so desperately needed to bring these boards under control. If Mr. Schulbaum and the board of Delray Beach are not one of these out-of-control boards then this Bill or Rights will have little effect on them. However, I caution Mr. Schulbaum and all other homeowners in mandatory HOAs that without laws such as this Bill of Rights every HOA board has the potential of becoming out-of-control and abusing its power. Our organization whole-heartedly endorses Mr. Kahne’s Sample Model Statute and highly commends The AARP Public Policy Institute for their involvement. Our website, TexasHOAreform.org, has more to say about why we support homeowner rights.

Barbara Gatlin, President
Texas Homeowners for HOA Reform, Inc.
TexasHOAreform.org
Grayson Walker
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
I hope Joe is allowed to do follow-ups to this article until something is done to improve the plight of the Condominium Owners. The abuse cited is only the tip of the iceberg.

Thank goodness for the efforts of Jan Bergemann. Until Jan came along, the rights of the Owners were being trampled on by the lobbying organization of the state's largest law firm. Until Jan came along, the voice of the Owners were being gagged by such organizations as CALL.

Thank goodness for the work of the AARP, in promoting a "Bill of Rights." How sad that any organization must fight for a "Bill of Rights" in the United States.

Florida law is inadequate to protect the rights of the Owners of Condominiums and homes within home owner associations. That is the case here at Southpoint. One Condo Commando dominates a group of weak board members who are afraid to stand up to him in public, although in private they acknowledge what he is. Last year, we hired a lawyer and served a 35 page complaint on the Southpoint Board, requesting mediation. Their response - NOTHING. The complaint is posted at www.ccfj.net

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is staffed with dedicated professionals. However, they are staggeringly overworked. Worse, they are limited to attempting to enforce Florida 718 and 61B. Although the key condominium documents are the Declaration of Condominium and By-Laws, these can only be enforced by a Civil Law Suit against the Condominium Association. The Association will then use YOUR money to fight your lawsuit.

Even when the DBPR finds violations, they are not policemen or judges. When our Board was found to have violated our right to a secret ballot in the Board election, the only sanction was a letter from the DBPR.

We need training and continuing education for those who would serve on a Board. They must have training similar to the Condominium Association Manager before they are elected to a Board, and then they must earn continuing education credits.

Most Boards do not recognize that a condominium or homeowner's association is a corporation. A Board President is accountable to the other members of the Board, who can fire him/her at any time. The President of a Board may actually have less power, for s/he servers at the pleasure of the Board.

Many confuse this, fact, probably because of the title of president. This has nothing to do with the INDEPENDENT powers exercised by a head of government, such as the President of the United States. In a corporation, the president has no special powers.

I salute the efforts of Jan Bergemann – and hope that he stays the course.

I salute the efforts of the DBPR – and hope that our Legislature will give them the powers to enforce not only 718 and 61B, but also our Condominium Documents!

I salute the efforts of the AARP and its creation of a Bill Of Rights for Homeowners.

I challenge our Governor and Legislature to give us the AARP's Bill of Rights, and to empower the DBPR to enforce our rights!

Thank you, AARP!

Grayson Walker, Ph.D.
Southpoint Concerned Citizens
http://www.Southpoint-Condominium.org/

Terry LLoyd
Washington, DC
Tuesday Aug 22
If this comes into effect, what will happen when the association attorney/association managment industry dries up and all those people are unemployed ?

South Florida Condo Owner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Terry LLoyd wrote:
If this comes into effect, what will happen when the association attorney/association managment industry dries up and all those people are unemployed ?
Vampires never die - they just move on and find someone else's blood to suck.
South Florida Condo Owner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
SVPT wrote:
In my experience as both a condo owner and a board of director, it's the directors that are abused by the unit owners.
We work as volunteers, but it doesn't stop unit owners from knocking at my door at all hours, expecting me to handle matters that are not in the realm of my responsibility.
We have owners that look for every opportunity to make our job more difficult with constant complaints, but when told that we would welcome their participation and involvement on the board, they want nothing to do with it.
As far as term limits for the board of directors, I would fear that the development would go into receivership because nobody wants to take on the responsibilities it involves. Each year, it's the same people, the ones that are concerned about the investment they have in their homes.
I know that some unit owners think that I'm high and mighty because I'm on the board, but I would gladly give up the positions I hold so I could have a life of my own again!
I can't tell if the SVPT is more preposterous than Donna Berger, or vice versa. Can we have a reader's poll please?
South Florida Condo Owner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
Equal Justice wrote:
A few comments:

Donna Berger does not know how many people leave the state or move just to get out from under HOA's and Condo associations. Her comments clearly show she wants to redirect attention away from the problems in these associations and does not want homeowners to have any rights in my opinion.

Gary
Gary:

Can you blame her? With all of the BAR complaints she has, she need to divert attention from the truth. Of course, she has no idea how many people left the state - for any reason!
South Florida Condo Owner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
South Florida wrote:
Condo's, are "great" places to live, especially for busy professionals. I would much rather live in a quality high-rise, then a boring suburban tract home with neighbors barking dogs and homes with 10 cars parked out front. The problems for condos arise with owners who don't pay their assessments -- which I believe is the crux of the problem.
It's hard to tell what you are. Are you a Fascist or simply a rich and indifferent person. Your "post" to this message board reminds me of Marie Antoinette's statement about the poor having no bread, "Let them eat cake."
Thank goodness things like you are in the minority in the United States.
Maria Gagliardo
Miami, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
I disagree with Bob Schulbaum statement that AARP should mind its own business, or that Surveys show that 94 percent of the people are satisfied with the way their communities are run. Where are the surveys I am sure that there are many more disgruntled owners than he states if he can back his statement show us the proof other wise he is playing the same game that the lawyers use make the statement and its true.
Charlie Tiano
Hialeah, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
You are nothing but a person that enjoys discriminating. Who are you to speculate that trailer type people can't afford to live along with you?
SVPT
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
South Florida Condo Owner wrote:
I can't tell if the SVPT is more preposterous than Donna Berger, or vice versa. Can we have a reader's poll please?
Dear S FL,
I am in total agreement that somebody needs to step in to avoid the horror stories we hear from condo owners. I am very aware that there are those condo commandos out there that abuse their powers.
I also have first hand knowledge in knowing that the attorneys thrive on the legal battles between owners and associations. It's disgusting.

If you reread my original post, you might notice that I said in MY experience. We do not have a management company and all the affairs of the association are handled by 3 active board members. The other 2 can't be bothered. This includes all the clean up after Wilma, contracting for roof repairs, fence replacement, securing a loan with the SBA......the list goes on and on and all the while working a 50hr/wk job.


Then the annual meeting comes up every year and nobody steps up to the plate for elections and we are warned by the attorneys (we used to retain Becker & Poliakoff but then we wised up) that if we don't have a legal board, we'd be forced into receivership. The only reason I step up, is to protect my property value because I've worked too hard to see what little I have go down the drain.

It sucks to live in a development where the owners don't care what the property looks like or what goes on here. The cops are probably here once a week.........not association related.

So before you go insulting me, just be thankful that you don't have to live a day in my shoes.

You remind me of a thorn in my side....
Eddie Hernandez
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
I know that every good article takes no sides and interviews both sides of a coin, but Donna Berger's claim that she's not seen people move from Florida because a person in an association has created a dictatorship deserves some criticism. Ms. Berger has certainly seen, if not been personally, many families move because they are taken to ruins by ruthless and abusive boards, of which their firm has very gainfully represented. Come on, we have all had friend or relatives tell us of how they've had to move from their association because of restless abuse. Donna... it's time to retire your Juris Doctor degree and go into show business!

Eddie Hernandez
Hialeah, FL
Tuesday Aug 22
South Florida wrote:
Oops . Let me retract that statement. The crux of the problem is that condos allow poor or working class people to mix with the wealthy. Then they can't pay. We need to be able to foreclose to keep out these trailer park trash types.
You are opinionated and self serving with no regards towards people who genuinely want to live in peace in the homes they can afford. The crux isn't that people aren't paying their association fees. There are special interest groups with people like Donna Berger and Bob Schulbaum who oppose any form of legislation that is intended on protecting homeowners. I challenge anyone to contact their state attorney's office with a Public Records request and post the name of just ONE PERSON, post the name of one board member ever trialed or convicted of violating state laws while in the capacity of a board member in a condo or HOA. NOT ONE! Now... that is the CRUX OF THE PROBLEM.
KMA
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
Maria Gagliardo wrote:
I disagree with Bob Schulbaum statement that AARP should mind its own business, or that Surveys show that 94 percent of the people are satisfied with the way their communities are run. Where are the surveys I am sure that there are many more disgruntle owners than he states if he can back his statement show us the proof other wise he is playing the same game that the lawyers use make the statement and its true.
The survey was paid for by CAI and the telephone numbers were provided by CAI. They got the answers they wanted by paying for them.

There are polls taken by the advocates of homeowners that clearly show people are very unhappy with the associations, the boards and the all corrupt managers. Not one was paid for by the ill gotten gains reaped by attorneys, managers and vendors.

Thanks AARP and everyone who contributed their knowledge and experience resulting in this Bill of Rights.
rjc
AOL
Tuesday Aug 22
Thank you AARP

Lost in condo land
Winter Springs, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Never in my days have I ever seen such disrespect by a few people to so many for the sake of a dollar and control.
Marilyn Jackson
AOL
Wednesday Aug 23
Kudos to the AARP for shining a light on an abusive situation which has been shrouded in darkness for too long.

MJD
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Thank you AARP, now if other individuals (in government) and organizations would stand up to these Condo Commando watchdogs, instead of worrying about how many votes they will get from them.
ann-derose
Orlando, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Retirement to a community governed by a HOA and a Board with its own personal agenda has turned retirement for my husband and me into a nightmare. At this time a State ordered audit, voted on by the community, due April 1, still has not been produced. The Board refuses to respond to Owners requests for monthly financial statements as thousands of dollars have been spent on lawyers hired to support the Boards self interest agenda (using common grounds to support their illegal building of screen rooms with out county permits, inspections and most of all building on grounds the did not own.) In their effort to discredit and intimidate owners that dare to question their motives and actions. The have sued 16 residents in a DECLARATORY JUDGMENT ACTION...Their reason, "these residents asked too many questions". Results of the mediation will be discussed at a special residents meeting in October. At that time seasonal residents will return. However it can be noted since that time two residents have filed civil suits against the President/his wife. One has already been "won" by the resident who requested that the President issue a public apology with in ten days or pay a fine.
Other issues included elections, ballots written to cause confusion, colored by improperly worded amendments, A board President who has by total control of the community letter, viciously attacked any resident who dared oppose them.
The Board claims they are a cooperation and that makes them all powerful. They can not understand residents are willing to serve as "watch dogs" and take them to task when they question spending or see violations. It was suggested to the Board if those who worked for ENRON and other Corporate thieves those people would still have their retirement benefits. In plain English...this Board has used residents money to sue their own residents, refused to obey the law and produce an audit, caters to it's "friends", (those residents who also have illegal screen rooms on common grounds ) They have lied, bused power and used residents funds to hire lawyers in an effort to support their agenda. I THANK AARP FOR THEIR INVOLVEMENT. HELP IS NEEDED> RESIDENTS CAN NOT AFFORD TO HAVE THEIR MAINTENANCE FUNDS AND PAY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS TO SUPPORT THE LAW FIRM THAT SERVES THE BOARD and at the same time hire a legal firm to protect the rights of the residents.
Larry Corder
Kerrville, TX
Wednesday Aug 23
Our Homeowners Association had completely ignored the wishes of the homeowners living in our subdivision. Telephone calls to our state congressman are not returned. It is as if some of us do not matter and no one will listen and help us protect our major investment, our home.
B Gugliotti Tampa Area
Gainesville, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Perhaps now our legislators will stop listening to the special interest groups that claim complaints about homeowners’ associations only come from a small handful of disgruntled dissidents. The 36-million-member AARP would not waste its resources or lend its name to an issue that only involved inconsequential numbers of malcontents.
AARP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for persons age 50 and over, and to advocate for positive social change. Promoting security within our own homes certainly falls within the realm of quality of life; and any measure that “ensure[s] amicable and equitable relations between homeowners and their associations” qualifies as a positive social change. AARP’s Bill of Rights for Homeowners in Associations benefits not just those of us over 50, but every American homeowner not matter what their age.
Thank you AARP for providing yet another benefit of membership. Perhaps the name AARP will be adequate to stimulate the legislative changes necessary to protect homeowners. If not, I hope that AARP will utilize its substantial lobbying force to counter the misrepresentations proffered by the lobbyists for special interest groups who benefit at the expense of homeowners. Thank you to Joe Kollin for keeping this issue in front of our lawmakers and other policy makers.

Karen
AOL
Wednesday Aug 23
Thanks AARP and all those who worked on the bill of rights. I have seen one too many bilked of their life savings standing up for what's right. They pick their victims carefully. If it didnt happen to me I would have a hard time believing that the very ones paid to protect are sometimes the ones who conspire to take away valuable property rights, and drive unsuspecting citizens into costly lawsuits. As a past member of the Task Force to reform HOA's and member of the Condo Advisory Council each story gets worse and people are being driven to their graves by so much that is just plain WRONG!! Thanks Sun Sentinel for putting this on the Front Page where it belongs. We need reform so people can live in peace.

Barbara Stage
Winter Park, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
This legislation is desperately needed in Florida. My HOA is a classic example of why. The board members do not know what is contained in the restrictive covenants, nor do they think they have a duty to learn them since they "are not paid." We have been subjected to unauthorized assessment increases, Gestapo tactics to intimidate homeowners, and sexual predators serving on committees. One homeowner had a sexual predator on her property when she was not home. This person is on the architectural review board committee and was claiming to inspect improvements to the property. That's trespass, if nothing else. Try to get the board recalled and you are harassed.
South Florida Condo Owner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Florida law places term limits on the state legislature - it is time for HOA and Condo Board term limits. It almost passed last year, but was defeated by CAI and CALL. With the AARP on our side, it will be different.

Condo Owner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Bob Schulbaum and Donna Berger are today's equivalents of George Wallace and Lester Maddox - standing with their ax-handles to keep the "negroes" from exercising their rights.

The difference is that Schulbaum and Berger are fighting to keep the OWNER's from exercising their rights.

I have a message for Schulbaum, Berger, CAI, CALL, Becker & Poliakoff, and all others who try to prevent Owner's from exercising their rights. This is an old message:

WE SHALL OVERCOME!

Run as fast and as far as you can, Schulbaum, Berger, CAI, CALL, Becker & Poliakoff, etc. You will not get away, and you will lose this war to deny me my rights as an Owner!

God bless you, AARP.
God bless you, Jan Bergeman.
God bless you, David Kahne.
Robert Crapo
AOL
Wednesday Aug 23
My wife and I our members of the AARP and CCFJ. We would like to Thank You for acknowledging and trying to help the retirees and those of us who are in the 50 plus range. The owners of condo and Homes need protection from associations that infringe peoples rights of ownership. People should not lose their homes and be left homeless because they didn't agree with the ever changing rules of Homeowner and Condo Owner Associations

We are Retired but definitely not Retarded that is why we need and urge AARP to back us and help us keep our homes and condo's from greedy attorneys govern HOA and CONDO Association.

We hope remarks made by Ms. Berger and Mr. Schulbaum shows you the mindset of what the home and condo owners are up against.

It seems for many it is more important to protect the welfare of attorneys and greedy investors than the welfare of families. WHAT A SHAME! We are not dead beats or disgruntled like as the industry specialist label ever one that fights for their rights of ownership. We are hard working citizens trying to make ends meet. God Bless you on what you are doing because some bigger trees need to be shaken. Sincerely we need your help. Warm Regards Bob and Sandra Crapo

Jerry Koenig
Clearwater Beach, FL
Wednesday Aug 23
Think about it.
AARP exists for the protection of the ordinary, hard-working citizen who already is or soon will be living on a fixed income. How many in this category can afford to fight the association boards that insist on total control and put down anyone who dares to challenge or question them.
You know the answer. Those kinds of boards have a high-priced lawyer in the wings and the legal fees have to be paid by every owner in the association.
That's a lose-lose for unit owners!
I applaud the AARP for recognizing the need to establish laws that truly protect individual owners.
Regarding the comments from the lobby groups and high priced lawyers that give personal opinions rather than facts to say this isn't a problem ...
Think about it again!
Do you hear the "ka-ching" as they continue to benefit from what they privately call their "cash cows?"
Do you think the big law firms and their spokespersons have the best interests of the little person in mind when they speak against the need for a condo owners' bill of rights?

Mary Foster
Englewood, CO
Thursday
Thank you AARP. I am going through at problem at my condo. I lived at my condo for 13 yrs complaint free and then three months ago I got a complaint. When I moved in this same condo 13 yrs ago people respected each other. The condo was a nice place to live. Now I wouldn't recommend this condo to anyone. This complaint has gone into my file and the board members each have a copy. This is very much abuse. It's too bad people have to feel like they are powerful if they are in control of others people life. I have a feeling that this was from much younger new neighbors. Now I have to set up a meeting with the management company regarding this complaint to answer for my actions and a possible fine. Even at work I'm treated like an adult. This is how inefficient the board is in my condo the meeting notes are only to Feb 2006 but then the board can go on vacations. This has been asked by another resident but was ignored. All the help in the world would be very much appreciated.

Neil Burns
AOL
Friday
Homeowner's association abuse of property rights regarding condos and subdivisions should be recognized as a consumer protection issue. AARP involvement is necessary to get our legislature to understand property ownership should be void of harassment by neighborhood bullies and tyrants !!

Patrick Durso
Friday
I also applaud the AARP for their efforts since I unknowingly bought into one of the dirtiest HOA's that exists in the state of Florida (Summer Brook Preserve, Melbourne).
It has been a constant nightmare for our family day in and day out, with a commando board that I just recently had to file suit against to view the HOA's documents. If I ran my business the way these boards run the so called "non profit corporations" I would be in federal prison.
The rico act was designed for this type of behavior, and I pray the government steps in and fixes this awful disaster and lack of oversight for the criminals that are allowed to repeatedly ruin peoples lives.
Gail Sharpe
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Friday
God bless you, AARP
God bless you, Jan Bergemann
God bless you, David Kahne
WE SHALL IN DEED OVERCOME!
Let the millions of unit owners and homeowners in associations vote for elected officials who have proven that they care about the welfare of everyone, not just those who fund their electoral campaigns!
Let us also carefully choose elected officials who have shown, and will continue to show that they have done something about the unfair insurance industry practices.
Let us choose Governors and Presidents who demonstrate their commitment to their spoken ideals through commitment to those ideals, and not just give meaningless token gestures instead.
The opposition to our human rights and justice are few in voting numbers and WE SHALL OVERCOME AT THE POLLS!

Maida W Genser
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Friday
It is wonderful that AARP has come around to help protect seniors who own units in common interest ownership communities. I applaud them and also the hard work of reformers like Jan Bergemann of Cyber Citizens for Justice (www.ccfj.net ) and the champion of all unit owners - Florida State Representative Julio Robaina.
That said, with this good start, AARP has not gone far enough. Unit owners need to be protected from intrusive life-style diminishing deed restrictions. It is time to take a more modern approach that allows people freedoms they are used to having as American citizens. In the case of no-pet deed restrictions, they should be eliminated in favor of pet guidelines. Let the responsible animal guardians have pets; put the onus on the few irresponsible people who ruin it for everyone else.
Even the head of the most powerful condo law firm himself has pets (3 cats, a dog, and some turtles). It is time to stop denying rights to everyone else, to the less fortunate seniors who cannot afford to fight back.
AARP policymakers, please look at the documentation on the health benefits of animal companionship and at the sample pet guidelines on our web page, Citizens for Pets in Condos, www.petsincondos.org .
Lois Lane
AOL
Friday
South Florida wrote:
The problems for condos arise with owners who don't pay their assessments -- which I believe is the crux of the problem.
Or condo owners who let their teenagers in the clubhouse to break cue sticks and throw pool balls through the windows.
Or let their small children screw around on the exercise equipment and then when injured, sue the association.
Or condo owners who forget that community property doesn't mean a boom box out on the common grounds blasting in the middle of the night.
It has it's good and it's bad.
RJofCHORE
Phoenix, AZ
Friday
Some of us see this hate for others like Jews suffered in Nazi Germany and the comparison has been made many times.
The growth and perpetuation of much is due solely to the thirst and hunger of the all mighty dollar by some legal professionals.
If CAI and management companies couldn’t make millions at getting legislators to pass laws allowing them to further their interests perhaps living comfortably in condos and homeowner associations would be enjoyable.
As it stands now neighbors can not speak to neighbors in tones of understanding and acceptance, they see mistrust and vengeance as the norm. Thank God for AARP taking this new position. I hope the day will come when IJ institute stand along side of AARP.

Humberto Sanchez
Miami, FL
Friday
Thanks for your great reports, its about time we, associations owners, get together and force the legislation to legislate laws that protect property owners. Specially stop the non-judicial foreclosures, and all these attornies making millions out of abusing people, after all we don't live in Iraq or Cuba.
John Frances
Pensacola, FL
Friday
A lot of good work is being done by groups like CCFJ headed by Jan Bergemann, and Mr. Bergemann should be applauded for his relentless efforts that benefit all condo owners throughout the state of Florida. Yes I am a member of CCFJ but I am not writing this comment just to pat Mr. Bergemann on the back. This insurance crisis is real. Although much of the blame could be placed on insurance companies attempting to recover their recent loses. How about corrupt association presidents like the one at Bayou Breeze Condominiums in Pensacola Florida. I know this president is corrupt and the DBPR has been notified that this president is corrupt. Yet the DBPR is reluctant or refuses to take action against this president. The insurance industry should be taking a close look at the insurance claims. I know we have an approximate $250,000.00 wind fall from our insurance claim. Yes its great for our reserve. But it seems like the insurance company over paid us. Or were the figures worked out to defraud the insurance company. Hopefully we will have someone from the insurance commission look at our claim. so before you place all the blame on those insurance companies. The insurance companies may have valid reasons for raising those rates. If you would like more information about fraud at Bayou Breeze Condominiums. Contact John Frances at [email protected] Thank you!
Karen
Stuart, FL
Friday
For one, I am glad AARP is stepping in to help. Someone has to, the state and there lawyers aren't going too. There is far too much abuse of power in the front office and it is time the owners take there communities back from the condo commandoes. I say good luck and go after the bad presidents and there cohorts and get a better system in the communities.
John Frances
Pensacola, FL
Friday

There is alot of corruption in condominium associations. The police are reluctant to arrest. The State Attorneys are not willing to investigate. The DBPR the very government agency that regulate condominiums send you back to the police and State Attorneys. Some big circle. None bigger than mine. I have reported the corruption at Bayou Breeze Condominiums and its President and manager in Pensacola Florida for years. Not only has it fallen on a face without ears. The faces contend that corruption and theft of my money is not illegal. That is right crime is ok as long as it is done under the operation of a condominium. If you want to do something illegal. Just open up a condominium. So here is a challenge to anyone who is reading this comment. My name is John Frances and I can be reached at [email protected] If anyone knows someone who can assist me in having these corrupt individuals arrested and my money returned. Please do not hesitate to contact me.


Norman McGinnis
Port Saint Lucie, FL
Sunday
There is NO Logical reason NOT to SUPPORT a State Home Owners Bill Of Rights protecting home owners from abusive Associations and frivolous law suits. State and Local Politicians who do not support a home owners Bill of Rights and fail to enact legislation that PROTECTS (Home/Condo Owners) Consumers need to be VOTED OUT of OFFICE.

JERRY GOULD
Lincroft, NJ
Sunday
Until recently I was a member of a mandatory HOA in Punta Gorda, FL

One of the former members of that HOA board often stated that "OUR GOVERNING DOCUMENTS DO NOT SAY THAT THE BOARD CAN NOT DO THAT"- THAT being whatever was the wish of the board

Of course this is diametrically opposed to an opinion (fn1) by the FL ATTORNEY GENERAL; a portion of that opinion follows: "The powers of a corporation are distinctly different from those of a natural person. A natural person can do anything not forbidden by law, while a corporation can do only what is expressly or impliedly authorized by its charter."
fn1 AGO 2000-31

Obviously, this board member was convinced that the board authority was completely unbridled and could do anything not specifically forbidden in the documents

Association members need protection, such as that in the AARP BILL, from this kind of lunacy
Jerry Gould

Sun Sentinel Article: AARP urges state to adopt condo owners' bill of rights


A BILL of RIGHTS for HOMEOWNERS in ASSOCIATIONS (HTML Version)


CLICK HERE TO GO TO AARP WEBSITE!

AARP OPENING PAGE

NEWS PAGE

HOA MAIN PAGE

 HOME