By Jan Bergemann
April 20, 2005
today the Office
of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA)
published the long expected review for the Department of Business
and Professional Regulations, Division of Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes.
summary accompanying this report reads as follows (QUOTE):
Program Should Process Complaints, Disputes Sooner and Enhance
file a wide range of complaints against condominiums. The
Division of Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes does not
close a significant number of consumer complaint cases and dispute
arbitrations within intended timeframes. The division also
typically responds to violations it finds by sending informational
and warning letters rather than taking stronger enforcement action,
such as levying fines.
division and the legislature could take several actions to improve
the timeliness and effectiveness of the division’s services:
Clarify statutory timeliness standards
Strengthen enforcement action
Improve business processes
Increase use of mediation
Continue the requirement that the division submit quarterly reports
if OPPAGA, being a polite government agency, doesn’t spell it out
in words, the actual report is devastating and shows exactly what
consumers all over Florida have claimed all along.
division doesn’t fulfill its obligation and the division doesn’t
create the consumer protection necessary to protect the welfare of
Florida’s condo-owners. We
owners need a forceful agency willing to put its foot down, not one
with a Secretary who feels that it is her job to lobby the
pay their dues, the money is there – so what keeps the division
from doing the job?
Their excuses are plainly bogus.
Board members, attorneys and management companies are well
aware that nothing will happen when they violate the rules.
Some even challenge complaining owners by telling them:
“Go, complain to the Division.
You’ll see how far that will get you!”
from all over Florida have complained to our legislators about the
Department of Business and Professional Regulations being useless.
Now we have it black and white!
And even as it wasn’t worded as strongly as many expected,
everybody in the know got the message.
And since it was recommended by OPPAGA, our legislators
should create clear guidelines to tell the DBPR exactly what to do.
Obviously, certain people can’t handle being given some
leeway and need strict guidelines to do an acceptable job.
If that is what it takes, then let’s give them strict
guidelines, so that Florida’s condo-owners get the protection
against abuses they rightfully deserve!