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

Published February 4, 2012   


To me it seems like community association managers have a private competition going on among each other, outbidding each other with outrageous demands for the cost of record inspections. 


Since they are licensed -- minimum they should be -- they should have a basic understanding of the laws regulating the associations they manage. Isn't that what they get paid for?


In this case community association manager (CAM) G. Franklin Ball should have read FS 720.303(5)(c) before embarrassing himself by signing a LETTER TO A HOMEOWNER who had requested to inspect financial records. In the letter to the homeowner Ball states: "the Association is requiring a deposit of nine hundred and thirty four dollars $934.00." And that's just for starters. It gets much better: "Should you require more than one hour, please indicate the amount of time you will need and the deposit will be adjusted accordingly: i.e. two hours double the deposit. .. and so on." Wouldn't you believe it?


FS 720.303(5)(c) The association may adopt reasonable written rules governing the frequency, time, location, notice, records to be inspected, and manner of inspections, but may not require a parcel owner to demonstrate any proper purpose for the inspection, state any reason for the inspection, or limit a parcel owner's right to inspect records to less than one 8-hour business day per month. The association may impose fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official records, including, without limitation, the costs of copying.


How often does it have to be explained to these so-called "professionals" that "COST" can only be charged if the owner requests copies, copies that have to be made.  The statutes are very clear -- see above. 


More owners should file complaints against the CAM license of managers that sign letters with contents that clearly violate the Florida statutes.


I know that CAMs will try the Nuremberg defense: I just followed orders -- from the association board. If a board demands such a letter to be written that violates the law, the CAM should ask the board members themselves to sign such letters -- and make sure they understand the implications.


Signing the letter and later claiming that the signatory just followed orders is in my opinion completely disingenuous. By the way: This excuse didn't help the defendants in Nuremberg either!