By Jan Bergemann  

Published January 31, 2020


Many unit-owners are refusing to hand over the keys to their units, even if the governing docs require them to do so.


FLORIDA STATUTES 718.111  [(5) RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNITS.] doesn’t really say that the owner has to hand over a key to the association, the statutes just say: “The association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit during reasonable hours, when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common elements or of any portion of a unit to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration or as necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a unit


There is clearly no mention about the requirement to hand a key over to the association, but many governing documents require a key in the possession of the association.


I can definitely understand why many owners are reluctant to hand over keys to management. In many associations the keys are not placed in a secure place, with many people having easy access to the keys. Considering the many complaints I receive from unit-owners, these keys are often used for other purposes than intended, as described in the statutes as “maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common elements”.


Owners have found on videos from surveillance cameras that staff or other people have been in their units, watched TV, helped themselves to drinks or even worse. I even know of a case where the association manager rented out the unit to strangers, knowing that the owners would only return late autumn.


In many cases property was stolen, but since there is no proof of illegal entry to the unit, the insurance companies refuse to pay.


In my opinion, the associations, if they require unit-owners to hand over their key, should be legally required to keep these keys at a safe place and should keep a log, who used the key, who entered the unit with date and time.


In our day and time we are talking all the time about “PRIVACY”. In my opinion people entering the homes without the presence of the owner is definitely a “SERIOUS INVASION OF PRIVACY”.

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website:

Educational Website:

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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