By Jan Bergemann

Published April 2, 2021


We hear so much about screening and/or approving potential buyers and/or owners. And we hear as well about the many lawsuits that are being fought on this issue – and some of these lawsuits are getting very expensive.


First of all: The governing documents of the association have to allow screening and approval of renters and/or buyers. Many associations don’t carry the necessary language in their documents – and do it anyway, until they get sued by some unhappy person whose application got rejected and the deal collapsed, making landlord/renter or seller/buyer very unhappy.


Then, if the governing documents specifically allow screening/approval, there are lots of rules to follow -- not only federal and state laws, but in some Florida counties rules imposed by these counties, rules that often differ from county to county.


Then there have to be written rules created by the association detailing the method of screening/approval – and the hoops an applicant has to jump through in order to get approved.


Disapproval of an application cannot be based on race, gender, religion, national origin, or physical or mental handicap. Then we get back to the word ”REASONABLE” meaning rules have to be reasonable – whatever that means. It gets expensive when a judge decides in the end what’s reasonable – and what’s not.


Many boards consider these guide-lines to be not restrictive enough. But be careful what you wish for: Going overboard with your disapproval may cause the buyer/renter to get the unit/home for free. In a way I’m just kidding, but we have seen rejected buyers/renters getting large sums of money as punitive damages, amounts that were higher than the cost of just buying the unit/home.

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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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