WATCH OUT FOR BAD CONTRACTS
Published April 21, 2023
association requires contracts, meaning every board has to
figure out if the contract is good or bad.
problem with many board members: They have no business
experience and often only read Page 1 of the proposed contract!
Price is great! Let’s sign this contract. Especially community
association management contracts are dangerous if you only check
page 1. Many of these contract only tell you the real story of
the contract on page 5 or 6 (just an example) when all the extra
charges are listed in small print.
often less expensive for the community if page 1 lists a price
that is all inclusive, even if the price is much higher than the
offer on other bids. Low-ball offers on page 1 turn often into
extreme high-cost offers on later pages in small print when you
add all the extra charges for lots of things that will happen on
a daily basis. Watch out for charges on these contracts to
supervise construction contracts. Your CAM is not an engineer
and has most like as much knowledge about construction work as
you do. But you want to pay him to “supervise” the licensed
there is the actual language of the contracts. Most of them are
written by attorneys in legalese, often using words that are not
in our daily vocabulary. Beware of these contracts! Always have
these contracts checked by your association attorney who is
familiar with legalese and knows the tricks of the trade.
there are the construction contracts. They are often lengthy and
very tricky because they deal with issues nobody on the board
might know anything about. Watch the small print on the final
pages and compare the bids you receive. Make sure all the
contractors you want to hire have the experience, doing such
work for many years, the necessary licenses and insurance
policies (check dates).
there are the bulk cable contracts. Today’s world of technology
is fast advancing. What’s in today maybe outdated tomorrow.
Don’t burden your association members with long cable contracts.
Many people nowadays don’t use cable TV or land-line telephones
anymore. All they need is high-speed WiFi. Why should they pay
for cable TV? A little warning for associations where the
long-term contracts with COMCAST are ending: A company named
Blue Stream Fiber is targeting these associations and offers
contracts sounding really great, especially for board members.
In our day and age it may be a much better idea to have each
owner make his/her own decision how they want to connect their
TV, Internet and Telephone.
what kind of contract you are contemplating to sign, look at all
the “small” print and have some expert – like an attorney –
check for all the little traps contained n many contracts.
Remember: BUYER BEWARE!
Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
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
- 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
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
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