By Jan Bergemann

Published May 31, 2019

As usual – there are good, there are bad and in this case there are even horrible management firms. The real problem: There are only a very few real good managers and firms.

Never forget: Community Association Manager is not a job you learn in college or make an apprenticeship. All it takes to get a community association manager license is passing a relatively easy test – after listen for a few hours to a seminar. And KABOOM – you are a licensed community association manager. Armed with a license, but with very little knowledge and even less experience, the newly licensed managers are quickly in charge of the finances of the association and the elected board members, often with even less knowledge than the newly licensed manager, rely on the mostly overpaid manager to do things right. After all: The manager has a license.

And this is where the problems really start: Managers are given too much power, and often even abuse the power they have been handed to them by board members who love the title (Call me Mr. President!) but have no knowledge what they are supposed to do.

Many of the mistakes we see being made in community associations are caused by total incompetence of CAMs who even think they are experienced attorneys and hand out legal advice like candy. No matter what the Florida Supreme Court said, we hear it all too often that managers give legal opinions at association meetings and many of the owners are impressed because the CAM has a license, issued by the State of Florida.

Even many board members are impressed by the fact that their hired CAM has a license – and often allow them to work pretty much unsupervised.

Board members seem to forget that they are the ones in the end being blamed for any serious mistakes, because the CAM will use the “Nuremberg Defense” if a complaint is filed against his/her license. While the court in Nuremberg didn’t accept the defense: “I just followed orders” -- the State of Florida does accept the CAM's defense: “The board told me to do it!” And the board members end up being blamed for the mistakes of the “licensed” CAM!

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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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