By Jan Bergemann

Published August 25, 2023


The media is already full of reports about heated – or even chaotic – meetings of condo boards. The reason: Much increased monthly maintenance fees and/or special assessments.


When SB 154 – the so-called CONDO SAFETY BILL – was enacted at the end of the last legislative session, we predicted that condo owners will be upset once they realize what the provisions of this bill will mean to their finances: Many condo owners will be unable to afford their homes any longer and have to either sell or face foreclosure.


As the media reported, some of these “heated” board meetings have already taken place – with the predicted results.


And it will get worse once the mandatory fully reserve-funding has to be added to the budgets at the end of 2024.


This provision will hit certain hi-rise condo buildings very hard, especially the ones where owners voted down reserve-funding year for year.


Many owners are already blaming board members for the financial hardship – and that is absolutely wrong.


The blame goes a long way – and all parties involved are to blame for the financial disaster many owners are facing now. Starting with the developers who kept the monthly maintenance fees artificially low in order to sell units; the owners who voted down mandatory reserves year for year. Blame as well the Florida Legislature allowing owners to vote down mandatory reserve-funding – despite being told by many interest groups that this will backfire one day. The Legislature must as well be blamed for not “protecting” these reserve funds – owners voted down reserve-funding because board members just used existing reserves to pay for everything but the intended purpose.


When the building of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside collapsed, costing the lives of 98 residents, the Legislature had to act – and SB 154 was the result.


Pictures shown in media reports make it obvious that many of the older buildings are not very well maintained – others already had to be evacuated after being deemed unsafe.


Maintaining a condo building is very expensive and it shows that the slogan used to sell units to buyers “Easy Living” was absolutely wrong – and the sellers must have known it all along.


This chapter of CONDO CHAOS hasn’t been closed – and we will see where this is going in the future.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
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: 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 in Florida !

Join the 

CCFJ Email List

For Email Marketing you can trust