NO MATTER WHERE YOU START Ė
LITIGATION IS COSTLY!
Published August 31, 2018
Only too often you donít really have a choice where you start,
the Florida statutes already tell you WHERE you have to
start. And it differs, depending on the statutes that regulate
Personally I am not a friend of mediation. It only works if both
parties show up with an open mind Ė willing to find a solution.
Too many of the so-called specialized attorneys only use
mediation to make some extra bucks. Mediation only works if both
sides are willing to really mediate. I have seen too many cases
where the association attorney dragged out the process to make
some extra bucks, while the owners has to pay for his legal
representation and half of the cost. In the end, after many
hours of fruitless discussion, it became all too obvious that
the association attorney never intended to settle. My advice for
presuit mediation for owners: In HOAs itís required by law, so
you need to jump through the hoops. Pick mediators that have 1
hour minimums, make your demands known immediately, and have the
mediator declare the mediation moot after one (1) hour. In many
of the cases there is only a YES or NO Ė nothing else to
discuss. Anything else is just a waste of money.
Even the normally great solution of taking small disputes to
Small Claims Court is not working in Florida. Unlike in many
other states, where only the litigants are allowed to show up in
front of the judge (all pro se), Florida allows attorneys into
Small Claims Court, making even these cases very costly.
To make a long story short: Itís the lack of enforcement and the
high cost of litigation that renders most rules and statutes
useless. Itís a shame when owners canít enforce their rights
just because they donít have the necessary finances to fight for
If laws are only good if you have the necessary money to enforce
these laws the justice system is useless for us ďnormalĒ
||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