By Jan Bergemann

Published September 18, 2020


I think it’s high time that we are getting back to the ways when everybody was held responsible for his/her own actions – not only in homeowners associations and condominiums.


Let’s stop the blame game and make sure that everybody pays the price for his/her own actions.


No more: My superior – or the board – told me to violate the laws. That excuse didn’t work in Nuremberg and it shouldn’t work in Florida.


We see more and more contracts between associations and community association managers (or companies) that require the association to pay for the defense of the manager (or the management company), no matter who actually caused the complaint or lawsuit.


I honestly can’t understand how a board member in his/her right mind can sign such a contract. Do these board members even understand what kind of financial liability they take on – at the expense of the owners whose interest they are supposed to represent?


We see many legal issues arising from record requests. The laws are very clear about it and describe in detail what’s right or wrong and how record requests should be handled.


But considering the multitude of complaints about this topic it seems that many board members and/or community association managers have a hard time reading simple instructions. And even so-called specialized attorneys seem to have serious problems interpreting the statutes on this matter correctly.


But here the matter of the blame-game comes into play.




Let’s say the request of an owner to inspect certain records is being ignored by the management company, or the CAM in a response tells the owner that he/she has to meet certain financial requirements or time restraints in order to be allowed to inspect the records, financial requirements and time restraints that are in most cases not allowed by statutes.


In response the owner files a complaint against the CAM license, because the CAM in the association is responsible for managing and keeping the records. Excuse of CAM in response to complaint to DBPR (written by the association attorney and cost billed to the association): I acted on orders of the board(president)!


Well, a licensed CAM should know the laws and regulations, and if a board (member) tells him/her to violate these laws or regulations, the CAM should either refuse to follow these “orders” – or send a letter to all board members, explaining that the orders in regards to the record inspection request are violating the statutes and that the board would be held liable for the cost of any legal action. Then the liability would be back in the hands of the board again.


Otherwise the CAM should be liable – and pay for his/her own defense or pay for the cost of a lawsuit filed by the owner.


This is just one of the many ways an association having to pay for a costly lawsuit without being the party actually causing the litigation, if the CAM contract contains an indemnification clause.


Any board member should think twice before signing a contract that would hold the association liable for the CAM’s actions.

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:

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 !

Join the 

CCFJ Email List

For Email Marketing you can trust