By Jan Bergemann

Published October 29, 2021


Let’s face the sad truth: Many of the older condo hi-rises have not been maintained properly and are now facing serious structural repairs, needed to pass the 40- or even 50-year inspection. As we have seen in many of the media articles following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South these repairs can cost millions of dollars. Remember: The board of the Champlain Towers South association sent some days before the collapse a letter to the owners, telling them that a $15million special assessment is going to be levied – with some of the owners having to pay $80,000.00 on short notice.


I can assure you that there are quite a lot of similar cases – especially down South. Over the years owners got used to “easy living” – reasonably low monthly fees – and voting down the budgeted money for reserve funds each year.


But sooner or later there is a heavy price to pay and these owners are now facing the reality: CONDO-LIVING ISN’T CHEAP!


The owners of quite a lot of these older buildings are now facing the harsh reality: Pay for the necessary repairs or get kicked out of your home. Remember: Some of these older buildings in South Florida have already been evacuated, making the owners “homeless”.


But the necessary repairs come with a heavy price: HUGE SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS! Assessments many of these often elderly condo-owners can’t pay. These owners are facing liens and foreclosures according to FS 718 – meaning the other owners have to pay even more to make up for the missing funds caused by non-paying owners.


And that’s where the developers come in – often with very good offers to buy the property. Land is expensive down South and developers are looking to erase the old building and build modern, high-priced hi-rises on the lot.


Let’s be honest: For many owners selling out to developers will be the only feasible solution – if they don’t want to leave with nothing!


If you live in one of these old buildings with serious structural problems and no reserve funds to pay for the repairs these developers may save your financial welfare. So the developer’s offer should be considered seriously – it may save you from being foreclosed upon.


Even if it sounds tragic that you have to sell your home you lived in for so many years, it may in the end be the better option.

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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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