By Jan Bergemann

Published November 5, 2021


William Sklar, the chair of the Florida Bar “Task Force” obviously hasn’t learned anything since he was the co-chair of the HOA Task Force in 2004. He still follows the same line: Protect the service providers – and who cares about the financial welfare and safety of the families living in these communities!


The RECOMMENDATION of the Task Force of the Florida Bar, quickly assembled by the BAR in order to protect their interests – and that of the parties they represent. Just look at the members of the Task Force: All attorneys from firms that represent developers.


There are two obvious “recommendations” that show that the Task Force was not interested in the welfare of the owners:


1.) The recommendations clearly protect the developers: Reserve funds should be created from DAY ONE! That’s why we recommended to start funding reserves at the day when the Certificate of Occupancy is issued – and that the developer has to provide the first reserve study. Two reasons developers don’t like these ideas: It creates extra cost for them – and they can’t any longer sell potential buyers the great bonus of low maintenance fees. They would have to make sure that the buyer understands that monthly maintenance fees include funding of reserves. It is imperative that reserve funds are started on the first day of the creation of the association in order to keep the monthly fees as low as possible. If you wait 10 years before starting to fund the reserves you will face again the problem of very high monthly maintenance fees in order to create fully funded reserves.


2.) Waiver of Reserves: The Recommendation would allow owners again to waive reserves – meaning we create the same problems we had before: No reserves when needed! Even if the requirement to waive reserves is raised to 75% of the voting interest present at the meeting – it doesn’t change anything. A quorum required is 30% -- and only ¾ of the owners present can vote to waive reserves. Easy example: The association has 200 units – meaning only 60 owners have to be present at the meeting in order to create the necessary quorum. Figure it out: Only 45 owners have to vote in favor of waiving the reserves – out of 200. We all know how easy it will be to rally minimum 45 owners in favor of waiving reserves, if – for example – fully funded reserves would increase the monthly maintenance fees by $200.00.


The suggestion to allow waiving reserves again will create the same result we are seeing now: Financial chaos in the buildings when structural repairs are needed and special assessments have to be levied in order to pay for these repairs. What follows are liens and foreclosures and families kicked out of their homes because they are unable to pay the special assessment. Is that what we are trying to achieve?


Oh, by the way: Liens and foreclosures are great business for the attorneys who made these recommendations!


Don’t be fooled by these “recommendations” of the Task Force of the Florida Bar: These attorneys didn’t intend to protect owners from another tragedy like we saw in Surfside. They are clearly trying to protect their own financial interests.

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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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