By Jan Bergemann

Published November 16, 2012


We hear daily about the need for good education – and we taxpayers are constantly being asked to pay more taxes for the education of our kids.


So, why is it that our Florida legislators are unwilling to create the necessary legislative provisions to require education for HOA board members? Let’s make no mistake: Most homeowners voted into such a position of power have not the slightest idea how to deal with the daily issues of managing a homeowners’ association. Many of these board members (and owners) are not experienced business folks who have no problem dealing with million-dollar budgets. Not even considering that there are quite a few bad guys willing to enrich themselves, many well-meaning board members cost their neighbors lots of money – caused by their ignorance and lack of knowledge about the rules and regulations that govern these community associations.


KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – and can save lots of money. Lots of association funds are wasted daily in Florida ’s community associations because board members don’t understand the basics of running such a business.


Already in 2001 we had tried to push for mandatory education of these owners who are responsible for the financial welfare of their neighbors. Many good proposals were rejected, proposals that wouldn’t have cost the board members/owners a dime. PBS was willing to create a series of 30-minute segments about HOA education to be aired on their networks. But The Powers That Be rather opted to give an education contract worth $500,000 (from the Condo Trust Fund) to the CAI (Community Associations Institute) – the trade organization of the community association service providers, an obviously biased education provider.


Over the years many good proposals for education were rejected in Tallahassee . The opponents fighting our suggestions were always the same: Service providers who are obviously under the impression that it is easier to fleece the associations if they are run by people who have no clue what they are doing.


In my opinion the only motive to fight education of board members is greed. There is no other explanation to fight against the education of board members! Over the years we have often discussed why certain people are so adamant about fighting education for HOA board members. After an especially frustrating session in Tallahassee one of our CCFJ members suggested that one of the most outspoken opponents of education was just afraid that his book wouldn’t sell so well, if good board member education were easily available. 


With our economy and Florida’s real estate market in limbo it is more important than ever before to create mandatory education for the board members -- owners should participate in this education system as well. In many associations money is scarce and every penny saved helps to overcome the budget deficits caused by non-payment of dues and foreclosures. Education surely helps to save money!


Education for condo owners (required since 2010) has been a huge success. The many seminars providing education for condo board members are always well attended – and despite the fact that these seminars are aimed at condo association law (FS 718) we have seen many HOA board members and owners participating – eager to learn the basics of community association rules and regulations, even if there are still no education requirements for HOA board members.


Why are our Florida legislators still allowing a few special interest folks to kill attempts to create education options for the board members of HOAs? Too much money involved in fleecing the owners of about 2.5 million homes located in Florida ’s homeowners’ associations?


It’s about time to change the legislative requirement of HOA education in 2013. 2.5 million homeowners deserve better than to be left in the dark when it comes to knowing the rules and regulations that govern their daily lives!

All fields are mandatory!

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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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