By Jan Bergemann

Published December 8, 2017


When you buy a home in a homeowners’ association you can’t claim any longer: MY HOME IS MY CASTLE!


You more or less give up any right regarding your home. As Shu Bartholomew, host of “On The Commons” always put it: “When entering a HOA, you’re leaving the American Zone? Remember CHECKPOINT CHARLIE in Berlin?


Yes, you are still “allowed” to pay all the expenses like mortgage, property tax, insurance and especially HOA maintenance fees, but you have given up any right to decide how your home is looking from the outside and what kind of improvements you are allowed to make.


And just in case you forgot to pay the HOA dues, you can either pay an arm and a leg for all the expenses coming with the reminder that you forgot to pay, or they make sure you and your family are sleeping under the bridge in the future after the HOA foreclosed on your home.


And don’t you even dare to start arguing with the board on issues you might disagree. They’ll find a way to make you pay outrageous fines and legal fees to teach you a lesson. They can even lien and foreclose on your home if you don’t pay the fine they levied – right or wrong.


I know, there are quite a few good HOAs here in Florida – and there are board members who really serve their community and do an excellent job.


But: There are as well lots of bad HOAs, with boards that are mean-spirited, have private agendas and hire attorneys who consider you – the homeowner – their private cash cow.


And just in case you live in one of the “functioning” HOAs, make sure it stays that way. Remember: Even the best HOA is only one election away from dictatorship.


Let’s face it: The times when you were the KING of YOUR CASTLE are long past – and I seriously doubt that they will ever return!

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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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