By Jan Bergemann

Published November 1, 2019


If you look at FS 720 (HOA ACT) it looks like the Florida Legislature is giving developers of HOA communities carte blanche.


No matter the problem, in the end the developers always win. So it seems?


Let’s face it: Developers barely ever get prosecuted, no matter how many laws they are violating. Not even a handful, to my knowledge, ended up in jail.


I personally got involved in HOA reforms, because the developer of the HOA I moved into in St. Augustine, lied and cheated – and even gave us the lies in writing. According to Florida statutes he committed a 3. degree felony. But guess what: No state attorney’s office was willing to prosecute him, despite the written proof. And the AG at that time claimed that there wasn’t money in the budget to prosecute these kind of crimes.


And when 63 owners of the community finally sued the developer, we quickly found out that the developer was allowed to pay his defense attorney from our maintenance fees.


Well, that made me mad -- and changing the laws on this matter was our first success in Tallahassee: We changed the laws and no developer can use association funds to defend lawsuits against him/her. See: FS 720.303(8)


But otherwise, developers can still do whatever they want – and the developer lobbyists in Tallahassee are a serious force to reckon with. They have killed many owner-friendly bills.


Not only took the legislature any warranties away from associations, the laws even allow developers to stay in power forever. There are some developers in Florida who consider running the community as a source of extra income. Some developers don’t sell the last few lots, so they never have to turn over management to the owners.


Considering these facts nobody should wonder anymore that the quality of workmanship in HOAs has gone down the drain.


I always have to laugh when the industry advertises these communities as places of easy living: If you have never in your life been involved in a lawsuit, just move into one of Florida’s HOAs. It normally doesn’t take long before you get involved in some legal action.

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