By Jan Bergemann

Published November 23, 2012


Even if many of us just call it Turkey Day, the original name on the calendar is still Thanksgiving Day. Many of you might still have a stomach-ache from gobbling down too much turkey and sweets as dessert!


Maybe you should consider – a day late – that there are really a lot of things you could give thanks for – especially if you are one of the approximately 2.5 million homeowners living in a Florida homeowners’ association.


Honestly, you may be really hard pressed to find anything you could list on your Thanksgiving chart – but how about these suggestions:

  1. Be thankful that House Bill 319, sponsored by Representative George Moraitis, didn’t pass. Your wallet would now be even thinner and your association board would soon be meeting in order to levy another special assessment to cover the ever-increasing budget deficits caused by the strengthened Safe Harbor provisions protecting the banks that caused the whole foreclosure disaster in the first place.

  2. Be thankful that House Bill 1013, sponsored by Rep. Frank Artiles, only protected developers against so-called “implied warranty.” It could have gotten much worse since our legislators are treating community developers like a protected species. When moving to Florida you shouldn’t expect any consumer protection in the first place.

  3. Be thankful that not all of CITIZENS’ insurance money accumulated over the last few years with no hurricanes was given to private insurers – just about $350 million of it? Don’t our legislators feel sorry for all these “poor” insurance companies fleecing Florida ’s homeowners – according to the profits they all post?

  4. Be thankful you still have a home, even if you are forced to pay your neighbors’ bills – you know the neighbors who have stopped paying association dues and watch TV for free? Just imagine that some legislator whose campaign was financed by banks would sponsor a bill forcing you to pay as well your neighbor’s overdue mortgage payments. Remember, banks are so poor that they can only afford to pay their former CEOs, responsible for the collapse of our economy, golden parachutes of $100 million plus. Shouldn’t these incompetent CEOs deserve better than that?

  5. Be thankful that many counties appraised your property much higher than it’s really worth. Newspaper reports (fueled by political propaganda) show that our property values are going up again – slowly but surely. And since our county governments spent our tax dollars like there's no tomorrow, an increase of 10-15% of your assessed property value should really be considered reasonable. Imagine they would have raised it by 25%?

  6. Be thankful that for another year the hurricanes bypassed Florida . Because make no mistake, many homeowners’ associations don’t have the necessary insurance to cover possible hurricane damages without levying big special assessments. And imagine all the fines levied by your association board for having “blue” roofs – blue not being among the allowed roof colors?

Just think about, isn’t all that enough reason to be thankful for? It could have been a hell of a lot worse!


And please don’t eat too many turkey sandwiches – overeating is not a suggested remedy for depression!

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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: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

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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