By Jan Bergemann

Published December 6, 2019


Decorating homes for Christmas is an old American tradition. Many families had annual house-decorating parties, fun for the whole family. But that seems to be another tradition that is slowly being killed by the community association system.


Every year we read more ugly stories about families getting sued for decorating their homes for Christmas. This year the “crime” committed by a family was the timing of decorating the home. According to the HOA: TOO EARLY.


Other common complaints received by families in form of “threatening” attorney letters: “Too much”, “Not approved”, “Not allowed without permission of the Architectural Review Committee” – and the list goes on. By far not all associations like to spoil the fun, but some association boards react like the homeowners committed a crime worthy of exiling the owners to Siberia.


Like it or not, moving into a deed-restricted community association means you are giving up lots of the freedom given to you by the US Constitution – including Freedom of Speech. I all reality you may legally still be the deeded owner of your home, but you are no longer free to change the view of your home and/or landscaping, or even decorating your home for Christmas!



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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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