By Jan Bergemann

Published December 21, 2012


Year after year the war over financial reporting starts again in many community associations.


Make no mistake, the Florida statutes regulating financial reporting are clear – and detailed – unlike many other provisions in the statutes.

FS 718.111(13) and FS 720.303(7) explain in detail how financial reporting should be handled.


Here is the wording of FS 720.303(7):
(7) FINANCIAL REPORTING.-- Within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year, or annually on the date provided in the bylaws, the association shall prepare and complete, or contract with a third party for the preparation and completion of, a financial report for the preceding fiscal year. Within 21 days after the final financial report is completed by the association or received from the third party, but not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year or other date as provided in the bylaws, the association shall, within the time limits set forth in subsection (5), provide each member with a copy of the annual financial report or a written notice that a copy of the financial report is available upon request at no charge to the member.

For the complete provision please go to: FINANCIAL REPORTING


The wording for condos in FS 718.111(13) is nearly identical.


So, why is it that many boards and the hired service providers often plainly ignore these laws – and even ignore specific requests by owners to obtain copies of the documents that the association is by law required to mail out for free within a certain timeline?


Many owners will claim that the board has something to hide, something the financial reporting might reveal. Make no mistake, even the audited financial statements required for associations with total annual revenues of $400,000 or more are in reality no forensic audits. Financial shenanigans are still easy to hide.


The next best explanation: The board members either don’t know better, or know that nothing will happen to them if they ignore the laws. So, why bother? The worst scenario – for condos only: The association gets fined for ignoring the existing financial reporting laws. But the fine would be paid from the association funds – and then it’s still time to blame the owner who blew the whistle at the Bureau of Compliance. HOA members would even have to file a lawsuit to enforce these provisions.


Make no mistake: It’s more common in our society to blame the person who reported the violation of laws than it is to hold the persons who actually violated the laws responsible for their actions. Some board members have no problems to blame these “whistleblowers” in the association newsletters, claiming they are responsible for the fine the association had to pay.


My recommendation to the owners who live in associations where board members have such a bad attitude: Remove these board members at the next annual election, because they are wasting your hard-earned money. If they are unwilling to follow the laws, they have no business being members of the association board.


The financial reporting provisions are there for a reason. Every owner should have the opportunity to see where his/her money is being spent. Is that really too much to ask for?

Our bloggers will take a well deserved vacation until after the holidays when we will be back with more educational blogs.

I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My wish for the NEW YEAR? Let’s make sure that our HOA Reform Bill gets enacted in the upcoming legislative session, so we will see fewer association wars in the future!


Even my cats are already in a holiday mood…

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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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