Stupid, Stupid Florida

You’ve heard about the new law in Florida, haven’t you? The one that now gives “emergency powers” to all Homeowners Associations, condo associations and property owners associations?

Yep, all HOA boards will now have “emergency powers” to raise dues, make contracts and borrow money without even all board members being present, without even allowing homeowners to have a say.

All I can really do is shake my head in disgust and ask my readers to consider five of the most significant dates in world history:

January 30, 1933.

February 27th, 1933.

February 28th, 1933.

March, 5, 1933.

March 23, 1933.

Every school kid should have those dates locked in their hearts and committed to memory for life. I seriously doubt if a kid….or a parent, anywhere, has any idea of the significance:

January 30th, Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

February 27th, an arsonist sets fire to the Reichstag Building.

February 28th, blaming “an emergency” thousands of people, including all legislators not friendly to the Nazi cause, are arrested and imprisoned.

March 5th, new elections put the Nazi party in control of Germany.

March 23rd, the Enabling Act takes effect, which essentially makes Adolph Hitler the absolute dictator over Germany.

Jan Bergemann, one of the biggest homeowners rights advocates in the nation, is one of the few Americans who knows all about those five dates. After all he was originally from Germany and he knows what happens when dictators are given unrestrained power. He now lives in Florida where he’s been the state’s top crusader against abuses and crimes committed by the boards of rogue Homeowners Associations.

Bergemman says the new Florida “emergency powers” law is dangerous.

That could well be the understatement of the year.

(link to Orlando Sentinel story)

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About

Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

3 thoughts on “Stupid, Stupid Florida

  1. Deborah Goonan

    Typical bad FL HOA legislation: vague, contradictory, and full of loopholes to allow unintended consequences. Here is a legal analysis by Barbara Stage http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/hoa-emergency-powers-fs-720-316-new-law-

    This law is not about allowing the HOA to shut off water inside a condo with leaky pipes, or about covering holes in the roof with a tarp, or boarding up windows. This is about giving a Board or SUBSTITUTE Board a blank check to unilaterally authorize “emergency” repairs. How many contracts will be hastily awarded to Board cronies or incompetent opportunists looking to cash in on a disaster? How much money will be wasted on inappropriate repairs or excessive upgrades without the knowledge or consent of owners?

    The last time FL passed “helpful” legislation addressing hurricane damage to condos, the provision provided that 80% of condo owners could vote to dissolve the association as long as no more than 10% object. Jan and other warned, at the time, that this law would be abused. Now there are no less than 9 condo associations in FL that are fighting hostile takeovers of their homes by real estate investors that have voted to convert the condos back to apartments. Owners stand to lose their life savings, because fair market value of their condos is maybe one third to one half of what they originally paid!

    This is the kind of “help” HOA and Condo owners can do without.

    Reply
  2. Dave Russell

    I feel so much better knowing that Arizona, is no-longer #1 in stupid HOA legislation. Special interest HOA groups own every legislative body in the country. If you live in a Florida HOA……run like wind!

    Reply

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