New Legislation Affecting Mandatory Homeowners’ Associations


Published 11-27-2004

By Jan Bergemann

FS 720 – The Florida Statutes that regulate homeowners’ associations – has a new face – and even a few more ways to enforce the rules without creating huge legal bills. And a provision that allows homeowners to recall a board – Easy 1-2-3 - without getting involved in a huge lawsuit.  For your information, Cyber Citizens For Justice was in the forefront to bring about these improvements.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation has been chosen to mediate and arbitrate certain disputes. This was the first time since 1995 that we homeowners saw positive changes to a law that obviously has too many flaws.  It was a step in the right direction.  But we homeowners need to keep pushing for more necessary reforms, especially a government agency with enforcement powers and for unbiased education.  Bills to that effect are being written and will be filed for the next legislative session.  But the legislators need to hear our unified voice  --  the voice of their constituents.

It makes no sense that some associations spend more than 50% of their annual budgets for management and legal fees, instead of spending for community maintenance and beautification, as originally intended.

The work of the HOA Task Force, created by Governor Jeb Bush in July 2003, submitted bills (SB 1184 + SB 2984) that passed with few changes and were signed by Governor Bush into law.

Many good provisions have been enacted, but still not enough to prevent the many ugly headlines we can daily read in the newspapers.



One of the biggest changes took place in October 2004 by creation of


This chapter was created as an attempt to avoid the outrageous amounts of legal fees wasted in very dubious lawsuits.  It should give opposing parties now the chance to solve problems by talking to a referee, called “mediator” or “arbitrator”!  But it will only work if common sense is used and people are willing to listen to reason.

The DBPR can now be petitioned to mediate or arbitrate the following disputes:

  • Recall of Board of Directors
  • Election Disputes
  • Membership meetings disputes
  • Meetings of Boards and Committees
  • Access to Public Records
  • Certain other Covenant Enforcement Issues
  • Amendments to Governing Documents
  • Use of or Changes to parcels and common areas

Other important improvements include:

All of these changes are a good step in the right direction, but we are far from a feasible solution for all the problems debated.  Costly legal arguments will continue until a powerful government agency properly regulates homeowners’ associations.

The attorneys have for many years written the book on association law.  Just look at the endless number of lawsuits filed and legal fees spent!  It is obvious that the attorneys’ primary interest was filling their own bank accounts  --  not looking out for the welfare of the homeowners.

This has to change finally if we homeowners want to live in a pleasant and peaceful neighborhood!  We need laws that help us to live in harmony with our neighbors, not fighting each other.

Attorneys all over Florida criticize the new HOA statutes and blame the legislators for creating confusion.  They like to forget that this bill was actually written by their colleagues, attorneys of the real estate section of the Florida Bar.

This law is far from perfect.  New bills to further improve the flawed system are being written.  We homeowners need to work together to improve that system, so it preserves our welfare, rather than contributes to our financial demise.

We homeowners need to speak out in Tallahassee on our own behalf.  Like a legislator just said at our Annual Meeting in Ocala, Florida on November 19:  “Change happens in government when people stand up and speak up!”

This old motto goes as well for HOMEOWNERS:


Go to CCFJ website and join in fighting this just cause.