Jan Bergmann

Anyone who has ever spent any time studying the condition of housing, American style, has to wonder how We the People, took a fairly simple and straightforward concept of homeownership and turned it into such a disaster.  Oh, we have been fed a lot of platitudes, lied to and with smoke and mirrors watched as individual private rights were turned into duties and obligations, making the owner a serf.  No matter how one looks at it, the condition of homeownership in the US today is plain wrong.  I will be offered explanations such as, “You agreed”, HOAs protect property values”, “It is the way of the future”  “Get used to it, it isn’t going away.”  It is all nonsense. Not everyone is going to just roll over and accept the status quo.  Remember, heroes are not made of doormats. 

Jan Bergemann joins us On The Commons.  Jan is the founder and president of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice  a grass roots organization protecting the rights of individual property owners   A hard working and very active advocate in all the areas affecting Floridians, Jan has studied the stories, the laws, the cases and the trends for a number of years, and he has some rather unique insights into what is happening.  While his observations are mostly focused on his state, the issues are definitely more national in scope.  We talk to Jan about the confusion of what an HOA really is. Proponents and attorneys will tell us it is a “contract” and that we “agreed” to the provisions of the Declaration.  While we can argue that ” we agreed” till the cows come home, the fact is HOAs are contractual in nature. It should, therefore,  be relatively simple to understand, shouldn’t it?  Why isn’t it?  And just what are HOAs, really?  Tune in, we’ll tell you – well, we’ll tell you what they are not.  So, what are they?  

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Barbara Stage

Shouldn’t we be trying to simplify life?  With all the technological and scientific advances that have been made recently, we have the resources and the ability to really free up our time, allowing us to devote ourselves to our families and friends and on the things that make us happy.  Instead, we are being bogged down in layers and layers of red tape. If we did get rid of the things that really make no sense, would the abuses simply vanish and would we, in effect, create a kinder, friendlier environment?

Barbara Stage joins us On The Commons.  Barbara is an attorney in central Florida, where she represents homeowners as well as homeowners associations (HOAs).  The slogan on her website reads; “Protecting the rights of homeowners across the state of Florida”.  Barbara recently wrote a letter to the Florida Legislature advocating for greater oversight of HOAs and also for less costly alternatives to preserving one’s rights against their association.  We talk to Barbara about some of the atrocities she has witnessed over the years in Florida HOAs.  We find out what kind of advice industry attorneys give their HOA clients and we talk about HOAs refusing to cash checks from homeowners and sending legal notices to wrong addresses.  And that’s just for starters, there is so much more.  I ask myself again, what on earth are we thinking?  

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