Florida Board Proposes Changes to Condo Reform Legislation – The Real Deal

The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by Katherine Kallergis, and was published to The Real Deal on 2/3/2023.

A Florida commission is proposing changes to the state law that legislators passed last year in response to the deadly Surfside condo collapse. The Florida Building Commission was asked to review inspection requirements and make recommendations regarding the condo building safety law that passed in May. In the board’s 109-page report, it recommends eliminating the distinction between coastal and inland properties “until there is evidence to support their being treated differently.” The report will be addressed at its meeting on Tuesday.

Florida Senate Bill 4-D institutes 25-year inspections of condo buildings three stories or taller within three miles of the coast, or 30 years if inland. The bill applies statewide.

The building commission is made up of 16 members in the insurance, construction, building management, architecture, government and gas industries.

The commission’s report cites University of Florida research assessing 40-year recertifications in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. It suggests a potential lack of an “appreciable difference” in how coastal and inland buildings deteriorate. If state lawmakers want to keep the distinction between coastal and inland buildings, the commission recommends it come up with boundaries on a map, or that the state use the Coastal Construction Control Line to determine distance from the coast.

Prior to the June 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside that killed 98 people, Miami-Dade and Broward were the only counties statewide to have a 40-year recertification requirement.

The building commission is also seeking authority to create an inspection safety and milestone program, as well as the ability to change or create new rules. Those requirements could be strengthened at a local level.

The May 2022 law also eliminated condo and homeowners’ associations’ ability to waive the funding of their reserves. They now have until Jan. 1, 2025 to fully fund their reserves, if needed.

In Miami-Dade County, condo and homeowners’ associations are now required to publicly disclose their financial and structural health. As of Feb. 1, such associations have to file structural reports, financial statements, insurance policies, budgets, and major planned projects, and continue to do so on an annual basis.

An earlier version of this story misstated the deadline for fully funding reserves.

John Caravella Esq., is a construction attorney and formerly practicing project architect at The Law Office of John Caravella, P.C., representing architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and owners in all phases of contract preparation, litigation, and arbitration across New York and Florida. He also serves as an arbitrator to the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Panel. Mr. Caravella can be reached by email: [email protected] or (631) 608-1346.

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The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by Katherine Kallergis, and was published to The Real Deal on 2/3/2023.