Aerial View of Sunny Isles Beach Condo Area – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Mia2you
Several weeks after Florida lawmakers enacted a bill requiring existing condominiums to undergo safety assessments to maintain their structural integrity, Central Florida condominium association members had many questions regarding how the new regulations would affect owners.
“It all depends on how intrusive the inspection is, and how expensive it’s going to be,” said Daniel Rogers, a member of the Sand Pebbles Condominium Association board. “Is it feasible for these associations to afford it?”
In response to last year’s devastating partial collapse of a beachfront building in Surfside, Florida that killed 98 people, Governor Ron DeSantis signed new legislation into law requiring condominiums that are three stories or taller to be recertified.
Under the new legislation, a licensed engineer or architect must visually evaluate condominiums older than 30 years, or 25 years if the building is within 3 miles of the shore, and every 10 years thereafter.
A secondary inspection will be required if there is evidence of significant structural damage.
The new rule also mandates that condo organizations review their reserve money every ten years to ensure that they can cover substantial repairs.
Depending on the scale of the facility and the number of repairs needed, professional engineering inspections might cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“We have only 30 residents here, so a very invasive inspection could be very expensive for everyone,” Rogers said.
State lawmakers are expected to provide additional detailed information about condo inspection criteria before the law is set to take effect in January of 2025.
The Florida Building Commission, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal, is required to go over the new inspection requirements and make recommendations to the legislature and governor by the end of 2022.
“We’re going to be back in regular session at least one more time before any of this really kicks in, which gives ample time to tweak, amend, and hear from the public and people on the ground,” said Jason Pizzo, the Democratic state senator who represents Surfside.
Other state legislators and Pizzo plan to host a public forum on the condo law later this month.
Only Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and a few cities required older condominiums to undergo mandatory inspections before the new state law was established.
“I understand there are people who don’t want regulation, in terms of a government agency,” Miami-based engineer John Pistorino told News 6 last year. “But [other] regulations are already there.”
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William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.