Florida House approves bill to prevent condominium collapse

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — In response to the Surfside condominium collapse that killed 98 people, Florida House unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would require statewide recertification of any condominium building with more than three storeys.

The bill would require recertification after 30 years, or 25 years if the vessel is within 5 kilometers of the coast, and every 10 years thereafter. Champlain Towers South was 40 years old and going through the 40-year recertification process required by Miami-Dade County when it collapsed last June.

At the time, Miami-Dade and Broward counties were the only two of the state’s 67 counties with condominium recertification programs.

“Everything we could have thought of was definitely put in place with a lot of thought and a lot of love to make sure what happened at Surfside will never happen again,” said Republican Rep. Daniel Perez, who chairs the committee that sponsored the bill.

Among other provisions of the bill, it is required that condominium corporations notify residents when buildings need to be recertified and provide them with inspection reports.

It also obliges the associations to study every 10 years the reserves available to pay for structural damage.

“This bill does not guarantee that it will never happen again, but it does go a long way to ensuring that we are going to ask people to be responsible, we are going to look for these problems and we are going to do our best to make sure that, if possible, this is never repeated,” said Democratic Rep. Joe Geller, whose district includes Surfside.

Republican House Speaker Chris Sprows praised Perez for his work on the bill after the vote.

“I went to Surfside and you welcomed me there. And I know you spent days with the families at the Surfside site, with the clergy comforting the loved ones of those lost there. I know how deeply personal this is for you and everyone in South Florida and I just want to congratulate you,” Sprows said.

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