Reviews | Florida condominium laws must be reformed


Despite this report, the building’s condominium association took two and a half years, after numerous internal disputes, to pass a special valuation of $ 15 million. For years, the association had not set aside enough money to fix the problems, forcing the big special membership fee to pay them. And the building was clearly underinsured, which will create complications for those with claims for loss of property or wrongful death.

Surprisingly, only two counties in Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward, require condominiums to be recertified for structural and electrical systems – and only after 40 years, and then every 10 years thereafter.

Because there are not enough inspectors or regulators, some buildings have delayed recertification for years. But things can also go wrong before recertification, and in some buildings, homeowners are content to fix and paint and ignore long-term maintenance repairs or take shortcuts to avoid conflict and chaos that the great special evaluations provoke with their neighbors.

What should be done? Recertifications of all “safety of lifeQuestions regarding the structural and electrical elements of the building should be made mandatory statewide. The initial deadline for building recertification should be reduced from 40 years to 10 or 20 years, and then every five years thereafter, with inspections carried out by certified engineers or architects with at least five or 10 years of experience. .

Increased government oversight should be required for building remediation works, ensuring their start-up and completion on time. More severe pecuniary or even criminal penalties should be imposed for failure to comply with the recertification process and for carrying out necessary remedies for the safety of persons.

Homeowners should also be required to provide adequate reserves for all life safety repairs, and a loophole for owners to forgo full reserve funding should be closed. These funds should always be kept separate from other association reserve funds (such as those set aside for the decoration of halls and corridors).

And building codes, like the Florida Building Code, should require proper waterproofing by competent installers with a minimum warranty of 15 to 20 years. With rising waters and corrosive salt air along the coastlines, waterproofing concrete is as important as brakes for cars. Concrete is porous and water can deteriorate it. If they are not repaired quickly, the damage worsens exponentially. And huge maintenance fees or special appraisals irritate residents and hurt market values.

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