Courtesy of The Insurance Journal
Published May 26, 2022
After addressing Florida’s insurance crisis, lawmakers on Tuesday quickly
approved another piece of legislation they did not get to during the regular
session in March – a revamp of condominium laws that would require more
frequent inspections, more reserved funding for repairs, and more reporting
of structural conditions.
“The insurance industry should love this because now they’ll have data on
the buildings, and they can see which condos are not being maintained,” said
Travis Moore, a lobbyist and consultant for the Community Associations
Institute. He spoke in favor of HB 5D on Tuesday.
The condo reform bill was added to the special session’s agenda at the last
minute this week. The House Appropriations Committee, after hearing four
hours of testimony and debate on a property insurance reform package,
quickly endorsed the condominium bill Tuesday night by a vote of 29-0. The
full Senate earlier in the day had added the language as part of its version
of the insurance crisis bill.
Both chambers are expected to reconcile the measures today and send them to
The condominium law changes have been demanded for months, after the
12-story Champlain Towers South condo near Miami Beach collapsed June 24,
2021, killing 98 people. The 40-year-old condo had just begun some
much-needed and long-awaited repairs when the collapse occurred.
The reform measure, if signed into law, will require structural inspections
of all residential buildings three stories or higher – statewide – 30 years
after construction, then every 10 years after that. For buildings that are
within three miles of the coast, the inspections must be done after 25 years
and then every seven years. Currently, only two South Florida counties
require regular inspections.
The new bill also would make building inspection reports available to unit
owners and local building officials.
Perhaps most importantly, condominium associations would, after December
2024, no longer be able to easily waive reserve funding requirements from
unit owners. Currently, condo associations in Florida have been able to
postpone collecting payments for needed repairs with a simple majority of
condo board members present at board meeting, Moore explained.
“The bill provides that effective December 1, 2024, a unit-owner controlled
association may not waive collecting reserves or collect less reserve funds
than required for items that are required to be inspected in a structural
integrity reserve study for an association building that is three stories or
higher in height,” a legislative analysis of the bill explains. “In
addition, unit-owner controlled associations may not use such reserve funds
for purposes other than their intended purpose.”
The bill also would require condo associations to conduct reserve studies
every 10 years.
“Before a developer turns over control of an association to unit owners
other than the developer, the developer must have a structural integrity
reserve study completed for each building on the condominium property that
is three stories or higher in height,” the analysis reads.
“This is a very good piece of legislation,” said Rep. Joseph Geller, D-Aventura.
“We were able to accomplish — not just for Surfside families but for all
Floridians that live in condominiums — a product that they should be proud
of, because I think we accomplished our goal, which is one step closer to
making sure what happened in Surfside never happens again,” bill sponsor
Rep. Daniel Perez, R-Miami, told Florida Politics.
After the tower collapsed 11 months ago, some insurance companies have
balked at writing new condo insurance while others have demanded more
inspection reports. In coming years, insurers will have more access to
more-frequent reports, supporters of the bill said.
THIS IS THE BILL THAT WAS APPROVED
UNANIMOUSLY BY HOUSE AND SENATE:
SB 4-D: Building Safety
GENERAL BILL by
Building Safety; Providing that the entire roofing
system or roof section of certain existing buildings or
structures does not have to be repaired, replaced, or
recovered in accordance with the Florida Building Code
under certain circumstances; requiring condominium
associations and cooperative associations to have
milestone inspections performed on certain buildings at
specified times; authorizing local enforcement agencies
to prescribe timelines and penalties relating to
milestone inspections; revising the types of records
that constitute the official records of a condominium
association; prohibiting certain members and
associations from waiving or reducing reserves for
certain items after a specified date, etc.
Date: Upon becoming
Last Action: 5/25/2022
Senate - Ordered enrolled
SB 4-D ER