Florida Senate Committee Backs Proposed Changes to Condo Safety Law

Published Date: February 23, 2023

A proposal to amend last year’s condominium safety law in Florida, enacted after the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, has received backing from a Senate committee. The proposed changes in Senate Bill 154 focus on issues such as inspections and condominium association financial reserves. However, as associations grapple with implementing last year’s law, residents face increased costs.


Legislative Response

Senator Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat, expressed concern during the Senate Regulated Industries Committee meeting about the potential financial burden on condominium owners resulting from last year’s legislation. Bill sponsor Senator Jennifer Bradley, a Republican from Fleming Island, acknowledged the concerns but emphasized the legislative effort to ensure condo safety.


Inspection Adjustments

The proposed changes include adjustments to “milestone” inspections for condominium buildings that are three floors or higher. Last year’s law required inspections for buildings occupied for 30 years or 25 years if they were within three miles of the coast, with subsequent inspections every ten years.


Eased Requirements

The new bill would ease these requirements for buildings within three miles of the coast, allowing inspections after 30 years of occupancy and permitting local officials to require inspections after 25 years, depending on local circumstances and environmental conditions.


Financial Reserves

The legislation also addresses the issue of condominium associations maintaining adequate financial reserves for necessary repairs. The bill suggests changes such as removing certain items from the reserve study list and allowing the studies to recommend that reserves do not need to be maintained for items where the useful life, replacement cost, or deferred maintenance expense cannot be determined.


Impact of Last Year’s Law

Last year’s law was enacted in the wake of the Surfside building collapse, which claimed 98 lives. While it aimed to improve building safety, it has also affected condominium associations seeking property insurance. Insurance companies are reportedly scrutinizing the proposed changes, with a focus on ensuring transparency regarding the condition of insured buildings.


Committee Approval

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee unanimously approved the bill, acknowledging condominium owners’ challenges while emphasizing the importance of safety measures. This summary provides an overview of the proposed changes to Florida’s condominium safety law and the concerns residents and insurance companies raised.


Original Article By CBS Miami

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