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Florida condo market braces for impact of new Surfside-inspired safety law – Công nghệ mới 2024

Florida condo market braces for impact of new Surfside-inspired safety law – Cập nhật kiến thức mới nhất năm 2024

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In Brazil, there’s a common Portugese saying, “mala sem alça,” which translates to “a suitcase without a handle”—something that’s a pain to carry around but a shame to throw away.

That expression has been top of mind for Miami-based construction litigation attorney Gabriel Z. Coelho of Ball Janik as he unpacks the Florida Condo Safety Act, passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis this spring in reaction to the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers condo in Surfside last year.

“It’s big, it’s bulky, there’s no good way to get it to where it needs to go,” Coelho said of the new law. “It’s not particularly well thought out, and there’s going to be pushback in the 2023 legislature because of it.”

Fulfilling his promise to review condo association regulations after the Surfside tragedy, in late May DeSantis signed Senate Bill 4-D, which requires stricter inspections and prohibits condo associations from waiving maintenance reserve funds. Since then, Coelho said, “it’s something that anyone associated with condos or condo construction is scrambling with.”

“The problem in practicality is that there are thousands and thousands of condos that all need to do this at the same time.”


Gabriel Z. Coelho

Attorney, Ball Janik

Whether for or against the new law, just about everyone agrees it presents a huge financial burden for Florida condo associations, especially in older buildings. By the end of 2024, the legislation requires condominiums that are at least three stories tall and within 3 miles of the coast be inspected by a licensed engineer or architect when they reach 25 years of age and buildings more than 3 miles inland at 30 years. 

Condo associations — which until now have been allowed to waive reserve funds for maintenance — will also be required to have enough money in their reserves by 2025 to fund all repairs necessary to maintain their buildings’ structural integrity, which could easily be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The problem in practicality is that there are thousands and thousands of condos that all need to do this at the same time,” Coelho said. “And there’s a limited pool of engineers and architects and people who actually do the work that’s being required.” 

Though it’s probably not likely because the Florida legislature is not in session again until next spring, Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Mark F. Grant of Greenspoon Marder, who has been handling real estate acquisition and development and condominium association documentation in Florida since 1976, believes it should postpone the rollout. “There’s just not enough time to get these inspections done,” he said.

The law impacts some 1.5 million condos operated by nearly 28,000 associations in the state, according to the Florida Senate’s analysis of the bill’s fiscal impact. More than 2 million Floridians live in condos that are 30 years old or older. 

Eric Glazer, a partner at Fort Lauderdale-based Glazer & Sachs, who hosts the Florida HOA & Condo blog and a weekly radio show, “Condo Craze and HOAs,” said only 5% to 10% of condo associations have properly funded their reserves and about 50% have waived reserves entirely.

“I just don’t know what’s going to happen to those condos. With interest rates going up and developers having a harder time selling their units, it’s not a good time to see this happening.”

mark grant

Mark Grant

Attorney, Greenspoon Marder

“It’s going to have a very significant chilling effect on the market, no two ways about it,” Glazer said. 

On top of the new inspection and reserve fund requirements, Glazer pointed out, regulations requiring condo buildings that are six stories and higher to install sprinkler systems will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. 

“The number of things condo associations have to start complying with, either immediately or within the next two years, is staggering,” he said. “Is it going to be tough? Sure, it’s going to be tough. Are some people not going to be able to afford it? Absolutely.”

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