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New Condo Law: Updates and Impacts

Prasse-Anderson Law May 19, 2023

In Florida, condominium associations are responsible for enforcing rules and bylaws, collecting fees from condo owners, and overseeing the planned community’s day-to-day operations. Recently, new condo laws were passed in the state to address safety issues, building inspections, and the use of reserve funds. These new condo laws – Florida Senate Bill 4-D – are expected to bring forth several changes and improvements to condo associations and communities across the state.

At Prasse-Anderson Law, we enjoy giving guidance and advocacy to clients in community association-related matters. Our experienced Florida community association law attorney is available to discuss your specific situation and inform you about the recently passed condo laws and how they affect both condominium owners and condo associations throughout the state. We’re proud to serve clients across Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding areas, including Pinellas and Pasco. 

What Is Senate Bill 4-D?

On June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 40-year-old, 12-story beachfront condominium in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed. The building collapse caused the death of about 98 people and left 11 others injured. 

Investigation into the reason for the partial collapse revealed that it was due to the long-term degradation of the building’s concrete structural support in the basement. This was largely caused by corrosion and water penetration into the reinforced steel of the concrete support. 

In the aftermath of this unfortunate incident, the state of Florida recently passed Senate Bill 4-D (SB 4-D). The new condo laws will change the process of purchasing condo units, how condo units are managed, and how reserve funds should be used by condo associations. 

Important Provisions of Florida Senate Bill 4-D

Building Safety 

  • The condominium association must perform a Milestone Structural Inspection (MSI) of condominium and co-op buildings that are at least three (3) stories and 30 years old by December 31. 

  • Condo buildings within three (3) miles of the Florida coastline that are at least three (3) stories must be inspected by December 31 of the year the building is 25 years old. 

  • A condo building with a certificate of occupancy issued on or before July 1, 1992, must carry out an MSI by December 31, 2024. 

  • All Milestone Structural Inspections must be conducted every 10 years going forward. 

Structural Integrity Reserve Study 

  • Condo associations with buildings at least three stories must conduct a Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS) consisting of visual inspections of the condominium building components. 

  • An expert must be hired to complete the SIRS and analyze finances, and potential repair costs, which will help determine the amount of money (reserves) that should be set aside for future major repair projects. 

Reserve Funds 

  • After December 31, 2024, condo associations with buildings at least three stories are prohibited from waiving or reducing reserve funds for building components that are considered crucial to safety and structural integrity. 

  • After December 31, 2024, condo associations are prohibited from using dedicated reserve funds for other purposes not intended or itemized in the SIRS. 

Issues & Impacts of the Florida Condo Safety Act

However, there are various issues with the Florida Condo Safety Act. These include: 

  • Many condo associations stopped collecting money to reduce monthly payments. Hence, there is little or no money in reserve. This may result in delayed maintenance or repairs. 

  • The current construction supply and labor shortage across the state will hike the cost of completing building inspections and assessments. 

  • Performing a building inspection may displace many families from their homes. This may lead to condominium terminations across the state. 

  • Condominium owners in older buildings on fixed or limited wages may be unable to afford the assessment upsurge caused by the new laws. 

  • The loss of affordable condo units might likely aggravate the current lack of affordable housing in Florida. 

  • In addition, the bill itself and some of the languages used in the bill are ambiguous and may not be easily understood by condo owners and condo associations. 

Next Steps for Condominium Owners & Associations

However, the timeline for conducting the inspections, assessments, and repairs required by Florida Senate Bill 4-D is quite short. Hence, condo owners and associations must act quickly and enlist the expertise of an experienced attorney and other professionals to formulate a compliance plan. This will help identify existing safety issues and threats and make adequate financial planning to address them. 

Personal & Professional Legal Counsel

The Florida Senate Bill 4-D was passed to help mitigate safety issues and improve the building integrity of older condos. However, understanding, navigating, and fulfilling the requirements of these new condo laws can be difficult and expensive. Therefore, it is important that you work with a seasoned community association law attorney for clear guidance and to help you navigate challenging decisions. 

At Prasse-Anderson Law, we give strong legal direction to condo owners and associations across Florida. Using our broad knowledge, we can help you understand each requirement of Senate Bill 4-D and outline a strategic plan to fulfill them. In addition, we will offer you the reliable legal counsel you need and work intelligently to address your various concerns. 

Contact us at Prasse-Anderson Law today to speak with a well-informed community association law attorney. Our firm proudly serves clients across Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding areas, including Pinellas and Pasco.