The Florida legislature’s special session held recently resulted in new laws aimed to promote condominium building safety. Senate Bill 4D passed the House of Representatives and Senate each, and was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 26, 2022.
Under the new legislation, Florida will require statewide recertification of condominiums three stories or more in height as a response to the Surfside building collapse. The legislation includes a framework for:
- “Milestone” building inspections as structures reach 30 years old and every 10 years thereafter. For similarly situated condominium buildings that are within 3 miles of a coastline, the milestone inspection must be performed when the structure reaches 25 years, and every 10 years thereafter.
- Mandatory reserve study and funding for structural integrity components (building, floors, windows, plumbing, electrical, etc.).
- Removal of opt-out funding of reserves for structural integrity components.
- Mandatory transparency—providing all owners and residents access to building safety information.
- Clear developer requirements for building inspections, structural integrity reserve study, and funding requirements prior to transition to the residents.
- Engagement of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and local municipalities to track condominium buildings and the inspection reporting.
The legislature has provided a two-year period of compliance for many of the requirements. Despite the two-year period, associations will have to ultimately comply with some of the requirements, their board of directors and members should not delay strategizing how these changes will be implemented. Condominium associations should consult with legal counsel and other professionals (including insurance advisors, accountants, reserve study professionals, and architects and engineers) as they begin implementing these new laws into practice to receive guidance on the funding, contracting, and scheduling of work to be performed.
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