Task Force Recommends Changes After Surfside, Fla., Condo Collapse

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A provision would tighten the requirement for condo associations on maintaining cash reserves.

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A spokesman for Florida House Speaker Chris Sprouls said his office had received the report but had not yet reviewed it. “The president welcomes the bar’s input,” she said.

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A spokesman for Mr DeSantis said his office could not comment until it had had an opportunity to study the report.

In the years before the collapse of Champlain Towers South, condo board members and unit owners argued over the required maintenance and the rising price tag, which reached $16 million. At the time of the collapse, the condo board was planning major repairs.

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The June 24 collapse is the subject of multiple investigations at the federal and local levels, including one led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is part of the Department of Commerce, and the other by Elin Kilsheimer, a noted structural engineer, who reviewed the report. Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

The task force’s report contains a number of recommendations. It calls for the timely maintenance and repair of condo buildings and the need to empower condo boards to impose financial appraisals on owners or to borrow money to pay for such work. It recommends mandating a report by an engineer or architect on the common elements of a building, including their useful life and replacement cost, updated every five years.

Among the provisions that could prove more controversial is a dire requirement for cash reserves, said Mr. Sklar, a real estate attorney and chairman of the task force. Florida law allows condo boards to waive a requirement that they collect money from residents for potential future repairs. Mr Sklar said the task force wants to make it more difficult to meet the requirement.

The group recommends that in order to drop the requirement, the approval of at least 75% of the building’s voting interests is required, rather than a majority under current law, and that condo associations be permitted to exceed 50% of the legally required quantity. Maintaining low essential reserves is prohibited.

The task force met 19 times in July and sought input from a group representing engineers, insurance-industry experts, real-estate agents and condo association boards. The aim was to determine whether legal or regulatory changes could reduce the likelihood of another tragedy such as the Champlain Towers South collapse.

There are more than 912,000 condo units in Florida that are at least 30 years old, according to data from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation cited by the task force.

Danielle Blake, head of public policy for the Miami Association of Realtors, said her group supported the tougher reserve requirements. He said the group also supports changing state law to require condo boards to share inspection reports with condo owners and potential buyers.

“We are pushing for it because people are asking for it,” she said.

write to Rachael Levy at [email protected] and Ariane Campo-Flores at [email protected]


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