A recent poll published by Mason-Dixon shows that over 86 percent of Florida voters want to see more frequent and stricter condo and apartment inspections for multi-family homes.
Currently, most towns, cities, and communities within the state don’t require structural inspections at any level of regularity, including post-occupancy safety checks. The recent Surfside condo collapse in Miami Beach remains fresh in the minds of Floridians, leading to calls for stronger safety measures.
“We’ve been repeatedly told that the County is “working on changes,” and yet it has been over 6 months since the tragic Chaplain Towers South collapse, and nothing substantial has changed,” said Town of Surfside City Commissioner Eliana R. Salzhauer. “We cannot wait for the glacial pace of big government to remedy this defective process. Waiting for formal changes from the county continues to endanger our residents on a daily basis. Continuing to operate under a delayed and defective inspection protocol and 40-year timeline is unacceptable.”
Florida is home to over 900,000 condo units that are 30 years or older, with a further 105,000 units exceeding 50 years in age.
A bill that advanced in the Florida Senate earlier this month aims to bolster the financial and inspection requirements for a building to be occupied, while also mandating that inspection information is accessible via public record for prospective homebuyers, renters, and public officials.
The bill would establish a mandatory structural inspection program for multi-family residential buildings that are greater than three stories and larger than 3,400 square feet. This is estimated to affect as many as 2 million residential condos in Florida
Proposed in the bill, condominium associations would be required to perform structural surveys and financial checks each decade to ensure they have the financial resources needed to improve structural foundations.
In wake of the Surfside collapse, loan lenders have tightened their wallets for those looking to rent in older buildings. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two companies that back a majority share of residential mortgages in the nation, are scrutinizing deferred condo maintenance issues before approving loans generated by banks and other lenders.
Both companies in 2022 issued requirements for the owners of multi-family property to ensure that buildings are structurally sound and that associations that govern them have the money to pay for repairs.
In a region that regularly endures hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding, building safety has taken priority in rectifying and amending previous inadequate policies. As the Legislative Session trudges further and further into its latest campaign, voters can expect to see a bevy of building inspection proposals make their way through both House and Senate committees.