Ron DeSantis Signs An Emergency Safety Law Regarding Condos

( Last Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that included requiring statewide recertification of all condominiums more than three stories high.

The condominium safety legislation, prompted by last year’s tragic Surfside building collapse that killed 98 people, passed the Florida Senate on Tuesday and was unanimously approved in the House on Wednesday during a special session initially called to address the skyrocketing rates of property insurance.

Similar legislation failed to pass during the regular legislative session that ended in March.

In general, recertification will be required 30 years after the building’s construction, then every ten years thereafter. For buildings located within 3 miles of the coast, recertification will be required after 25 years, then every ten years thereafter.

The 40-year-old Champlain Towers South was undergoing the 40-year recertification process required by Miami-Dade County when it collapsed last June. At that time, only Miami-Dade and Broward counties had condominium recertification processes in place.

The state of Florida has over 1.5 million condo units operated by almost 28,000 associations. Of those, more than 912,000 units housing over 2 million Florida residents are in buildings constructed over 30 years ago.

Under the new condominium safety law, condo associations would be required to have sufficient funds in reserve to pay for major repairs. The law would require associations to conduct a study of their reserves every decade. Condo associations would also be required to provide owners with inspection reports and if structural repairs are needed, the work must begin within 12 months of the report.

The condominium safety measure was attached to a bill that would forbid property insurers from automatically denying coverage to properties with a roof that is more than fifteen years old. The bill would allow homeowners with roofs 15 years or older to have the roof inspected before insurers deny them coverage.

Some Democrat lawmakers believed that the special session on property insurance didn’t go far enough to provide relief for Florida homeowners. However, they did praise the added condominium safety measure.