Florida Lawmakers Pass Condo Legislation in Wake of Surfside Tragedy

May 26, 2022 Updated 8:05 AM ET

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May 26, 2022 Updated 8:04 A.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) –  Florida lawmakers passed legislation to help prevent tragedies like the building collapse in Surfside which killed 98 people in June of 2021. The bill moves to the Governor’s desk.

Both Democrats and Republicans believe this condominium bill will save lives after hearing the horrific stories about people trapped in the Surfside rubble. 

“At the end of the day, the one thing that I continue to go back to are the families that were impacted by Surfside and many of them are in contact with us,” said Democrat State Rep. Daniel Perez. “When you guys leave this chamber, leave with your head up high because you’re doing something that most people can only dream of. You’re making real change.”

The Special Session call was expanded Tuesday to include condominium legislation as lawmakers work to address the unstable property insurance market in Florida. 

The bill requires condominium associations and cooperative associations to have a “milestone inspection” performed for buildings that are three stories or taller by the end of the year once that building reaches 30 years old and every ten years following.

If the building is located within three miles of a coastline, it must have a “milestone inspection” performed by December 31st once the building reaches 25 years of age and every ten years after that.

A “milestone inspection” requires an engineer or architect to inspect load-bearing walls and vouch for the life safety of the structural components of the building. The engineer will determine what necessary maintenance, repairs, or replacements need to be accomplished.

There are two inspection phases. If the inspector finds no signs of structural deterioration under visual examination, phase two would not be required. The inspector would just need to provide a report to the condominium association and the local government. 

However, phase two would allow the inspector to use destructive or nondestructive testing to confirm that the building is structurally sound and safe. The inspector would provide a report telling people the scope of the deterioration, whether it is unsafe, and what steps need to be taken.

A summary of the report must be put on the association’s website. The board of County Commissioners may adopt an ordinance to require that condominium association schedules repairs within a specific time frame. 

The condominium association is responsible for all of the inspection costs. 

The bill includes a second component that allows Florida residents more options to repair their roofs instead of completely replacing them. 

Republican State Rep. Jay Trumbull said the legislation provides residents with a roof that has more than 25% damage, the option to repair the roof instead of completely replacing it. Consumers can choose this option as long as the roof is in compliance with the 2007 Florida building code. 

While some Democrats were hesitant to the second component, all lawmakers voted unanimously in support of the bill. 

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