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Florida legislators should overhaul the state’s condominium laws in the wake of the Surfside Building collapse, which killed 98, to address inspections to ensure there are proper stores to make major safety repairs and other issues. are present, a task force has been prepared in accordance with the report. Florida Bar.

The Bar’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section set up a task force to bring together lawyers specializing in condominium and association laws. The goal was not to investigate or find blame for the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South Beachfront condominium, but to recommend ways to prevent future disasters.

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“The lack of uniform maintenance standards or protocols, and the need for legislative intervention for the board of directors to determine when, how and if life safety inspections should be carried out,” said a 179-page statement issued earlier this week. The report concluded. .

Champlain Towers was 40 years old and needed major repairs when it collapsed on 24 June. This has led to the need for the authorities to ensure that other aged structures are safe. The task force said that 912,376 Florida condo units, which more than 2 million people live in, are at least 30 years old, including more than 105,000 built more than 50 years old and about 328,000 built 40 to 50 years ago.

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Overall, Florida has more than 1.5 million condo units operated by 27,599 condo associations, the report said.

Among the recommendations is to empower association boards to conduct special assessments for major repairs to protect occupant safety without a full association vote. Associations are also required to create reserves for such projects recommended by engineers in order to be able to pay for repairs. They will be in addition to accounts for routine maintenance.

While the report states that most condominium associations are operating in a reasonably safe manner, there is a need for more consistency with inspections and that the information provided in them should be available to residents.

“Unit owners and boards may oppose such maintenance due to cost, shortage of reserves, disruption and inconvenience,” the report said.

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The report also recommended that condominium boards be allowed to borrow money for lifesaving repairs so that the cost could be spread over the years.

Local governments must have a high degree of accountability for inspection reports, including setting them aside sovereign immunity protections, which limit civil claims against government agencies to $200,000.

“Condominium residents should have the right to rely on inspections and reports made by or on behalf of local governments, and local governments should not be able to evade responsibility for the content and conclusions of construction inspection reports,” it said.

Current law limits associations and unit owners to take civil action against developers for design and construction defects. Those limits should be removed, the report said.

The State Department overseeing condominium education and compliance is largely funded by a trust fund formed at a $4 per unit fee. The task force recommended that the Legislature not be able to “sweep” trust funds for other state budget purposes.

It also recommends that 30% of the trust fund be used to educate association boards and residents about the obligations to make repairs to ensure the safety of buildings.