Florida’s legislature has received very poor marks for its failure to pass any condominium-safety reforms after the horrific Champlain Towers tragedy. Many condominium residents and community association attorneys expected the state’s lawmakers would strike a deal on a bill to revamp Florida’s existing condo regulations by requiring periodic inspections of buildings.
Pundits and newspaper columnists are lamenting the fact that the two chambers ultimately could not agree on whether to require condominium associations to maintain financial reserves for major structural maintenance and repairs. Given the horrific tragedy that claimed 98 lives, not-to-mention the significant number of aging buildings across the state with potential structural deficiencies, it is no surprise that there has been an outcry after the legislature failed to act.
Taking into consideration that this year’s legislative session began just over six months after the collapse, the legislature’s inability to establish mandatory safety reforms and require specific funding conditions for condominiums throughout the state was actually not very surprising. The issues of high-rise structural inspections, condominium association financial reserves, and mandatory fire sprinklers have flummoxed lawmakers in Florida and other states for decades.
Florida’s legislators should now take the time to work through the difficult details of condominium high-rise safety reforms during the remainder of the year and the pre-session legislative meetings for the 2023 session. There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for condominium buildings of varying heights and stages in their lifespan.