Surfside bill means higher costs for condo living

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s been two years since the condo collapse at the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida.

Since then, lawmakers have passed laws to try and stop it from happening again.

The new requirements include structural inspections by engineers or architects for condominiums 30 years old, and recommended fixes must be made.


That means condo boards will have to set aside enough money for future repairs as well as thousands of extra dollars for residents in fees. Many of those residents are seniors.

Speaker Designate Daniel Perez told the house floor after the law was voted on by the house, that, “moving forward, the structural integrity component of a condo will be reserved, they will be maintained, they will be up to par so that future condominiums never have to worry about another surfside taking place.”

Mitchell Goldman who works and lives in a condo said his office complex they just passed a special assessment increasing fees of 25% to deal with all the new costs required by the legislature.

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A new law enacted after the condo collapse in Surfside requires safety inspections and requires associations to keep money in reserves for any repairs and for those living on a fixed income.

Goldman said it’s getting harder to afford living here and people are getting priced out of condo living.

“I just don’t think they thought about the cost. They thought about what they needed to enhance the safety and soundness of the condominium, but the cost that is passed down to individuals. I don’t think they contemplated or had any idea what those costs would be,” Goldman added.

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A woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, wrote to Channel 9 stating similar concerns: “I own a tiny (864 sf) condo in this community and I’m currently paying $491.53/month. I’m 68 years old and on Social Security. An increase in monthly HOA fees or a one-time assessment will put me on the street. Has this been considered by legislators or is this ‘across the board’ legislation just a quick ‘fix’ to an issue that impacts primarily coastline condominiums?”

She received a letter from her HOA warning her that costs could go up because of this bill. The letter in part states: “It cannot be stressed enough that while the board understands the significant impact and increase in assessments has on all owners, we cannot disregard the fiduciary responsibility we have to make sure the financial responsibilities of the association are covered. These are unattended consequences of the laws that try to protect those living in a condominium, but the legislature and the authors of this bill are standing on safety.”

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Channel 9 has reached out to Perez’s office about the financial concerns, but his office did not return our request for comment.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.