BER Quarterly Magazine - Fall 2022
March 31st, 2023
On May 26th, 2022 – Florida Legislature passed senate bill 4D (“SB 4D”) as a response to the recent disaster of the building collapse in Surfside, Florida. With the new bill comes multiple condominium laws which aim at raising the building safety measures going forward.
Roof Repair Measures
The first new safety measure comes in the form of roof protection and creates an exception to the building codes as long as the roof is in compliance to the 2007 edition of the code. If there is a partial damage to the roof which is over 25% of the entire roof, the replaced/repaired portion is the only portion that needs to be in compliance of the current code so long as the rest of the roof is already in compliance with at least the 2007 code.
This change clears up issues some associations have faced where they had to fully replace the roof with 25% or more in damages. As we’ve seen with Irma and Ian, this can very quickly become costly and may cause problems for insurers in the state. For reader clarity, damages under 25% could already be repaired/replaced but it cannot exceed that section within a 12-month time period.
Milestone Structural Inspections
Now here is the big one – The second measure is the addition of 'Milestone Structural Inspections'. A milestone inspection is an evaluation of the safety and adequacy of a building that must be assessed by a licensed engineer or licensed architect.
With this bill being passed, each building, either condominium or multi-unit structure must be inspected before the 30th year of age and then 10 years thereafter. If the building is within 3 miles of the coastline, this requirement changes to an inspection before the 25th year and continues every 10 years thereafter. For condominiums built before 1992, the first due date for inspection is December 31st, 2024. Upon completion, the condo association must provide a copy of the examiner summary to each unit owner, regardless of the findings.
This is to ensure that any issues are identified and addressed in order to avoid any potential disasters in the future. The SB 4D bill also includes a few additional changes that guarantee the right of each unit owner or potential buyer to view the structural inspection findings, including renters.
This is an important change for REALTORS to be aware of when working with clients who are looking to purchase or sell a condominium unit, as it could help them make the right decision and make you look like the informed agent in the transaction.
A question that arises with this change is how the inspection findings will affect the property values of the units within the condo. If the inspection reveals faults in the structure of the building, it could become a good negotiating point for the buyer, particularly if the repairs would be the responsibility of the owners. However, this remains to be seen.