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New costs could be coming to condo owners in Florida

Condo owners will now have to create a reserve fund to pay for regularly scheduled structural inspections.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — It's a bill to try and prevent buildings from collapsing, but if you live in a condo in Florida, it may soon cost you extra money.  

New legislation will increase many fees for condo owners and their associations.

A terrible tragedy happened one year ago this week. In the early morning hours of June 24, 2021 a 12-story condo collapsed in the Miami suburb of Surfside. As a result of that collapse, the Florida Legislature has taken action.

"The importance of the bill and the new law is to make sure this doesn't happen again," says engineer Jeffrey Sellers. "We want to hold paramount the life and safety of building inhabitants and occupants."

Sellers is the Vice President and principal engineer for Construction Solutions Inc, a company that deals extensively with condo and high rise engineering inspections. His company is about to get very busy.  

Every condo in the state of Florida that is 3 floors of higher and is at least 30 years old has until the end of 2024 to have the building inspected.  Condos in costal areas have a stricter timeline, they need to be inspected if they're 25 years old. After the initial inspection, every building will have to be inspected every 10 years, but that's not all.

"There are going to be requirements for additional funding for these inspections and requirements for structural reserves to repair and fix anything we may discover in these investigations," says Sellers. And according to the new law, that funding comes from the condo owners and their associations.

"Any structural or engineering evaluations in the past were elective," says Sellers. "Now they're required."

The new law states that the engineering inspection report has to be submitted to the local building authority, so the state is aware of buildings that may have been affected over time by the elements, including water intrusion. 

"Water intrusion is one of the biggest issues for our area and Florida in general," says Sellers. "It's one of the major components of building deterioration and was one of the major deterioration components of Surfside."

This will be an increased cost for condo owners across the state, but all with the hope of avoiding disaster in the future.

RELATED: Teen's miraculous survival in Florida building collapse finds purpose

RELATED: Special Session Day 3: Property insurance, condo safety reform bills headed to governor's desk

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