Florida Condo Building Safety Law May ‘Bankrupt a Lot of People,’ Expert Says

A new Florida building safety law might put some property owners into bankruptcy, according to one expert.

The bill, SB 4-D, requires condominium and cooperative association buildings that are three stories in height or more and located within three miles of a coastline, to have a “milestone inspection” of the building’s structural integrity by an architect or engineer for buildings that are 30 years of age and every 10 years thereafter, or 25 years of age and every 10 years thereafter. It also “increases the rights of unit owners and prospective unit owners to access information regarding the condition of such buildings, and revises the requirements for associations to fund reserves for the continued maintenance and repair of such buildings.”

The legislation, passed by the Florida Senate and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 26, was drafted in response to the June 24, 2021, collapse of Champlain Towers South, a 12-story, 40-year-old beachfront condominium in Surfside, Florida, in which 98 people were killed.

Makeshift memorial
A cyclist rides past a makeshift memorial recognizing the victims of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building, as removal and recovery work continues at the site, in Surfside, Fla., on July 13, 2021. (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)

SB 4-D also requires condominium and cooperative associations to perform structural integrity reserve studies every 10 years and to include the estimated replacement cost of the roof, load-bearing walls, floors, foundation, fire protection systems plumbing, or other primary structural members with deferred maintenance or replacement costs that exceed $10,000. To ensure funds for those repairs are available when needed, at least 50 percent of the total estimated cost must be maintained. To ensure compliance, the law provides that “it is a breach of a board member or officer’s fiduciary duty if an association fails to complete a structural integrity reserve study.”

During his Monday appearance on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria,” Pinion Enterprises founder and CEO Joe Pinion said, “these costs, they get passed on to the consumer in one way or another.”

“Here comes the budget buster,” he added. “This stipulation [was] put in place by Gov. DeSantis to secure lives, but it’s going to end up bankrupting a lot of people that didn’t see this 50 percent hit coming.”

According to Pinion, this law has the potential to bankrupt landlords and Airbnb owners who thought “the actual income is going to eclipse” the cost of their monthly rent or mortgage payment. However, Pinion did not address how Airbnb owners or landlords would be affected by the requirements of a law regarding condominium and cooperative association buildings that are three stories high or more and located within three miles of a coastline.

Pinion, a New York Republican who lost his bid to unseat Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in 2022, is again running for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2024.

In June 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Construction Safety Team (NCST) prepared to test the physical evidence it had obtained from the Florida site to determine the cause of the collapse.

“Chances are what we’ll end up finding is it was several things. Each independently might not have caused the problem, but when they’re all happening at the same time, that’s what caused the problem,” Allyn Kilsheimer one of the engineers investigating for the city of Surfside told CBS Miami.

The NIST expects their investigation to extend at least through September of 2023. Anyone with pictures or information is urged to forward them to the NIST through their Data Submission Portal.

The Epoch Times reached out to Florida Sen. Jim Boyd, who sponsored the bill, as well as Pinion, and the office of Gov. DeSantis.

Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas:

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