IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE STOMACH

I’m thinking about that condo President, perhaps but not necessarily in a 55 and over community, who has been on the board for over 10 years.  He or she has put in countless hours for the community and hasn’t been paid a dime.   For the last decade, every day the residents of the community wave and say hello and thank g-d that he or she is handling the affairs of the condominium and not them.

            Over the years, the assessments have gone up slightly each year, and would agree that the President is doing his or her best to keep the assessments down.  They  are thankful that they waived the funding of reserves year after year.  Things are generally good.

            Well………….it’s time for that President to get ready.  The mood in the community is about to change, especially if the condominium is 3 stories or more.

            The tragedy in Surfside at The Champlain Towers where 98 men, women and children died in that horrible building collapse has changed Florida condominium law forever.  It’s about to get a lot more expensive to live in a 3 story or higher condominium.  Those who don’t understand the law or don’t want to understand the law are going to do the one thing they can do and know how to do ……blame the board.  Scream at the President.  Disrupt Board meetings.  Make terrible accusations about stealing money.  It’s all coming Board members, so be aware!

            What do we know?  Condominiums 3 stories or higher now have to go through structural Milestone Inspections when the condo hits 30 years of age and every 10 years thereafter.  In Dade and Broward, height doesn’t even matter.  In Miami-Dade condominiums must go through electrical and structural “recertifications” if the condo is 2,000 square feet.  In Broward, the condominium must go through “recertifications” of structural and electrical if the building is 3,500 square feet.  These inspections aren’t cheap.  But wait…..what happens if these inspectors (architects or engineers) find structural or electrical problems in the condominium(s)?  Now it costs money to fix these problems.  Sometimes it’s a lot of money.  A real lot of money.

            Then we move on to reserves.  Condos three stories or higher have to have mandatory full reserve funding starting with the 2026 budget.  That’s really right around the corner.  The first thing that is required is an examination of the property by an architect, engineer or a person with CAI credentials.  This is called a structural integrity reserve study which will include many categories that the condominium will now have to reserve for.  This reserve study must be completed by December 31st, 2024.  The amount to be reserved in the budget will no longer be determined by the Board, but by the person who performed the study.  By the way……this reserve study is not free.  If you have not funded your reserve accounts over the years and have not made repairs to the condo in a while, your new monthly payment for mandatory reserves may be a shocking number.  Again……it’s the Board members who will get the blame.  It always is.

            So there you have it.  A quick break down of what lies ahead throughout the state.  If you’re a Board member who doesn’t have the stomach to do what the law requires because you know the fighting that will ensue in the community, now is the time to step aside.  You are thanked for the time you already put in.  Now is the time to have Board members who understand both what the law requires of the condominium, the ability to follow through on the law’s requirements, and the maturity and perhaps compassion to stand there and take some abuse from the unit owners.  Their frustration will be obvious as the financial costs to remain in their condominium continue to rise. Despite the chaos, you must remain calm and level headed.  It’s going to be pretty difficult to be a condominium Board member over the next few years. Are you up to the task?

 

Written by Eric Glazer, Esq.

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