A few weeks ago on the Condo Craze and HOAs radio show, I was sent a chart by a listener that showed that just under 50% of condominiums were funding a reserve account in full each month. As I was broadcasting this information, I felt that it sounded a little high. It turned out that I was referring to a national chart of condominiums, and not the State of Florida. Florida is apparently much worse and the actual figure is more like 10 percent at most. This is not good.
It’s scary that owners did not put away money for roof, pavement and painting because they thought it cost too much money and starting January 1st, 2025 the budget must include reserves for ten categories after a structural reserve study is done by an architect or engineer. Your Board will no longer be able to do the reserve study either. If you have never been putting money away for reserves by waiving them year after year, your budget and your monthly assessment will be going up. Way up. And I’m sorry to say that you have nobody to blame but yourself.
It always irked me that owners waived reserves because they thought that that might not be living in the condo twenty years from now so why fund the roof, why fund the plumbing and painting? The problem with that argument is that the people who lived in your unit twenty years ago thought the same way and now you got stuck with a BIG BILL because the prior owners didn’t put money away for the future. If they put even half of a properly funded reserve budget away each month, none of you who live in a 3 story or higher condo would be facing the huge financial issues that are heading you way.
Just to remind everyone who lives in a 3 story or higher condominium:
- If your building is 75 feet or higher, ou have to have either fire sprinklers or an engineered life safety system by January 1st, 2024. THAT CAN COST 7 FIGURES.
- If your building is 3 stories or higher, You have to have the building undergo a PHASE ONE INSPECTION by an architect or engineer by December 31st, 2024.
- If the Phase One inspector finds signs of possible structural deterioration, You have to have the building undergo a PHASE TWO INSPECTION by an architect or engineer. Just the costs of the two inspections will be six figures.
- If the Phase Two inspector finds that necessary structural repairs need to be made, you will be forced to make them timely. Again, a likely seven figure cost.
- You have to have a structural integrity reserve study done by a Florida architect or engineer by December 31st, 2024.
- You have to fully fund your structural integrity reserve account starting January 1st, 2025 and cannot waive this requirement.
Ladies and gentlemen, your bill is due if you kicked the can down the road and avoided necessary assessment, the funding of a reserve account and necessary repairs. Under Florida law and as a tribute to the 98 victims at Champlain Towers in Surfside, these laws do all they can to ensure another tragedy does not happen again.
But I ask you……….what is your plan now that you know these massive costs are coming? If you don’t think you will be able to afford it, now is the time to try and sell and either move to an HOA, or a condo that is less than 3 stories, something like a townhouse.
I truly think sharing your plan on-line will help promote others to think now about what they need to do. Waiting for the last minute, when special assessments are already passed and massive construction is necessary along with a fully funded reserve account may make it impossible to sell your unit. PLEASE DON’T WAIT UNTIL 2025 TO DEAL WITH THE STICKER SHOCK THAT IS COMING. If you cannot afford it, no doubt you will be foreclosed on and may wind up losing your condominium.
Everyone……please share your plan and help motivate others to ACT NOW.