Even after the death of 98 innocent people at The Champlain Towers in Surfside, the fact is…….The Florida Legislature did not pass a single law regarding the need for more building inspections, mandatory funding of reserves, mandatory education for board members or anything whatsoever to prevent another tragedy.  It seems impossible to believe.

Prior to the year 2000, the condominium statute contained a provision that created an advisory council on condominiums.  The statute read as follows:

718.5019  Advisory council; membership; functions.– 

(1)  There is created the Advisory Council on Condominiums. The council shall consist of seven members. Two shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and three members shall be appointed by the Governor. At least one member shall represent timeshare condominiums. Members shall be appointed to 2-year terms. In addition to these appointed members, the director of the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes shall serve as an ex officio member of the council. It is the intent of the Legislature that the appointments to this council be geographically distributed across the state and represent a cross section of persons interested in condominium issues and include unit-owner and board representatives and a representative from at least one association with less than 100 units. For administrative purposes, the commission shall be located in the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Members of the council shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to receive per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061 while on official business. 

(2)  The functions of the advisory council shall be to: 

(a)  Receive input from the public regarding issues of concern with respect to condominiums and to receive recommendations for any changes to be made in the condominium law. The issues that the council shall consider shall include, but not be limited to, the rights and responsibilities of the unit owners in relation to the rights and responsibilities of the association. 

(b)  Review, evaluate, and advise the division concerning revisions and adoption of rules affecting condominiums. 

(c)  Recommend improvements, if needed, in the education programs offered by the division. 

(3)  The council is authorized to elect a chairperson and vice chairperson and such other offices as it may deem advisable. The council shall meet at the call of its chairperson, at the request of a majority of its membership, at the request of the division, or at such times as may be prescribed by its rules. A majority of the members of the council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business and the carrying out of the duties of the council. 

This law was repealed in the year 2000.

Instead, this year there was only a Florida Bar “task force” primarily made up of attorneys who represent condominium developers.  It’s time to broaden the field again.

It’s time for The Governor to create a similar committee strictly made up of people he wants giving recommendations.  Maybe his committee should consist of people either living in or representing a residential condominium.  Certainly there should be members of boards of directors, a structural  engineer, a building official  and a general contractor.  A committee like this should be making recommendations to The Florida Legislature, not special interest group after special interest group that happens now.

What do you guys think?

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