Many of the associations I represent are getting ahead of the curve and they’re educating their owners about the expenses that are coming by having me show up at the condominium and put on a Power Point presentation showing precisely how these new laws came to be, including showing the actual vote by The Florida Legislature.
It’s a smart move by boards to have their counsel tell all the owners about all of these expenses that are coming, AND THAT THEY ARE MANDATED BY LAW AND ARE IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM CAUSED BY OR ARE THE FAULT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: To remind everyone, here’s what’s coming:
1. If you are a building of at least 75 feet in height, by December 31st, 2023 you need to have sprinklers installed or an engineered life safety system;
2. Starting immediately, buildings that are at least 30 years old (25 years old if within 3 miles of the coast) need to complete a PHASE ONE study of the property by a Florida architect or engineer every ten years;
3. If the PHASE ONE STUDY requires a PHASE TWO STUDY (and it will), the association must let the PHASE TWO architect or engineer inspect the property and make a list of all of the things that need repair in order for the building to be safe; the association must then make all of the required repairs;)
4. Starting on January 1st, 2025 the association’s budget must contain reserves for 10 different categories.
For those associations that never put away money for reserves, or never made repairs or put off the fire safety requirements, the amount you pay each month is about to go up dramatically. Most associations will take out long term loans in order to pay for all of these new repairs.
BOARD MEMBERS ARE WISE TO GET OUT IN FRONT OF THIS. DON’T LET THE OWNERS BLAME YOU FOR WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. Don’t let Board meetings turn into chaos. One way of doing this is by having the association’s counsel explain in simple terms that this is not the Board’s fault. It is completely out of the Board’s hands. In fact, the new laws say that if the Board members do not take these actions, it is a breach of their fiduciary duty.
Selling all of this to some unit owners is not going to be easy. Boards who don’t educate their owners will be accused of all kinds of wrongdoing. Stop it before it starts. Let your counsel do it for you.