THE NEW CONDO LAWS ---- MANDATORY INSPECTIONS – PART ONE

Let’s start discussing the new condominium laws that go into effect on July 1st. We won’t cover them all in one week, so look forward to next week’s blog as well.

 

IF YOU HAVE A MANAGEMENT COMPANY the statute says:

If a community association manager or a community association management firm has a contract with a community association that has a building on the association’s property that is subject to s. 553.899, (the Mandatory Inspections statute) the community association manager or the community association management firm must comply with that section as directed by the board.

This is a weird provision to me. Clearly, it’s warning managers and management companies to comply with the new mandatory inspection statute. But it also says “as directed by the board.” What does that mean? Suppose the board tells the manager that they are deliberately not complying with the new mandatory inspection statute? Does that get the management company off the hook? Can the management company now sit back and do nothing? I certainly don’t think that’s the intent of the statute, but it should definitely be clearer. In any event, at least to me, the management company must not hinder the association’s efforts to comply with the new mandatory inspection statute. If I were a manager or management company, I would document my efforts thru e-mails to all of the Board members urging them to comply and reminding them of their responsibility to comply with the new mandatory inspection requirements.

Remember, prior to this new law becoming effective, only Dade and Broward had mandatory / structural inspection requirements. Well, we now have in every Florida county something called milestone inspections — and there is part one and part two.

In every county in Florida, your first milestone/structural inspection is after 30 years and every ten years thereafter. But, if your condo is ON THE COAST or within three miles of the coast, your first milestone/structural inspection is AFTER TWENTY FIVE YEARS AND EVERY TEN YEARS THEREAFTER. And this applies to every condo or co-op that is three stories or more in height by December 31 of the year in which the building reaches 30 years of age

The structural inspection of a building, including an inspection of load-bearing walls and the primary structural members and primary structural systems, must be done by by a licensed architect or engineer authorized to practice in this state for the purposes of attesting to the life safety and adequacy of the structural components of the building and, to the extent reasonably possible, determining the general structural condition of the building as it affects the safety of such building, including a determination of any necessary maintenance, repair, or replacement of any structural component of the building.

If the building’s certificate of occupancy was issued on or before July 1, 1992, meaning that you are already 30 years old, the building’s initial milestone inspection must be performed before December 31, 2024.

Here is what’s required in a Phase One Inspection:

PHASE ONE — (a) For phase one of the milestone inspection, a licensed architect or engineer authorized to practice in this state shall perform a visual examination of habitable and nonhabitable areas of a building, including the major structural components of a building, and provide a qualitative assessment of the structural conditions of the building. If the architect or engineer finds no signs of substantial structural deterioration to any building components under visual examination, phase two of the inspection, as provided in paragraph (b), is not required.

In all candor, in a post Champlain Towers world, if I’m the phase one guy — I don’t want to be sued for saying this building is in perfect shape and doesn’t even need a phase two inspection. I think the Phase One Inspection will Always result in the First architect or engineer calling for a Phase Two study. What does he or she have to lose?

Next week, we’ll talk about the Phase Two Inspection. Let’s just say it’s not going to be cheap.

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