THE NEW CONDO RESERVE LAWS – PART ONE - GET READY

Over the last few weeks, I blogged about every condominium in every county now needing a “milestone inspection.” To recap, these “milestone inspections” will start after the 30 year mark and every ten years thereafter (25 years and every 10 years thereafter if your property is within three miles of the coast). We wrote about there being the need for a PHASE ONE inspection and the likelihood of a PHASE TWO inspection if the Phase One inspector believes there are potential signs of structural issues. We also addressed the fact that your local building official will get copies of these inspection reports and has the power to demand that you make the recommended repairs contained therein.

Moving on…….Completely independent of the “Milestone Inspections” that every building of 3 stories or more must go through, every association must also have a mandatory “Structural Integrity Reserve Study” of any building 3 stories or higher by December 31st, 2024.

Remember, as of today, the statute only requires condos to reserve for the roof, pavement, painting and anything expected to cost more than $10,000.00 to repair or replace. In addition, under current law, the Board members themselves get to perform the reserve study. In other words, the statute only mandated reserving for a few items and it allowed persons who are not qualified to make determinations about the remaining useful life of the roof, structure and other components of the property. WELL THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!

WHEN MUST THE CONDOMINIUM COMPLETE THE NEW RESERVE STUDY?

BY DECEMBER 31ST, 2024 every condo must have a structural integrity reserve study completed at least every 10 years after the condominium’s creation for each building on the condominium property that is three stories or higher in height which includes, at a minimum, a study of the following items as related to the structural integrity and safety of the building:

a. Roof.

b. Load-bearing walls or other primary structural members.

c. Floor.

d. Foundation.

e. Fireproofing and fire protection systems.

f. Plumbing.

g. Electrical systems.

h. Waterproofing and exterior painting.

i. Windows.

j. Any other item that has a deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost that exceeds $10,000.

OBVIOUSLY, IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE ROOF, PAVEMENT AND PAINTING ANY MORE. At a minimum, a structural integrity reserve study must identify the common areas being visually inspected, state the estimated remaining useful life and the estimated replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of the common areas being visually inspected, and provide a recommended annual reserve amount that achieves the estimated replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of each common area being visually inspected by the end of the estimated remaining useful life of each common area.

WHO CAN PERFORM THIS RESERVE STUDY?

A structural integrity reserve study may be performed by any person qualified to perform such study. However, the visual inspection portion of the structural integrity reserve study must be performed by an engineer or an architect licensed in Florida. In simple English this means that only an architect or engineer can perform the reserve study for those specific portions of the property listed above. Other reserve study companies that don’t have an architect or engineer, can do the reserve study for anything other than the specific items listed above like the pool and the elevators.

DOES THIS NEW LAW APPLY TO DEVELOPER CONTROLLED CONOMINIUMS?

Yes. Before a developer turns over control of an association to unit owners other than the developer, the developer must have a structural integrity reserve study completed for each building on the condominium property that is three stories or higher in height. In addition, prior to turnover, the developer cannot vote to not fund reserves.

Next week, we’ll talk about the fire safety requirements that are required in addition to mandatory inspections and mandatory reserves. We’ll also provide a time line as to when all of this comes due. Stay tuned.

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