It’s almost a dream, but a year ago things were certainly different in the condo world than they are today. I was dealing with fights about mandatory masks in the common areas, fights to re-open the pool and gym, meetings only being held by Zoom and all sorts of other issues all related of course to the Covid crisis.
Little by little things started to get better, restrictions were eased, in person meetings started in some places and the community began to feel like a home again, instead of a hospital. It’s still not perfect, but we’re getting there.
And then came Thursday, June 24th, 2021 when The Champlain Towers came crashing down in Surfside, killing 98 innocent victims. It shook our community to the core and from this attorney’s perspective, changed condominium law forever. As of July 1st, 2022 when new laws will likely go into effect, condominium law will be remembered as either pre Champlain Towers or post Champlain Towers. The 98 victims did not die in vain. They will be the reason why condominiums are about to become safer places to live in.
So between finally being able to re-start our lives in most respects because the pandemic has slowed, and what we learned from Champlain Towers, I have never seen Board members so eager to take actions and to make sure they are doing things by the book, In my thirty years of practice, I have never had a more busier January or February.
Boards and managers are eager to start the election process for elections that were put on hold, budget meetings that were put on hold and projects that were put on hold. It’s like the handcuffs are finally off and the Board members want to conquer the world all while taking Surfside into consideration.
My Board certification classes are live again and packed. Board members and unit owners want to know the direction that the law is headed and what their fiduciary duties are. I get more e-mails asking questions than ever before. Boards want to make sure the actions they take are wise or even legal. There is an amazing transition I’m witnessing where Boards are eager to learn, build, repair, obtain bids, pass their mandatory inspections, while at the same time being very concerned that every step they are taking is legal and complies with 718, The Florida Condominium Act.
As a result of the Champlain Towers disaster, maybe Board members are now realizing for the first time, that their decisions actually may mean the difference in some cases between life and death. Maybe they just don’t want to be individually named as a defendant in a lawsuit. In any event, it’s good to see Board members taking their responsibilities seriously, like never before. Sure there are the bad ones that will never change, but it’s a very small minority. To the others, I say…….keep up the good work.
P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day! Stop reading and do something romantic!