Florida Senate Bill 4-D Approved in Special Legislative Session

On May 26, 2022, the Governor of Florida signed into law Senate Bill 4-D in response to the collapse of the Surfside Tower in Miami. To minimize the risk of similar residential buildings collapsing in the future, the new law will require mandatory structural inspections, structural integrity reserve studies, and the removal of the reserve exemption for condominiums or condominiums. cooperatives by 12/31/24.

While some associations are now hiring engineers and architects to comply with the new provisions of the law, given that the new requirements do not have to be completed before or begin after 12/31/24, many associations plan to wait after the 2023 legislative session next spring. to see how the new law can be modified by the legislator to make its provisions less cumbersome to implement for most associations.

In this article, we will look at the requirements for mandatory structural inspections. Next month, we will review the details of Structural Integrity Reserve Studies and the removal of the ability for Association Members to vote to waive Reserve Study Reserves.

For condominium or cooperative buildings of three (3) stories or more, no later than December 31 of the year in which the building turns thirty (30) years old [twenty five (25) years old for buildings located within three (3) miles from the coastline]and every ten (10) years thereafter, a milestone structural inspection must be performed by a licensed architect or engineer.

If the building occupancy certificate was issued on or before July 1, 1992, the initial structural inspection of the building must be completed by 12/31/24.

A local law enforcement agency (city or county) must provide written notice of the required stage inspection to the association and the association then has 180 days to complete phase one of the inspection. ‘stage.

The first phase of the stage inspection requires the architect or engineer to perform a visual inspection of the building, including major structural components, and provide a qualitative assessment of the structural conditions of the building. If the architect or engineer finds no evidence of substantial structural deterioration of building components, phase two of the inspection is not required and the inspecting professional then submits their inspection report to the local law enforcement agency.

However, if significant structural deterioration is found (significant structural deterioration that adversely affects the overall structural condition and integrity of a building and does not include surface imperfections), Stage Two Stage Inspection must be performed. This inspection may be as extensive or as limited as necessary to fully assess areas of structural distress to confirm that the building is structurally sound and safe for its intended use and to recommend a comprehensive assessment and repair program for structural distress and damage. damaged parts of the building. building.

Upon completion of either Phase One or Phase Two Inspections, the Inspection Professional shall submit a sealed copy of the Inspection Report, along with a summary, findings, and repair recommendations, to the Association and the responsible local building official. The Association is also required to distribute the summary to each unit owner and post a copy of the summary in a prominent location on the property.

Such repairs must be commenced within 365 days of receipt of the Phase Two Inspection Report and the Association must provide local law enforcement with evidence that the repairs have been planned or commenced and if Association fails to provide it, the local enforcement agency shall review and determine whether the building is unsafe for human occupancy.

The Association is responsible for all costs associated with the inspection. If the officers or directors of an association willfully and knowingly fail to cause a milestone inspection to be performed, as required, such failure is considered a breach of the officers’ and directors’ fiduciary duties to the owners.

Rob Samouce is a senior attorney with the Naples law firm of Samouce & Gal, PA. He is a Florida Bar Certified Specialist in Condominiums and Planned Development and focuses his practice in representing Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Homeowners Associations = in all of their legal needs, including procedural governance of their associations, enforcement covenants, appraisal recoveries, contract negotiations and contract litigation, real estate transactions, general commercial law, construction defect litigation and other general civil litigation. This column is not based on specific legal advice to anyone and is based on principles which may change from time to time. If you have any questions about the column, Rob can be reached at www.SandGlawfirm.com.

Norman D. Briggs