wplg logo

Broward County, state leaders working to ensure older buildings are properly maintained

Senators, members of congress and Broward County leaders are voting on major changes to prevent another tragedy like the one that happened in Surfside.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Senators, members of congress and Broward County leaders are voting on major changes to prevent another tragedy like the one that happened in Surfside.

One of the proposals voted on is to shorten the recertification process for older buildings.

Local leaders describe it as the Wild West, saying some South Florida condos are mismanaged, and there’s little-to-no accountability.

“Who has insurance on what buildings?” asked Florida state Senator, Lauren Book of District 32. “We don’t know that. There is no central repository for whether condo boards are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

The Broward Condo Structural Issues Committee held its third meeting Monday to narrow down a list of changes they want to see made.

This is all in response to the tragic building collapse in Surfside on June 24th.

Local legislators, including county and city mayors, along with experts in engineering, law and the environment, have been working on a formal list of changes to building codes and management after the tragedy.

“There were problems of condo governance and there were problems of condo maintenance,” said Broward County Mayor Steve Geller.

While the exact cause of the collapse is still under investigation, Florida senators and congressmen pointed out that there were warning signs that the building was in decline and had not been properly maintained.

Among the formal recommendations the committee voted to approve; changing the 40-year building recertification rules.

In a 12-to-2 vote, the committee approved a recommendation to the Florida Legislature that it be changed to every 30 years. That change comes with the understanding that everyone will have a minimum of 36 months to come into compliance with the new rule (i.e., buildings already more than 30 years old).

“I think the issue is If you wait 40 years to start looking and you haven’t put the reserves away yet, so I think you need to start looking a little bit earlier,” said State Rep. Michael Gottlieb.

The committee also formally recommended to increase education requirements for condo building leadership.

Changes to condo reserve fund rules were a big part of the conversation as well. The committee voted that condos can waive or reduce yearly reserves, as long as there is a reserve study done every 36 months. They’re also asking for a majority vote and additional disclosures for residents.

The list of changes voted on in Broward County commission chambers will be worked on and pushed through by legislators in the coming months.


About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.