Surfside building collapse: Mayor praises new condo safety reform package

New state law will require more inspections, open records, reserves

Florida lawmakers aim to prevent another tragedy like the Surfside building collapse. A

SURFSIDE, Fla. – The Miami-Dade County mayor praised the Florida legislature on Wednesday for passing a condo safety reform package that lawmakers expect Gov. Ron DeSantis will sign into law.

State legislators met for a special session nearly a year after 98 people died when a section of the L-shaped Champlain Towers South building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.

“These measures will help to protect hundreds of thousands of Floridians living in condo buildings just like the Champlain Towers South,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement.

The new state law will require all condominiums higher than three stories to undergo periodic inspections on structural integrity, and it will require apartment owners to contribute to reserves.

“We stood firm in our position and we were able to get a win here collectively,” said State Rep. Daniel Perez, a Republican from Miami who pushed for reform.

State Sen Jason Pizzo, a Democrat from North Miami, said senators wanted to allow two-thirds of owners to waive reserves to stash away on a schedule. The House’s position was not to waive reserves at all, Pizzo said.

“I have been advocating no waiver of life safety reserves ... That was the most critical component of the bill,” said Attorney David Haber, who represents condominium associations.

Developers and associations will not be able to waive reserves. The law also makes a building’s inspection records available to renters and prospective buyers.

Levine Cava said her staff launched an online portal with information about the recertification status of local buildings.

“We are working with our cities and municipalities to ensure current recertification data for all buildings in Miami-Dade is readily available,” Levine Cava said adding, “These reforms in Tallahassee are a critical step in honoring the 98 lives lost in the tragic Surfside collapse.”

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About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.