Miami Beach condo president learns about county assistance program after raiding retirement funds

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Jo Manning is the president of her Miami Beach condo, where she moved 28 years ago.

She says the building went up in 1937.

Sadly, a few years ago, repairs from a fire ate through the board’s reserves, just in time for the building’s 40-year recertification.

“(There were) no reserves to do what had to be done, so we had a major assessment,” Manning said.

It forced her to dip into two IRA accounts.

“My husband and I are on fixed incomes,” Manning said. “We’re retired. I have a small pension, we have social security, we have some stocks and bonds, but we’re not rich people, and this was a massive blow.”

She was thrilled to learn that Miami-Dade County now offers help to condo owners facing similar special assessments.

The county says owners who meet specific income requirements can qualify for up to $50,000 in assistance, interest-free, for up to 40 years.

It’s something that Manning says would have kept some of her neighbors who couldn’t afford the assessment in their homes.

They would still be here, there’s no question about that, and I would still have two functioning IRAs,” she said.

The county’s Condominium Special Assessment Program may also prevent necessary structural work from being delayed.

A report revealed major structural issues with Champlain Towers South two years before the deadly collapse in June of 2021.

Owners were beginning to pay the multimillion-dollar assessment to re-certify the Surfside building when it fell.

“We have to really maintain these buildings and keep them the way they should be, and we’re happy to do that,” Manning said. “We’re not happy about the assessments, but if that’s what’s needed to get done, that’s good, and if we can get help to get it done, that’s even better.”

For more information on Miami-Dade Condominium Special Assistance Program, click here.

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.