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Miami Condos in 2023: What to Expect After New Life/Safety Reforms

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

The Florida Legislature passed significant reforms in May 2022 to improve the life and safety of residents in Miami's high-rise condominiums. This was in response to the Surfside tragedy that killed 98 people in 2021. The new reforms, which were passed as Senate Bill 4D, bring much-needed changes to the inspection and maintenance of high-rise condos in Miami.





Here is a breakdown of what to expect from the new condo reform:

  1. Milestone Inspections: Condominiums and cooperative buildings that are three stories or higher will be required to undergo a "milestone inspection" 30 years after initial occupancy. The inspection will need 25 years after initial occupancy for condo buildings within three miles of the coast.

  2. More Frequent Inspections: After the initial "phase 1" inspection, a building will be required to undergo inspections every 10 years. If the initial inspection reveals substantial structural deterioration, an additional, more intensive inspection, or "phase 2" inspection, will be required.

  3. Structural Integrity Reserve Studies: Beginning in 2024, condo associations will be required to conduct a structural integrity reserve study at least every ten years. This will help ensure that the necessary funds are set aside to make repairs.

  4. Condo Financial Transparency: Each association must register with the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and file an annual report with the required documents which will be made public.



Impact on Condo Owners: Higher Condo Association Fees


The new life/safety reforms in Miami may impact condo owners in the form of higher condo association fees. The requirement for more frequent inspections and the need to build up reserves for necessary repairs likely mean that condo associations will need to collect more from condo owners. These increased fees may significantly affect their monthly expenses.


The change may affect renters and buyers as well. Landlords will most likely pass on the higher fees to their tenants. As for buyers, the cost of condo ownership may be higher than anticipated.


While the new life/safety reforms may impact condo owners' finances, they are designed to improve the safety and security of residents. The increased fees may be a small price for the peace of mind of knowing that your building is well-maintained and up to the latest safety standards.



Miami-Dade Passes Ordinance Requiring Residential Condo, Co-op, and Homeowner Association Transparency


While Florida law already requires condo sellers to provide financial documents and reports on assessments, a sales contract needed to be signed, and the buyer needed to request the paperwork. So buyers could only access important information regarding the condo building once they went under contract; now, buyers can make more informed decisions before going under contract.

Under the new ordinance, each association must register with the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and file an annual report with the required documents. The required information includes contact information for the association's property manager, board of directors, and emergency contact, as well as documents and amendments (declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules, and regulations), most recent financial statements (outlining current or approved special assessments), and the most recently adopted annual budget. Forms must be submitted by February 1 each year, with the first year's deadline being February 2023.


Conclusion


The new reforms aim to improve the safety and well-being of residents in Miami's high-rise condos. By requiring more frequent inspections, ensuring that necessary repairs are made, and improving building reserves, the state is taking essential steps toward creating safer, more secure homes for Miami residents. If you own, rent, or are considering buying a condo in Miami in 2023, it is essential to be aware of these new life/safety reforms and their impact on your property.


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