Surfside building collapse: Mayor praises new mandatory inspections, reserves

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava praised the Florida legislature on Wednesday for passing a condo safety reform package that lawmakers expect Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign it 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 shortly after 1:20 a.m. on June 24, 2021.

“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.

The new state law will require all condominiums higher than three stories to undergo periodic inspections on structural integrity, and it will require sufficient reserves to cover the expense of a necessary repair.

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 under Perez 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 often 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.

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

Levine Cava said her staff launched an online building 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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