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Additional Condominium Building Safety Measures Included in Omnibus Community Association Bill HB 1021

Kevin M. Koushel
Photo of older miami beach condos Throughout the 154 pages of CS/CS/CS/HB 1021 (“HB 1021”), Florida's latest community association bill, are additional changes to the new inspection and reserve requirements for residential condominium buildings. The underlying measures were first introduced in 2022 as part of SB 4-D, the State's response to the collapse of Champlain Towers South. SB 154 (also known as the SB 4-D glitch bill) came the following year, which attempted to fix technical issues with the initial framework. And now, HB 1021 is an omnibus community association bill, with portions still aimed at condominium building safety.

The first of these changes is to Section 553.899, Florida Statutes, to exempt four-family dwellings with three or fewer habitable stories above ground from having to perform a milestone inspection. Previously, the exemption only applied to single-family, two-family, or three-family dwellings. This amendment provides some much-needed relief for another unique style of condominium building that was captured by the original legislation—but not the target for all intents and purposes.  

Another change part of HB 1021 is related to the mandatory education for an association’s board of directors. Specifically, Section 718.112(2)(d)4.b.(II), Florida Statutes, now requires board training to include instruction on milestone inspections and structural integrity reserve studies. Given the complicated nature of these new regulations, as well as potential personal liability for not complying with the same, the State is presumably trying to mitigate future issues by revamping curriculum on the most pertinent areas of concern.

HB 1021 also adds some flexibility to reserve contributions when an entire condominium is deemed uninhabitable due to a natural emergency (e.g., a hurricane). Under Section 718.112(f)2.a., Florida Statutes, the board may pause or reduce reserve funding until the local building official determines that the condominium building is once again habitable. The new provision also allows any existing reserve funds to be used to make the condominium building habitable. Once the residents can return to the building, the association must immediately resume its reserve contributions.  

The next amendment involves disclosure of the completed structural integrity reserve study. Per new Section 718.112(2)(g)9., Florida Statutes, within 45 days after receiving the structural integrity reserve study, the association must either (i) distribute a copy of the same to each unit owner, or (ii) deliver a notice to each unit owner that the structural integrity reserve study is available for inspection and copy. Then, within the same 45-day timeframe per Section 718.112(2)(g)10., Florida Statutes, the association must also provide the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes (“Division”) with a statement indicating that the study was completed and notice of the same was distributed to the unit owners by one of the methods above. The new language from HB 1021 also requires the Division to develop a standard form, which will be posted on the Division’s website and used for reporting compliance to the State. And after December 31, 2024, the Division must publish an annual list—by September 30th following the end of the fiscal year—of all the associations that have completed structural integrity reserve studies.

Section 718.301(4)(p), Florida Statutes, was amended so that a structural integrity reserve study is now required as part of the turnover inspection report when a developer hands control of an association over to the unit owners. This change is intended to ensure that mandatory reserves are properly funded from the outset of the condominium—and to prevent the financial holes that existing, underfunded condominiums are now in.

Lastly, additional authority and oversight has been assigned to the Division. Under Section 718.501(1)(a)1., Florida Statutes, for example, the Division now has jurisdiction to investigate complaints related to the allocation of reserve funds in an annual budget. So, if a board fails to prepare an annual budget in accordance with its latest structural integrity reserve study (or otherwise fails to properly budget for reserves, as may be required), any interested party may file a complaint with the Division to enforce the association’s underlying obligations.

It is important to note that HB 1021 contains many other changes than those described above. As explained in another recent blog, it adds a much-needed framework that benefits hotel-style condominiums and vertical subdivisions; it adds a slew of additional provisions related to hurricane protection; and it adds various consumer protection regulations (e.g., related conflicts of interest, records requests, criminal penalties, etc.) in response to last year’s widely publicized fraud investigation into The Hammocks Community Association in Miami-Dade County.  
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