How Does The SB 154 Affect Condos And Homeowners’ Associations?

How Does The SB 154 Affect Condos And Homeowners Associations

The condominium and cooperative landscape in Florida is undergoing significant change since SB 154 was signed into law on June 9th, 2023. As part of the state’s response to enhance building safety and address concerns of condo and homeowners’ associations, SB 154 brings a plethora of reforms.

Milestone Inspection Overhaul

SB 154 introduces extensive amendments to the milestone inspection requirements. Here are the pivotal points:

  • Scope and Application: The bill narrows the focus of milestone inspection requirements to buildings that incorporate a residential condominium or cooperative. This means mixed-ownership buildings, where parts of the structure fall under the condo or cooperative ownership model, are also included.
  • Shared Responsibilities: Owners in mixed-ownership structures are collectively accountable for ensuring compliance with the milestone inspection requirements, sharing the costs that arise from such inspections.
  • Age-based Inspections: For condominiums that are over three stories in height and achieve a 30-year mark before the close of 2024, a milestone inspection is mandated before December 31, 2024. The bill eradicates the 25-year inspection criterion for buildings within three miles of the coastline. However, local enforcement agencies can reinstate this 25-year requirement based on certain environmental factors.
  • Inspection Deadline Extensions: Local enforcement agencies have been given the authority to offer extensions for inspection deadlines. This is viable if owners can validate they’ve contracted with qualified professionals and that the inspection process can’t feasibly be finished before the impending deadline.
  • Previous Inspections: Inspections and related reports that were executed prior to July 1, 2022, can be accepted if they are in significant compliance with the milestone requisites.

Condominium and Cooperative Association Responsibilities

SB 154 lays down clear directives for these associations:

  • Costs: The association is saddled with the financial responsibility of all inspections that pertain to sections of the building under their jurisdiction as outlined in their governing documents.
  • Notification: Upon receiving the milestone inspection notice from local enforcement, associations must inform unit owners within 14 days. They can do so electronically or via the association’s website.
  • Progress Reports: Inspectors are required to submit a second-phase progress report to local authorities within 180 days of turning in the initial inspection report.
  • Distribution: Associations are obliged to distribute a summary of inspection reports to unit owners within 45 days of its receipt.

Governance and Reserve Funding Amendments

SB 154 is not merely about inspections. It examines the governance of condominiums and cooperatives and the reserve funding requirements.

  • Official Records Inspection: The bill clarifies that both unit owners and their authorized representatives can inspect the official records of the association.
  • Insurance Premium Exclusions: Insurance premiums are excluded from calculations allowing members to advocate for a substitute budget if assessments surge by 115%.
  • Reserve Funding: The legislation stipulates that budgets crafted on or post-January 1, 2025, should be grounded in the findings of the most recent Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS). Furthermore, the bill elaborates on reserve requirements, including waiving certain reserves, based on specific conditions and approvals.

Strengthening the Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS)

SIRS becomes even more instrumental with SB 154. The bill delineates the criteria for SIRS, emphasizing its pertinence for residential condominiums and cooperatives. Notable inclusions are building structures, visual inspection validations, and the introduction of certified specialists for inspections.

Mediation and Turnover Inspection Reports

Starting July 1, 2027, unit owners can opt for mediation for disputes associated with the milestone inspection or SIRS. Moreover, the bill enhances the turnover inspection report’s role, emphasizing its importance in presale disclosures.

SB 154 is a comprehensive legislative move to strengthen the safety, governance, and financial responsibility framework around condominiums and cooperative associations. Both homeowners and associations need to familiarize themselves with these reforms, ensuring better accountability, transparency, and overall resilience in Florida’s real estate landscape. As the effects of SB 154 unfold, it’s evident that the bill stands as a monumental stride towards safeguarding interests and ensuring the longevity of residential structures in the state.

At Stone Building Solutions, we are aware of the significant changes ushered in by SB 154 for condominiums and cooperatives in Florida. With an impeccable track record in engineering and a nuanced understanding of the Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS), we are strategically positioned to assist associations, property managers, and homeowners in navigating this intricate landscape. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us today.