Are some condominium owners being priced out? | Real Estate

New safety laws, which go into effect in 2025, already have thousands of residents in that market concerned about what it would cost to stay in decades-old, high-rise condos with the beachfront view.

The increase in costs translates to stricter, and more often, safety inspections.

Michele Estevez, who oversees several properties in the Village as part of her company, Michele & Associates, told the Islander News earlier this year they favored the stricter laws, including the mandatory reserves, to streamline the safety and the reassurance of condo dwellers and building owners.

“I don’t see this as unreasonable,” Estevez said. “If it’s mandatory, it will be different.”

She did realize, though, new regulations would lead to increased fees, starting with residents. For example, just to paint a two-story building, say with 40-50 units, it likely would cost $25,000 to $30,000, she estimated.

Reportedly, engineers might charge between $10,000 and $30,000 to thoroughly inspect a condo.

According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the new laws require the following:

– At 30 years old, buildings three stories and higher must be inspected. Thereafter, inspections must be conducted every 10 years. If built before July 1, 1992, the first structural inspection must be performed before Dec. 31, 2024.

– Buildings less than three miles from the coast must be inspected at the 25-year mark and again every 10 years.

– Inspection reports must identify significant structural deterioration, whether it’s dangerous or unsafe, and whether it should be repaired. Copies of reports must be distributed to all condo unit owners.

– Condo boards must conduct reserve studies every 10 years to determine how much money owners must be assessed to cover future repairs. Boards are barred from waiving the reserve requirement or using reserve money for other purposes.

Reportedly, re-certification upgrades would have cost some $15 million or more to repair Champlain Towers, where last year’s tragedy in Surfside claimed 98 lives. The condo association there had postponed major repairs, allowing costs to climb.

Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the state estimates some 2 million people reside in more than 912,000 condo structures (of the 1.5 million total units in Florida) that are 30 years or older.

Another 141,773 structures are 20-39 years old, and more than 105,000 are over 50 years old.

Condominiums