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A Quick-Reference Guide to Complying with Florida’s New Condo Safety and Reserve Funding Legislation

The recent Florida condominium safety and reserve funding legislation has proved to be a source of confusion for many Florida condominium associations. The stakes are high now that these statutes have taken effect as of July 1, 2022. For many condominium associations the clock is now ticking, and the professionals required to perform the new safety and reserve inspections are in very short supply. With that in mind, Tannenbaum Lemole & Hill has prepared a simplified "quick-reference" guide for directors and managers. As always, we recommend that boards and managers ultimately consult with association general counsel to ensure proper compliance with the new laws.

Milestone Structural Safety Inspection

What is it: A visual inspection of a condominium building for evidence of "substantial structural deterioration."
By: A Florida licensed engineer or architect
For:Each condominium building three-stories or higher
What's a "Story":Includes underground and/or ground floor covered parking levels.  Lofts and mezzanine levels may be included if defined as a "story" under the Florida Building Code.  Best to have an engineer or architect make that determination.
What's Inspected:For any building three-stories or higher, at a minimum a Phase 1 visual inspection of the habitable and non-habitable areas for evidence of "substantial structural deterioration."  If "substantial structural deterioration" is found, a Phase 2 inspection (which may include destructive testing) and report will be required outlining the nature of the structural defects, whether the defects pose an unsafe or dangerous condition, and the professional's recommendations for remediating the defects.
When Due:Phase 1 reporting due by December 31 of the year in which the covered building reaches 30 years of age, measured from the date of issuance of the certificate of occupancy.  For buildings within three miles of a "coastline," the deadline is shortened to 25 years.  Buildings completed prior to July 1, 1992 have a grace period until December 31, 2024 to obtain a Phase 1 Milestone Inspection report.
Frequency:Every 10 years commencing with the initial Milestone Inspections.
Report Disclosure:Every unit owner must get a copy, and it must be posted on the property.  If the condo is required to maintain a website, then it must be posted on the website.  The report must be maintained in the official records for 15 years.

Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS)
What is it:A completely separate inspection and report from the Milestone Structural Safety Inspection.  Its purpose is to define recommended reserves for replacement or deferred maintenance of certain "common areas" as set forth in Fla. Stat. 718.112(2)(g)
By:Must include a visual inspection of the "common areas" by a Florida licensed engineer or architect.  Actual reserve funding calculations can be made by someone who is not an engineer or architect.
For:Each condominium building three-stories or higher.
What's a "Story":Same definition as for Milestone Inspection.
What's Inspected:For any building three-stories or higher, a visual inspection of the "common areas" to establish their remaining useful life, the estimated replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense, and a recommended annual reserve amount for the "common area."  At a minimum, the SIRS must include a study of: roof, load-bearing walls or other primary structural members, floor, foundation, fireproofing and fire protection systems, plumbing, electrical systems, waterproofing and exterior paint, windows, and any other item that has a deferred maintenance or replacement expense that exceeds $10,000.00 and the failure to replace or maintain such item will negatively affect the other reserve items required to be included in the SIRS, as determined by the engineer or architect.**
When Due:Effective July 1, 2022, by developers prior to turnover.  For owner-controlled associations which turned over prior to July 1, 2022, the first SIRS is due by December 31, 2024.
Frequency:Every 10 years commencing with the initial SIRS
Report Disclosure:Maintained in official records for 15 years.  If the condo is required to maintain a website, the SIRS must be posted on the website.

** Note – The original reserve funding language remains in the statute too. That section, 718.112(f)(2)(a), requires, among others, paving reserves and reserves for any item having a deferred maintenance or replacement cost that exceeds $10,000.00. Therefore, it is currently ambiguous as to whether reserves are now required for any item exceeding $10,000.00, or only if the item, in addition, would negatively affect the remaining reserve items. Associations should consult with general counsel on this issue.