The tragedy at Surfside is fueling talk about the need for change at the local and state level.
“The recertification process, standing alone, treats buildings almost like they’re in a vacuum,” said State Senator Jason Pizzo.
Senator Pizzo’s district includes Surfside. He told NBC 6 he will be pushing for change involving high-rise inspections.
“What we actually need to do is put in the law … that it’s the building itself, it’s the location,” he said. “My gut tells me a scoring system of some sort, probably not unlike what insurance companies and underwriters do right now.”
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Another area of concern involves condo and homeowner associations.
“The Florida statutes on condominiums, 718, and others on homeowners associations, they’re voluminous but they don’t have a lot of teeth,” the senator said.
Regulation of condo and homeowners associations falls under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation also known as DBPR. The state also has a condominium ombudsman, but Senator Pizzo said resources are limited.
“Condo owners pay about $4 a year into a fund that’s supposed to go and be exclusively for condo associations, for arbitration hearings and to fund those and investigations, but it’s a rather anemic level of investigators,” Senator Pizzo said. “It’s at 38 at one point. We have 4.6 million condos in Florida. You can’t possibly police and supervise that.”
Attorney Charlie Jimerson works with condo and homeowner associations across the state.
“What we’ve experienced is an unbelievable tragedy,” Jimerson said.
Jimerson said a deeper dive is warranted.
“The requirement of evaluating the viability of the construction is something that could be more uniformly addressed amongst the state, not just in the communities, associations and condo buildings, but really even in commercial buildings,” he said. “It’s something that there’s just not a lot of uniformity on.”
To visit the website of the state’s condo ombudsman, click here.