A local real estate agent with more than 40 years of experience recently penned an op-ed In the Palm Beach Post. He asserts that a Florida law requiring that buildings be re-certified for structural integrity every 40 years is generally ignored by building owners.
Steven Weil, a Boynton Beach realtor, says that for many area realtors like himself, having that certification in hand is on his due diligence checklist for any building he lists for sale. Weil said he finds that most building owners don’t do it, and because the letter of certification is not required at the close of a real estate sale, buyers and sellers tend to view it as superfluous.
After consulting with his attorney, Weil said that while both Broward and Miami have such zoning ordinances in place, Palm Beach does not. After the Surfside condominium collapse, however, Weil feels that many more Florida communities will now make such certification a requirement.
After an assessment was performed in 2018, structural engineers recommended that the owners of the Surfside condo building make some $15 million in repairs in order to maintain the building’s structural integrity. For three years, the recommendations were ignored, the owners failed to fix any of the building’s structural flaws, and the building tragically collapsed.
Weil and his agency regularly send out a questionnaire to the owners of condominiums in order to assess their financial health. Owners are asked
- Does a professional property management company manage the condominium?
- Are there any special assessments pending on the property?
- Does the homeowners’ association have the proper funds in reserve to make necessary repairs to buildings to maintain structural integrity and safety?
- Are there any assessments or recommendations pending?
The enforcement of such ordinances will ensure public safety and prevent future tragedies like the one in Surfside.