(AP) — The financial statements and structural safety reports of condominium and homeowner associations must be made public under a new law approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission following the collapse of an ocean-front condo last year.
The law approved Tuesday was part of a package of legislation proposed after the Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed June 24, killing 98 people.
Commissioner René Garcia, who sponsored the ordinance, had already been working on the issue before the condo collapse after receiving numerous complaints from residents, according to spokesperson Iraida R. Mendez-Cartaya.
But the collapse in Surfside brought the issue of condo transparency “into stark visibility,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who endorsed the legislation.
The law requires associations to upload financial statements, engineering reports and maintenance documents related to long-term structural concerns about buildings to a publicly viewable county database by February 2023, the Miami Herald reported. Most of the documents were currently available to property owners, but were otherwise not available to the public.
Florida law currently requires condo sellers to turn over financial documents and reports on assessments to buyers once a sales contract is signed, if the buyer requests the paperwork.
“I think this is a step that the rest of the state will look to,” Cava said. “I think this is a very innovative, creative way to address this issue.”
A year before the Surfside collapse, the city of Hallandale Beach became the first in Florida to pass an ordinance requiring condo associations to file financial reports for the public to view. The city’s website, hallandalebeachfl.gov, has folders for each of the 100-plus associations to upload their documentation.
The state’s Legislature also has taken the Surfside tragedy into account. Last week, the Florida House unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would require statewide recertification of any condo building above three stories high.
The bill would require recertification after 30 years, or 25 years if the building is within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the coast, and every 10 years thereafter. The Champlain Towers South was 40 years old and was going through the 40-year recertification process required by Miami-Dade County when it collapsed.