How to Find Out Whether Your Condo Is Safe
After the sobering Surfside condo collapse, many condo owners are questioning the safety of the decades-old buildings they live in. Residents of newer buildings may also have worries on their mind. The Miami Herald recently reported Champlain Towers South was flawed from the very beginning —according to experts, those who designed the building championed an extensive underground garage and oceanfront views over structural integrity.
Fortunately, every condo owner has the right to check on their building’s recertification process and history, as well as to look into any building violations and permits.
The 40-Year Recertification Process
Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the only two counties in Florida that require high-rise buildings to pass a 40-year recertification process. The intent is to uncover and then immediately address any structural or electrical problems in these aging buildings. Only a state-registered engineer or architect can recertify a building. After inspection, the engineer or architect must submit a report to the county’s or the city’s building department, detailing what repairs are needed, if any. The 40-year recertification process is not complete until these repairs are made.
Sadly, Champlain Towers South’s condo board never completed the repairs outlined in the building’s 40-year recertification report. Instead, it took issue with the high cost of the repairs, then delayed making them until it was too late.
To make sure your condo board is doing its job and keeping you safe, you have the option to check on your building’s 40-year recertification. Per the Herald, all condo owners must do is contact the building department in their local municipality to review documents pertaining to 40-year recertification, repairs, projects, and more. Condo owners have a right to this information about their building, although some information may require a public record request with the applicable municipality.
Please note that some municipalities—like Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Surfside—oversee 40-year recertifications within their boundaries.
Dig Deep into Your Building’s Recertification History
Buildings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties must also be recertified every 10 years after the initial 40-year recertification. Condo owners can look into these recertification cases using a few online tools:
- Miami-Dade County’s online tool to search for buildings within the jurisdiction of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources;
- Miami Beach’s Citizen Self Service portal for buildings within its boundaries;
- The Herald’s interactive map of buildings that have either neared or passed their 40-year recertification in Miami-Dade’s coastal regions; and
- Miami-Dade and Broward counties’ Property Appraiser websites to find out when a building was constructed and when it will need to be recertified.
Check for Building Violations and Permits
Condo owners also have the right to check for violations and permits, but how to do so varies by municipality. If your building is in the city of Miami, visit iBuild Miami’s online portal; for unincorporated areas in Miami-Dade County, such as Kendall, try the county’s regulation cases online tool. Some cities—such as Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood—have their own online portals.
Were You Impacted by a Building Collapse? We Can Help.
Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A.’s attorney team represents those injured by structure collapses, including persons directly impacted by the collapse of Champlain Towers South. If you have been injured, displaced, or lost a loved one, our Fort Lauderdale trial lawyers are here to fight to win you justice and compensation.
Call (954) 467-8800 or contact us online to discuss your options with a caring Fort Lauderdale trial lawyer. Your consultation is free!