ANOTHER FIRESTORM IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published April 25, 2022
know, The Florida Legislature is having trouble fixing the
problems of allowing condominium buildings to waive reserves,
who the reserve studies should be performed by and how often the
buildings should require safety certification by local building
officials. The issue of course is how hard are we going to hit
condo owners financially? Hard, very hard or basically bankrupt
those associations that have waived reserves for decades.
in the background is another potentially devastating problem for
high rise condominiums; fire safety. Well, let me remind high
rise condominiums what is lurking just around the corner.
Florida Statute 718.112 states:
association must ensure compliance with the Florida Fire
Prevention Code. As to a residential condominium building that
is a high-rise building as defined under the Florida Fire
Prevention Code, the association must retrofit either a fire
sprinkler system or an engineered life safety system as
specified in the Florida Fire Prevention Code. Notwithstanding
chapter 633 or of any other code, statute, ordinance,
administrative rule, or regulation, or any interpretation of the
foregoing, an association, residential condominium, or unit
owner is not obligated to retrofit the common elements,
association property, or units of a residential condominium with
a fire sprinkler system in a building that has been certified
for occupancy by the applicable governmental entity if the unit
owners have voted to forego such retrofitting by the affirmative
vote of a majority of all voting interests in the affected
condominium. The local authority having jurisdiction may not
require completion of retrofitting with a fire sprinkler system
or an engineered life safety system before January 1, 2024.
For those condominiums that have already installed a sprinkler
system or engineered life safety system, youíre OK and have
nothing to work about. However, even if the owners voted to
forego sprinklers, STARTING ON JANUARY 1, 2024 YOUR LOCAL
BUILDING OFFICIAL CAN AND WILL FORCE YOUR ASSOCIATION TO HAVE AN
ENGINEERED LIFE SAFETY SYSTEM. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT ONE OR
THE OTHER IS REQUIRED.
There are many many many high-rise condominiums throughout the
state that voted to opt out of sprinklers, thinking that the
fire safety issue is in the rear view mirror. They were wrong.
An engineered life safety system is still required. The bottom
line is that by January 1st, 2024 you better either
have sprinklers or an engineered life safety system. Both are
not cheap, yet both promote the health, welfare and safety of
the occupants of the condominium building. For years however
The Florida Legislature kept extending the mandatory
installation date and kicked that can down the road, the same
way they ignored the disaster that would happen if we let unit
owners completely waive the funding of reserve accounts. I donít
see them kicking this can any further down the road.
So, consider this a friendly reminder to those communities who
have neither sprinklers nor an engineered life safety system.
When The Florida Legislature finally fixes the issue of reserve
funding you will be paying more each month, no doubt. And in
about a year and a half you better have installed either an
engineered life safety system or sprinklers in your high rise
condominium. That wonít come cheap either.
If youíre Board is not thinking about and already preparing for
these massive financial increases that are eventually coming,
they are shirking their responsibilities and need to put their
big boy or girl pants on, face the music and pass a budget that
starts taking the increases that are coming, into
consideration. Buckle up condo owners because especially for
those high rise condominiums that have no sprinklers, no
engineered life safety system and no reserve accounts, itís
going to be an incredibly bumpy ride.
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated
from the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for three decades and is the owner of
Glazer and Sachs, P.A. a five attorney law firm with
offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
Eric is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in
Condominium and Planned Development Law.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host of Condo Craze
and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs at 11:00 a.m.
each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
Eric is the first attorney in the State of
Florida that designed a course that certifies condominium and
HOA residents as eligible to serve on a Board of Directors and
has now certified more than 20,000 Floridians all across the
state. He is certified as a Circuit Court Mediator by The
Florida Supreme Court and has mediated dozens of disputes
between associations and unit owners. Eric also devotes
significant time to advancing legislation in the best interest
of Florida community association members.