Condo owners need task force to study issues, lawmakers say

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel

By Daniel Vasquez

Published June 6, 2009

 

BOCA RATON — South Florida lawmakers are calling for Gov. Charlie Crist to create a Condo Task Force.

The challenge is a reaction to Crist's veto of Senate Bill 714, a sweeping condo reform bill that would in part have provided associations, and by extension unit owners, more time to pay for state-mandated safety retrofit projects. Association advocates say a delay is needed at a time when so many associations across the state struggle to pay bills and owners face foreclosure.

Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, made the call Thursday at a news conference. They say a task force is also appropriate in light of what they call the "legislature's failure to address the impact of the foreclosure crisis on seniors and others living in community associations."

They recommend staffing the task force with community association leaders and representatives, Realtors, lenders, banking officials and legislators. The groups would address a range of condo issues, including the effect of the foreclosure crisis on community associations.

"A perfect storm is brewing and it's not out in the Atlantic. It's right here in our community," Skidmore said. "Condo owners and their associations are about to collapse under the weight of a financial burden with no help in sight."

Other effects Deutch and Skidmore relate to the veto include:

•Condo owners will continue to be required to purchase specific insurance, and provide proof of that insurance to their associations. The bill would have fixed a glitch in a law passed in 2008.

•Associations must continue to request proof of insurance, and may purchase insurance on behalf of owners who do not have valid insurance.

•No extension to the state-mandated deadline for retrofitting fire sprinkler systems and no exemptions on requirements for installing fire alarm systems.

Deutch and Skidmore say mandates may force many associations to increase assessments.


Daniel Vasquez can be reached at:

condocolumn@sunsentinel.com or at 954-356-4558 (Broward) or 561-243-6686 (Palm Beach County). His condo column runs every Wednesday in the Local section and at www.sunsentinel.com/condos. You also can read his consumer column every Monday in Your Money and at www.sunsentinel.com/vasquez 

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