The Brian Mudd Show

The Brian Mudd Show

There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. That's Brian's mantra and what drives him to get beyond the headlines.Full Bio


Q&A of the Day – The My Safe Florida Condo Program

Q&A of the Day – The My Safe Florida Condo Program 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.     


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Today’s Entry: Brian- please explain more about the Florida condo program you mentioned. Already high association dues have skyrocketed since Surfside! 

Bottom Line: Today’s note is in reference to a proposed My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program which would allow condo associations to tap into $433 million in grant money to upgrade roofs and exterior doors and windows for the purpose of storm mitigation and a reduction in property insurance premiums. While a lot of attention has be paid in this year’s state legislative session to the increasingly popular My Safe Florida Home Program, which would permanently fund $107 million in annual grants for homeowners to upgrade their homes against storm risks with improvements like impact windows and doors – to your point there’s been very little attention paid to a proposed program that’s over four times it’s size and aimed at addressing similar issues for condo associations specifically.  

As mentioned, the stunning and tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside three years ago factors heavily into the conversation. Following the collapse the state of Florida passed a law significantly tightening regulations pertaining to building codes and maintenance for apartment and condominium complexes. While it impacted older buildings the most, the law also mandated minimum reserve requirements for potentially needed repairs for HOAs that’ve contributed to significantly higher association dues for many. When combined with Florida’s property insurance crisis in recent years – with huge property insurance premium increases generally – it's been a costly one-two punch for many owners of condos. As for what the proposed legislation would do... 

The summary analysis by the state explains the effect of the proposed legislation this way:  

The bill establishes within DFS the My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program (MSFCP Program), with the intent that the Program provide licensed inspectors to perform inspections for and grants to eligible associations, as funding allows. Under the MSFCP Program, DFS must provide fiscal accountability, contract management, and strategic leadership for the MSFCP Program, consistent with the bill’s provisions. The MSFCP Program must be implemented pursuant to appropriations, and is subject to annual legislative appropriations thereafter. 

Mitigation inspections are limited to homesteaded properties. Funds may be used to inspect townhouses to determine if opening protection mitigation would help decrease the risk of hurricane damage and grant funds may be used to pay for such opening protection mitigation if warranted. The value of the mitigation grant eligible homes is currently $700,000. While initially limited to homes within the wind-borne debris region, the MSFH Program is currently a statewide program. 

Essentially, the bill provides to condominium associations a program similar to that of the MSFH Program in regards to requirements for participation, hurricane mitigation inspectors and inspections, eligibility for mitigation grants, contract management by DFS, and required annual reports. 

In explaining the real-world implications of what this legislation would do there are two facets to it that would come into play. One for homesteaded owners and another for associations. Effectively if passed, the bill would open up the same opportunities for homesteaded condo owners that are available for single family home homeowners under the My Safe Florida Home Program. That means no-cost inspections for eligible participants, in addition to grant money potentially being available for a condo owner who wants to upgrade their unit. However, the most effectual aspect of the proposed legislation is for condo associations that would like to opt in.  

Commonly condo associations have uniform guidance about upgrades and those are often decided for the entire complex as opposed to a single unit. This is in addition to wind mitigation insurance being universally provided through the use of an association for buildings. Often when upgrades are voted on, or mandated by building inspectors, there are special assessments that unit owners must pay. This program would provide qualified associations with grant money to help offset those costs. Given the typical $2 in grant money for every $1 spent by a homeowner ratio of the My Safe Florida Home program this could be of enormous benefit to eligible associations and the impacted unit owners should the legislation become law. Additionally, we’ve seen upgrades commonly result in reduced property insurance costs of about $1,000 per property unit per year with upgrades. The program would be a huge win-win for those able to access it.  

As a former condo association vice president, I understand the rock and a hard place situation many associations and owners have been in. Recently the beachside condo that I sold in 2012 came back up for sale. I saw where the dues that I’d paid quarterly were now less than the monthly dues for the unit. There’s no doubt the financial impact of rising association dues has been financially staggering for many. Especially for those in older buildings in eastern communities. The next step for this proposed legislation comes in a House committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday. I’ll keep you posted as to its status.  

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