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Florida House, Senate leaders reach agreement on condo safety reform legislation

In wake of Surfside collapse, lawmakers seek to pass a bill during the special session.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The second day of a special legislative session aimed at addressing the growing property insurance issues in the state now has a new reform on the agenda: condo safety.

Tuesday afternoon, leaders in the House and Senate announced legislation to address the tragic 2021 condominium collapse in Surfside will also be a priority during the session.

“We will never forget the pain, confusion, and sorrow the community and state felt when the Surfside condominium building collapsed and took 98 lives with it. The Florida Legislature has grappled with reaching a consensus on what meaningful reform looks like, but today we have arrived at an agreement that will help to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again,” said House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.

The legislation, HB 5-D, which was introduced right before the House gaveled in Tuesday morning, would mandate more frequent condominium inspections, make condo records available to potential buyers and that reserve funding is secured by associations to make sure repairs and maintenance can be covered and not put off.

Earlier this month, a nearly $1 billion tentative settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24, 2021, and the main lawsuit contends the building was in badly need of repairs.

“I am grateful to all of the legislators and other stakeholders who worked diligently on this issue over the last several months. While we can never replace the 98 lives we lost in the collapse of the Champlain Tower South, we can honor their memory with strong reforms that will better protect condo owners and residents moving forward,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.

The bill will have its first hearing Tuesday.

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