Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Want to buy a condo in FL - watch out - Condo fees may be jumping up in 2017

Are you looking to buy a Condo in Florida, whether it is one story, four stories, or more, make sure they have fire sprinklers.  If they do not, there is a good chance the association is about to spend thousands of dollars to have them installed.  That means that association dues will be going up.

The state agency regulating condominiums recently said that all condos, not just high rise buildings, must install fire sprinkler systems.  The association could vote to opt-out but either way it will cost you.

Florida statutes section 718 that addresses Condominiums, recently removed the requirement that applied to buildings taller than 75 feet, about seven stories.

On average, it is being estimated that expenses between each unit would be about $2,000.  Many of these low rise condos are owned by senior citizens that live on fixed incomes than are not prepared for the additional costs.  Also, the inconvenience of construction and ne sprinkler heads and pipes that were not initially planned and in an attempt to hide could result in sections of lower ceiling height or simple aesthetically unappealing.

Option one would be simply to do the retrofit and have the fire sprinklers installed.  While it would involve inconvenience and expense, it would inevitably lower your insurance rates.

Option two would be to waive out and not install.  The issue here would be insurance.  One can assume that rates would go higher regardless as the current law would call for the fire sprinkler protection.  Your association would simply be choosing not to comply (legal but not a good idea).  In addition, there could be carriers that do not want to insure condos that do not meet the new requirements.  

We will not know how this will be enforced until 2017.  Should an association not comply and not vote it out, they would most likely receive fines and violations until they comply.  This could also be a a trigger for insurance companies to cancel a policy.  

Should you currently live in a a condo, make sure your association does not ignore this change.  If you are looking to buy a condo, do your homework and find out what you will be responsible for.  

Think you have reasons for a property tax reduction or your building is improperly assessed, we would be happy to help.  Just contact us at the Property Tax Appeal Group.

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