TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — New legislation in Florida intended to protect high-rise apartments and condominiums against collapse faced scrutiny on Monday during a segment on Fox News’ “Mornings with Maria” broadcast. Last May, the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill SB 4-D that will require condo owners to maintain reserve funds for mandated inspections and maintenance on residential buildings three-stories or higher.
The legislation, driven by the sudden collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South in Surfside in July 2021, mandates that the funds constitute an amount of at least half of the total cost of repairs.
“BANKRUPTING A LOT OF PEOPLE”
Joe Pinion, a Republican who lost to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in November – and show host Maria Bartiromo – both called out the governor for signing the legislation.
“Here comes the budget buster: this stipulation [was] put in place by Governor DeSantis to secure lives, but it's going to end up bankrupting a lot of people that didn't see this 50 percent hit coming,” Pinion said.
As an example of Floridians likely to suffer from the legislation, Pinion pointed to Airbnb hosts who likely never budgeted for reserve funds when making their real estate investment.
“These costs, they get passed on to the consumer in one way or another," he said. "You're talking about people who have the Airbnb that thought… ‘This would be great, I was going to rent this property or I'm going to own this property, and then the actual income is going to eclipse what I have to either pay for that monthly rent or that monthly mortgage.’”
HUGE FINANCIAL HEADACHE
“It is going to be a huge financial headache for apartment owners, condo owners throughout the state of Florida, but particularly in Miami,” she said. “There’s very little information about who this is going to hit, how hard it’s going to hit.”
Maria speculated that a “glut” of properties could hit the open market as a result of the increased costs.
“It’s going to create a dichotomy between the high-rise condo part of Florida and then the single-family home part of Florida,” Mitch Roschelle, founder of Macro Trends Advisors, told Bartiromo. “It’s going to make single family homes potentially more desirable.”
Roschelle added that the Surfside catastrophe has demotivated volunteer service on condominium boards due to liability concerns.
“There’s going to be a lot of shakeup down in Florida,” he said.
The governor’s press office did not respond to a request for comment.