A Florida law that was repealed more than a decade ago could potentially have helped prevent the collapse of the Surfside condominium, according to the state legislature that sponsored the bill.
Former Florida State Attorney Julio Robaina (R) told NBC News that a bill he sponsored in 2008 could have better prepared the Champlain Towers South Condominium by requiring building associations to hire experts to submit reports on the estimated cost of repairs. called a reserve study.
Champlain Towers South had not conducted a professional reserve investigation since at least 2016, NBC reported.
“If the owners would have done a reserve survey if the board was proactive and had funded its reserves, this would never have happened,”
Robaina sponsored the law in 2008, but it was repealed in 2010 after he left office. The former lawmaker blamed real estate attorneys and property administrators who argued the law placed too much of a burden on condominiums.
NBC noted that the legislator who sponsored the repeal of the bill, State Representative Gary Aubuchon (R), is a real estate agent and home builder.
Shortly after the crash, it was reported that an engineering firm had notified the Champlain Towers South Board that the cost of repairs had risen to $ 16.2 million. In a letter to residents last year, tenant council president Jean Wodnicki acknowledged that the damage to the building’s basement garage had “gotten significantly worse.”
Documents later revealed that the condo board only had $ 777,000 in its reserve funds for future repairs.
According to Robaina, maintaining healthy reserves is “the most important action a condominium should take.”
As of Thursday, the death toll from the crash has risen to 64 people. The number of non-accounting persons is now 76.