Florida Seniors Brace for Increased Fees and Selling Challenges Amidst New Condo Law, Warn Association Presidents

Florida Seniors Brace for Increased Fees and Selling Challenges Amidst New Condo Law, Warn Association Presidents

In the aftermath of the 2021 Surfside, Florida condo collapse, a new condominium safety law has been introduced, impacting condominiums in Florida.

According to a September 2023 report by Bay News 9, the law includes provisions mandating inspections for certain condominiums and the establishment of monetary reserves for future essential repairs.

These requirements pose a financial challenge for some condominium associations, potentially necessitating a significant influx of funds within a short timeframe, as noted by Florida-based Icard Merrill Attorneys and Counselors.

Consequently, some condo associations have found it necessary to raise fees or impose special assessments in preparation for future financial needs.

Regrettably, this situation is affecting Florida’s senior citizens, often on fixed incomes, as condos are a popular choice for retirees seeking maintenance-free living. Concerns have been raised by Condo Association officers, warning that substantial assessment increases could render condos less affordable and challenging to sell.

The situation in Tarpon Springs highlights the potential for a substantial increase in financial burdens. Dan Severson, a retiree and president of the Dolphin Condominium Association in Tarpon Springs, reported to ABC Action News in late September 2023 that one insurance quote, amounting to approximately $600,000, was riddled with exclusions and high deductibles, posing additional challenges for condo owners.

That kind of rise, he told the channel, could raise the money required to keep living in the condos by a significant amount.

It could quadruple the cost of living in this condo. And that would be devastating to a lot of fixed-income senior people.

Severson acknowledged that in the worst-case scenario, monthly fees might increase from $500 to $3,000, potentially rendering the units “impossible to sell.”

In St. Petersburg, residents like Scott Rasbach, a retiree residing in Paradise Shores and the association president, are facing challenges with significant special assessments. As reported by The Tampa Bay Times in late 2022, Rasbach’s condo fees rose from $430 in 2019 to $600 per month in 2023.

Rasbach informed the publication that due to the need for a new roof, residents may be required to contribute to a special assessment of approximately $8,000. He told:

I literally have a woman that lives in the building across from me who’s 80 some years old, who went and got a job working in some sort of manufacturing plant in order to make the money to pay for the special assessment.

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