New Rules And Regulations Regarding Condominium Safety Measures For Buildings

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

July 8, 2021

“Our residents can be confident, that our City has been working to assure that all buildings, are up to date with their inspections and those that are not in compliance, will be addressed” Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

As we all are shocked and saddened by the horrific collapse of the Champlain Tower, my prayers go out to all that have lost loved ones. I want to send special condolences to the Tennenhaus Family who lost a sister and brother-in-law, Reb Tzvi and Itty Ainsworth. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Tennenhaus have become an integral part of our community. Their religious leadership and altruism have become a beacon for so many. I also want to thank, The Hallandale Beach Police Department that has been assisting the City of Surfside and the recovery crews.

I know how concerned, many of our condominium owners are. Our residents can be confident, that our City has been working to assure that all buildings, are up to date with their inspections and those that are not in compliance, will be addressed. We have set up an entire landing page with information, on our web-site at: www.cohb.org. Sadly, we do not know for sure, why the building collapsed, but it is pointing to lack of maintenance, which is what led to structural failures.

40-year inspections can cost, millions of dollars. Boards and unit owners are often at odds, when it comes to the money required that makes the buildings whole. They fight the boards, do recalls and hire attorneys to fight against assessments, when boards are required to maintain the buildings, just like taxes. No one likes to levy them or pay for them, but, they are what maintains, our services. Many unit owners can afford assessments, but, others simply cannot, which is creating a very complex set of issues, by this catch 22.

Many of our unit owners that live in our condominiums, are retirees that are on fixed incomes. They moved here, with the hope, to live out their golden years in peace. With Social Security, not keeping up with the cost of living and with health insurance costs rising, many are living paycheck to paycheck and are faced with a large financially devastating assessment.

I am aware, that one building in Hallandale Beach, is having major issues, due to unit owners defaulting on their payments. The condo went bankrupt and now, is in receivership. They are working hard to perform work and get through the process. Everything for them is more complex, than ever, since the board does not hold any power to execute contracts. Everything must go through the receiver.

Senior poverty is growing. There is now a term for it, “Silver Tsunami.” During the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was interesting to find out where the major demand for assistance came from. One would think, it is mainly west, but, data has shown, this is citywide. Dr. Earle shared with me, at the time of pointing out facts for the data drawn up, for the census, it showed that our seniors, are living on the east side of the city, in condominiums, that are at the poverty level. This fact, combined with 40-year inspections, has really set off an alarm bell for me.

This week, I scheduled a Zoom call with The Broward County Human Services, to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Funding, what resources are available for our seniors, when it comes to housing issues. I also have reached out to Broward County, Senator, Steve Geller to discuss, setting up a meeting with our local mayors to address the resources for inspections and building services. Our City, has currently been inundated with permit requests, also, we recently let our Building Officials go and two Permit Clerks quit. We are doing a total revamp of our department and hiring Permit Inspectors. Like all businesses, it has been difficult with hiring staff, in the building, it is getting even more difficult.

We are bound by the Board of Rules and Appeals. BORA is statewide, but, each county has a separate board.

The Broward's Board has handcuffed the cities, when it comes to hiring experts. Obviously, they have to pass a test and be certified, but Broward County requires, years of government experience. For example, I could be a Structural Engineer, that built skyscrapers in New York for years, but I could not work in a city in Broward without having any, government experience. I have asked Broward's Mayor to work with the city's to ensure that we can all have flexibility, when it comes to hiring individuals to work in a building. Please remember that the City will be hosting a special telephone Town Hall meeting to discuss the Citywide On-Street Parking Program, on Monday, July 19th, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Please sign up on our web-site, where we have a landing page with all of the information.

As always, I am available anytime for your questions, concerns and ideas to make our City, a better place, on my phone/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or you can e-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org. Please visit my Facebook Page: MayorJoyCooper. Like It! Friend It! Share It!