The Surfside Condominium Collapse The Ripple Effect

Written by Charles A. Perkins, Esquire

On June 22, 2021, a portion of the Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Florida, collapsed and caused substantial destruction, loss of life and was a tragedy that impacted hundreds of people. This event has galvanized leaders across the nation including lawmakers and members of the condominium industry and has brought to the forefront the need to reevaluate certain practices to implement changes to help prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again.

Community Association Institute (CAI) published the Condominium Safety Public Policy Report in October 2021.[1] This publication by CAI is a must read for all those in the condominium industry. There are many individuals and groups who contributed their insight and recommendations to this report which could lead to substantial changes in the way condominiums operate throughout the country. An example of the topics discussed in this report include the following:

  1. Mandatory reserve studies during the pre-construction, active construction, and post-construction phases. It is recommended that these studies be performed by a reserve specialist or other qualified individual.
  2. The authority for a board to fund projects for safety improvements without a vote of the unit owners.
  3. Mandatory building inspections with a structural engineer over definitive time periods.
  4. The requirement that mortgage holders inquire about building issues and that a question about deferred maintenance and other disclosures be included in the uniform questionnaire. Examples include issues concerning maintenance effecting safety, soundness, and structural integrity of the condominium.
  5. Mandate disclosure to new purchasers of reserve studies and reserve plans.

This is just the beginning of topics being discussed on the local and national level and will undoubtedly have an impact on how boards and community associations operate in the future.

We will continue to monitor this topic and provide an update of any changes.

[1] A complete version of this report is located at