Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen Partner Rachel Wagner Furst was recently quoted by The Wall Street Journal in an article discussing a new Florida condo inspection law prompted by the 2021 Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside.
As reported by the WSJ, Rachel served as Co-Chair Lead Counsel in class action litigation over the Champlain Towers collapse, which killed 98 people and severely injured and displaced numerous others. Earlier this year, she and fellow GRYC Attorney Stuart Grossman were successful in steering the litigation and then the negotiations to secure a landmark $1+ billion settlement pool for plaintiffs.
Now, this tragedy and their work has led Florida lawmakers to revamp building inspection codes and prompted property management firms to expand their business to assist Condos in compliance.
The new regulations require building inspections decades earlier - at 30 years if the Condos are located inland and at 25 years if they are within 3 miles of the coast, as well as every 10 years thereafter. The law will also prohibit Condo associations from waiving the collection of reserve funds to pay for maintenance and repairs.
The Wall Street Journal reported that professional management firms are marketing their services to Florida Condo association boards in light of the new law’s requirements. These services range from financial services, such as finding a better return on reserves and securing insurance, to construction management to oversee needed repairs.
The WSJ asked Rachel for her view on this development considering the tragedy at Champlain Towers:
“Champlain Towers did not have a professional property manager in place. It very much fell on the board of volunteer residents to do their very best to manage this building. The management and oversight of buildings, especially large buildings that house hundreds if not thousands of people, maybe ought to be left to professionals."
You can read the full WSJ article featuring Rachel’s quote here.