Condos line the beach in Highland Beach. An analysis done by The Coastal Star of Palm Beach County property records shows 74 condos or co-ops located in Highland Beach. Of these, 38 were built prior to 1982. Google Maps
By Mary Hladky
The Beach Condominium Association of Boca Raton and Highland Beach anticipates new laws will be enacted that are intended to make condos safer and supports them.
“We are expecting it,” said Beach Condo Association President Emily Gentile. “We have to have it. We just saw what happened in Surfside, and God forbid.”
Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer wants rules that would require aging buildings to be inspected for safety.
Gentile sent a letter to all oceanfront condos in Boca Raton and Highland Beach that are members of her association on June 29, telling them to expect new regulations and urging them not to delay any needed repairs to their buildings.
“Do not kick the can down the road to save a few bucks,” she wrote. “See a problem, address it and fix the problem. Your association and residents will be much better off and protected.”
She recommended that the condos study their reserve funds and their boards line up an architect and engineering firm to advise them on maintenance and repairs. Even though Palm Beach County does not yet have an ordinance like Miami-Dade County’s requiring building inspections when they are 40 years old, Gentile said boards should hire firms to do such examinations.
“If the engineering reports or reserve studies show deficiencies, be prepared to correct the issues in a fiscally prudent manner as soon as possible,” she wrote. Safety repairs should get priority and be “addressed immediately.”
Gentile has received positive responses to her letter, and no pushback from condo associations objecting to more regulation.
“I have gotten ‘thank you, thank you. We appreciate this’,” she said.
And while condo leaders are well aware of the Surfside condo collapse, they are not panicked that something similar could happen here.
Most of the condominiums along the beach in Boca Raton and Highland Beach are members of the Beach Condo Association, she said.
The 37-year-old organization has long provided condo boards with various types of information, including names of contractors, reserve specialists and engineers.
Condo board members are aware of their responsibilities, she said. “Our members are cognizant of what they need to do.”
It is critical, she said, that boards have documentation and show transparency on repair work that needs to be done.
Although the new rules likely will impose new costs on condos, that is one price of oceanfront living, she said.
“The beach has become a rather costly place to live,” she said. “It is not a place for people who don’t want to be hit with assessments or HOA fees. Maintaining the buildings cost money.”
Condos line the coast in Boca Raton. An analysis done by The Coastal Star of Palm Beach County property records shows 73 condos or co-ops are located on the barrier island in Boca Raton. Of these, 56 were built before 1982. Google Maps