On Monday, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., showcased the “Rapid Financing for Critical Condo Repairs Act.”
Crist introduced the bill to “give condo associations access to federally backed loans that can be used to make critical structural and safety-based repairs to the buildings they manage” and which “authorizes the Federal Housing Administration to insure critical repair loans for condo associations, giving lenders the certainty to make the loan. Typically, condo associations delay critical repairs until they can collect special assessments from owners sufficient to begin repairs” last week. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is co-sponsoring the proposal.
Weighing in on the bill on Monday, the two Florida Democrats pointed to the condo collapse in Surfside last year in which 98 people were killed.
“The Champlain Towers condo collapse brought to light the serious flaws in how condo buildings are maintained and repaired – and we must do all we can to avoid another tragedy,” said Crist. “To save lives, associations should have access to financing as soon as a critical problem is found. As we saw in Surfside, waiting for special assessments to be collected can cause deadly delays. Our bill would provide an immediate financing option to begin repairs and keep residents safe and in their homes.”
“We enable homeowners to finance both the purchase of a house and its rehabilitation costs, but condominiums are not eligible,” said Wasserman Schultz. “This commonsense legislation offers a solution to help condo owners and associations to obtain financing for needed repairs and ensure their buildings are safe. I’m proud to work with Congressman Crist to cut red tape and help condo owners be secure in their homes and make it much easier to avoid the kind of tragedy we saw in Surfside.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
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