Condo hardening pilot project moves in Senate, but without cash

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'This pilot program is consistent with what we’ve done here in the Legislature to get these property insurance premiums under control.'

A bill setting up a pilot project to help fund upgrades to condominiums to help them withstand hurricanes and prevent damage is advancing in the Senate, but there isn’t any funding associated with the measure.

The bill (SB 1366) is sponsored by Sen. Nick DiCeglie, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican, and passed unanimously through the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

It instructs the Department of Financial Services to set up the My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program, accept and process applications. To be eligible, a condominium association board must approve the application for an inspection. Inspectors would then recommend improvements, including upgrades to exterior doors and reinforcing roof-to-wall connections. A condominium would have to lie within 15 miles of the coast to qualify as well.

“The proposed legislation is designed for condominium owners and associations to harden their buildings in order to reduce their insurance premiums,” DiCeglie said.

It’s based on the My Safe Florida Home program that offers matching grants to homeowners looking to harden their homes against wind and storm damage. Lawmakers have set aside $433 million for that program since 2022, but DiCeglie’s bill doesn’t include any funding for the program, and the Senate’s budget (SB 2500) doesn’t have any money for it either.

The House version of the bill (HB 1029) doesn’t have any funding, but the House budget (HB 5001) includes $600,000 for the program. If the bill passes, the amount of available funding will be hashed out between the chambers in budget negotiations.

“To expand this to condominiums knowing that they’re also dealing with some challenges when it comes to dealing with property insurance … this pilot program is consistent with what we’ve done here in the Legislature to get these property insurance premiums under control,” DiCeglie said.

Both the Senate and House bills have two more committee stops in their respective chambers before making it to the floor.

Gray Rohrer


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