All Condos Need Sprinklers

All condos need sprinklers or opt-out vote by Jan. 1

According to the DBPR, which oversees Florida statues concerning condos, all condominiums – not just high rises – must install fire sprinkler systems, unless they vote to opt-out of the costly requirement by the end of the year. This information will give the you, seller the opportunity to be pro-active and speak with your condo association management company to determine how the association plans on complying with this Florida statute.

All Condos Need Sprinklers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – July 11, 2016 – The state agency regulating condominiums says all condos – not just high rises – must install fire sprinkler systems, unless they vote to opt-out of the costly requirement by the end of the year.

The opinion means that thousands of two- and three-story apartment buildings, many of them comprised of affordable units at complexes like Century Village and elsewhere around the county, will have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit with sprinkler systems or have association members vote against it by Dec. 31.

The latest version of the law, Florida statutes section 718, took out wording that specified the fire safety requirement applied only to buildings taller than 75 feet, about seven stories. That left associations and their lawyers unclear on whether shorter buildings also would have to add sprinklers.

On Thursday, in response to an inquiry by The Palm Beach Post, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation said indeed they would.

“Generally speaking, the fire sprinkler requirement applies to all residential condominiums,” said Travis Keels, deputy director of communications for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

That, despite an opinion by the Division of State Fire Marshal that the state fire code requires only high-rise buildings to retroactively install sprinklers. But the division said it’s the DBPR that makes the call when it comes to Florida statutes concerning condos.

Associations can have unit owners vote to exempt their buildings from the requirement, but some fear that with snowbirds out of town, many associations won’t get the votes or paperwork completed by the Dec. 31 deadline.

Condo owner insurance premiums would probably go down when sprinklers go in, but association dues would go up to cover the installation, condo association lawyer Kara Tanis said. That’s a burden on seniors with fixed incomes, she said. “There’s no extra money. I’ve been recommending people opt out.”

Tanis estimated that installing sprinklers can cost anywhere from $600 to $8,000 per unit, depending on the building and its condition. For an average building, $2,000 per unit is a reasonable estimate, she said.

“What’s the purpose in the first place?” asked Century Village owner Montgomery Rahmayer. “How many fires do we have in Century Village, for God’s sake?”

Attorney Jeffrey Rembaum, a specialist in association law, says associations should seek legal guidance. It wouldn’t surprise him if someone injured in a fire in a low-rise sued that building’s association, alleging it ducked its responsibility if it didn’t install sprinklers or conduct a vote to opt out of having them, he said.

It’s still not clear the DBPR position is what lawmakers intended, but associations with low-rise buildings should play it safe by assuming the law applies to them and conducting proper membership votes to opt out, he said.

Century Village’s United Civic Organization (UCO), essentially a master association for the development’s hundreds of buildings, distributed an information packet, explaining the simplest way for its associations to have members vote to opt out of the sprinkler requirement, by written consent. “We did all the legwork for the associations,” UCO President David Israel said. “We’re not attempting to interpret the law. We’re saying, ‘Why take the risk? Opt out unless you have a lot of money,’ because it’s very expensive to retrofit, especially large buildings.”

 

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Top Ten Apps for Home Buyers and Sellers

Top Ten Apps for Home Buyers and SellersWhat are the top ten apps for home buyers and sellers?  As a buyer or seller there is an exhaustive list of apps that can completely enhance your experience of buying or selling Naples area real estate.  From measuring rooms, creating floor plans, and placing furniture to finding great schools and calculating your mortgage there is an app for just about everything related to buying or selling your home.

Top Ten Apps for Home Buyers and Sellers

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Info-Graph reprinted with permission Florida Realtors.
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Market Report for August 2015

NAPLES / BONITA SPRINGS / ESTERO MARKET AREA

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Click image for full report.

CLOSED SALES

  The number of closed sales through August is down 4.4% from the same period in 2014 (9,223 vs. 9,649). Sales pace is driven by inventory, demand and pricing.

  Closed sales during the month of August are down 10% from August 2014, but remain the fourth highest on record for the month (2000 – 2015). The consistent number of sales over the past several months indicates the market is enjoying solid demand.

  During the past 12 months, closings for properties priced above $2 million are up 13% (459 vs. 407). This category continues to be in high demand with year-to-date closings up 5.1% over the first eight months of 2014.

NEW LISTINGS/INVENTORY

  Available inventory on September 1, 2015 consisted of 4,198 units, down 6.9% from prior year.

  Average list price for the past 12 months is $614,842, up 15.1% from the 12 months ending September 1, 2014. Median list price increased17.5% during the 12 months ending September 1, 2015.AVERAGE AND MEDIAN SALES PRICE

AVERAGE AND MEDIAN SALES PRICE

  Average price of closed sales during the month of August increased 11.4% year-over-year, while median closed price increased 12.8%.

  Average price of sales above $2 million increased 11.8% over the past 12 months, from $3,537,716 to $3,956,725. Median price in this category is up 12.8% from $2,800,000 to $3,157,000.

Visit Naples.House for luxury homes for sale in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and Marco Island!