Surfside Response: Questions Condo Residents Should Ask Now

By Laura Otto
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After the tragic collapse of Champlain Tower South Condominium Association in Surfside, Fla., it’s more important than ever for residents to understand their condo building’s structural integrity and maintenance.

Condominium association residents around the world understandably have questions about the safety of their own communities and are wondering how to protect their buildings.

We compiled a list of questions condominium residents should ask the community’s board members and community association manager right now to protect their home and themselves.

  • Is our building safe?
  • What is being done to protect our health, safety, and investment?
  • Does our community have a reserve study to plan for the repair and replacement of major components owned by the community? When was this reserve study last updated?
  • Does our community have a plan to fund the repair and replacement of major components owned by the community?
  • Does our building need an inspection by a professional engineer to evaluate the structural integrity of the building?
  • Are critical components in the building such as structure, balconies, stairwells, etc., included in the reserve study?
  • Will a special assessment be required to fund the repair and replacement of any components that are not included in the reserve study?

Condominium owners also can take several steps to protect themselves and their investment:

  • Know your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner.
  • Attend board meetings.
  • Read communication from your community.
  • Ask questions and participate in your community meetings and events.
  • Regularly pay community association assessments.
  • Agree to fund reserves for repair and replacement of major components. explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

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Laura Otto

Laura Otto is the Senior Editor of Digital Content at CAI. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that, Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.