Buildings with fire sprinkler installations already have a lot to worry about, especially with the recent uptick in fire sprinkler defect claims. But this also happens to be the last year for Florida residential condominiums to opt-out of statutorily mandated fire sprinkler modifications. If an association fails to hold the required meeting or doesn’t obtain the required approval from a majority of unit owners to forego the modernization, then that association must submit a building permit application on or before December 31, 2016 and proceed with expensive retrofitting. This retrofit must be completed by December 31, 2019. That’s the law.
Association managers and lawyers are busy dealing with this critical requirement. They need to gather their unit owners for a properly noticed meeting and vote on the retrofitting of the fire sprinkler systems in their buildings, both in the common elements and in the individual units. Specific notice and compliance rules must be met and eventually the opt-out vote must be reported to the Division of Florida Condominiums. Associations can call a special meeting if they subsequently decide to rescind their opt-out vote. But time is running out for all this to happen.
If fire sprinkler retrofitting hasn’t already been an agenda item on a condominium association board meeting, it is likely to be soon.