MARGATE (CBS Miami)
Senate Bill 4D was signed into law in May. It was supposed to minimize the chances of a collapse like that seen in Surfside, but it comes with an increase in costs, and some say those costs would mean they cannot afford their home.
“We are 11 miles from the beach, we’re happy here, everybody I know is content,” Nola Sineca, a Margate resident said.
Sineca is retired. She lives with her cat at the Palm Lakes Condominium, a 55 and older community. Now she’s worried about how SB 4D will increase living expenses for her and other elderly people.
“This is their family. They can’t afford to pay this kind of money, they have nowhere to go, and they can’t afford a nursing home,” said Gail Linden, another Palm Lakes community member.
The new law affects everyone but could be especially hard for retirees who live on fixed incomes.
“Some of these people are quite elderly; the thoughts of having to go out and earn more money is beyond them,” Sineca shared.
SB 4D requires new structural inspections and more money set aside to make potential repairs on condominiums. The goal is to make buildings safer and avoid what was seen in Surfside.
“We got everybody together because it’s just so wrong that we’re being in the same category as Surfside,” Effie Varakakos, who helped organize a meeting with State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky at the Charles and Carol Katz Community Center in Margate Monday.
“That means for our residents on a fixed income they need to find another $1,400-1,500 a year for maintenance; a lot of us can’t do it,” Miriam Carpenter said during the meeting.
Carpenter has listed a number of suggestions she hopes lawmakers will use to amend 4D. They include location, existing reserves, and changing the requirements to buildings over 5 stories. She also wants special consideration for those 55 and older, either exempting this group or providing a sliding scale. Rep. Hunschofsky told CBS4 she heard a lot of good suggestions.
“My goal is to talk with the sponsor of the bill and to see where we can reach some decision on this,” she said.
If unchanged, the new law will require changes to be met or completed by Dec. 31, 2024, which is just too soon for some.
“I’m here for my golden years and it’s nothing but trouble,” Linden added.