There are many excellent apartment and condo buildings available here in the greater Fort Lauderdale area that make this region a wonderful place to live, work, and enjoy the many attractions in our great state of Florida. But as tenants or condo owners, you should be vigilant to make sure your building is safe.
An ounce of prevention…
Before purchasing a condo or moving into an apartment, look very closely at not only the unit but at all common areas. Do they look clean, well-lit, and well-maintained? How is the security system? What fire prevention systems are in place – sprinklers, fire alarms, etc.? This should also include a walk through the basement checking for cracks in the foundation and water damage which could indicate problems and neglect.
Have an inspection done of the unit as well as the common areas and address any problems. If the owner or the condo association does not seem concerned, don’t move there.
Talk to neighbors to get a feel for the building, how responsive the property managers are, and how quickly problems are resolved. Find out, too, if there have been any accidents there that could have been avoided.
A few things to look for
Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe environments. If you live in a condo or apartment, the following is a short list of possible problems to bring to the attention of the owners:
- Uneven walkways, sidewalks, garage floors, and other surfaces that could cause someone to trip
- Messy garbage areas that could cause debris or liquids to spread, causing walking hazards
- Areas that repeatedly flood or stay wet
- Rusty or old fire escapes, or fire alarms that aren’t regularly tested
- Hallway fire extinguishers with expired tags
- Broken steps and unsafe railings
- Exterior doors with large gaps between door and frame or floor, which could be easily broken into
- Faulty wiring that could cause shocks or fires
- Poor lighting, causing safety hazards or allowing the opportunity for assault
- Insufficient security
- Cracks in concrete foundations, columns, pool, terraces
- Deteriorating windows
Many accidents are due to negligence
Accidents are common in multi-family buildings such as condos and apartments. Balcony collapses and fires occur frequently in apartments and condos throughout the U.S., causing many injuries and much loss of life.
We in Florida know first-hand how tragic negligence at a condo building can be, after the collapse of the Champlain Towers building on June 24, 2021. Within moments, in the middle of the night, a building collapsed to its foundation and many lives were lost. It could have been avoided if the condo association board had acted years previously when the deterioration of the foundation concrete had been first discovered. But it was expensive to fix and infighting slowed the decision-making process, leading to tragedy.
If you see anything that you believe is a potential safety hazard, report it immediately to the board, property manager, and any other authority in the building. If you have significant concerns – cracks in ceilings, floors, or columns, flooding issues, broken railings – and the problems are not being addressed, our office can help. Call us at (954)448-7288.