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Advising HOA Boards After Surfside: Inspection, Review, Maintenance and Repairs

Balancing Costs, Reserve Funds, and Owner Expectations

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, October 21, 2021

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will guide real estate counsel on best practices when advising homeowner associations (HOAs) related to inspections, reviews, and necessary repairs and maintenance in light of the recent Surfside tragedy. The panel will address how HOAs have to address the risks versus costs of some major repairs, the needs in establishing a reserve fund, how to implement expert advice on damages, and best practices for managing owner expectations on the necessity of repairs and costs.


The aftermath of the Surfside condominium collapse is one of the most unspeakable tragedies in condominium history. As investigators continue to search for the cause or causes of the collapse, it is natural to search for solutions on how future building collapses or other disasters can be prevented. It is unlikely that there will be a "single" identifiable cause of the condominium collapse. Rather, the collapse was likely caused by a multitude of factors.

Counsel for HOAs should consider reviewing policies and actions of the condominium association's board of directors. Most states provide various protections for volunteer directors of a nonprofit corporation and only require that a director must discharge their duties in good faith, with the care of an ordinarily prudent person, and in a manner that they believe is in the best interests of the corporation. Directors should ensure that their articles of incorporation and condominium bylaws are updated so volunteer directors are appropriately protected from liability. Similarly, volunteer board members should consult with insurance agents to ensure that appropriate directors' and officers' insurance is in place.

Boards will want to examine inspection and engineering reports and communicate those findings to co-owners to determine the advisability of proceeding with repairs. Counsel should advise condominium board members to act on the advice that is received. Boards need to budget properly and realize that sometimes difficult choices need to be made, which may involve assessment increases that will not be popular with co-owners.

Some condominium documents require the condominium association to perform an annual inspection of the major common elements. While hiring professionals to perform inspections costs money, amending your condominium bylaws to require mandatory inspections may not be a bad idea. Similarly, while reserve studies are a best practice, there is nothing preventing a condominium association from amending their condominium bylaws to require that reserve studies or structural engineering inspections be performed on a regular basis. While condominium and homeowner association acts may not impose minimum insurance requirements, boards should consider reviewing coverage and increasing limits based on current risks.

Listen as our expert panel discusses best practices when advising boards on repairs, inspections, and engineering recommendations for condominiums in order to avoid future disasters.



  1. Homeowner and condominium owner associations
  2. Governance documents
  3. Insurance policies
  4. Inspection and engineering reports
  5. Assessments


The panel will review these and other relevant topics:

  • What changes to governance documents should condo boards consider to limit liability?
  • How can boards prioritize and evaluate issues raised in inspection and engineering reports?
  • How can boards balance the needs of repairs and costs to owners?
  • What insurance policies and limits should the board consider related to long-term repair needs?


Diamond, Robert
Robert M. Diamond

Senior Counsel
Reed Smith

Mr. Diamond has practiced real property law in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia for 38 years, with...  |  Read More

Figueroa-Vallines, Joel
Joel Figueroa-Vallines, PE, SI, F.ASCE

Founder, Executive Principal
SEP Engineers

With over 20 years of extensive and progressive experience in the industry, Mr. Figueroa-Vallines is responsible for...  |  Read More

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