Surfside Condo Collapse Shows How Serious Maintenance Issues Can Get Ignored

Housing foundation crack

Posted on October 26, 2021

On June 24, 2021 in the small beach community of Surfside just outside of Miami, the Champlain Towers South would come crashing down in an instant and contribute to the deaths of 98 people. Many more beyond this number were left homeless and without access to their belongings. As investigations continue into the causes of the collapse, one aspect remains clear—there were many tell-tale signs of maintenance and structural issues that were overlooked or ignored that contributed to the eventual collapse. 

 

Today, we’ll look at some of the same violations that are presenting themselves in apartments and communities across Florida. We’ll also review the different building violations that can pose a threat to tenants and guests, and outline the options available to you if you’re ever hurt. 

 

Issues Seen at Surfside

A recent USA Today article reported that the Surfside condo had decay that presented itself earlier, was known, and was ignored far longer than was first reported after the accident. 

 

  • Residents reportedly complained of flooding around the garage portion of the complex some three decades prior to the condo’s collapse. 
  • From the beginning, engineer’s reports made note of an improperly designed pool deck and by the mid-1990’s there was already a need for major repair work to be done around this problem area. 
  • Between 2001 and 2015, there were several lawsuits against contractors for workmanship issues that led to water intrusion and air quality issues. 
  • In 2016, a resident of Surfside was literally shaken off his treadmill by the heavy construction occurring adjacent to the condo. 

 

All of these issues began chipping away at the integrity of the structure, warnings were ignored, and eventually the building collapsed—causing the deaths of nearly 100 people in the process. 

 

Local Housing Violations Posing a Risk of Danger to Tenants

In Jacksonville, the Hilltop Village Apartments in Northwest Jacksonville are unfortunately well known to code enforcement for the large number of violations at the compex. This largely HUD-sponsored housing community is inspected by code enforcement regularly but has been cited many times for different violations. The last inspection found 26 different code violations with more than half regarding a terrible rodent infestation. 

 

Diseases transmitted by rodents include the Hantavirus, Lassa Fever, Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Plague, and a long list of other terrifying ailments according to the CDC. These viruses are mainly transmitted in the rodents droppings and when rodents contaminate food or water sources. At Hilltop Village, the code enforcement officials have been issuing fines but little else. With families having nowhere else to turn, parents face the agonizing choice of unsafe living conditions or homelessness.

 

When Property Negligence Leads to Injury, We Take the Case

Injuries around a property can be severe, and sometimes lead to tragic deaths. Property negligence means that the owner knew or should have known about an unsafe condition on their property and did nothing about it. If you’re living in an apartment or renting a home, your landlord has an obligation to provide a safe living environment. Finding dangers like mold in the AC unit, infestations and even the pesticides used to treat them, lead paint, or the presence of harmful gasses all present real health hazards to anyone occupying the space.  

 

Don’t Feel Safe in Your Own Home? Talk to an Attorney Now.

When your landlord didn’t do what they were supposed to do to keep you and your family safe it’s time to fight for the remedies available to you under the law. We have the investigators and building code experts to look at the situation at the property that led to your injury and can make sure that those responsible are held accountable. Contact Farah & Farah for a free consultation regarding your case, it’s just a quick conversation to cover all your options and next steps we can take.