Miami-Dade County condominium owners facing special assessment payments for structural repairs to their building can seek help through the county’s newly launched loan program.
The program allows owners earning less than the area median income — which is $95,620 for singles and $109,200 for couples — to qualify for a zero percent interest rate loan of up to $50,000 to pay for special assessments associated with repairs as a result of building recertification requirements.
The loan program was one of several items passed by the Miami-Dade County Commission in the past year to address housing and affordability.
At a town hall in Aventura last week, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the collapse of Champlain Towers South in 2021 was only part of the reason for the program. “Unfortunately, it’s a tragedy that brings these things to bear and then we react and then we do something to try to prevent future tragedies,” Levine Cava said.
Condo owners would have 40 years to pay the loan back with a zero percent interest rate. The loan program has been allocated $9 million.
Owners whose cash assets exceed $50,000 must put down up to 10% of the loan amount. Should the owner sell the condo or it is no longer their primary residence before the loan is paid in full, the balance becomes due.
Some residents at the town hall questioned how feasible the program will be if only $9 million has been allocated.
“Assuming that the average condominium has about 300 unit owners in it, 300 times say $30,000 is $9 million. It could easily get wiped out with just one building applying for this loan,” Aventura resident Stuart Kalishman said at the meeting. There are 6,000 condo communities in the county, officials said.
“I think $9 million is just a drop in the bucket,” he told the Herald after the meeting.
Levine Cava said the program did not have a deadline and that she is open to allocating additional funds.
“It’s something that we anticipate continuing,” she said, adding there is an eligibility element and not everyone will qualify. “To me, the most important thing is for people to be able to stay in their homes.
“We do not want homes to be demolished and replaced with more expensive homes,” she continued. “We want people to be able to make the necessary repairs to safely stay in their homes. That’s a key part of affordability in a place that is becoming increasingly unaffordable.”
The full program requirements, including the application, can be reviewed on the county’s website.