Surfside mayor: Tenants must leave his building for repairs

MIAMI (AP) — A Miami Beach apartment building owned by the mayor of the Florida town where a condominium collapsed in June has given his tenants 45 days to vacate the building so extensive repairs can be completed.

The lease termination letter from Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said they’ve been waiting for the city of Miami Beach to issue permits to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. He said he hopes the final permit will be issued imminently so work can be completed to the front of the building as well as the elevator.

“We regret that this work will create potentially dangerous conditions for residents,” Burkett’s letter said.

In addition, he said the Lois Apartments will also undergo the required 40-year inspection early, due to the Champlain Towers South collapse. That building was in the midst of repairs found during a 40-year inspection when it suddenly collapsed in the middle of the night, drawing new scrutiny of the structural integrity of buildings throughout the region .

Burkett informed tenants they will need to leave by Oct. 24. But they can return to the building once the renovations are completed in several months.

“For tenants who have paid their rent on time and who have not damaged their unit, any unused rent will be refunded as will your full security deposit,” the email said.

Meanwhile, in court Friday, a judge was told that many personal belongings such as jewelry and photos cannot be recovered from the Champlain Towers collapse.

“A vast majority of the personal property is completely destroyed,” said Michael Goldberg, an attorney appointed as receiver to handle the Champlain Towers’ finances. Many of the 17 safes found at the site, he added, “are cracked open like an egg.”

Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman asked at a hearing that officials find a way to allow victims and family members to inspect what has been recovered to locate any belongings.

“These are everybody’s lives,” said survivor Sharon Schechter, who lived on the building’s 11th floor. “Anything and everything, if it can be given back to us, it should be.”