South Florida condo owners can’t get roof fixed due to cellular service antennas

(WSVN) - It was a deal meant to bring in much-needed money to a Miami-Dade condo building, so why are homeowners now furious? Kevin Ozebek has tonight’s 7 Investigates.

Summer in South Florida can bring intense storms, and for some owners in this condo building, when it rains, water can come right into their homes.

Johanna Miranda: “The roof keeps leaking, and when it rains really bad, it’s even worse.”

Residents at the Visions at Fontainebleau condos say their roof needs to be replaced.

Johanna Miranda, condo owner: “So, we have tried to get it fixed, but nobody wants to get on that job.”

The problem: big cell service antennas are mounted at the corners of the roof with this control unit in the center.

Roof repair crews are afraid to get near them.

Johanna Miranda: “They came, they did an estimate, and when they saw the antennas, they refused to do the work.”

These are warnings posted right next to the roof entrance.

The yellow sign says to “use personal radiofrequency monitors” and to “maintain 3 feet clearance from antennas.”

The white one warns that radio frequency levels “may exceed FCC safety limits for exposure.”

Even though the FCC says “exposures exceeding the guidelines … are only likely to be encountered very close to, and directly in front of, the antennas,” roofers don’t want to take the job, and the damage is only getting worse.

Emilio Pardo, condo association president: “The leaking, the continual leaking, the cracking, it’s very bad. It’s very bad.”

Emilio believes the building needs to get rid of the antennas, so he wanted to see the original deal, but the board has changed so many times since the antennas were installed in 2014, the details were hard to find.

But when Emilio did locate them…

Emilio Pardo: “Wow! Twenty-five years! It’s too much.”

Former board members leased roof space to a cell company in a deal that automatically renews every five years until 2039.

In exchange, the association received a one-time payment of $4,500 plus monthly rent of $1,800.

Johanna Miranda: “There were no meetings, or at least they weren’t advised that it was going to be discussed.”

According to Johanna Miranda, there was no debate and no discussion before everything was installed.

Johanna Miranda: “Just one or two people from the association that worked on this.”

7News reached out to the former board president who signed the lease. She has not returned our message.

Residents say the income from the antennas do not help if they can’t get the roof fixed.

Johanna Miranda: “The main goal is for them to remove the antennas, and then, from there, everything can start getting repaired.”

If the antennas cannot be removed, residents say they still have to find a roofing company willing to work around them. In the meantime, there may be more trouble ahead because they have learned the antennas are set to be replaced with new ones.

CONTACT 7INVESTIGATES:
305-627-CLUE
954-921-CLUE
clue@wsvn.com

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