Florida Apartment Building 'Structurally Unsound,' Residents Told to Leave

City officials in North Miami Beach, Florida told residents of the Bayview 60 Homes apartment complex Monday to evacuate after an inspection concluded the building was "structurally unsound."

The evacuation occurred before the building's 50-year recertification inspection, which Miami-Dade County requires every 10 years following its initial 40-year inspection, local news station WTVJ reported. Building resident Austin Harper told the Associated Press that the residents were given until Tuesday afternoon to vacate the building.

It appeared that officials in the Miami area were taking no risks after last year's devastating collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida. The collapse killed 98 people and sparked debate over how frequent building inspections should occur.

Miami-Dade County has been moving toward requiring the first major certification of a building after 30 years rather than 40, according to the AP. The Bayview 60 Homes complex was built in 1972. The property owner had been making repairs on the building since July in anticipation of the recertification inspection, according to WTVJ.

Florida Apartment Building Evacuated
City officials in North Miami Beach ordered residents of a five-story apartment building to evacuate after deeming the building "structurally unsound" during its 50-year recertification process. Above, moving vans and trucks are shown parked outside the Bayview 60 Homes apartment building, on April 5, 2022, in North Miami Beach, Florida. Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo

The building is expected to be torn down, Miami news station WFOR reported. The short notice put residents into a frenzy of packing their belongings as quickly as possible, with video from the apartment complex showing people quickly hauling couches and boxes into trucks and throwing other items into garbage bags.

The property owner told the news station that one of the engineers noticed "serious structural issues" while repairs were being made. North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey told the AP that an engineer found that the building's foundation was shifting, and the engineer told the property owner that the residents should leave as soon as possible.

Sorey added that the owner will return the residents' April rent and their security deposits within the next few days. Mayor Anthony DeFillipo told the AP that residents were given three-day hotel vouchers and that the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust and the American Red Cross would assist them in finding somewhere to stay.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Bayview 60 Homes said the apartment complex's management will "provide certain financial assistance" to residents and "do everything we can to help residents retrieve their belongings during this incredibly stressful time."

"This is a heartbreaking situation, but the safety of residents is the company's highest priority," the spokesperson said, adding that "we are very grateful to the city and for everyone's cooperation in helping us protect the safety of our community."

This is not the first time residents at a North Miami Beach apartment complex have been forced to evacuate. In July, a month after the Surfside collapse, the city ordered the evacuation and closure of the Crestview Towers condominium building after an engineer's report from six months before indicated that the building was "unsafe."

The Surfside collapse caused a series of lawsuits, both due to loss of life and loss of property. Those who lost their homes and belongings in the collapse could receive a collective $83 million in a tentative settlement reached in February. The Miami Herald reported last month that this settlement has received preliminary approval from the judge that oversees lawsuits related to the collapse, but some survivors plan to object because they do not feel it addresses the extent of what they have endured.

Update 4/7/22 11:45 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.