Wanted: Homes for Free Inspection

Metal Storm Shutters
CLEARWATER -

At its zenith, the My Safe Florida Home program had a backlog of 53,000 homeowners waiting for free wind inspections. The list seemed almost insurmountable.

But, 11 wind inspection firms, certified by the state, cleared the backlog by Mid-June. Skip Owens is president of Florida Real Property Administrators, one of the certified firms.

'Now we've got a new problem,' says Owens. 'All those inspections we had to do, they're done. The reports are going out. But, new applications are not coming up.'

The state says it now can handle up to 10,000 calls a week. Yet, fewer than 20,000 homeowners have applied over the last two months despite lawmakers expanding eligibility to include all single-family, site-built homes in the state.

The program offers three benefits. Homeowners get a free inspection report detailing where to make improvements. All applicants in the next 90 days will receive a state generated form for insurance companies and possible premium reductions. And, the state is offering matching money to some homes to pay for hurricane hardening.

The problem now is getting homeowners to sign up for the free inspections.

A study by the University of Florida estimates that more than 70 percent of Florida's houses could be vulnerable because they were built before stronger hurricane codes were enacted.



To access the My Safe Florida Home web site click here.

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