“I want you to be proceeding forward, with whatever needs to be done to monetize that property, so we can get money into the hands of these people,” Judge Hanzman said.
Brad Sohn, a lawyer representing at least one survivor of the collapse, said condo associations should be required to have far larger coverage for something as devastating as a collapse.
“When catastrophic events happen in Florida, there need to be firmer laws in place forcing people to be financially responsible, to have larger insurance policies so people are not left hanging out to dry,” Mr. Sohn said.
Susana Alvarez, 62, who escaped the building’s collapse and is living for now in a rental, said she worries that she will not be compensated for the $150,000 in renovations she put into her unit, including a new kitchen, floors and windows.
“It’s not about what I paid to own the apartment,” she said. “It’s about what it’s worth now.”
Mr. Rosenthal has a similar worry. When he first bought his 1,560-square-foot unit in 2001, hoping to spend the rest of his life there, he paid $250,000 for it; the unit’s reappraisal two years ago put its value at $650,000.
He would at least like to be able to pay off his mortgage, and with that in mind, he has joined one of several lawsuits against the building’s condo association. The survivors, he said, will look well beyond the building’s limited insurance policy, “suing anybody and everybody that’s involved.”
Rick Rojas, Mike Baker and Sophie Kasakove contributed reporting.