While codes have continued to advance earthquake safe building, there are still a vast number of older buildings that fall far short of safe. Worst among them are the so called “soft” story buildings – the kind with the garage underneath and one side of the entire parking floor open to allow automobile access.
If you will remember the Northridge earthquake, these buildings came down like a stack of Jenga blocks, flattening cars and anything else underneath them. Insurance companies won’t insure them, which leaves owners open to huge law suits in the event that a quake does happen and renters are injured, or worse. While it may seem expensive to upgrade these properties, it’s nothing compared to what an owner stands to lose. It also makes the property insurable, more salable and more valuable. So there is every reason to upgrade now when the cost of this type of upgrade is lower than it’s been in years.
This is something we at Peter Erdelyi & Associates have been advocating for years and we will work with owners to structure a plan that makes it easy for them — including doing the upgrade at cost with the balance paid with a post upgrade refi. If you own one of these buildings, or know of someone who does, please contact us.
Re-posted from our newsletter originally sent on 12/21/2012