Florida Legislature Reins in Condominium and HOA Estoppel Fees

As a part of the sale of any HOA controlled home, or a condominium unit, title insurers and closing agents require estoppel certificates indicating the amount owed, if any, to the HOA/Condo Association so that the appropriate prorations are made, and so that HOA/Association liens are cleared upon closing by the closing agent. Until now there has been no set rate charged by an association for these estoppel certificates.

An estoppel certificate provides a snapshot of the fees or assessments that a seller may owe to their community association and is provided by the association or management company when a property is being sold.

Prior to this legislation, Florida law allowed associations to charge a “reasonable” fee to prepare an estoppel certificate, but without any context on what the word reasonable means, some association management companies were charging very unreasonable fees, and such fees were often grossly disproportionate to the overall sales prices –especially in distressed condominium communities.

The Florida Legislature has passed HB 483/SB 398 to cap the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments, and allows for an additional $100 fee for “expedited” estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days), and another $150 fee for owners who are delinquent in their assessments. This is a maximum of $500 for an expedited, delinquent estoppel certificate.

Once the bill is signed into law, it will take effect July 1, 2017.

Portions of this Artcle Sourced from: Legislature passes estoppel certificate fee reform, http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=351440, April 28, 2017.

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