As we all know, Condominium Association and Homeowner Association Estoppel Certificates are required for real estate closings when the subject property is part of one or more associations. A well-prepared Estoppel Certificate should inform the parties of the following critical information:
- the amount of the current association assessments and when the assessments are due and payable to the association;
- if the seller is current on assessments or if any assessments have been prepaid or are delinquent for proration purposes;
- if any special assessments have been approved and if so when the special assessments are due and payable to the association;
- if the buyer has been approved by the association;
- if any existing rule violations exist;
- if the association maintains a right of first refusal or other purchase approval rights; and
- if any limited common elements (i.e. parking space, storage unit, dock slip, etc.) are appurtenant to the property.
For years, Florida Statutes have been murky at best with respect to what information must be included in the Estoppel Certificate. So often times, the estoppel provided by the association did not include some of this critical information. Additionally, Florida Statutes do not currently limit the amount the Association may charge for the preparation of the Estoppel Certificate (a cost typically paid by the seller, which could range from $100 to over a $1,000 dollars in some cases).
Well good news appears to be on the way! On April 28th, 2017 House Bill 483 (H.B. 483) and Senate Bill 398 (S.B. 398) were passed by the Florida legislature. As of now, H.B. 483 and its companion S.B. 398 will become new law unless Governor Scott decides to exercise his Veto power, which seems extremely unlikely at this point.
Significantly, the new legislation will cap Estoppel Certificate fees, promulgate a form Estoppel Certificate that will require an association to provide mandatory information, and set deadlines for associations to provide the completed Estoppel Certificate to the parties. A summary of the new legislation is as follows:
- requires new information that must be provided by the Association to prospective purchasers;
- Estoppel Certificate fees may not exceed $250.00 if no delinquent amount is owed (an additional fee of $150.00 may be charged if a delinquent amount is owed to the Association);
- the rush Estoppel Certificate request fee is capped at $100.00;
- fees may still be charged upon request, but Associations may be required to issue reimbursements if the property is not sold;
- the Estoppel Certificate must be provided within 10 days and no fee may be charged by the Association if the Estoppel Certificate is received after the 10 day period;
- no fees may be charged for amended Estoppel Certificates; and
- Estoppel Certificates must be valid for 30 days.
Once signed into law by Governor Scott, these statutory requirements will go a long way to improve real estate transactions by reducing fees, mandating timeliness, and requiring the disclosure of all of the information that closing agents need to complete your closings timely. As always, should you have any questions regarding H.B. 483 and its companion S.B. 398 we recommend you contact your real estate attorney.
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by Will McComb, Esq. email@example.com
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