Most of us in the real estate and title business are jumping for joy about these new provisions for estoppel certificates and this is why: it reigns in estoppel fees, tightens turnaround time, and requires the information on the estoppel be valid for 30 days!
Here are the major highlights about the new Florida HOA law:
- It clears up exactly what must be included in an estoppel certificate. This will hopefully standardize the request process and let association's know what they MUST provide, which has never been clearly accounted for in Florida law.
- Estoppel fees can't exceed $250.00 if no delinquent amount is owed.
- They can charge an extra $150.00 if a delinquent amount is owed to the Association. This is a huge change, because currently an association can charge pretty much whatever they want. It's not uncommon to see fees in the $600-$700 range.
- Estoppel rush fees can't exceed $100. Right now we typically see $200-$300 rush fees on top of the regular cost to provide the information.
- Associations have 10 days to get you the estoppel certificate and if they don't, they aren't allowed to charge a fee for it. Currently, they're supposed to have 15 days to get the information to the requestor, but there's no provision for enforcing this.
- Associations can't charge for amended certificates.
- They also waive the right to collect any money owed if it wasn't included on the estoppel.
- Information has to be good for 30 days. As it stands currently, an association can send the estoppel certificate and say it's only valid for 15 days -- it's all over the board.
You, as the professional you are, already know that when you're closing a property in an association, an estoppel certificate for each governing association is an essential part of due diligence. Whether you're outsourcing or doing this work in-house, it will make a big difference, especially in helping protect the buyer and keeping costs down.
We wrote about estoppels in our last post, if you want to read more. Check out 'How doing your own estoppels could cost you $1,000s.'