Surcharge, Bills & Witness Addresses

Hello Members!

This year has gotten off to a busy start, primarily because of the early legislative session.  Sorry for the delay in getting something out to you in 2024!  Here are some things that are top of mind to me right now.

DFS Administrative Surcharge.  If you operate through a title agency, don't forget to pay your administrative surcharge of $200 to the Florida Department of Financial Services on or before Jan. 30, 2024. You should get a "courtesy email" reminder in early January from DFS. To ensure you receive follow-up emails, please log in to the MyProfile account for your title agency and make sure the correct email address is on file. DFS also recommends you do the same for your individual MyProfile account. Demographic changes made to an agency's profile do not populate the profiles of licensees associated with the agency Payments must be made online as DFS does not accept checks.

Legislative update: There are soooooo many bills filed that need to be reviewed to make sure there aren't some hidden "gotchas." It's early in the session so most of these will not move on in the process….. but you never know which ones will make it through so you have to pay attention to them all. Two of the bills that are getting my attention are:

  • Estoppel certificate fee bill - eliminates the fee completely (in its current wording but likely to be amended).
  • Notary bill - increases penalties for notaries not following identification requirements; requires a notary journal; requires witness names in the notarial certificates (I really don't like this last piece.)

There are dozens of others. Lots of bills have been filed amending condo and HOA processes and procedures that will likely be of interest to many of you even if they don't affect title. Let me know if you want more info.

As always, thank you for your support of our efforts to advocate for you and the industry in Tallahassee. More information about how you can help is coming soon.

Reminder re witness address requirement: Effective January 1, 2024, Section 695.26, F.S. (Requirements for Recording Instruments affecting Real Property) was modified to require that for each witness, their post office address must appear legibly beneath their signature. So, in order to record a deed, in addition to the each witness’ name being legibly printed, typed or stamped, now, so too must be the witness’ address. While the statute largely relates to conveyancing documents, if you endeavor to record other documents and include witnesses to the execution of the document, it is advisable to include the legible name of each witness and the witness’ address. If not, you may receive an objection from the clerk and a denial of the recording. Some clerks have helpful publications about this so you may want to inquire of the clerks with whom you do the most business to see if they have any additional information.

That's all for this week. Let me know how we can help you.


Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel