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Condominium and Homeowners Association Estoppel Certificates

By: Nishad Khan, Nishad Khan P.L., Orlando, Florida

Condominium and homeowners association estoppel certificates have been a popular topic in Tallahassee for the last couple of years and it appears that this year we will have revised requirements under SB 398. The Bill and its companion have been approved by the house and senate and are headed to the Governor’s desk.

For those less familiar, an estoppel certificate is a statement that the association issues as to any amounts due and owing to the association on a property before the closing on a property. In the past, the estoppel has included any maintenance assessments due and unpaid, any special assessments due and unpaid, as well as any costs of collection for delinquent amounts. The certificate was required to be provided within 15 days of receiving the request and allows the association, or its management company, to charge a “reasonable fee” for the preparation of the certificate.

If the Governor signs the Bill into law, the association will have 10 business days after receiving the request (electronically or written) to provide a certificate with:

  • Date of Issuance;
  • Name of the owner of the property;
  • The property designation and address;
  • Any assigned parking or garage space;
  • Contact information for the association’s counsel if the account is in collection;
  • The amount of the fee for preparation of the estoppel; and
  • The name of the person/entity requesting the information.

The Certificate will also require:

  • The frequency (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) of assessments and amount;
  • The date the account is paid through;
  • The date due and amount of the next assessment;
  • Itemized list of any amounts currently due; and
  • An itemization of the amounts to become due while the certificate is pending;  
  • Disclosure the existence and amount of any capital contribution fee;
  • If there are any open violations on the property;
  • If the governing documents require the buyer to be approved and if so, whether the buyer has been approved;
  • If the association has a right of first refusal;
  • A list of and contact information for any other associations governing the property;
  • Contact information for insurance verification; and
  • Contain the signature of an officer or authorized association agent (management, etc.).

The Certificate will be effective for a minimum of 30 days.  The new law will also limit the fee charged for a typical estoppel cannot exceed $250.00, but additional fees may apply if there is an expedited request, the account is delinquent or the request is for multiple properties.  This fee must be included in a Board resolution or contract with the management company and if the transaction does not close and a third party paid the fee, the association must return the fee to the third party and the fee should be charged to the owner of the property. Alternatively, if the association does not provide the Certificate within 10 days, they cannot charge for the Certificate.

If SB 398 is signed, this law will help get Certificates faster and will limit the costs associated with the Estoppel Certificates, as many horror stories listed fees for current owners in the thousands of dollars.

The opinions of any particular author are not necessarily the opinions of Attorneys' Real Estate Councils of Florida any of the local Real Estate Councils or Attorneys’ Title Fund Services, LLC.