What Florida HOA Boards Need to Know About Estoppel Certificate Reform

Oct 31, 2017 - Blog by

Estoppel certificates are the mechanisms by which prospective buyers of property or units in a Florida common interest community find out about the costs, assessments, and other information regarding their obligations as members of the community.  As of July 1, 2017, Florida law regarding estoppel certificates changed significantly, and condominium, homeowners’ and other common interest community boards need to ensure that they are abiding by these new requirements when issuing these documents.

 

The Florida HOA/COA Estoppel Certificate Reform bill – SB 398 – was signed into law on June 14, 2017. The new law mandates that boards provide significantly more information than they did under prior law, among other changes.

An association must respond to a request for an estoppel certificate within 10 business days. The period was 15 days under prior law. Each association must also designate a person or entity with a street or email address to accept requests for estoppel certificates and publish that information on the association’s website.

The law also specifies the charges that an association can levy for preparation and delivery of certificates. For owners that are current on their assessments, fees are capped at $250. Delinquent owners can be charged up to an additional $150, and a charge of up to $100 can be added for any rush request that needs to be delivered with three days.

Every Florida estoppel certificate must now contain all of the following information:

  • Date of issuance.
  • Name(s) of the unit or parcel owner(s) as reflected in the books and records of the association.
  • Unit or parcel designation and address.
  • Parking or garage space number, as reflected in the books and records of the association.
  • Attorney’s name and contact information if the account is delinquent and has been turned over to an attorney for collection. No fee may be charged for this information.
  • Fee for the preparation and delivery of the estoppel certificate.
  • Name of the requestor.
  • “Assessment Information,” including the amount of regular periodic assessments levied against the unit or parcel, the date the regular periodic assessment is paid through, and the date the next installment of the regular periodic assessment is due.
  • An itemized list of all assessments, special assessments, and other monies owed on the date of issuance to the association by the owner for a specific unit or parcel.
  • An itemized list of any additional assessments, special assessments, and other funds that are scheduled to become due for each day after the date of issuance for the effective period of the estoppel certificate is provided.
  • A statement as to whether the association requires approval by the board of directors for the transfer of the unit or property and whether that approval has been given. The certificate must also state if there is a right of first refusal provided to the members or the association, and if the members or the association have exercised that right.
  • Contact information for all other associations of which the unit or property is a member as well as contact information for all insurance maintained by the association.

It is important that association boards modify and update their estoppel certificate forms to include all of the foregoing information and otherwise comply with the law’s requirements. An experienced Destin community association lawyer can assist you with this process.

At McDonald Fleming Moorhead, our condo and community association lawyers provide seasoned representation for all forms of common ownership property throughout northwest Florida. This includes condominium associations, cooperative associations, commercial condominium associations, mobile park associations, and homeowners’ association attorneys. 

To speak with an experienced Destin condominium lawyer at McDonald Fleming Moorhead about the new estoppel certificate changes or regarding any other issues or concerns, please call our downtown Pensacola office at (850) 477-0660 or tell us about your needs online.