01 May Legislature passes estoppel certificate fee reform
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – April 28, 2017 – Florida Realtors scored a big legislative victory today following the passage of a bill that caps estoppel certificate fees, among other changes.
The passage of HB 483/SB 398, which will head to Gov. Scott for his signature, completes a multi-year effort by Florida Realtors to reign in the unreasonable fees that some association management companies have been charging for estoppel certificates.
“Congratulations to all of our members who have contributed their time and energy trying to fix this problem,” says Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors. “After several years of educating legislators and building support in both legislative chambers on the issue of estoppel certificate fees, we brought home a huge victory for home sellers.”
An estoppel certificate provides a snapshot of the fees or assessments that a seller may owe to their community association and is provided by the association or management company when a property is being sold. Prior to this legislation, Florida law allowed associations to charge a “reasonable” fee to prepare an estoppel certificate, but without any context on what the word reasonable means, some association management companies were charging very unreasonable fees.
HB 483/SB 398 cap the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. An additional $100 can be charged for “expedited” estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days), and another $150 can be charged for owners who are delinquent in their assessments. This is a maximum of $500 for an expedited, delinquent estoppel certificate.
Once signed into law, these statutory caps will go a long way to curb the extraordinary charges that property owners have been forced to pay across the state – like an estoppel letter that cost $1,610 on the sale of a property that was sold for $190,000.
HB 483/SB 398 also require certificates to be valid for 30 days and provide for a standard estoppel certificate form to ensure the same information is provided to owners across Florida.
HB 483 was sponsored by Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Naples). SB 398 was sponsored by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples).
Once the bill is signed into law, it will take effect July 1, 2017.
© 2017 Florida Realtors