2017 Legislative Update for Florida’s Community Association Laws: Part I

On July 1st, the 2017 amendments to the Florida Statutes affecting community associations became effective.  The 2017 legislative amendments to the Condominium Act and Homeowners Association Act are substantial.  This post is Part I in a blog series detailing these legislative amendments and focuses on changes to the law concerning estoppel certificates.

SB 398 has amended §§ 718.116, 719.108 and 720.30851, Florida Statutes, affecting condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners’ associations, respectively.  The following outlines the changes to estoppel certificate requirements for each of these associations:

  • The time for associations to respond to a written or electronic estoppel certificate request has been reduced from fifteen (15) days to the new deadline of ten (10) business days;
  • The fee which may be charged for preparation of an estoppel certificate is capped at a maximum of $250.00. If the estoppel certificate is requested on an expedited basis then an additional $100.00 may be charged so long as it is delivered within three (3) business days after the expedited request.  If there are delinquent amounts owed to the association from the subject unit, the association may charge an additional fee not to exceed $150.00;
  • No fee may be charged if the estoppel certificate is not provided within the ten (10) business-day deadline;
  • The Board of Directors must pass a resolution to establish the authority to charge a fee for the preparation and delivery of estoppel certificates;
  • An estoppel certificate sent via email or hand delivery has a thirty (30) day effective period. One that is sent via regular mail has a thirty-five (35) day effective period;
  • If additional information or a mistake related to the estoppel certificate becomes known to the association during the effective period, an amended estoppel certificate may be delivered and becomes effective if a sale or refinancing of the unit has not been completed during the effective period. A fee may not be charged for an amended estoppel certificate.  An amended estoppel certificate must be delivered on the date of issuance, and a new thirty (30) day or thirty-five (35) day effective period begins on such date;
  • A person who pays for the estoppel certificate may request a refund if the certificate is requested in conjunction with the sale or mortgage of a unit or parcel but the closing date does not occur. The request for the refund must be in writing and must occur no later than thirty (30) days after the closing date.  The refund must be provided within thirty (30) days after receipt of a written request;
  • The association must provide on its website the identity of the person or entity to which requests for estoppel certificates may be sent;
  • Establishes the information to be contained in, and the substantial form of, an estoppel certificate. The following information must now be included:  (1) date of issuance (it must be delivered on this date); (2) name of unit owner pursuant to the association’s records; (3) unit designation and address; (4) parking space or garage number pursuant to association records; (5) name and contact information for the association attorney if the account is delinquent; (6) the estoppel certificate fee; (7) name of the requestor; (8) hoa assessment information; (9) whether the Board of Directors has the authority to approve unit transfers and if there is a right of first refusal;
  • The estoppel certificate must also state whether there is a capital contribution fee, transfer fee or other fee due; if the unit is currently in violation of any association rules or restrictions; and if there are any other associations governing the property.

Please stay tuned for subsequent blog posts in this series that will address additional amendments to the community association statutes.

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