New Condominium, Homeowners, and Cooperative Association Law
By: Jonathan Innes, Esq., Barry L. Miller, P.A. Offices Orlando
Effective July 1, 2017, new rules govern condominium, homeowners and cooperative associations in how they must receive and respond to requests for estoppel certificates.
Associations will now have a cap on their fees for generating an estoppel certificate. The fee shall now only be $250.00 for certificates after July 1, 2017 and this may only be adjusted every 5 years in accordance of the Consumer Price Index. Nonetheless, associations may charge an additional $100.00 for an expediting fee (defined as a request for the certificate to be issued in 3 business days or less) and, if the account is delinquent, the association may charge an additional $150.00. As such, the maximum an association may now charge for an expedited, delinquent account would be just $500.00.
The association must now issue an estoppel certificate within 10 business days after receiving a request. If the estoppel certificate is not issued within that time frame, then the association may not charge a fee for its generation.
The estoppel certificate will have a 30 day effective date (or 35 days if sent by regular mail). and must be delivered by hand, mail or e-mail on the date the certificate is issued. No longer will sellers be restricted to short time frames to coordinate the closing. If additional information or a mistake is discovered within that time period, then the association may either issue an amended estoppel certificate without an additional fee or the association will waive its right to collect any addition amounts due and owing above the stated amount in the original estoppel certificate. This will prevent subsequent charges by the association not to be disclosed prior to closing. Additionally, title agents will always be able to seek reimbursement for advanced estoppel fees when a closing has been a canceled, and be able to collect damages, attorney fees and costs to enforce the right.
The content of the estoppel certificate will now be governed by statute to uniform the association certificates and to disclose information to the closing parties. The required information includes association general information about the owner and unit, name and contact information of the attorney if the account has been turned over to an attorney for collection (no fee may be charged for this information), assessment information of how much and when installments are paid, list of all assessments, special assessments and other money owed by the owner, and other information relating to capital contributions, required approvals to transfer a home or unit, and insurance information. With this information that must be included in a certificate, owners will be able to be assured of the facts that pertain to their property within the association.
If an association has a website, then the website must contain the name and the street address or e-mail address of the person to whom requests for estoppel certificates are to be sent. No longer will one have to hunt down the relevant information for these associations.
Barry Miller Law is acutely familiar HOA and COA Law. If you, or someone you know, has legal questions concerning real estate, call Barry Miller Law at 407-423-1700, or email us at [email protected] to schedule free consultation to evaluate your rights and options.