The years long legislative fight over estoppel certificates, documents used in residential property sales to certify no outstanding debts to condo or homeowner associations, could soon be put to rest after the House unanimously approved compromise legislation on the issue, sending the measure to the governor’s desk.
The bill (SB 398) reflects a consensus forged by the bill sponsors among the industry’s various stakeholders.
The bill caps fees for estoppel certificates at $250, with an allowable additional $100 fee for expedited certificates and an extra $150 for certificates for units with delinquent fees. It also requires more detailed information on estoppel certificates, and shortens the time period an association has to respond to a request from 15 to 10 days.
Another issue is the matter of refunds for estoppel certificates. Typically, it’s title agents who put up the money to pay for estoppel certificates, and then state law requires them to be reimbursed at closing. But title agents have complained they haven’t been reimbursed in many cases when a sale falls through.
To fix it, the bill steps up penalties for those who don’t provide the refund.
The bill previously passed the Senate in a 35-1 vote.
“This legislation will benefit Florida’s homeowners, associations, and taxpayers,” said Mark Anderson, executive director for Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies, in a statement. “We encourage Governor Rick Scott to sign this good bill.”
The governor has not yet indicated whether he will sign it.