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What Is an Association Estoppel and What Needs to Be Included in It?

Are you getting questions about estoppel letters or certificates? It can be confusing! However, it’s important knowledge for anyone who manages an HOA or COA. Here’s what you need to know about association estoppels and what to include in one.

 

What Is an Estoppel Letter or Certificate?

 

Whenever a unit within your association is sold, an estoppel letter or certificate is likely to be a part of the closing process. This document states any fees or assessments that the seller owes to your association.

 

In an estoppel letter, you take the position that a certain amount of money is due for a unit. The title company and closing agent will rely on this for calculating closing adjustments and issuing title insurance. The estoppel letter holds you to that amount and prevents you, as an association, from later claiming that a different amount is due.

 

Put simply, the purpose of an estoppel letter is to facilitate the closing process and make sure that all assessments are paid up. Since Florida requires that buyers and sellers are jointly responsible for dues and assessments, this document allows for accurate prorated contributions between the buyer and seller.

 

What Does it Mean for Associations?

 

As an association, if you are asked to provide an estoppel letter or certificate, you’re obligated by statute to provide it within 10 working days. Any board member, authorized agent, or authorized representative of the association can provide this form on behalf of the association.

 

Accuracy is important when it comes to estoppel letters. You don’t want to make a mistake while rushing to get the estoppel certificate back to the title company. That being said, in most cases, sellers are current in their community association dues and assessments.

 

You can deliver the certificate by hand, email, or regular mail. Estoppel letters are effective for 30 to 35 days from the date of delivery depending on whether they are delivered electronically or by mail.

 

Charging for an Estoppel Letter

 

As of 2017, these are the limits placed on community associations for the preparation and delivery of estoppel certificates. The maximum amount associations can charge for non-delinquent accounts is $250, with an additional fee of up to $150 for delinquent accounts. If there’s a rush and you need to provide the certificate on an expedited basis, it is permissible to charge an additional fee of up to $100.

 

What to Include in an Estoppel Certificate

 

Here’s the full list of what you need to provide in an estoppel letter according to Florida statutes.

 

      • (a) Date of issuance:
      • (b) Name(s) of the parcel owner(s) as reflected in the books and records of the association:
      • (c) Parcel designation and address:
      • (d) Parking or garage space number, as reflected in the books and records of the association:
      • (e) 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.
      • (f) Fee for the preparation and delivery of the estoppel certificate:
      • (g) Name of the requestor:
      • (h) Assessment information and other information:

 

ASSESSMENT INFORMATION:

    1. The regular periodic assessment levied against the parcel is $  per ___
    2. The regular periodic assessment is paid through ___
    3. The next installment of the regular periodic assessment is due ___ in the amount of $ ___
    4. An itemized list of all assessments, special assessments, and other moneys owed on the date of issuance to the association by the parcel owner for a specific parcel is provided.
    5. An itemized list of any additional assessments, special assessments, and other moneys that are scheduled to become due for each day after the date of issuance for the effective period of the estoppel certificate is provided. In calculating the amounts that are scheduled to become due, the association may assume that any delinquent amounts will remain delinquent during the effective period of the estoppel certificate.

 

OTHER INFORMATION:

    1. Is there a capital contribution fee, resale fee, transfer fee, or other fee due? If yes, specify the type and amount of the fee.
    2. Is there any open violation of rule or regulation noticed to the parcel owner in the association official records?
    3. Do the rules and regulations of the association applicable to the parcel require approval by the board of directors of the association for the transfer of the parcel?  . If yes, has the board approved the transfer of the parcel?
    4. Is there a right of first refusal provided to the members or the association?  . If yes, have the members or the association exercised that right of first refusal?
    5. Provide a list of, and contact information for, all other associations of which the parcel is a member.
    6. Provide contact information for all insurance maintained by the association.
    7. Provide the signature of an officer or authorized agent of the association.

 

Why It’s Important to Get It Right

 

Title companies are motivated to get estoppel letters because if they’re unable to verify the assessments that may be due, the new condo owner will be liable for anything that is past due. They could then make a claim against the title insurance company. Additionally, estoppel is subject to regulations. Violating these can lead to problems for your association.

 

To make things easier, use a service like HomeWiseDocs that will take the burden of creating estoppels away from association management. With services like these, you won’t have to struggle to remember everything that needs to be included in the certificate.

 

Give LM Funding a call if you have any questions! We’d be happy to help you out.