I received a great e-mail from a fan of this blog this week:

Hi, Eric:
I listen to your radio show almost every Sunday and really enjoy it. Today I read your blog about how hard it is to get board members and I couldn’t agree more. I was thinking the same thing. Why would anyone want to serve on the board? I am a full-time Realtor but I also hold an active CAM license. Since I am a CAM and keep up with what’s going on with condos and HOAs, I often question some of the things I see management companies doing.
I have a closing coming up and I’m looking at the estoppel from a large nationwide management company and they are charging the Buyer $150 as a “Change of Records Fee” in addition to $299 for the estoppel. I know that the estoppel fees went up to $299 (the “no rush” fee) but is it kosher for them to charge a $150 “Change of Records Fee”?
Another closing I had recently, the management company was charging a “Delinquency” fee of $170 on a past due amount of $25. When I questioned them about it, I was told, that “we charge that to everyone who owes any amount for over 60 days”. Really? A $170 late fee on $25? You can’t do that. I checked Chapter 720 to make sure and went back to the management company so many times protesting the $170, citing Chapter 720, that finally they finally agreed to waive it, just to shut me up. It wasn’t so much the money. The Seller would have paid it, not being any the wiser. It was just that I was incensed that the management company thought they could get away with charging whatever they wanted. I just wonder how many Buyers or Sellers, whose agents are not aware of the law, let things like this slide.

You are doing a great job educating CAMs and board members. I think Realtors and management companies need more education too. I could go on and on with experiences I’ve had with condo and HOA management companies but this is all for now.

Thanks Eric for all you do. There is a special place in heaven for you!
Best regards,

Let’s set the record straight. For condos, the statute reads:


FS 720.30851(6) An association or its authorized agent may charge a reasonable fee for the preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate, which may not exceed $250, if, on the date the certificate is issued, no delinquent amounts are owed to the association for the applicable parcel. If an estoppel certificate is requested on an expedited basis and delivered within 3 business days after the request, the association may charge an additional fee of $100. If a delinquent amount is owed to the association for the applicable parcel, an additional fee for the estoppel certificate may not exceed $150.

(8) The authority to charge a fee for the preparation and delivery of the estoppel certificate must be established by a written resolution adopted by the board or provided by a written management bookkeeping, or maintenance contract and is payable upon the preparation of the certificate.

One hint for condos —— don’t even think about charging a capital contribution fee. A federal court has already ruled that condos can only charge a “transfer fee” as allowed by Florida Statute 718.112 which currently reads:

An association may not charge a fee in connection with the sale, mortgage, lease, sublease, or other transfer of a unit unless the association is required to approve such transfer and a fee for such approval is provided for in the declaration, articles, or bylaws. Any such fee may be preset but may not exceed $150 per applicant.

So why can’t the above statutes simply be followed as Ruth asks?

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