Q: When a bank sends a request for an HOA to prepare an estoppel certificate in connection with a sale, may the HOA charge the client a fee?
A: Yes. Pursuant to Chapter 720.30851, Florida Statutes, the HOA may charge a fee. It must prepare the estoppel certificate within 15 days of the demand and may charge a fee for its preparation. However, the fee must be clearly marked on the certificate itself, and the authority to charge the fee should be established by a written resolution adopted by the association board or provided for by a written management, bookkeeping or maintenance contract.
Q: In the event a sale doesn’t close, am I still out the money I paid for an HOA to prepare the required estoppel certificate?
A: No. In accordance with Chapter 720.30851(3), Florida Statutes, if a sale doesn’t close, you should give written notice to the preparer of the estoppel certificate no later than 30 days after the closing date, along with reasonable documentation that the sale did not occur, and the seller is obligated to refund the money within 30 days after receipt of the request.
Q: I represent a buyer who is an amateur ham radio operator and wants to erect an antenna in the back yard. We’re finding that many homeowners’ associations restrict an owner’s ability to install antennas on their own property. Isn’t there a law that prohibits any restriction on the installation of antennas?
A: The telecommunications act of 1996 prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of certain types of antennas. Not all antennas are covered by the act, however, and private communities are allowed to have restrictions that apply to amateur antennas such as ham or CB.