If you’re buying a home in Florida that is attached to a Homeowners Association (HOA), which is most houses these days, there’s one piece of documentation you need to get before purchasing: an estoppel letter.
In short, the estoppel letter documents all fees and responsibilities attached to the home under the HOA’s power – responsibilities you will take on if you close the deal. Some homes may even fall under multiple HOAs and similar groups, all with their own demands.
So let’s talk about what is found in an estoppel letter, and the importance of requesting them.
What’s In an Estoppel Letter?
The contents of estoppel letters are dictated by Florida law and should be standardized across the board. This includes:
- Identifying information, including the land’s designation and address, related garage/parking space, and contact information for the HOA or its representatives. It will also include basic bureaucratic data such as the date of issuance.
- Assessment information, including full information about required fees, assessments, and due dates, as well as how often the assessments are conducted. These will be itemized and listed individually
- Other information, such as any previous fees that are left unpaid (and you will have to pay), notices of any ways the property breaks the HOA’s rules, and information on the HOA’s internal process for reviewing and approving sales or trades.
To be clear, you will become responsible for everything in the estoppel letter, should you complete the purchase. That includes past fees and responsibility for fixing any issues with the home which may break HOA policies.
How Much Does an Estoppel Letter Cost?
This is also dictated under Florida law. As of writing (Oct 2023), there are three fee restrictions:
- The basic estoppel letter cannot exceed $250
- An expedited processing fee cannot exceed $100
- Any delinquency fees cannot exceed $150
How Long is an Estoppel Letter Valid For?
Once requested, an estoppel letter must be delivered within 10 business days unless otherwise explicitly agreed to in writing. If the HOA fails to deliver in the agreed timeframe, the fees may be refunded.
After the letter is transmitted, it is considered valid for 30 days if it’s sent electronically, or 35 days if delivered by mail or other physical means.
Past that period, the HOA could potentially update or change their policies, and you would have to request another estoppel letter. So it’s important to coordinate with the involved real estate agents to complete the deal within a month if you choose to proceed.
Real Res Simplifies the Estoppel Letter Process
We are your valued partners in streamlining and simplifying real estate deals across Florida! If you’re buying land that is controlled by one or more HOAs, we will identify all relevant parties and quickly obtain all necessary estoppel letters. This helps ensure you know exactly what you’re getting when buying within an HOA.