- September 15, 2022
- Thomas Adam
- Real Estate
If you are considering buying a property in Florida, you need to be aware of estoppel. “Estoppel” is a legal doctrine that can protect the buyer in a real estate transaction. An estoppel certificate informs the buyer of ongoing assessments and violations at the property. So, as a buyer, you may request an estoppel certificate to certify the property’s ongoing assessments and violations. If you buy a property with an estoppel certificate and later learn that there are still violations, you can sue the seller for damages.
How Can You Get an Estoppel Letter or Certificate in Florida?
Estoppel letters and certificates are issued by a homeowners’ association (HOA). It will provide you with all the important information about the property you want to buy, such as the HOA’s governing documents, membership requirements, and any special assessments or liens in place on the property that you intend to purchase. The estoppel documents will also provide buyers with important information about whether or not the property complies with the HOA’s rules and regulations.
To obtain an estoppel letter or certificate, buyers should contact the HOA directly. The organization will likely provide you with all pertinent information regarding the property, including any previous violations that may have occurred. Details like the prohibition of pets from being kept on the property will also be revealed to you.
Practical Examples of Estoppel Being Applicable in a Real Estate Transaction
There are several situations in which estoppel may be applicable in a real estate transaction.
- One example is when you have to oppose the sale because you had been misled into believing something about the property that was not true. In this situation, you can pull back on the deal, without penalty, because you relied on false information.
- Another example of when estoppel may apply is when one party closes on a purchase only to find out later that information about the property was misrepresented. If this party had relied on this false information to decide to buy the property, then he or she may have grounds to revoke the contract and sue for damages.
When is a Person With an Estoppel Barred From Making a Claim in Court?
Generally speaking, if you do not get what you expected, you can sue based on that expectation. However, in Florida, certain events can prevent a person from asserting their rights in court.
These include when the person has waived their right to assert their rights, when the claim is barred by the statute of limitations, or when the person cannot demonstrate a breach of contract.
How to Use Estoppel in Your Real Estate Transactions
As you can see, estoppel letters and certificates are important tools for buyers who want to ensure that they are making a safe investment. By knowing about potential violations on a property before making a purchase, buyers can make informed decisions about their purchase.
However, it is always recommended to speak to an attorney at our firm about your specific situation to see if using estoppel is the right move for you. Our attorneys can help draft documents that ensure you are not waiving your rights, and also ensure that you are getting 100% of what you like, and what you want.