By Rafael Aquino

Published October 3, 2019  


The article written by the Herald brings to light the abuse that is occurring with Transfer fees. However, the facts are the facts; the statute states you can only charge $100, so that’s what needs to be charged. In no way am I agreeing that the fee is adequate to cover expenses; however, since the cost is delineated in the law, it should be strictly followed.


Why are associations crossing the line with these fees? 

Simple answer… to generate an additional income stream for the association. Are they going about it the right way, NO they are not; however, they are just following the trend we see in society (pay per use.) Most tenants don't treat the property with the same care that an owner does, thus causing more operational/maintenance cost to the building. Add to that the Airbnb issues most buildings are dealing with and the maintenance cost compound. Boards are trying to compensate for that abuse and charging it to the suspected abuser rather than owner/investor. It doesn’t justify the action, but, we need to know where it is coming from to fix the problem.  


Cost associatied to process applications. 

In 1990 minium wage in Florida was $3.80 and in 2019 minimum wage is $8.46. That’s a 220% increase over the past twenty-nine years. We are overdue for an overhaul in the fee's that are permitted to be charged. While technology has allowed us to streamline the application process and capture the information needed efficiently, a human factor still exists within the application process and must be accounted. 


Further, they need to eliminate the provision, which allows for married couples to pay a single fee. A background search needs to be completed for each individual, and the cost associated does not get reduced because a couple is married. Also, the statute should permit an increased amount for foreigners because those background searches are costly. The cost associated is much more than the current application fee. 


How about HOA's? 

Because FS720 doesn't make mentions of what could be charged, it's like the wild wild west for you all; hopefully, you do what most professionals do and guide yourself by FS718. Probably, one day we will see both FS718 & FS720 mirror each other (I'm a hopeful person) however I won't hold my breath. 


What now?

For now, I recommend Boards to review your current pricing structure to confirm you are charging what the law permits. If your management company is charging the fee directly to the tenant/new owner, assure it's what the law allows. If you aren't sure where you stand, contact your attorney and have them prepare an opinion for your Board. 

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As the Co-Founder and CEO of Affinity Management Services, Rafael P. Aquino leads his team to redefine excellence. They serve community   associations   efficiently

and effectively with dedication and passion. Rafael’s energy and positive spirit is the foundation of Affinity Management Services’ company culture, which instills enthusiasm and excitement when providing expert advice to its board members and relieving the day-to-day burdens of running a community association.


Since 2007, Rafael has developed a work culture that values responsive and high-quality services. He has led his team by following a proactive vs reactive philosophy. The same approach Rafael instills in the day to day operations of each association. Today, Affinity Management Services maintains its success and benefits as a result of the foundation Rafael has built and continues to foster by providing educational seminars, continuing education classes for association managers and board members alike.

Rafael and his team help condominium and homeowners’ associations save money and improve their communities. His calm, personable, and service-oriented nature helps him to establish strong relationships with ease. Rafael is known as a sincere and honest leader who looks out for the best interests of his clients and communities, and he strongly advocates for their needs. His role requires coordination and communication, as such he takes logical and intelligent steps to approach challenges head-on.

As a graduate of Florida International University’s electrical engineering program and a licensed community association manager, Rafael’s education and skills equip him with unique insights to tackle complex problems through critical thinking. He understands how each component within a system works together in order to effectively arrive at solutions, techniques, and conclusions. Therefore, as he manages the multiple challenges of running a community association management company, he understands how each property is its own unique system and tailors’ specific services to assure that all their needs are met.

For more information about Rafael P. Aquino and Affinity Management Services please visit www.ManagedByAffinity.com or call 1-800-977-6279

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Suite 200

Doral, FL 33166

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