By Rafael Aquino

Published January 17, 2024  


When discussing estoppel fees, it's crucial to recognize the often-overlooked challenges and responsibilities involved in producing estoppels. Preparing an estoppel certificate is not trivial; it involves meticulous work and significant liability. If an error occurs, the liability placed on the producer can be severe. This responsibility alone justifies a fee.


Moreover, the process entails collecting and verifying detailed information for the title company, which is time-consuming and intricate. Once a property closing occurs, the complexities don't end. Often, we find ourselves chasing the title company or new owner for the necessary information to complete the process.


Our team's role extends beyond producing an estoppel. We handle the crucial transition from old to new owners, involving updating accounting records, making necessary transfers, and archiving old owner information. Additionally, we're responsible for ordering coupons, preparing welcome packages, and other tasks that ensure a smooth transition for new homeowners. These efforts require resources, time, and expertise, all covered by the estoppel fees.


It is surprising, and perhaps disconcerting, how legislators and opponents have assumed the authority to dictate what a business can charge for its services. This stance contradicts the fundamental values of free enterprise and market dynamics that our country cherishes.


Our industry has consistently adapted to legislators' changing demands and regulations. We've engaged in extensive dialogue to explain the rationale behind our fees and have conformed to numerous changes over the years. However, there comes a point where we must stand firm and say, "Enough is Enough."


It's essential to question the actual beneficiaries of the proposed legislation to eliminate estoppel fees. Could our legislators have a personal or business interest in seeing these fees removed?   Are homeowners genuinely clamoring against these fees? The reality is that homeowners are more vocally concerned about the more pressing issues like skyrocketing insurance costs and general cost increases. By imposing restrictions on estoppel fees, we are not alleviating any significant burden from homeowners. Instead, we're shifting the financial load elsewhere and having homeowners pay for a fee that's the responsibility of a new owner.


Eliminating these fees won't make the associated tasks disappear. They still need to be done, and the costs must be covered somehow. This will lead to increased association fees or other indirect costs to homeowners. Far from providing relief, such legislative measures might add another layer of financial burden or, should I say, an additional TAX on homeowners already struggling with various expenses.


In conclusion, homeowners must weigh the implications of the proposed legislation on estoppel fees. If you believe the industry should absorb additional costs, leading to increased association fees or indirect charges, reaching out to your legislators to support this bill might align with your views. However, if you recognize that more pressing issues are at hand—like soaring insurance costs, mandatory SIRs, and other imminent concerns—then it's crucial to make your voice heard. Contact your legislators and urge them to prioritize these matters, which have greater significance and impact on your financial well-being. Remember, legislative efforts should focus on addressing the most substantial challenges first, ensuring that efforts and resources are directed towards areas that genuinely need attention and reform. The question is not just about estoppel fees; it's about prioritizing the right battles for the greater good of homeowners and the community at large.

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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 or call 1-800-977-6279

Doral Office: 8200 NW 41st ST

Suite 200

Doral, FL 33166

Broward Office: 150 S Pine Island RD Suite 300

Plantation, FL 33324

O: 800-977-6279 ● F: 305-325-4053

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