Starting June 14, 2019, home sellers in Miami-Dade County, along with their agents, will need to adhere to new disclosure rules related to special assessment district (formerly known as a special taxing district). In an email sent to members of the Miami Association of Realtors, the organization’s government affairs office elaborated the most important changes to the rule impacting real estate agents and their clients.
What is changing?
According to the Miami Realtors bulletin, beginning June 14, “sellers will be required to disclose that their property is located within a special taxing district via an addendum to the residential contract for sale and purchase.” Miami Realtors members will see this updated addendum in Form Simplicity, the digital transaction management service available through the association.
What is a special assessment district or special taxing district?
Special Assessment Districts (generally known as special taxing districts) are entities created at the request of homeowners or HOAs and managed through a division of Miami-Dade County’s Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces department. According to the county, at least 1,000 such districts are in place throughout the area, covering some 271,000 households. Special taxing districts serve as a funding mechanism for various services or improvements shared by a single community. Some common uses for special taxing districts include:
- Garbage disposal
- Community security guards
- Street lighting
- Installation of water or sewer utility lines
- General maintenance (such as landscaping)
Homeowners located within a special taxing district pay a share of the fees to fund these services as part of their annual property tax statement from the county. However, these fees are not technically the same as property taxes — they are assessed “on the basis of benefit [non-ad valorem] rather than property value [ad valorem] and they are assigned to specific properties rather than all properties within a general taxing district,” per the county’s website.
What should agents do next?
The Miami Realtors Association advised members to first determine if any of their listings are within a special taxing district. This can be accomplished through an online search. For any properties within a special taxing district, agents will just need to ensure the seller signs the new disclosure.
The association also pointed out that after hearing input from its government affairs team, Miami-Dade officials drafting the new disclosure rules did not adopt more stringent language that would have required sellers to disclose any of the following:
- The dollar amount of any fees levied through special taxing districts.
- Any pending petitions to create a new special taxing district that would affect the seller’s property.
The home seller also does not need to record the disclosure with the county clerk and pay a recording fee.