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2015 Florida Statutes

SECTION 08
Escrow accounts; nondisturbance instruments; alternate security arrangements; transfer of legal title.
F.S. 721.08
721.08 Escrow accounts; nondisturbance instruments; alternate security arrangements; transfer of legal title.
(1) Prior to the filing of a public offering statement with the division, all developers shall establish an escrow account with an escrow agent for the purpose of protecting the funds or other property of purchasers required to be escrowed by this section. An escrow agent shall maintain the accounts called for in this section only in such a manner as to be under the direct supervision and control of the escrow agent. The escrow agent shall have a fiduciary duty to each purchaser to maintain the escrow accounts in accordance with good accounting practices and to release the purchaser’s funds or other property from escrow only in accordance with this chapter. The escrow agent shall retain all affidavits received pursuant to this section for a period of 5 years. Should the escrow agent receive conflicting demands for funds or other property held in escrow, the escrow agent shall immediately notify the division of the dispute and either promptly submit the matter to arbitration or, by interpleader or otherwise, seek an adjudication of the matter by court.
(2) One hundred percent of all funds or other property which is received from or on behalf of purchasers of the timeshare plan or timeshare interest prior to the occurrence of events required in this subsection shall be deposited pursuant to an escrow agreement approved by the division. The funds or other property may be released from escrow only as follows:
(a) Cancellation.In the event a purchaser gives a valid notice of cancellation pursuant to s. 721.10 or is otherwise entitled to cancel the sale, the funds or other property received from or on behalf of the purchaser, or the proceeds thereof, shall be returned to the purchaser. Such refund shall be made within 20 days after demand therefor by the purchaser or within 5 days after receipt of funds from the purchaser’s cleared check, whichever is later. If the purchaser has received benefits under the contract prior to the effective date of the cancellation, the funds or other property to be returned to the purchaser may be reduced by the proportion of contract benefits actually received.
(b) Purchaser’s default.Following expiration of the 10-day cancellation period, if the purchaser defaults in the performance of her or his obligations under the terms of the contract to purchase or such other agreement by which a seller sells the timeshare interest, the developer shall provide an affidavit to the escrow agent requesting release of the escrowed funds or other property and shall provide a copy of such affidavit to the purchaser who has defaulted. The developer’s affidavit, as required herein, shall include:
1. A statement that the purchaser has defaulted and that the developer has not defaulted;
2. A brief explanation of the nature of the default and the date of its occurrence;
3. A statement that pursuant to the terms of the contract the developer is entitled to the funds held by the escrow agent; and
4. A statement that the developer has not received from the purchaser any written notice of a dispute between the purchaser and developer or a claim by the purchaser to the escrow.
(c) Compliance with conditions.
1. Timeshare licenses.If the timeshare plan is one in which timeshare licenses are to be sold and no cancellation or default has occurred, the escrow agent may release the escrowed funds or other property to or on the order of the developer upon presentation of:
a. An affidavit by the developer that all of the following conditions have been met:
(I) Expiration of the cancellation period.
(II) Completion of construction.
(III) Closing.
(IV) Either:
(A) Execution, delivery, and recordation by each interestholder of the nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument, as described in this section; or
(B) Transfer by the developer of legal title to the subject accommodations and facilities, or all use rights therein, into a trust satisfying the requirements of subparagraph 4. and the execution, delivery, and recordation by each other interestholder of the nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument, as described in this section.
b. A certified copy of each recorded nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument.
c. One of the following:
(I) A copy of a memorandum of agreement, as defined in s. 721.05, together with satisfactory evidence that the original memorandum of agreement has been irretrievably delivered for recording to the appropriate official responsible for maintaining the public records in the county in which the subject accommodations and facilities are located. The original memorandum of agreement must be recorded within 180 days after the date on which the purchaser executed her or his purchase agreement.
(II) A notice delivered for recording to the appropriate official responsible for maintaining the public records in each county in which the subject accommodations and facilities are located notifying all persons of the identity of an independent escrow agent or trustee satisfying the requirements of subparagraph 4. that shall maintain separate books and records, in accordance with good accounting practices, for the timeshare plan in which timeshare licenses are to be sold. The books and records shall indicate each accommodation and facility that is subject to such a timeshare plan and each purchaser of a timeshare license in the timeshare plan.
2. Timeshare estates.If the timeshare plan is one in which timeshare estates are to be sold and no cancellation or default has occurred, the escrow agent may release the escrowed funds or other property to or on the order of the developer upon presentation of:
a. An affidavit by the developer that all of the following conditions have been met:
(I) Expiration of the cancellation period.
(II) Completion of construction.
(III) Closing.
b. If the timeshare estate is sold by agreement for deed, a certified copy of the recorded nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument, as described in this section.
c. Evidence that each accommodation and facility:
(I) Is free and clear of the claims of any interestholders, other than the claims of interestholders that, through a recorded instrument, are irrevocably made subject to the timeshare instrument and the use rights of purchasers made available through the timeshare instrument;
(II) Is the subject of a recorded nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument that complies with subsection (3) and s. 721.17; or
(III) Has been transferred into a trust satisfying the requirements of subparagraph 4.
d. Evidence that the timeshare estate:
(I) Is free and clear of the claims of any interestholders, other than the claims of interestholders that, through a recorded instrument, are irrevocably made subject to the timeshare instrument and the use rights of purchasers made available through the timeshare instrument; or
(II) Is the subject of a recorded nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument that complies with subsection (3) and s. 721.17.
3. Personal property timeshare interests.If the timeshare plan is one in which personal property timeshare interests are to be sold and no cancellation or default has occurred, the escrow agent may release the escrowed funds or other property to or on the order of the developer upon presentation of:
a. An affidavit by the developer that all of the following conditions have been met:
(I) Expiration of the cancellation period.
(II) Completion of construction.
(III) Closing.
b. If the personal property timeshare interest is sold by agreement for transfer, evidence that the agreement for transfer complies fully with s. 721.06 and this section.
c. Evidence that one of the following has occurred:
(I) Transfer by the owner of the underlying personal property of legal title to the subject accommodations and facilities or all use rights therein into a trust satisfying the requirements of subparagraph 4.; or
(II) Transfer by the owner of the underlying personal property of legal title to the subject accommodations and facilities or all use rights therein into an owners’ association satisfying the requirements of subparagraph 5.
d. Evidence of compliance with the provisions of subparagraph 6., if required.
e. If a personal property timeshare plan is created with respect to accommodations and facilities that are located on or in an oceangoing vessel, including a “documented vessel” or a “foreign vessel,” as defined and governed by 46 U.S.C. chapter 301:
(I) In making the transfer required in sub-subparagraph c., the developer shall use as its transfer instrument a document that establishes and protects the continuance of the use rights in the subject accommodations and facilities in a manner that is enforceable by the trust or owners’ association.
(II) The transfer instrument shall comply fully with the provisions of this chapter, shall be part of the timeshare instrument, and shall contain specific provisions that:
(A) Prohibit the vessel owner, the developer, any manager or operator of the vessel, the owners’ association or the trustee, the managing entity, or any other person from incurring any liens against the vessel except for liens that are required for the operation and upkeep of the vessel, including liens for fuel expenditures, repairs, crews’ wages, and salvage, and except as provided in sub-sub-subparagraphs 4.b.(III) and 5.b.(III). All expenses, fees, and taxes properly incurred in connection with the creation, satisfaction, and discharge of any such permitted lien, or a prorated portion thereof if less than all of the accommodations on the vessel are subject to the timeshare plan, shall be common expenses of the timeshare plan.
(B) Grant a lien against the vessel in favor of the owners’ association or trustee to secure the full and faithful performance of the vessel owner and developer of all of their obligations to the purchasers.
(C) Establish governing law in a jurisdiction that recognizes and will enforce the timeshare instrument and the laws of the jurisdiction of registry of the vessel.
(D) Require that a description of the use rights of purchasers be posted and displayed on the vessel in a manner that will give notice of such rights to any party examining the vessel. This notice must identify the owners’ association or trustee and include a statement disclosing the limitation on incurring liens against the vessel described in sub-sub-sub-subparagraph (A).
(E) Include the nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument for the vessel owner and any other interestholders.
(F) The owners’ association created under subparagraph 5. or trustee created under subparagraph 4. shall have access to any certificates of classification in accordance with the timeshare instrument.
(III) If the vessel is a foreign vessel, the vessel must be registered in a jurisdiction that permits a filing evidencing the use rights of purchasers in the subject accommodations and facilities, offers protection for such use rights against unfiled and inferior claims, and recognizes the document or instrument creating such use rights as a lien against the vessel.
(IV) In addition to the disclosures required by s. 721.07(5), the public offering statement and purchase contract must contain a disclosure in conspicuous type in substantially the following form:

The laws of the State of Florida govern the offering of this timeshare plan in this state. There are inherent risks in purchasing a timeshare interest in this timeshare plan because the accommodations and facilities of the timeshare plan are located on a vessel that will sail into international waters and into waters governed by many different jurisdictions. Therefore, the laws of the State of Florida cannot fully protect your purchase of an interest in this timeshare plan. Specifically, management and operational issues may need to be addressed in the jurisdiction in which the vessel is registered, which is (insert jurisdiction in which vessel is registered). Concerns of purchasers may be sent to (insert name of applicable regulatory agency and address).

4. Trust.
a. If the subject accommodations or facilities, or all use rights therein, are to be transferred into a trust in order to comply with this paragraph, such transfer shall take place pursuant to this subparagraph. If the accommodations or facilities included in such transfer are subject to a lease, the unexpired term of the lease must be disclosed as the term of the timeshare plan pursuant to s. 721.07(5)(f)4.
b. Prior to the transfer of the subject accommodations and facilities, or all use rights therein, to a trust, any lien or other encumbrance against such accommodations and facilities, or use rights therein, shall be made subject to a nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument pursuant to subsection (3). No transfer pursuant to this subparagraph shall become effective until the trustee accepts such transfer and the responsibilities set forth herein. A trust established pursuant to this subparagraph shall comply with the following provisions:
(I) The trustee shall be an individual or a business entity authorized and qualified to conduct trust business in this state. Any corporation authorized to do business in this state may act as trustee in connection with a timeshare plan pursuant to this chapter. The trustee must be independent from any developer or managing entity of the timeshare plan or any interestholder of any accommodation or facility of such plan.
(II) The trust shall be irrevocable so long as any purchaser has a right to occupy any portion of the timeshare property pursuant to the timeshare plan.
(III) The trustee shall not convey, hypothecate, mortgage, assign, lease, or otherwise transfer or encumber in any fashion any interest in or portion of the timeshare property with respect to which any purchaser has a right of use or occupancy unless the timeshare plan is terminated pursuant to the timeshare instrument, or such conveyance, hypothecation, mortgage, assignment, lease, transfer, or encumbrance is approved by a vote of two-thirds of all voting interests of the timeshare plan. Subject to s. 721.552, a vote of the voting interests of the timeshare plan is not required for substitution or automatic deletion of accommodations or facilities.
(IV) All purchasers of the timeshare plan or the owners’ association of the timeshare plan shall be the express beneficiaries of the trust. The trustee shall act as a fiduciary to the beneficiaries of the trust. The personal liability of the trustee shall be governed by ss. 736.08125, 736.08163, 736.1013, and 736.1015. The agreement establishing the trust shall set forth the duties of the trustee. The trustee shall be required to furnish promptly to the division upon request a copy of the complete list of the names and addresses of the owners in the timeshare plan and a copy of any other books and records of the timeshare plan required to be maintained pursuant to s. 721.13 that are in the possession, custody, or control of the trustee. All expenses reasonably incurred by the trustee in the performance of its duties, together with any reasonable compensation of the trustee, shall be common expenses of the timeshare plan.
(V) The trustee shall not resign upon less than 90 days’ prior written notice to the managing entity and the division. No resignation shall become effective until a substitute trustee, approved by the division, is appointed by the managing entity and accepts the appointment.
(VI) The documents establishing the trust arrangement shall constitute a part of the timeshare instrument.
(VII) For trusts holding property in a timeshare plan located outside this state, the trust and trustee holding such property shall be deemed in compliance with the requirements of this subparagraph if such trust and trustee are authorized and qualified to conduct trust business under the laws of such jurisdiction and the agreement or law governing such trust arrangement provides substantially similar protections for the purchaser as are required in this subparagraph for trusts holding property in a timeshare plan in this state.
(VIII) The trustee shall have appointed a registered agent in this state for service of process. In the event such a registered agent is not appointed, service of process may be served pursuant to s. 721.265.
5. Owners’ association.
a. If the subject accommodations or facilities, or all use rights therein, are to be transferred into an owners’ association in order to comply with this paragraph, such transfer shall take place pursuant to this subparagraph.
b. Before the transfer of the subject accommodations and facilities, or all use rights therein, to an owners’ association, any lien or other encumbrance against such accommodations and facilities, or use rights therein, shall be made subject to a nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument pursuant to subsection (3). No transfer pursuant to this subparagraph shall become effective until the owners’ association accepts such transfer and the responsibilities set forth herein. An owners’ association established pursuant to this subparagraph shall comply with the following provisions:
(I) The owners’ association shall be a business entity authorized and qualified to conduct business in this state. Control of the board of directors of the owners’ association must be independent from any developer or managing entity of the timeshare plan or any interestholder.
(II) The bylaws of the owners’ association shall provide that the corporation may not be voluntarily dissolved without the unanimous vote of all owners of personal property timeshare interests so long as any purchaser has a right to occupy any portion of the timeshare property pursuant to the timeshare plan.
(III) The owners’ association shall not convey, hypothecate, mortgage, assign, lease, or otherwise transfer or encumber in any fashion any interest in or portion of the timeshare property with respect to which any purchaser has a right of use or occupancy, unless the timeshare plan is terminated pursuant to the timeshare instrument, or unless such conveyance, hypothecation, mortgage, assignment, lease, transfer, or encumbrance is approved by a vote of two-thirds of all voting interests of the association and such decision is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be in the best interests of the purchasers of the timeshare plan. The owners’ association shall notify the division in writing within 10 days after receiving notice of the filing of any petition relating to obtaining such a court order. The division shall have standing to advise the court of the division’s interpretation of the statute as it relates to the petition.
(IV) All purchasers of the timeshare plan shall be members of the owners’ association and shall be entitled to vote on matters requiring a vote of the owners’ association as provided in this chapter or the timeshare instrument. The owners’ association shall act as a fiduciary to the purchasers of the timeshare plan. The articles of incorporation establishing the owners’ association shall set forth the duties of the owners’ association. All expenses reasonably incurred by the owners’ association in the performance of its duties, together with any reasonable compensation of the officers or directors of the owners’ association, shall be common expenses of the timeshare plan.
(V) The documents establishing the owners’ association shall constitute a part of the timeshare instrument.
(VI) For owners’ associations holding property in a timeshare plan located outside this state, the owners’ association holding such property shall be deemed in compliance with the requirements of this subparagraph if such owners’ association is authorized and qualified to conduct owners’ association business under the laws of such jurisdiction and the agreement or law governing such arrangement provides substantially similar protections for the purchaser as are required in this subparagraph for owners’ associations holding property in a timeshare plan in this state.
(VII) The owners’ association shall have appointed a registered agent in this state for service of process. In the event such a registered agent cannot be located, service of process may be made pursuant to s. 721.265.
6. Personal property subject to certificate of title.If any personal property that is an accommodation or facility of a timeshare plan is subject to a certificate of title in this state pursuant to chapter 319 or chapter 328, the following notation must be made on such certificate of title pursuant to s. 319.27(1) or s. 328.15(1):

The further transfer or encumbrance of the property subject to this certificate of title, or any lien or encumbrance thereon, is subject to the requirements of section 721.17, Florida Statutes, and the transferee or lienor agrees to be bound by all of the obligations set forth therein.

7. If the developer has previously provided a certified copy of any document required by this paragraph, she or he may for all subsequent disbursements substitute a true and correct copy of the certified copy, provided no changes to the document have been made or are required to be made.
8. In the event that use rights relating to an accommodation or facility are transferred into a trust pursuant to subparagraph 4. or into an owners’ association pursuant to subparagraph 5., all other interestholders, including the owner of the underlying fee or underlying personal property, must execute a nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument pursuant to subsection (3).
(d) Substitution of other assurances for escrowed funds or other property.Funds or other property escrowed as provided in this section may be released from escrow to or on the order of the developer upon acceptance by the director of the division of other assurances pursuant to subsection (5) as a substitute for such escrowed funds or other property. The amount of escrowed funds or other property that may be released pursuant to this paragraph shall be equal to or less than the face amount of the assurances accepted by the director from time to time.
(3) NONDISTURBANCE AND NOTICE TO CREDITORS INSTRUMENT.The nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument, when required, shall be executed by each interestholder.
(a) Contents.The instrument shall state that:
1. If the party seeking enforcement is not in default of its obligations, the instrument may be enforced by both the seller and any purchaser of the timeshare plan;
2. The instrument shall be effective as between the timeshare purchaser and interestholder despite any rejection or cancellation of the contract between the timeshare purchaser and developer as a result of bankruptcy proceedings of the developer; and
3. So long as a purchaser remains in good standing with respect to her or his obligations under the timeshare instrument, including making all payments to the managing entity required by the timeshare instrument with respect to the annual common expenses of the timeshare plan, then the interestholder will honor all rights of such purchaser relating to the subject accommodation or facility as reflected in the timeshare instrument.

The instrument shall contain language sufficient to provide subsequent creditors of the developer and interestholders with notice of the existence of the timeshare plan and of the rights of purchasers and shall serve to protect the interest of the timeshare purchasers from any claims of subsequent creditors.

(b) Real property timeshare plans.For real property timeshare plans, the instrument shall be recorded in the public records of the county in which the subject accommodations or facilities are located.
(c) Personal property timeshare plans.For personal property timeshare plans, the instrument shall be included within or attached as an exhibit to a security agreement or other agreement executed by the interestholder. Constructive notice of such security agreement or other agreement shall be filed in the manner prescribed by chapter 679 or other applicable law.
(d) Purchaser copies.A copy of the recorded or filed nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument, when required, shall be provided to each timeshare purchaser at the time the purchase contract is executed.
(4) In lieu of any escrow provisions required by this act, the director of the division shall have the discretion to permit deposit of the funds or other property in an escrow account as required by the jurisdiction in which the sale took place.
(5)(a) In lieu of any escrows required by this section, the director of the division shall have the discretion to accept other assurances, including, but not limited to, a surety bond issued by a company authorized and licensed to do business in this state as surety or an irrevocable letter of credit in an amount equal to the escrow requirements of this section.
(b) Notwithstanding anything in chapter 718 or chapter 719 to the contrary, the director of the division shall have the discretion to accept other assurances pursuant to paragraph (a) in lieu of any requirement that completion of construction of one or more accommodations or facilities of a timeshare plan be accomplished prior to closing.
(c) In lieu of a nondisturbance and notice to creditors instrument, when such an instrument is otherwise required by this section, the director of the division shall have the discretion to accept alternate means of protecting the continuing rights of purchasers in and to the subject accommodations or facilities of the timeshare plan as and for the term described in the timeshare instrument, and of providing effective constructive notice of such continuing purchaser rights to subsequent owners of the accommodations or facilities and to subsequent creditors of the affected interestholder.
(d) In lieu of the requirements in sub-sub-subparagraph (2)(c)3.e.(III), the director of the division shall have the discretion to accept alternate means of protecting the use rights of purchasers in the subject accommodations and facilities of the timeshare plan against unfiled and inferior claims.
(6) An escrow agent holding funds escrowed pursuant to this section may invest such escrowed funds in securities of the United States Government, or any agency thereof, or in savings or time deposits in institutions insured by an agency of the United States Government. The right to receive the interest generated by any such investments shall be paid to the party to whom the escrowed funds or other property are paid unless otherwise specified by contract.
(7) Each escrow agent shall maintain separate books and records for each timeshare plan and shall maintain such books and records in accordance with good accounting practices.
(8) An escrow agent holding escrowed funds pursuant to this chapter that have not been claimed for a period of 5 years after the date of deposit shall make at least one reasonable attempt to deliver such unclaimed funds to the purchaser who submitted such funds to escrow. In making such attempt, an escrow agent is entitled to rely on a purchaser’s last known address as set forth in the books and records of the escrow agent and is not required to conduct any further search for the purchaser. If an escrow agent’s attempt to deliver unclaimed funds to any purchaser is unsuccessful, the escrow agent may deliver such unclaimed funds to the division and the division shall deposit such unclaimed funds in the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund, 30 days after giving notice in a publication of general circulation in the county in which the timeshare property containing the purchaser’s timeshare interest is located. The purchaser may claim the same at any time prior to the delivery of such funds to the division. After delivery of such funds to the division, the purchaser shall have no more rights to the unclaimed funds. The escrow agent shall not be liable for any claims from any party arising out of the escrow agent’s delivery of the unclaimed funds to the division pursuant to this section.
(9) For each transfer of the legal title to a timeshare estate by a developer, the developer shall deliver an instrument evidencing such transfer to the purchaser or to a title insurance agent or the clerk of the court for recording. For each transfer of the legal title to a personal property timeshare interest by a developer, the developer shall deliver an instrument evidencing such transfer to the purchaser subject to the provisions of this section.
(10)(a) Any developer, seller, or escrow agent who intentionally fails to comply with the provisions of this section concerning the establishment of an escrow account, deposits of funds into escrow, and withdrawal therefrom is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, or the successor thereof. The failure to establish an escrow account or to place funds therein as required in this section is prima facie evidence of an intentional and purposeful violation of this section.
(b) Any developer, interestholder, trustee, or officer or director of an owners’ association who intentionally fails to comply with the provisions of this section concerning the establishment of a trust or owners’ association, conveyances of property into the trust or owners’ association, and conveyances or encumbrances of trust or owners’ association property is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, or the successor thereof. The failure to establish a trust or owners’ association, or to transfer property into the trust or owners’ association, or the failure of a trustee or officer or director of an owners’ association to comply with the trust agreement, articles of incorporation, or bylaws with respect to conveyances or encumbrances of trust or owners’ association property, as required by this section, is prima facie evidence of an intentional and purposeful violation of this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 81-172; s. 49, ch. 83-215; s. 7, ch. 83-264; s. 4, ch. 84-256; s. 49, ch. 85-62; s. 1, ch. 87-343; s. 6, ch. 93-58; s. 8, ch. 95-274; s. 895, ch. 97-102; s. 14, ch. 2000-302; s. 8, ch. 2004-279; s. 25, ch. 2006-217; s. 67, ch. 2008-240; s. 3, ch. 2015-144.