(1) A surplus trustee is a third-party trustee approved pursuant to this section by the Department of Financial Services. A surplus trustee must be willing to accept cases on a statewide basis; however, a surplus trustee may employ subcontractors that are not qualified as a surplus trustee provided the surplus trustee remains primarily responsible for the duties set forth in this section.
(2) A surplus trustee is an entity that holds and administers surplus proceeds from a foreclosure pursuant to ss. 45.031-45.035. (3) To be a surplus trustee, an entity must apply for certification with the Department of Financial Services. The application must contain:
(a) The name and address of the entity and of one or more principals of the entity.
(b) A certificate of good standing from the Secretary of State indicating that the entity is an entity registered in this state.
(c) A statement under oath by a principal of the entity certifying that the entity, or a principal of the entity, has a minimum of 12 months’ experience in the recovery of surplus funds in foreclosure actions.
(d) Proof that the entity holds a valid Class “A” private investigator license pursuant to chapter 493.
(e) Proof that the entity carries a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance, cash reserves, or bonding.
(f) A statement from an attorney licensed to practice in this state certifying that the attorney is a principal of the entity or is employed by the entity on a full-time basis and that the attorney will supervise the management of the entity during the entity’s tenure as a surplus trustee.
(g) A statement under oath by a principal of the entity certifying that the principal understands his or her duty to immediately notify the department if the principal ever fails to qualify as an entity entitled to be a surplus trustee.
(h) A nonrefundable application fee of $25.
(4) The Department of Financial Services shall certify any surplus trustee that applies and qualifies. Applications must be filed by June 1, and all applications that qualify shall be certified by the department by June 30 and shall be effective for 1 year commencing July 1. The department shall renew a certification upon receipt of the $25 fee and a statement under oath from a principal of the surplus trustee certifying that the surplus trustee continues to qualify under this section.
(5) The Department of Financial Services shall develop a rotation system for assignment of cases to all qualified surplus trustees.
(6) The primary duty of a surplus trustee is to locate the owner of record within 1 year after appointment. Upon locating the owner of record, the surplus trustee shall file a petition with the court on behalf of the owner of record seeking disbursement of the surplus funds. If more than one person appears to be the owner of record, the surplus trustee shall obtain agreement between such persons as to the payment of the surplus or file an interpleader. The interpleader may be filed as part of the foreclosure case.
(7) A surplus trustee is entitled to the following service charges and fees which shall be disbursed by the clerk and payable from the surplus:
(a) Upon obtaining a court order, a cost advance of 2 percent of the surplus.
(b) Upon obtaining a court order disbursing the surplus to the owner of record, a service charge of 10 percent of the surplus.