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Naples Real Estate Law Blog

Real estate disputes: How broad of a universe is that?

A quick and succinct answer to the above-posed headline question leading off today's blog post is this: very broad, indeed.

The United States is of course the world's preeminent capitalist nation, grounded in long-tenured business principles and the notion that property rights are the cornerstone of a viable and progressively evolving economy.

If I do not pay my condominium fees, what type of sanctions can my condo association take?

If you own a condo unit, you are required to pay certain fees, called assessments. It is important for you to understand that your condo association or community association has a lien on your unit in order to secure the payment of fees. 

When it comes to real estate matters, the clock is ticking

Any transaction involving property has the potential to be quite stressful. Your home, business and hundreds of thousands of dollars could be on the line, and it can be easy to either panic or feel paralyzed when it comes to making decisions.

However, while you don't want to be panicked into making decisions related to real estate, you also don't want to delay, as there is a clock ticking.

What is a limited common element in a community association?

Limited common elements in community associations are defined by Florida Statutes as those common elements which are reserved for the use of a certain unit or units to the exclusion of all other units. These limited common elements are set forth in the declaration of condominium. Generally, the owner of a condo unit that enjoys use of such limited common element must pay assessments related to that limited common element.

What are the duties of a board of administration for a condo or community association?

The board of administration - also known as the board of directors - for a condo or community association is the group of elected individuals who are responsible for the administration, management, and operation of the condominium association. The powers and duties of the board of administration are set forth in the condominium documents, namely the bylaws and the Rules, as well as CH 718 FL ST. Other powers and duties may be defined in Florida's laws on corporations and not for profit corporations. 

Commercial real estate logistics stand between success, failure

Naples and other cities in Southern Florida are home to some of the best, most dynamic restaurants in the country. Between the geographical benefits of opening up a restaurant here and the fact that people flock to this state from all over the world, the Florida restaurant scene is booming.

While this boom is exciting for diners, it does put an incredible strain on restaurant owners and chefs who are seeing establishments fail or close down. This isn't necessarily happening because a restaurant is poorly run or puts out bad food. In many cases, it is happening because of the commercial real estate market.

Can my condo association charge me for repairs to the fire extinguishers and alarms in the condo hallways even though there is no mention of fire safety equipment in the condo association documents?

Yes, your condo or community association can charge you for repairs to the fire extinguishers and alarms in the condo hallways even though there is no mention of fire safety equipment in the condo association documents. Unless otherwise stated in the condo documents, your condo association should be charging you based on the proportionate ownership interest that you have in the common elements by way of your ownership of the condo unit. As a simplistic example, if your building has 10 units, you should be paying 10% of the repairs for the fire safety equipment in that building. 

Disputes over land use can be a slippery slope

Imagine you have recently bought a home in Naples. The property wasn't cheap, but you loved the area and the views. And while you love the home, maybe there are some changes you want to make. Your options can all be pretty straightforward in this situation, unless you share some of your property with your neighbors or are part of a homeowners' association.

In these situations, your options for changing your property can be far more limited or difficult than you expect because someone else can have a say in what you do. And when disputes over land use arise, they can quickly get nasty and expensive.

Does your Homeowners' Association (HOA) have to be incorporated?

Yes, it matters if your homeowners' association (HOA) is incorporated. Pursuant to Florida Statute ยง720.303, "an association must be incorporated. . . ."  You can view the entire statute here.  The governing documents must be recorded in the official records of the county where the HOA is located.  The governing documents include, but are not limited to, articles of incorporation, which establishes the existence of the corporation.

It is important to note that the board of directors of an HOA has authority to act on behalf of its members, including, but not limited to, the bringing or defending of particular actions.  However, members (unit owners) of an HOA may not act on behalf of the HOA.  Only the Board and its duly elected officers can act on behalf of the association. Therefore, it is important that your HOA is properly formed and operated.

Unit owners do have many rights. For instance, they have the right to attend board meetings to listen in on the board's deliberations.  Unit owners also have the right to records of the corporation.

Real Estate Purchase and Sale - Can I get my deposit back?

When you are buying, building or renting a home, it is common to pay some sort of deposit. This money can serve different purposes. A security deposit for a lease can be used for things like repairing damage done by a tenant. If the deposit is for a new home being built, it can be used to reserve land. An earnest money deposit on an existing home can be considered an indication of a buyer's serious and good faith intention to purchase the home.

No matter what type of deposit you pay, it can be a substantial amount, which means that you will want to be sure that you are getting what you were promised in exchange for the deposit. If this doesn't happen or if an agreement falls through, getting your deposit back can be a top priority. While it can be difficult to recover your deposit, it is not always impossible.

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