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Naples Real Estate Law Blog

You've got a real estate dispute: How do you BEST resolve it?

REAL ESTATE DISPUTE? [Edited May 1, 2017]

At the Naples law firm of Lanier & Deifik, P.A., we provide individual and business clients with tailored legal service aimed at promoting their best interests across a array of real property concerns.

Indeed, attorney Celia Ellen Deifik has been advocating diligently on behalf of clients for over three decades. As we note on a relevant website page of our firm, Ms. Deifik "has been board-certified in real property law for (now over) 20 years."


Florida law, in fact the law in most states, provides for certain exceptions and extensions in the event of 'Acts of G-d' or 'force majeure' (Latin for an overwhelming force).

Florida Community Associations - New laws affecting Condos and HOAs

Florida Community Associations face a host of new laws this year. Most of the revisions were in the Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes. However, significant amendments concerning estoppel certificates, their content and their cost , which are included in the amendment to the condominium law, have also been implemented in Chapter 720 regulating HomeOwner Associations.

An overview of these changes is discussed in this video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q__9rcEE73k

For the language of the sweeping new estoppel certificate requirements, I have included links to the Florida legislative website, aka "Online Sunshine."

Florida Construction Law - Post Irma Repairs for Homeowners - Protect yourself

Construction law and insurance law need to be considered in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Many homeowners feel pressed to contract for home repairs quickly.  Stop, think and take steps to protect your self and your rights. 

Deal only with reputable licensed contractors, NOT with the 2 guys with a truck who knock on your door offering quick work for cash. (You are guaranteed to regret that decision when they do substandard work, disappear after tearing things apart, or you can't get reimbursed by insurance. Don't make the mistake of thinking, "Well, they're just cutting down some tree branches." When that tree hits your car or your neighbor's house, the 2 guys will not have insurance and will be long gone).

DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.  TAKE PHOTOS (or videos) OF EVERYTHING - before, during and after. Put your insurance carrier on notice IN WRITING. A phone call is fine, initially. [Ask for the full name of everyone you deal with, and their extension, and keep notes]. Follow up with a letter to the home office. Send by some kind of postal service or commercial courier which provides proof of delivery. Arrange to meet their adjustor on the premises as soon as possible. [Where the damage is very extensive and repairs will be extremely expensive, you may wish to consider engaging a private adjustor, also known as a public adjustor, who will work on a percentage basis]. Get written detailed estimates (from more than one vendor, if possible), demand detailed invoices and pay by check or credit card so you have a record of every transaction.  This will be important, not only for your insurance company to reimburse you, but in the event of any dispute.

 Licensed contractors and their subcontractors and laborers will have a right to place a lien on your home.  Read everything and/or get legal advice before you sign an agreement. Don't pay the contractor without receiving sworn releases from the subs, etc. who did the relevant work. YOU COULD WIND UP PAYING TWICE. If you obtain a construction loan from your bank, the lender has professionals who will police this and it may be easier for you in the long run.

Don't cash a check from your insurance company without checking to see if there is a preprinted release on the front or back of the check.  If there is, ask your insurance company to send you a letter acknowledging that you are NOT releasing them because no one knows the full extent of the damage as yet.  They will generally cooperate with such a request.  Also, checks may also require the signature of the bank holding your mortgage.

Florida law requires additional disclosures on any contract for residential improvements. The relevant portion of the law is set out here:

Florida Construction Law - Staying safe in the aftermath of Irma

The recent hurricane that swept through Florida left in its wake millions of people without power; people were stranded in flooded, destroyed homes; some are dealing with serious injuries and missing loved ones.

Naples is among the cities hit hardest by Irma, and residents here are still struggling to recover from the massive storm. Surviving a hurricane is hard enough; rebuilding in the aftermath can be just as difficult. However, there are things you can do to help yourselves and your neighbors in these distressing times. There are also thinigs you should be careful NOT to do.

Does your new home have a warranty?

Buying a new home is an exciting -- and sometimes overwhelming -- event. For many people, it is the most significant transaction of their lives. In all the excitement, it can be easy to make some missteps or fail to see some red flags that could jeopardize your home and your rights as a homeowner.

For instance, you may not understand the importance of builder warranties if you are buying a newly built home. These warranties can be critical in the event that you discover any construction defects, so it would be wise to discuss them with an attorney prior to signing an agreement.

A home built in strict conformance with the Florida Building Code is more likely to survive a minor hurricane and will certainly need less maintenance over the years. http://www.myfloridalicense.com/Dbpr/bcs/buildingcode.html


Foreclosure and Short Sale -- Mortgage Deficiencies treated differently?

Many people are aware that, in 2013, the Florida legislature shortened the period within which a lender must start a suit for the mortgage deficiency from five years to one year. What is a 'mortgage deficiency?' This is essentially defined as the amount a court determines is the difference between the value of the real property at the time it is sold and conveyed by the Clerk after the entry of foreclosure judgment and the total amount owed on the mortgage at that time.

Some people have jumped to the conclusion that the same law applies to the time the bank has to sue for the deficiency after a short sale.  Well, at least two Florida courts have said: NO, it is NOT the same.

Thumbs up on Florida residential real estate purchases

Florida's tag as the Sunshine State positively influences individuals and businesses thinking of relocating. Many people choose homes in community associations, whether condominium, cooperative or homeowner associations.

And, indeed, Florida's pull seems borne out by on-point data recently released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR): Florida leads every other state in the country as a favorite choice of foreigners looking to put down dollars on a new home in the United States.

Nation's commercial leasing picture telling two stories

What's happening in commercial leasing? The online property marketplace firm Ten-X has done some deep research into the commercial real estate market from both a national and a local perspective, and its findings are interesting. First, perhaps, is this: Ten-X states that a marked division exists across the country regarding what is going on in the office sector versus apartment leasing, respectively.

Changes at two Naples shopping centers, thoughts on commercial property

While economic indicators point to continued growth in Naples, many of our readers know that business stability and growth are often directly related to location, business neighbors, automobile and foot traffic and of course, to terms of the governing commercial lease. While these factors don't fit neatly into government economic forecasts, they can make all the difference to hard-working entrepreneurs who have their boots on the ground in the fight for business survival.

A recent column in the Naples Daily News provided a useful overview of some of the recent changes in commercial leases and business transitions.

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