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Naples Real Estate Law Blog

3 issues you might face regarding a commercial security deposit

Commercial leasing: Renting commercial space shouldn't have to be an overly contentious element of operating a business. However, there are issues that come up throughout the course of commercial tenant-landlord relationships that can cause some disagreements and confusion.

Security deposits are one of the common issues that can spark a dispute. Below, we look at a few examples of typical arguments that tenants and landlords in Florida often have with regard to commercial security deposits, as well as what you can do to prevent or resolve these matters.

Thinking about building an ADU (Guest House)? Avoid these 3 missteps

Construction law is relevant to everyone. In response to shortages of affordable housing in cities across the U.S., some cities are looking for new ways to increase access to affordable housing. One solution that is gaining popularity is the option for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their property, which are attached or freestanding complete residences that can be rented out.

ADUs can be great options for elderly family members and individuals living on fixed incomes, as they are traditionally small units available for much less money than the primary residence. They can also provide a steady source of income for the homeowner. If you are thinking of building or renting out an ADU in Florida, there are some missteps you will want to be aware of so you can avoid them.

Condo Collection Scams

Community Associations are subject to strict rules as to the amount and type of fees they may charge unit owners who are delinquent on their assessments. The term 'community associations' includes Condominiums and Homeowner Associations (HOAs). These associations are also subject to strict laws concerning the types and amounts of fees that may be charged in the event of a transfer or sale of the unit.

Over the years, I have seen demand letters with an absurd excess of extortionate "fees:" bank service fees, administrative fees, sales processing fees, file transfer fees and closing fees and administrative/management fees. I've seen these 'fees' add up to over a thousand dollars, even where there is no delinquency! These 'fees' are often not supported by the condominium  or HOA documents or Florida law. This kind of over-reaching against unit owners is exactly the reason that the legislature made sweeping changes in laws relative to condos, mobile home communities and HOAs.  There are additional laws on the books concerning abuse of the elderly.

Condominium Insurance - Liability of Associations & Board Members after a hurricane

Community Association Issues are on everyone's mind these days after Hurricane Irma caused damage across the state. Disputes are arising as to insurance coverage and the responsibility of owners versus that of associations. Does each party have sufficiant coverage? How will reserves be used? Are the reserves sufficient? Associations, Directors and Unit Owners should also use this as an opportunity to plan for the next casualty event.  Click here for a discussion of the Post-Irma issues relating to the liability of condominium associations and their boards of directors, on these critical issues. Also check out our blogs on resolving disputes or litigation arising under NABOR and FR/BAR residential sales contracts after a casualty event.

Commercial Leases - 3 remedies for early termination in Florida

Florida Commerical Leases /Rental Agreements -In a recent post, we discussed 'Go Dark ' clauses and how they can affect commercial tenants and landlords. We explained that these clauses allow a tenant to cease operations without losing commercial space. As beneficial as this might be for tenants, it can cause headaches for commercial landlords who know that closed businesses can be bad for nearby businesses.

In this post, we will discuss the remedies that could be available when a business closes and wants to end a lease early, rather than holding on to the space. 

Commercial tenants: Tips about 'going dark'

Leasing commercial space is often a major expense for any business. Between the rent, the cost of maintenance and utilities, and the need to staff the business, there is typically a lot at stake when a business opens its doors.

If you operate a retail store, salon, restaurant or any other type of business that relies extensively on location and foot traffic, you would be wise to understand what a "go dark" clause is in a commercial lease agreement and how it could help you save money.

Real Estate Disputes - Easements

Real Estate litigation can arise over misunderstandings concerning easements and licenses. Many people don't realize their property or common elements are/are subject to an easement until a problem arises.  Here's a video discussion on Easements:

Learn about the three primary ways in which easements are created:

1) Covenant or contract

2) Implication (such as a way of necessity)

3) Prescription (usually arising against the owner's will)

There are many different types of easements. Here are examples of a few:


Easement of Light and Air

Drainage easements

Utility easements

Ingress and Egress Easements

We also discuss ways in which an easement can be terminated -for instance, if it is over-burdened, or conversely, abandoned. Unless the parties can agree to and execute an agreement for termination which can be recorded in the public records of the county, termination may require a court action.

Community associations - Estoppel certificates for Condominiums and HOAs

Here's a quick and dirty summary of the new estoppel certificate laws for Condominiums and HomeOwner Associations. Estoppel certificates used to be referred to as 'estoppel letters.'  Associations need to be complying with these detailed new requirements, there can be serious penalties for failure to do so.

Remember, this is ONLY a summary of the new laws.

Within 10 business days, the association shall issue the estoppel certificate.

The estoppel certificate must contain, in substantially the following form:

1. Date of issuance:

2. Name(s) of the unit owner(s)

3. Unit designation and address

4. Parking or garage space number

5.  Attorney's name and contact information if the account has been turned over to an attorney for collection.

6. Fee for the preparation and delivery of the estoppel certificate:

7. Name of the person requesting it

8. Assessment information and other information:


a. The regular periodic assessment amount

b. The date the regular periodic assessment is paid up through

c. The next installment due date and amount

d. An itemized list of all assessments, special assessments, and other money owed on the date of issuance.

e. An itemized list of any additional assessments, special assessments, and other money that are scheduled to become due for each day after the date of issuance for the effective period of the estoppel certificate is provided.

OTHER INFORMATION that should be on the certificate:

Real Estate Litigation - Cancel Contract? or Enforce it? WORDS MATTER!

Real Estate Litigation often arises out of people being careless with language.

Just because you want to cancel a closing, does NOT mean you want to cancel the contract.   You may need the language of the contract to protect your rights.

Litigation turns not just on the language of the purchase and sale contract, but also on the correspondence and actions of the parties afterwards. {This is equally true of business contracts, including covenants not to compete, trade restriction agreements and asset sales, etc. } Certain words have evolved to have particular meaning to the courts. Cancellation and termination of an agreement without proper safeguards generally means the contract no longer has any force.

Stop and Think -- do you want to "terminate" the contract ....or do you really want to enforce the penalty clauses of that contract because the other side has breached the contract?

 I recall the case of a Seller years ago who was very upset ...

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 an 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."

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