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How to handle a dispute with your HOA

Homeowners often choose to live in an association or planned development because it alleviates some of the stress and responsibility of home ownership. If you live in an association, you may not have to worry about disruptive neighbors, poorly maintained premises or dangerous pets nearby. 

However, despite all the reassurances that might come with living in a homeowners' association, there is room for disputes to arise. If you are at odds with an HOA in Florida, then you should understand your options for resolving an issue and protecting yourself as a homeowner.

Pet policies and HOA restrictions

Homeowners' associations can provide great peace of mind for homeowners. However, there are also drawbacks to HOAs that can cause serious problems.

For instance, if you are accused of breaking the rules of the association, you could face serious penalties and a contentious battle with the HOA. This can be quite upsetting, especially if the argument from the HOA doesn't make sense or seems to be an abuse of power. One family in Florida is facing this very issue and they, like others in similar situations, are fighting back against the HOA

What is a construction lien and how do they work in Florida?

FLORIDA CONSTRUCTION LAW. A construction lien, also known as a contractor's lien or mechanic's lien, is a legal claim against a property. When properties are built or improvements are made, the contractor and subcontractors may have a right to file a lien against the property if they don't receive full payment. The lien must be paid if the property is to be sold and the contractor can ultimately force the sale of the property, even homestead property, if the lien is not paid off within a certain period.

The easiest way to avoid a construction lien is to pay your contractor in full and on time. If you can't do that, many contractors will accept a payment plan if one is negotiated promptly. However, paying the contractor in full may not be in your interest, for example, if you are involved in a dispute over the project. In cases of dispute, it's a good idea to discuss the situation with an attorney experienced in construction lien law. A Florida attorney can advise whether the lien is valid and enforceable.  For instance, there are scenarios in which a contractor or subcontractor, etc. may be entitled to money damages, but not entitled to a lien on your property.  In these cases, an attorney can possibly force the quick removal or discharge of the lien.

Construction law - Cutting corners has consequences

Florida Construction law is complex. Building projects have the potential to be very complicated and frustrating. Oftentimes, there are issues that arise that lead to delays and added costs. And while it can be tempting to take shortcuts or ignore these issues in the interest of meeting deadlines or getting the job done faster, doing so could ultimately cause more problems than it solves.

One recent situation highlights the pitfalls of prioritizing deadlines over quality on a large scale and it can be a good reminder to people involved in smaller projects that there are consequences for cutting corners.

What problems could arise in historic buildings?

Historic buildings offer unique charm and significance to communities. However, they can also present some legal and financial headaches for people who wish to open businesses, renovate or lease these structures.

If you have plans to lease, buy or start construction in an historic building, then you should be aware of some possible obstacles that may arise. 

Commercial Leasing- 3 issues with 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. 

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