Florida Condominium Hurricane Preparedness and Association Emergency Powers

Hurricane season is upon us once again. Hurricane forecasters have predicted that the 2016 hurricane season will be the most active season since 2012, with 14 named storms and 3 major hurricanes predicted. Florida condominium associations and unit owners need to have plans in place before hurricane season starts in case disaster strikes. With proper planning, damage to property and persons can be mitigated if a hurricane makes landfall near your condominium residence. It is important for the Association to be ready in the event a hurricane makes landfall near the condominium residences.

Residents and the Association board members also need to be aware that Florida Statute 718.1265 grants the Association emergency powers in the event a state of emergency is declared. The emergency powers effect a wide range of issues including; shutting down utilities and other basic services, requiring residents to evacuate the condominium property, powers to contract for repairs and debris removal, powers to borrow money to fund emergency repairs, and powers regarding assessments for emergency repairs. Condominium owners, residents, and Association board members should consider all legal implications when creating a hurricane preparedness plan.

Should you have any questions regarding condominium association hurricane preparedness and the legal implications involved, The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC and its team of Florida condominium attorneys are here to help you with all of your Florida condominium association needs. Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 to set-up an appointment to come visit us at our Lantana, Florida office location.

Florida Condominium Association Access to Units

Pursuant to Florida Statute 718.111(5), the Condominium Association has the irrevocable right to access each unit during reasonable hours for the purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement of any common elements or of any portion of a unit to be maintained by the Association. The term “reasonable” is not defined by the Florida Statutes but it has come to mean during daylight hours.  We recommend giving prior Notice at ALL times possible. Additionally, the Association cannot reasonably be allowed or expected to enter a unit during the night hours, unless an emergency arises, and usually, notice must be given. It is also important to review the Condominium Documents and bylaws in regards to this matter as well.

Further, a Condominium Association, at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors, may enter an abandoned unit to inspect the property and adjoining common elements, make repairs to the unit, repair the unit if mols is present. A unit is deemed abandoned if the unit is the subject of a foreclosure action and no tenant appears to have resided in the property for at least 4 continuous weeks without prior notice to the Association; no tenant appears to have resided in the unit for 2 consecutive months without prior written notice.

Except in emergency situations, an Association may not enter an abandoned unit until 2 days after notice of the Association’s intent to enter the unit has been mailed or hand-delivered to the owner.

If the Association incurs costs and fees due to the access to the unit, the unit owner is responsible for this cost and it is enforceable as an assessment. In some circumstances, the Association may petition a court to appoint a receiver to lease out an abandoned unit for the benefit of the Association to offset against the rental income the Association’s costs and expenses in maintaining the unit. The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC and its team of Florida condominium attorneys are here to help with all of your Florida Condominium needs. Call us today at (561) 699-0399 to set up your free 20-minute consultation. We are located at 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462. We serve South Florida.

Do Commercial and Residential Landlord/Tenants Follow a Different Set of Laws in Florida?

The answer is YES.  Although both Commercial and Residential Landlords/Tenants are governed under Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes, Chapter 83 is broke down into  sections. For simplistic purposes, Part I of the statute, sections 83.001-83.251 governs NonResidential Tenancies (Commercial) and Part II, sections 83.40-83.682 governs Residential Tenancies.

Both Florida Landlords and Florida Tenants need to make sure that they adhere to the Florida Landlord Tenant laws and their Lease Agreements. This includes the eviction process in Florida, termination of Lease Agreements, Notice Requirements, etc.

Also, if you have any issues regarding a tenancy, it is always recommend  to hire competent legal counsel to make sure you are in compliance with the Law, your Lease, and local ordinances.

The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC represents both Landlords and Tenants in both Commercial and Residential disputes and evictions.  We are located @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462.  Call us today to set-up your free 20-minute consultation @ (561) 699-0399.

Florida Condo Delinquency

Even though Unit Owners make their monthly or quarterly assessments, they still may be delinquent in the eyes of the Condominium Association in Florida. One reason for this is if the Unit Owner pays late and the Condominium Association assesses a late fee on the account. Further, pursuant to Florida Statute 718.116(1)(g)(3), assessments and installments on assessments which are not paid when they become due are assessed interest. The interest rate is set either by the Condominium Declaration or by Florida statute. The current statutory rate of interest is set at 18% per year.

Further, when a payment is received by the Condominium Association, the payment must be applied first to any interest, then to any administrative late fee, then to any costs and reasonable attorneys fees and then to the delinquent assessment. This means that the Unit Owner’s payment will not be applied to their assessment payment FIRST, but rather will be applied first to interest payments, then to any administrative late fees, then to any costs and reasonable attorneys fees before being applied to the assessments.

This is an important fact for many Unit Owners to understand because when they are delinquent, most likely their payment will not even be applied to their assessments thus making them continuously late and delinquent month after month.  A Condominium Association cannot alter these rules and must abide by Florida Statute 718.116. The Condominium Association, through its Board of Directors, however, can waive any late fees or administrative late fees as it deems fit.

The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC represents both Condominium Associations and individual Unit Owners.  Therefore, we know the ins and outs.  Have an issue with Condominium Assessments? Call us today at (561) 699-0399 to set up your free 20-minute consultation. We are located at 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462. We serve South Florida.

Florida Condominium Association Rules & Regulations

There are many advantages to condominium ownership in Florida.  Many people enjoy the amenities, community resources, and to some extent, the rules.  Anyone who has ever lived in a condominium association in Florida is well aware that the condominium association rules and regulations can be a serious point of contention.  Rules and regulations are necessary and without them in a condominium association, chaos would reign supreme.  The last thing anyone needs, is a condominium living situation akin to Lord of the Flies.

However, there are always going to be those certain nitpicky rules that many condominium owners view as unnecessary or intrusive into their use and enjoyment of their individual condominium unit.  Many residents become quite annoyed with parking rules, notice of overnight guest rules, and overly restrictive pet regulations, just to name a few.  Usually such rules are valid and each condominium resident must adhere to them.  However, on occasion rules may be enacted improperly.  For a rule to be valid, the Board of Directors must have the authority to enact the rule.  The Declaration of Condominium or other governing documents must give the Board of Directors the authority to make the rule.  Additionally, the rule must not conflict with rights conferred in the Declaration of Condominium, other governing documents, or Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes.  Finally, the rule must be reasonable, in that it must be in furtherance of a legitimate purpose of the Association.  If the Board of Directors decides to change certain rules, they must follow the criteria discussed above, and also give proper notice for the meeting in which rules are to be changed, as required under the Florida Condominium Act.

Should you have any questions regarding condominium association rules affecting you, The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is here to help you with all of your condominium association needs.  Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 or set-up an appointment to come visit us at our Lantana, Florida office location.  We are located at 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana Florida 33462

FL Asset Protection

Florida does not impose state taxes on Inheritance, estates, or gifts.  Protect your hard earned assets and leave a lasting legacy for future generations and charitable causes.

Florida has a longstanding reputation as a favorable destination for retirees.  Many people view Florida as a retirement haven because of Florida’s warm weather and easy going lifestyle.  Florida is also an advantageous domicile for retirement in terms of protecting your hard earned assets, and ensuring that the younger generations of your family will be protected long into the future.  Florida does not impose any state taxes on inheritance, estates, or gifts.  However, it is important to realize that real property, and tangible personal property located in another state, may be subject to any estate taxes imposed by the state where the property is located.  There are strategies an individual can use regarding out of state property, to ensure that such property is not subject to state inheritance or estate taxes.  Transfers of assets during your lifetime to family, friends, colleagues, and charitable organizations are one way to limit tax liability and ensure your property will be used to enrich the lives of others.

If you are interested in how you can take advantage of Florida’s favorable estate and inheritance tax climate to your advantage and other Florida asset protection strategies, contact The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC  (FL Asset Protection attorneys) to help you with your needs.  Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 to set-up an appointment to come visit us at our Lantana, Florida office location.

How can I Inspect the Official Records of my Condo Association in FL

As a Unit Owner in a Condominium Association in Florida, you have the absolute right to inspect the Official Records of the Condominium Association in certain situations.

More specifically, Florida Statute 718.111(12) states the the Condominium Association must maintain the following items, as their Official Records: a copy of the plans, permits, warranties and other items provided by the developer; a photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium; a photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the Association and each amendment to the bylaws; a certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the Condominium Association, a copy of the current rules of the Condominium Association, a book or books that contain the minutes of all meetings of the Condominium Association, the board of the administration, and the unit owners, which minutes must be retained for at least 7 years; a current roster of all unit owners and their mailing addresses; all current insurance policies; a current copy of the management agreement, lease or other contract to which the Condominium Association is a party; bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the Condominium Association; Accounting records for the Condominium Association; ballots, sign in sheets, voting proxies and other papers relating to voting; all rental records; all other written records of the Condominium Association and a copy of the Inspection report.

The Official Records of the Condominium Association must be maintained within the state of Florida for at least 7 years. Further, the records of the Condominium Association shall be available to a Unit Owner within 45 miles of the Association or within the county in which the Condominium Association is located. This is important to note if the registered agent is located in a different county. Generally, the Official Records are kept with the Management Company or the Registered Agent.

The Official Records of the Condominium Association are open to inspection by any Condominium Association member or authorized representative of the Condominium Association member. The right to inspect includes the right to make copies. The Condominium Association must make the Official Records available within 10 days of receipt of a written request. If a Unit Owner is denied access, the Unit Owner is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the Condominium Association’s willful failure to comply. Florida Statutes state that the minimum damages are $50.00 per calendar day for up to 10 days. This damage clause is important to note as it makes the Condominium Association on the hook if they do not comply.

There are many reasons why a Unit Owner may want to inspect the Official Records of the Condominium Association. For example, if you want to read the Declaration of Condominium or the Bylaws, if you want to see the minutes of any and all meetings held by the Board of Directors or the Unit Owners, and if you want to ensure that the Board of Directors are following through with their fiduciary duties.

The documents that are NOT available for inspection are the documents protected by attorney/client privilege, any information obtained by a Condominium Association in connection with the approval of a Lease, sale or other transfer of a Unit; personnel records of the Condominium Association or management company; medical records of Unit Owners; and any personal information of Unit Owners such as the social security numbers and drivers licenses.

The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC has experienced and aggressive Condominium and Homeowners Association Attorneys that are here to help you with all of your needs.  As we represent both Condominium Associations and individual Unit Owners, we know the ins and outs of Condominium Law in Florida.  Call us today at (561) 699-0399 to set up your free 20-minute consultation. We are located in Lantana, Florida. We serve South Florida.

South FL Hard Money Loans

According to Wikipedia, “[a] hard money loan is a specific type of asset-based loan financing through which a borrower receives funds secured by real property. Hard money loans are typically issued by private investors or companies. Interest rates are typically higher than conventional commercial or residential property loans because of the higher risk and shorter duration of the loan. Most hard money loans are used for projects lasting from a few months to a few years. Hard money is similar to a bridge loan, which usually has similar criteria for lending as well as cost to the borrowers. The primary difference is that a bridge loan often refers to a commercial property or investment property that may be in transition and does not yet qualify for traditional financing, whereas hard money often refers to not only an asset-based loan with a high interest rate, but possibly a distressed financial situation, such as arrears on the existing mortgage, or where bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings are occurring.”

CREDIT- Source- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_money_loan

But are Hard Money Loans really all that bad?

That’s a loaded question.  To be quite frank, it depends on each situation. A hard money loan can benefit a Lender and Borrower if a Borrower needs cash to close quickly on a property.  If the Borrower has a piece(s) of property that can be put up as collateral, then a hard money loan may be made if the terms are right for both parties.  Additionally,  the Borrower may have unique opportunity that includes a payoff that has been discounted or maybe the Borrower is in foreclosure. Sometimes a Borrower may need a hard money loan when the Borrower doesn’t qualify for the more traditional bank loans or a property is vacant and needs a significant amount of work.

Benefits of Hard Money Loans

Flexibility. Both Borrowers and Lenders complement each other to meet the specific needs of the particular deal.  A Borrower may require different loan terms then what the Lender is offering, but the Borrower will usually pay a premium (i.e. higher interest rate, pre-payment penalty, etc). However, Lenders on a hard money transaction have the flexibility to tweak the details of the loan terms. Banks usually have more stringent restrictions and cannot offer such flexible terms.

Are you a Borrower looking to secure a South FL hard money loan? Are you a Lender that has a Borrower in default on a hard money loan in Florida?  You have come to the right place. Call The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC today @ (561) 699-0399 to set-up your free consultation.  We are located in Lantana Florida, we serve South Florida.

Notice Requirements Florida Residential Tenant

Are you a Florida Tenant renting a residential property?  Has your lease expired?  Before deciding to vacate your Florida residential property, make sure to follow Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes by giving the correct NOTICE, so you don’t get yourself into a bind with your Landlord and set yourself up for not recovering your security deposit.

Have questions?  Call for your free consultation @ (561) 699-0399.  The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC represents both Landlords and Tenants.  We know the law and we’re here to help.

83.57 Termination of tenancy without specific term.—A tenancy without a specific duration, as defined in s. 83.46(2) or (3), may be terminated by either party giving written notice in the manner provided in s. 83.56(4), as follows:
(1) When the tenancy is from year to year, by giving not less than 60 days’ notice prior to the end of any annual period;
(2) When the tenancy is from quarter to quarter, by giving not less than 30 days’ notice prior to the end of any quarterly period;
(3) When the tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period; and
(4) When the tenancy is from week to week, by giving not less than 7 days’ notice prior to the end of any weekly period.

Florida Supreme Court Lease Be Modified For More Than One Year?

This seems to be a question we get asked quite often.  The good news, is  that there is a definitive answer.  Have a Lease question?  Need a Lease Drafted?  The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is here to assist.  Call us today @ (561) 699-0399.

In 1950, the Supreme Court of Florida decided the case Keyes Co. v. Dade County Bar Ass’n. [1] This case is significant because the Court determined that a real estate licensee is permitted to complete real estate sales contracts, as long as the licensee is involved in the contract’s negotiation.[2] Although the act described above is the practice of law, the Court allowed a limited exception because, as the Court noted, licensees are subject to strict oversight by the Florida Real Estate Commission.[3] In the end, the Keyes decision laid the foundation for fill-in-the-blank style real estate forms, such as the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar contract (“FAR/BAR”).

In 1992, the Court approved three fill-in-the-blank residential lease agreements for use by non-attorneys.[4] This number has since been reduced to two contracts:[5] the Residential Lease for Single Family Home or Duplex (“RLHD-3”) and the Residential Lease for Apartment or Unit in Multi-Family Rental Housing (other than a Duplex) including a Mobile Home, Condominium, or Cooperative (“RLAUCC-1”). Although non-attorneys may use these fill-in the-blank leases to assist a landlord or tenant (“parties”) in completing one of these lease agreements, only parties and their attorneys are authorized to modify the leases in any way. The primary limitation of using the RLHD-3 and the RLAUCC-1 is the mandate that the lease duration not extend beyond one year; however, parties to the transaction and their attorneys may be able to legally vary from this rule.

Q: Who can modify a Florida Supreme Court lease?

A: Parties to the lease agreement and their attorneys may modify the Court-approved leases. Non-attorneys and non-parties are not authorized to make any modifications to the Court-approved leases.

Q: Can parties to a lease extend the lease duration of the Court-approved leases for longer than one year?

A: Yes. The landlord and tenant and their attorneys may use the Court-approved leases for durations longer than one year, as long as the modification is property executed. They may also create addenda for the Court-approved leases as well.

Q: What must a party to the lease do to extend the duration of the agreement beyond one year?

A: A party to the contract should contact his or her own private attorney for information pertaining to the proper execution of leases extending beyond one year. They may also refer to Florida Statute § 689.01.

Q: Can a real estate licensee prepare addenda to a Court-approved lease form?

A: No. Non-attorneys and non-parties may not create addenda for, or modify, any leases, including attorney created leases, for third parties. Doing so is unauthorized practice of law.

Q: Must a landlord and tenant use the Court-approved lease form?

A: No. Parties to a lease agreement may prepare their own lease or have an attorney draft a lease for them.

[1] Keyes Co. v. Dade County Bar Ass’n, 46 So.2d 605 (1950).

[2] Id. at 606.

[3] Id.

[4] Supreme Court of Florida, Nos. 77,675 & 77,737, July 2, 1992.

[5] Supreme Court of Florida, No. SC09-250, April 15, 2010.

***This information is brought to you from Florida Realtors*** CREDIT

http://www.floridarealtors.org/legalcenter/hottopics/upload/lease-longer-than-1-year-contract-legal-library-question.docx.

See also Florida Statutes:

689.01 How real estate conveyed.—No estate or interest of freehold, or for a term of more than 1 year, or any uncertain interest of, in or out of any messuages, lands, tenements or hereditaments shall be created, made, granted, transferred or released in any other manner than by instrument in writing, signed in the presence of two subscribing witnesses by the party creating, making, granting, conveying, transferring or releasing such estate, interest, or term of more than 1 year, or by the party’s lawfully authorized agent, unless by will and testament, or other testamentary appointment, duly made according to law; and no estate or interest, either of freehold, or of term of more than 1 year, or any uncertain interest of, in, to, or out of any messuages, lands, tenements or hereditaments, shall be assigned or surrendered unless it be by instrument signed in the presence of two subscribing witnesses by the party so assigning or surrendering, or by the party’s lawfully authorized agent, or by the act and operation of law. No seal shall be necessary to give validity to any instrument executed in conformity with this section. Corporations may execute any and all conveyances in accordance with the provisions of this section or ss. 692.01 and 692.02.

FL Collections Attorneys

The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC is a South Florida Debt Collections law firm dedicated to helping  businesses collect outstanding debts and accounts receivable.

For most cases, Attorney Shipp and his team work on a contingency plus costs basis. What does that exactly mean? As a client, you owe no amount for attorney’s fees unless there is money recovery.

As a Florida Collections Attorney, Attorney Shipp takes pride in servicing each client by providing them with his personal attentiveness, experience, knowledge, skill, compassion, and tenacity as well providing his clients with the absolute most competitive rates in the industry.

When it comes to collecting for his clients, Attorney Shipp has a simple three-step process.

Step 1: Pre-Suit Collections (Demand Stage)

Step 2: Filing Suit/ Litigation

Step 3: Post-Judgment Collections

To learn more about your options, request a claim form, or inquire about our competitive rates, contact the Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC @ (561) 699-0399 or stop by our Lantana, Florida office location today. 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462.

Florida Asset Protection – No State Income Tax in Florida

Most people are aware that Florida does not impose state income tax on its residents.  However, many part-time residents do not understand how to use this Florida law to their advantage.  As an example, an individual who spends part of the year in Florida and part of the year in New York, is liable for state income taxes in New York if they are considered domiciled or a resident in New York.  To avoid state income tax in New York, an individual should ensure they are not considered a resident of New York.  States that impose income tax typically have laws that define a “resident” for state income tax purposes.  In New York, if an individual spends more than 183 days in the state, they are considered a New York resident for income tax purposes.  If you maintain a residence in another state, and you want to be considered a Florida resident for income tax purposes, you must be careful regarding how much time you spend in the other state.

Next, to take advantage of Florida’s lack of income tax, an individual will need to establish domicile in Florida.  Establishing domicile is not difficult, but certain steps must be taken.  It is important to show that an individual intends to make Florida their permanent place of residence.  Factors that show this intent are: maintaining a residence in Florida, employment or business ownership in Florida, holding a valid Florida driver’s license or identification, registering vehicles in Florida, bank statements with a Florida address, registering to vote in Florida, and using your Florida address when filing federal tax returns.  Establishing domicile in Florida can be a major financial tax advantage.  However, Florida domiciled individuals must also be aware that they may still be liable for income tax in other states where they own property or businesses.  Be sure that you have properly established domicile in Florida, and understand the tax implications of your personal and business activities in other states.

If you are interested in how you can take advantage of Florida’s favorable income tax climate to your advantage contact The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC to help you with your legal needs needs.  Call us today @ (561) 699-0399 or set-up an appointment to come visit us at our Lantana, Florida office location.

Next week the series will discuss Florida’s Estate and Gift tax laws, especially in relation to individuals with property in other states.

 

 
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