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Questions Answered by Barbara Billiot Stage
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My grandmother lives in a house that was left to her and her siblings in their fathers will.

The will never went through probate and my grandmother has lived in the property openly and unchallenged by her two surviving siblings for over 10 years. She has paid the property taxes each year herself. Is the property legally hers? If so, how do we make it official and if not, what can we do to... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 22, 2021

Your grandmother needs to hire a real estate/probate attorney to resolve this issue. It is not something that can be resolved with general advice on the internet and the attorney would have to review the last deed and the will.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Are home owners allowed to view the bank statements of a Home Owners Association?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 18, 2021

Yes, these are official records and subject to disclosure.

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My dad has three properties, his health is poor, do the properties go to those named in his will or those on the title?

My dad is in poor health, he is unresponsive. He noted in his will he will leave all estates to his children, split amongst them. Currently, aside from my dad listed on all three of his properties; my brother is listed on the title of one property, my grandmother is listed on one, and the same... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 18, 2021

It depends on how the deed reads. It may go to the other title holders if there is right of survivorship language in the deed or other similar language. If not, the other title holders would still have their proportional share and your father's share would be disbursed per the terms of his... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Am I able to abandon real property in Florida (Lake County) if I can’t sell it or give it away? How much time elapse?

I no longer want to be legally responsible for mobile home park (HOA) fees and property taxes.

Thank you.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 9, 2021

It would take a few years for the county to issue a tax deed certificate and auction the property off. The HOA is likely not going to go away so easy. Walking away from the property is not going to relieve you of liability and it just depends on how aggressive the HOA is in going after the debt.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Municipal Law for Florida on
Q: Can I park in front of my Lot/house on the street according to the bylaws below?

No vehicle shall be parked anywhere but on

paved areas intended for that purpose. Parking on lawns or landscaped areas is prohibited,

unless specifically approved or designated for such purpose. Lot Owners' or Residents'

automobiles shall be parked in the garage or... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 9, 2021

That question is impossible to answer without seeing the plat and the location of your lot on the plat. While parking on roadways in front of your own house are generally permitted, there are exceptions for certain roadways and you cannot park on the roadway if you lot is located on one of the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: The condo board won't pick up certified letter requesting records. What do I do now?

Two other owners and myself have sent several certified letters requesting financial records but they wont pick the letters up because they know what they are and don't want to give us the records.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 8, 2021

You could report them to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) at myfloridalicense.com, but with the pandemic the response time might be slower than usual. The other option is to send them by courier or hire a process server. Typically, unless you have a discounted service... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Florida on
Q: Can I have legal/financial problems for not paying taxes on vacant land lots?

Can I have legal/financial problems for not paying taxes on vacant land lots ( Seabring, Highland County, Florida) that my ex-husbands purchased back in 2004 on my name? I stopped paying taxes and other fees on this lots 6-7 years ago, and worry if eventually county can put lean on my house that is... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Feb 1, 2021

The county can auction off the property for unpaid taxes in a tax deed sale. Your bigger concern is if there are any code enforcement violations which have generated fines. If Code Enforcement issues fines it can record liens which attach to any property you own. You also have liability if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My landlord died and I was gave Certified letter stating they will not be renewing my lease do to his realtor selling

The property I have been living paying my rent for 8 yrs. and they want me out by Jan.31,2021 I was gave the letter back in June of 2020 but it been so hard to find a place do to the pandemic is they breaking the law somewhere cause no one haven’t came and seen the home to buy anything

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 29, 2021

The property may be tied up in probate or the personal representative of the estate may be waiting for you to vacate to fix the property up to sell, but that does not mean you cannot be evicted once the lease expires. If an eviction action is filed against you, you will have a trouble finding any... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Civil Litigation for Florida on
Q: What's a pleading? Is there a template?

I am the party (individual) initiating the action against another individual who operates a business. I have already submitted a statement of claim which was accepted and the process has moved forward. Now I need to submit a pleading and I'm pretty lost.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 29, 2021

There are a mountain of various types of pleadings and a lawyer would need to know what you are trying to achieve or if you have been ordered by the court to submit a pleading, then the wording of the pleading. This site is not meant to teach someone how to proceed pro se with litigation. It is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can I find a Pro Bono Lawyer for a Real Estate case?

I had purchased a Mobile Home in August 2020. I told the buyer the same day I couldn't go through with the sale . She refused to give back my money. I hired an Attorney asap and he was paid he never served her but says he did. I just found out recently he had his licence Suspended. I'm... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 25, 2021

You should file a complaint with the Florida Bar. They can order restitution. Go to their website: Floridabar.org and search for ACAP.

You can try the Polk County Bar Association to see if you can use their pro bono services. Most bar associations have a waiting list.

You might...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: New BOD changed locks on clubhouse. How long do they have to replace old keys?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 20, 2021

It depends on why the locks were changed. Many associations have closed their amenities due to COVID-19. Florida Statute 720.116 gives the association to do whatever is necessary during a state of emergency for the safety and health of the membership.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Hello, My property and house sold at a tax deed sale what happens to the mortgage on the house? I live in Florida.
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 18, 2021

You may have a right to the surplus proceeds on the property. Often the mortgage company does not realize the house sold and does not file a claim for the surplus. You should immediately file a claim for the surplus. You are still liable to pay the note even though you no longer own the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I want the Ins Company who paid our HOA on a claim to tell me the amount. Don't I have a right to this information?

I own a condo and therefore and part of an association I'm trying to find out the amount of money the insurance company paid out on the last hurricane claim from the insurance company. I did get the amount from the bookkeeper of the association but I want to verify it with the insurance... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 28, 2020

Not from the insurance company. You can verify the amount by sending a certified letter, return receipt to the association to inspect the official records. At the records inspection you can ask to see a copy of the check and the bank statement for the deposit. At the inspection you can make... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Who is responsible on a daily basis to maintain a clean sidewalk in an HOA. Sidewalk abuts homeowners property line

The property ends at the sidewalk but homeowners are required to maintain the driveway for which they have an easement to enter from the street.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 7, 2020

That's impossible to say without reading your HOA documents, but usually it is the homeowner's responsibility.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Municipal Law for Florida on
Q: Are Florida HOAs (chapter 720) now required to have a website the same as COAs are per chapter 718 changes as of 2018?

I read that Chapter 718 now requires condo associations to implement a website for the COA under 2018 changes to Florida law. I am president of a FL HOA governed by Chapter 720. I'm trying to locate the similar requirement under Chapter 720 law. Are HOAs also now required by law to... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 7, 2020

No, there is no requirement for HOAs to have a website. Chapter 720 is a little confusing because it requires a HOA to have their estoppel information on their website, but that has been interpreted to mean if they have a website it must include the estoppel information.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Florida on
Q: In Florida, can a HOA member NOT compliant w' Deed Restrictions serve on Board of Directors?

This candidate's excuse is a '5 year statute of limitations for enforcing Deed restrictions' b/c his wife was on the Board for years, & used 'selective enforcement" of restrictions on some while they refused to comply.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Nov 30, 2020

If you are a board member you have a duty to consult with the HOA attorney rather than trying to find answers on the internet. If the HOA does not have an attorney, it needs one.

If you are a homeowner, the answer is "it depends" on the language in the HOA documents, what...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: my father and I are on a mortgage. If he dies, what becomes of my status with the mortgage?

Can his creditors come after me or the house?

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Nov 27, 2020

You are only liable for the mortgage if you signed the note. If you want to keep the house, consult with a real estate attorney who has experience in mortgages and mortgage foreclosures to review the mortgage and note and advise how this will play out if you continue to pay the mortgage.

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I HAVE ASKED MY HOA FOR THE OWNERS NAME AND ADDRESS OF OUR MANAGEMENT CO. AND WAS GIVEN THE RUN AROUND WHAT DO I DO

THE ADDRESS THEY PROVIDED IS FOR ANOTHER MANAGEMENT CO. AND THEY TOLD ME THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT COMPANY

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Nov 24, 2020

HOAs do not have a statutory duty to answer questions from homeowners, but in the case of simple questions like this, it sends up a red flag for me that the HOA is not being transparent. Who do you pay assessments to? Usually assessments are sent to and processed by the management company. Is it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Real estate: In the State of Florida--Mortgage note

In the State of Florida...we are buying a home...I am putting down half in cash...my husband took out a mortgage for the other half. We want the deed to be in both our names (husband and wife in entirety). the mortgage application is only in my husbands name........the bank wants me to sign the... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Nov 9, 2020

A mortgage and a note are two different things, but they must both be signed by the borrower to get a mortgage. If the co-owner is not on the mortgage the co-owner still needs to sign the mortgage to acknowledge the property has a mortgage because the co-owner stands to lose their interest if there... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Florida on
Q: neighbor put up fence on his property and wants half the cost for fence line that faces my property. Am I responsible

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Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Nov 9, 2020

Generally, if it's on his property, it's his fence. You cannot attach anything to it. Unless you agreed to the price and date/time payment would be tendered, my opinion is you have no obligation, especially since the neighbor said he couldn't wait on you.

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