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Questions Answered by Barbara Billiot Stage
2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: How do I evict someone who isn't a tenant--they were a live in girlfriend who refuses to leave?

She never paid rent. She has only paid a cable bill a couple of times in the last few years.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Sep 10, 2020

I agree. The difference between an unlawful detainer and an eviction depends on the facts and details. Either way you have to file a court action and that is not a do-it-yourself project. If you let them stay, they do not leave is the general rule about house guests, significant others, blind... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: In FL can I hold (not allow access to) packages received in our office for residents who are not current on their rent?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Sep 9, 2020

Absolutely not. You would likely be charged with theft.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: How do I remove My boyfriend name from my house we are no longer together and he has judgement s that placed liens.

It is homesteaded property if i just quitclaim him off the deed will it remove him and his judgments? He also has the same name as his father and his father judgement liens are attached to my property as well. Please advise. He is willing to sign quitclaim and transfer his rights to me.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Sep 4, 2020

The only way to remove someone off of a deed is to get them to sign the deed. Once the judgment liens are recorded they are not removed until they are satisfied. You could possibly resolve the judgment liens from his father with an affidavit, but that will not solve all of your problems. You... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Civil Rights and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can my aunt be sued for living in a house that is now foreclosed?

The title owner of the house passed - her sister (who was NOT put on the title) lived there for 10+ yrs. is now staying with me. She got served yesterday at my apartment. She just walked away from the house that is now foreclosed. She hasn’t a job and is collecting SS & food stamps. What do... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Sep 2, 2020

The sister needs to consult with an attorney rather than you providing her legal advice you obtained online and could be misunderstood. There are options available, especially if the house has equity. The sister should consult with an attorney experienced in probate and mortgage foreclosure... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Health Care Law for Florida on
Q: Inappropriate HOA pool classification declaration by HOA Board

We recently formed a small 7 household HOA in order to be able to insure our commons pool/clubhouse jointly owned after the developer left our compound. Our HOA Board has declared the pool to be PUBLIC with draconian State Regulations attached. The Board is refusing to admit they might be wrong... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 31, 2020

No, the pool for common use and the residential lot, unless it is owned by someone other than the HOA is now common area.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: HOA enforces regulatory NO Dumping signage and in 2017 incured $275 fee. Concern is HOA process violates FL statute 720.

There are signs posted if you dump you are fined. This is not the fining that occurs from the community governing documents or rules and regulations. If you park in the wrong spot you are towed, and you pay the towing fee to get your car back. If you dump, you absorb the fee to remove the dumped... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 31, 2020

It is impossible to answer your question without reading your HOA documents. Sometimes documents have special provisions that allow HOAs to charge homeowners an individual assessment for certain violations. You would need to consult with a HOA lawyer to review not only your Declaration of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: HOA has rejected fence location 2 times, we believe we are being victims of selective enforcement

One neighbor has the first location we requested , and another one has a fence too in the second location we requested, this one is even almost same as us, corner home. The reason they give us is to maintain integrity of the community/ Are they being selective? the covenants don't mention... Read more »

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

Selective enforcement is a defense to being sued, not a cause of action to sue. You might have a case for breach of contract if the HOA is not enforcing the declarations in a uniform manner. You would need to file an action for declaratory relief and have a judge rule if the HOA is right or you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts for Florida on
Q: My wife and I need to hire an attorney. Must we sign 2 separate contracts with the attorney?

This is about the roof of our house. We need an attorney to represent us. The attorney says that my wife and I must sign separate contacts with him, even though we have both signed the same limited power of attorney for him to represent us (which we have not yet given to him). We would prefer to... Read more »

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

Signing two separate contracts is one thing, but sending two separate invoices is questionable. The Florida Bar recommends having multiple parties in the same dispute sign separate contracts with language advising each they are "jointly and severally" liable for the billing. This means... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: Florida-Does foreclosure moratorium allow lender to sell the property and the new owners can file "unlawful detainer"

Certificate of title was (not served but) issued 3/2020, Bank did not do writ of possession and listed house for auction 4/15 (after moratorium executive order). We were never notified until receipt of unlawful detainer 8/19 that the house belongs to new owners. New owner is seeking possession and... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 25, 2020

If the property was auctioned before the executive order was issued in March, there would have been a certificate of sale issued giving you ten (10) days to redeem the property. If you do not redeem the property by paying the judgment, then a certificate of title is issued. The timing of these... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: How can I get my name off a deed to a house that I do not own and the owner (my mom) is being sued?

my mom has a lawsuit against the insurance company for refusing to fix the stucco that is falling off due to water damage. She doesn't have the funds to fix it on her own and the hoa is aware of the situation but still filed a lawsuit against her and me for not maintaining the housing. The... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 22, 2020

Removing your name from the deed will not remove you from the lawsuit. Financial hardship is not a defense to a lawsuit by an HOA for failure to maintain the property. The court is not going to expect the HOA to wait until your mother’s lawsuit with the insurance company is completed. She... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: If I record a legal quit claim deed can the grantee void it?

This is a quit claim deed prepared by the attorney for the grantee (time share company) they also sent an affidavit to sign but I refuse to sign the affidavit. No where on the quit claim deed does it show an attachment. I would like to personally record the deed with the county and need to know... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 19, 2020

No one can answer that question in an online forum. It would require an attorney to review the documents, which we cannot do here. Even deeds prepared by attorneys can have defects rendering them void or voidable. If you are taking title to property, selling property or transferring property,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Are cash real estate contracts void if not completed by date agreed to originally?

We four sisters were left our mothers home13 years ago in Florida. I paid bills on it for 8 years and refused to continue because one sister would not agree to sell. The house will go to auction for taxes unless sold . We have a buyer for cash and we’re supposed to close in April. All sisters... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 14, 2020

This is not a question that can be answered in an online forum. You need a real estate attorney to review the agreement. If you have breached the agreement the buyer may have recourse against you. Buying and selling real estate without an attorney may save money now, but will cost quite a bit... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Legal Malpractice for Florida on
Q: We purchased our home in Oct 2017. It was sold as city sewer and water. We have problems with toilet and found no city

Sewer. We have a bad septic sewer and need a new one put in! In the last few months we spent over $500 to get it pumped. Help

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 12, 2020

You would need to consult with a real estate attorney to review your purchase agreement, which we obviously cannot do online in this forum. If it was only on the listing you likely would not have any recourse in this matter. It is important to use a real estate attorney when purchasing property... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My daughter and husband are being told they have to sell their house because the mother-in-law wants $50,000.00 she is

On the deed but not the mortgage of the house

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 10, 2020

That is the dangers of adding someone to the deed -- they have a legal interest in the property and can file a partition action in court to force a sale. Your daughter and her husband need to consult with a local experienced real estate litigator immediately. She may be asking too much unless... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Is the eviction memorandum extended un Fl
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 10, 2020

The executive order signed by Governor DeSantis is subject to a lot of controversy and legal interpretation. The latest order puts a moratorium on evictions of those affected by COVID-19 with no definition of what qualifies as "affected." Landlords have started filing evictions and it... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Is my father liable for HOA Payments

My father won a property at auction in pasco county florida. It was a foreclosure auction through court house in which he secured the title, but was told by the bank and lawyer that he had no rights to the property and could not sell it. The HOA is now billing him. Is he responsible for these... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 6, 2020

It depends on what type of foreclosure occurred. No one should bid on property in Florida without first hiring an attorney to research the property for liens and other encumbrances on the property. If it was a HOA foreclosure, the past due assessments are paid by the judgment, but your father, if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can a land loard evict me for a pop up tent the hoa is complaining about but my neighbor who is on the board has up.
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 4, 2020

I'm not sure if you are stating the board member has one too, but this is a case of don't violate the HOA rules just because someone else is doing it. Your lease controls and if your lease is the same as the standard lease it says you must comply with all of the HOA restrictions, rules... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Rights for Florida on
Q: can a condo association ban a person from own unit for not wearing a mask
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Aug 4, 2020

It's depends on what you mean by "banning." The Condominium Act gives broad sweeping powers to the Board of Directors of a condominium association (COA) during a state of emergency. Those powers include the discretion to do what is necessary to protect the life, safety and health... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Contracts for Florida on
Q: Do I have to paint the ceiling, door and window frames, etc, if my contract states walls and or any touch up?

I own a restaurant in an HOA community and they own the building. In my contract it states in the repair and maintenance, “When considered necessary, the operator will assume the expense of any touch up or painting to the interior walls subject to approval by the HOA.”

I was asked to... Read more »

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

While an attorney cannot give you a definitive answer based on an excerpt you include in a post without reading the entire agreement, it appears they are trying to correct an oversight on their part. You will need to make a decision because dispute this could be very expensive if it goes to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Agricultural Law and Land Use & Zoning for Florida on
Q: HOA not allowing Fruit Trees in Backyards

We have just brought a house in a HOA governed community in Tampa, Florida. We have a 2000 sqf backyard and have planted some Florida approved fruit trees like mango , banana as we wanted home grown food and for religious practices. We got a letter from HOA that we are not allowed to plant fruit... Read more »

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

The ARB documents/guidelines are valid restrictions adopted by the HOA. Whether or not you can claim a reasonable accommodation for religious practices is a fact-based question that requires the review of a lot of factors, which go beyond the scope of this website and require a review of all of... Read more »

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