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Questions Answered by Barbara Billiot Stage
1 Answer | Asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Does the state of Florida require the property owners consent to only send billing/invoices by email?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 30, 2021

If you referring to a HOA or condominium (COA) sending you an invoice for assessments, the answer is no, you may consent in writing to notices and invoices being sent by email, but you do not have to consent. New laws went into effect July 1, 2021 which now require associations to send a 30-day... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I just got an offer to buy my house for Opendoor.I am skeptical. What should I beware of?

We had a virtual walkthrough on Tuesday, and they sent an inspector to view the outside of the house yesterday, sending their offer last night via email. I'm skeptical, as I feel the offer was a good one. I have signed nothing, and accepted nothing so far. What are my caveats?

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 23, 2021

You should consult with a real estate attorney in person to review the offer and the documents provided by Offerpad. Real estate transactions should never be attempted without a lawyer because of all the potential pitfalls.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: can HOA BOD say only board members can collect proxies for upcoming capital expense vote or can neighbors collect also
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 23, 2021

Anyone can collect proxies. In fact the proxies also need to give a space for the member to appoint someone other than the association in case they want to exercise that option.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can HOAs in Florida change their rules relative to no longer allowing (or limiting time on property) boats already here?

We bought our property knowing boats were allowed without limitations. We now own a boat and the HOA wants to change the rules. Shouldn't "grandfathering" be allowed so that the rule change doesn't damage owners who already have a boat on property?

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 21, 2021

Grandfathering does not apply to movable objects. HOA documents generally allow the board of directors to adopt "Rules and Regulations" with a board member vote. Generally, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions require a membership vote, but not always. Whether or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Florida on
Q: I am in an HOA and if a previous Board did not address a rule infraction, does it get grandfathered and the time frame

Basically an infraction of a by-law or any doc; is there a time frame where it get's grandfathered in and a current Board cannot act on it.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 19, 2021

It can be up to five years. It depends on if the HOA is filing suit for specific performance (a court order forcing you to comply) or breach of contract (money damages). It also depends on some other factors, but the board has five years from the date they knew or should have known (which can be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Real Estate Law, Traffic Tickets and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Can a resident of a MH park be charged with trespassing for walking through an easement that belongs to the park?

I friend of mine is being threatened with eviction for trespassing on an easement that belongs to the park and is there to allow access to another piece of land. On some maps and map apps it even shows as being a street.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 17, 2021

You should not be soliciting legal advice for your friend, no matter how good your intentions are. That would be practicing law without a license and a felony.

Your friend needs to consult with a real estate attorney to review the plats and easements. The simple and less expensive option...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law, Federal Crimes and Probate for Florida on
Q: forced to sign a note . that reads i agree to pay 8.297.00 a month at 20 % forever. nothing about total are what its for

seller who forced this signing . sold the me the property on 11/22/13. 10 month before a probate was filed .knowing of new ownership pending via back taxes . i was at 6k in the rehab and 4.3k paid to him . when it hit. after 6 months of wondering the halls of justice. this one lady in the probate... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 17, 2021

I am not sure what your question is because you do not actually have one, but I can tell from the facts you need to hire a real estate litigator immediately. The facts are too many to rely on general advice from an online forum. No one should buy real estate in Florida without having an attorney... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: I am a senior citizen holding a mortgage in Charlotte County, Florida. I could not afford a lawyer to foreclose.

I successfully did it on my own with the final judgment awarded in late March and the auction scheduled for April 30. The morning of the auction the debtor showed up with Ch.13 bankruptcy papers and the auction was cancelled. This morning her bankruptcy was dismissed due to non compliance and... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 14, 2021

The courts cannot give you legal advice -- that would be practicing law without a license, which is a felony. Without reviewing the docket, generally you can motion the court to reset the sale.

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1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: Is it normal procedure for a lender to bring a foreclosure action upon heir(s) with letter of surrender in Fla
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 12, 2021

Without reviewing a title report I would say generally, yes. They have to clear any possible claims and interest against the property. It is especially important if there are judgments with the same name as the decedent. While the decedent might be "Joe J Smith," any judgment in the... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My name is on the deed for my mother’s rental property in FL. Can I be sued if a lawsuit comes against the property?

My mother inherited a paid off home in Florida that she now rents out. She added me to the deed several years ago, but I just found out tonight that she doesn’t have insurance on the house (which is not required if the house is paid off, but doesn’t make any sense to me to be uninsured). I am... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 12, 2021

I agree with my colleague you would be sued if anyone were to bring a claim against the property for injury or a tenant makes a claim. It doesn't make sense not have insurance and if your mother is going to be a landlord she should have an attorney draft her leases for everyone's... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Did my landlord violate my privacy?

So, I know I'm in the wrong too, but I need to see the best way to go about this. I have outside cats and just move where the landlord doesn't want animals, but they are outside cats. For my own reasons, I didn't mention it and just need a week or so for them to get use to their new... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jul 2, 2021

Sorry, but you probably violated your lease (which we cannot review here online), requested service and now are upset the landlord found out you have cats in his house. It is logical to check each AC vent when there is a complaint the AC is not working properly. A landlord in Florida has the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law and Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: In 2009 for I bought a house $165,000 with $60,000 as a down payment. 2017 I got a loan modification now I owe $154,000
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jun 30, 2021

I'm not sure what the question is either. If you are saying you had a $105,000 mortgage and now have a $154,000 mortgage it is likely due to missed payments and/or other charges incurred on your account. Interest accumulates rapidly as well as missing escrow payments. Please re-post with a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I signed a quit claim deed and the previous owner has since passed away and now I have a man asking me for rent

no mortgage that i know of through a bank or company but this man i have never met feels i should pay him rent? What have i done? I thought the money i gave the previous owner bought the house and land free and clear. What do I do now? What if the previous owner had a legally binding contract with... Read more »

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

You need to do what you should have done in the first place and hire a real estate lawyer to review the transaction. It could be possible the person you thought you were purchasing from did not have clear title to the property. It could be this unknown person demanding rent is attempting to scam... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: Can my home be foreclosed on if the mortgage is on my mothers name? I’m not in the mortgage.

Home was deeded to me many years ago by my father who passed. Mom being elderly abs has dementiA

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jun 23, 2021

Yes, the property can be foreclosed on for an unpaid mortgage no matter who holds title. The note secures the property as payment. You should consult with a mortgage foreclosure defense attorney to make sure the bank is following all of the proper protocols and naming the proper parties. You... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can a Florida HOA issue an amended approval a month after they approved something without the homeowners requesting it?

Our Florida HOA approved and certified our application for a tan fence even though our community guidelines call for white. A month later our fence co contacted the HOA telling them they approved a tan fence, at which time the HOA issued an amended approval for white fencing. Can they do that?

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jun 13, 2021

If the fence hadn’t been installed yet, yes, they can correct their error. If the color wasn’t clear from the application, the HOA might be able to amend approval even if the fence was installed. If it was clear from the application the fence was tan, you asked for a variance and you installed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: HOA regulation states no commercial trucks or trailers cannot be parked in lots. Can a person trailer be parked?

Feel like that sentence can be interpreted differently. I have a personal cargo trailer. Does the sentence mean any trailers or commercial trailers??

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jun 7, 2021

Based on your stated version of the document, a judge would likely interpret it to mean any trailer. Generally, most HOA documents exclude commercial vehicles, trailers, campers, recreational vehicles. You have to check not only the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, but any... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I bought a property through an auction that I now learned has a mortgage on it. What options do I have?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on May 24, 2021

It depends on the type of auction. If it was a tax deed sale you take it clear and free of the mortgage, but there could be other liens that are not eliminated. If it was a foreclosure by a HOA or condo association, another lender with a lien, or a mechanic's lien, you take it subject to the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Is any HOA board member entitled to see the legal invoices, or is only the treasurer?

I am currently the treasure on our HOA board. I have only been treasurer since January 2021 but I have beena board member since 2019. I am requesting to see the full legal invoices for the entire time I was on the board which includes time that I was not treasure just a regular board member. My HOA... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on May 21, 2021

Any homeowner is allowed to see legal invoices. They are official records of the HOA. There should not be any attorney-client privileged information in them and if there is the HOA manager can redact it.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can the HOA not accept my partial payment when there is no legal notice, and no notice from HOA ?

Ok - so, I owed $450 HOA dues per month from January 2021 - April 31 2001, plus special assessment of $500 month during that same time period I tried to pay $2100 multiple times in late April (no notice given by HOA of delinquency due to they stopped sending statements as of Jan 31, 2021)….I... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on May 13, 2021

A HOA does not have to send you statements. You know you have a duty to pay them and the law requires you to pay them whether you get a statement or not. It may be the HOA no longer accepts Zelle (which is a bad idea for an association to do) or has changed management companies. If they are still... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My mom QCD to me her property without me being aware. She has a lawsuit with the HOA. Can they put a lien in my own-home

I don’t live with her; I have my own house with my husband. Her HOA summon me at my house. Am I responsible for her property taxes? She quit claim deed to me and my sister but she still on the deed.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on May 13, 2021

That will not stop the HOAs foreclosure and affects your credit because you now have a foreclosure against you in the public records. They cannot lien your home but you are jointly responsible for any unpaid assessments from a previous owner (your mom).

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