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Questions Answered by Barbara Billiot Stage
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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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can the HOA in Florida landscape your (rented) lawn without your approval?

Hello! Not super important, but the HOA (to be clear, NOT our landlords landscapers) came and dug up all of the ground plants against the home we are renting, and trimmed all of the fauna and trees, without our permission. All growing areas were covered with mulch as well. I loved the plants in our... Read more »

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

It's impossible to answer this question without reading the HOA documents, but it is entirely possible they could if they gave the landlord notice to cure a violation and the landlord ignored it. You as a renter do not have very many rights when it comes to the HOA. The HOA documents are a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Real Estate Law and Contracts for Florida on
Q: I have a couple living with me for 2 years now. Was supposed to be for 2 months. There is no lease. Can I tell them to

Move out or must they stay because of COVID mandate? She is an alcoholic and he is never here.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Oct 29, 2020

You can tell them to leave, but if they do not leave on their own you will have to file a court action for an unlawful detainer to get them out of your house.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can this townhouse association build on my land?

So I'm buying this lot that is in a townhouse community. It is privately owned not by association. I called them up and they are planning on finishing devlopment once covid is over. But I would like to know, if they are allowed to build on my lot because it is in their community. But I do own... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Oct 26, 2020

Are there any documents which bind you to the HOA, such as easements or deed restrictions? It is very unusual to have a lot within a community and not be bound to the community. You would need to take your deed and property survey to a lawyer to review those as well as the HOA documents, which... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My elderly parents live in the US & are selling their house in PR. What are the secure steps to follow to sell it?

They don’t have a realtor or an attorney. The seller has an offer letter and a prequalify from a bank already

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

Hire a lawyer immediately. There are many scams out there, especially against the elderly, and your parents could end up losing the home without getting paid. You should be able to find a lawyer who practices in both Florida and Puerto Rico.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Asking about an issue with my Home Owners Association.

I replaced my privacy fence a couple years ago with a type of fence that was perfectly acceptable at that time. Recently they changed the types of fences that were allowed and sent me a notice that I had to replace my fence with a new type within 30 days. I let them know a few months ago that I... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Oct 15, 2020

Did you get written approval to install the fence? Does the HOA documents require written approval for fences? Sometimes they rely on language which states you need permission for any exterior modification. Depending on how it is worded, some courts will find the language is too broad and vague,... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Consumer Law, Contracts and Collections for Florida on
Q: Bank can’t repo lost (not stolen) vehicle.

My fiancé and I got a vehicle together (both co-buyers on the loan). We ended up not being able to make the payments and we’re going to voluntarily give it back to the bank. It was this big ordeal and the bank wasn’t letting me set up a time for someone to either come pick it up or for me to... Read more »

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

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. The sooner you deal with the bank the better rather than having this hang over you as well. The bank may require police report in order to attempt to locate the vehicle. If you had insurance on the vehicle, which is usually a requirement for a car loan,... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Small Claims for Florida on
Q: While incarcerated a friend paid a retainer w/my check to the wrong lawyer who did nothing can I get that money back?

I was recently incarcerated due to a warrant for violating probation (reckless driving case) Unbeknownst to me, my friend retained the wrong attorney & paid him $2,500 with one of my checks. The only thing he did was file a Notice of discovery and lied about having a court date the night before... Read more »

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

It sounds like you might have a claim against your friend rather than the lawyer. How did your friend get your check? Who signed the check? Was there a retainer agreement? If so, who signed it? Did the retainer agreement include a provision for arbitration of a fee dispute through the Florida... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I live in a 55 plus mobile home park someone came to my door gave me a note to self I didn't clean up my clutter remove

This was two days after I made a complaint about the biting sign being put in front of our subdivision

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

I am not sure what you mean by a "biting sign." The note to remove clutter may or may not be related to the complaint you made, but if you are in violation of the park rules, the park has a right to enforce those rules whether or not you made a complaint.

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: Once my HOA files and foreclosure can I still pay the past due and fees in full to dismiss the lien and foreclosure?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Sep 30, 2020

No, you have to pay the interest, attorneys' fees and costs. These are provided for by Florida law. If you cannot afford to pay in full you should 1) ask the law firm representing the HOA if the HOA will consider a payment plan or 2) consult with a bankruptcy attorney to see if you qualify... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Any possible way that my mom could add me to her half of the house in case she passes away I could ask him to sell?

My mom wants to know if she could put me down as a beneficiary of her half of her home now why she still alive. The reason why, my stepfather is sick, he's an alcoholic and is having issues with memory lapses, change in personality, in other words a sign of Alzheimer and my mom is afraid that... Read more »

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

If your asking if your mom can add you to the deed, then answer is only if your stepfather agrees to sign the deed. If he is not competent to sign the deed and does, it can be challenged by other possible heirs.

Your mom should contact an estate planning lawyer to, at the very least, set...
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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 »

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