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Questions Answered by Barbara Billiot Stage
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Florida on
Q: Where can I find in the Florida Statues a copy of my mobile home parks bylaws as recorded in Pasco county , Florida?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jan 24, 2024

It depends on how your mobile home park is organized. If you have a mandatory HOA (you own the lot and the home), then it would be in Fla. Stat. 720.303(1). If you rent the lot and have a voluntary HOA pursuant to Chapter 723 Florida Statutes, the park owner is not required to record the bylaws... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: The president of my condo association ignores document requests. What can I do to get the documents I need?

They don't send paperwork showing the yearly budget but recently requested an extra 100 for "insurance" to be added to the monthly fees and I've written to the president many times asking for documents of the roof because I need it for a discount on getting the condos insured.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Dec 18, 2023

You need to send a certified letter, return receipt to the registered agent of the association (look for your association on www.sunbiz.com) requesting to inspect the official records. Requesting copies of documents is not a proper request and the association has no duty to send copies. The... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: The well for my newly constructed home was drilled 6" onto my neighbor's lot. Builder will not correct the issue.

Placement of well according to septic engineering should be much closer to my home and out of the easement.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Dec 14, 2023

Buying and selling property, especially new construction, without a real estate lawyer. I know that doesn't help you now and you will need to hire a real estate litigator or a construction law litigator to review your documents related to the sale and construction to get this resolved. The... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury, Real Estate Law, Health Care Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Can I sue my HOA for radon exposure and for denying my architectural request for a mitigation system?

Over a year ago, I formally submitted a request to my HOA's management company, complete with necessary documentation, seeking approval for a Radon mitigation fan installation. Despite engaging with the HOA management for over four months, my inquiries were met with vague responses. Even... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Dec 13, 2023

Generally, anyone can sue anyone else but whether or not you have a case depends on a lot of factors, including a reading of your association documents, which we cannot do in this online forum. How you proceed depends on if you live in a HOA (generally, single-family home, townhomes, villas) or a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can we as an HOA legally stop an airbnb in Florida.

Our HOA discovered a home being used as an airbnb. Our CCR's don't specify against them but do against businesses restricting commerce, industry, business, trade or profession. Since Florida requires an airbnb to be licensed and our CCR's restrict businesses can we prohibit them?... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Dec 12, 2023

First, I caution that if you are a board member, you have a fiduciary duty to ask this of your association attorney rather than strangers on the Internet who have not read your documents. If your HOA doesn't have one, it needs one. Board members cannot amend association documents because... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Must HOA Board minutes reflect how each individual Board member voted, vs a consolidation of total votes for/against?

Florida Statute 720.303(3) says, “A vote or abstention from voting on each matter voted upon for each director present at a board meeting must be recorded in the minutes.” Our HOA Board feels that a summary of votes is sufficient, but I know that “all” refers to the entire group as a whole,... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Nov 28, 2023

If the vote is unanimous for or against it is sufficient, in my opinion, to say the vote was unanimous. If you are a board member, this is a question for your association attorney and not for questions posed to strangers in an internet forum, even if they are lawyers. Your fiduciary duty is to... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure, Contracts, Real Estate Law and Collections for Florida on
Q: No liens, no foreclosure in 12 years on old HOA assessment dues due to mismanagement

Recently got statement to pay within 30 days, did the statue ran out on collections, lien and foreclosure on the very 1st payment missed 12 years ago? Good track record of timely payments, management's record, not so good for posting those payments. Thanks,

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Sep 23, 2023

The statute of limitations is five years; however, if you made payments in the 12 years they are applied to interest, late fees, attorneys' fees and costs first and then any remaining balance is applied to the oldest assessment. If you hadn't made any payments in those 12 years you would... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Consumer Law and Contracts for Florida on
Q: Can I sue a property developer over lost income and property devaluation?

The developer of my condohotel building retained control over all amenities. We pay a percent to use them and a percent of desk employee salaries. He shut down the pool, gym, parking garage and fired employees saying we owe him a million as well as wants the percent increased. This has gone on over... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Sep 21, 2023

You need to hire a community association lawyer to review your Declaration of Condominium, Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.After a review of these documents a lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a case. You should also submit a certified letter, return receipt requesting to inspect... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I purchased house in auction 1,5 years ago. Now another lien attached to property showed.

I checked property before auction and it showed another foreclosure (actually 1-st one) was attempted but case was dismissed. After I purchased house I started receive note on estate of deceased owner. I called case’s attorney but he didn’t want talk to me since I am not in case, saying they... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Sep 15, 2023

No, you can sue the auction. It is the bidder's responsibility to perform a diligent search to uncover all liens, so of which might not be so obvious. The notice from the clerk stating "no objections" had nothing to do with the lien. The clerk issues a certificate of sale and that... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Is it legal to force tenants to use the broadband company their management company requires?

I live in Palm Harbor FL at a ZRS Managed Property. From day one they were aggressively adamant that I had to use WOWAY Internet Provider since that's who they worked with. I found that a little odd since in my decades of living in Apartment Complexes from New York to New Orleans I had never... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Sep 13, 2023

Welcome to Florida -- yes, it's different. Generally, the way I interpret this is the service providers cannot demand it is exclusive but that would not stop an owner from requiring a tenant to use an exclusive provider. Tenants have the option of entering into a lease with all kinds of... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Business Law for Florida on
Q: Condo Board's resolution can be retroactively applied?

I live in a 356-unit condo in Florida. In August 2022, the president of the board entered into a retainer agreement with a law firm to represent the Association in a couple of lawsuits. There was not a duly association’s meeting where this agreement was ever discussed, let alone, approved by a... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Aug 29, 2023

Often, when there is potential or pending litigation, the board of directors will meet with the attorney in a closed legal meeting subject to attorney/client privilege and the retainer agreement results from that consultation. It is also possible the other board members authorized the president to... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: I need help with a property management dispute in Miami. The management is claiming against me due to a water leak.

The management company of my condominium accuses me (my unit) of causing damage to the unit below and flooding the entire exterior hallway due to a leak that allegedly originated in my bathroom.

My unit wasn't flooded or in any way damaged. They inferred that my tenant ought to have... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Aug 29, 2023

If the leak was caused by a pipe serving just your unit, even if it did not damage your unit, you are liable. If the leak is caused by your A/C, water heater, dishwasher, drains, toilets, etc., you are liable for the damage. This is why it is important to have insurance -- that and in case of a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: How does posting a ‘No Trespassing’ sign change the exterior color, finish or texture of any lot improvement?

My HOA is fining me for taping a ‘No Trespassing’ sign to the exterior wall next to my garage door. The sign was obtained from the Sheriff’s office in conjunction with a private property trespass enforcement authorization that was filed in response to continued harassment that I have endured... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jul 28, 2023

Most HOA documents have restrictions against signs except for "for sale" or "for rent" signs. Check your Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions to see if they have such a provision. You probably are required to submit an application before making any changes to... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My HOA in Florida is demanding me to get rid of my registered service dog after he launched at a valet guy while muzzled

He didn’t injure him or anything

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jul 25, 2023

If the dog is deemed a nuisance, the HOA can demand removal of the dog. You might want to see if you can negotiate with the HOA for the dog to stay if the dog undergoes additional training. Even a muzzled dog can hurt someone based on the size of the dog and the person if the person gets knocked... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Apt. Lease in Jax, FL states a no smoking policy inside and outside. How do we have this enforced? Pot smoked every day

34.17.1 You agree and acknowledge that this Property has been designated as a smoke-free living environment. You, Your Occupants, guests or invites shall not smoke or permit others to smoke anywhere in or on the Property. You shall inform Your Occupants, guests and invitees of the no... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jul 24, 2023

It would be my guess the police cannot arrest anyone unless they witness them smoking the pot themselves and have access to the outside area to make the arrest. Police do not usually use recordings from third parties as the sole basis of an arrest.

The apartment complex is likely not doing...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: If a homeowner requests to see the detailed financials of an HOA, must the property manager provide it?

Details of expenses, income, taxes, fees, repairs, utilities, etc.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jul 17, 2023

All of those are official records, so, yes, they must allow you to inspect those records if they were included in your request. Generally, an association does not have to generate any reports they do not use in the normal course of business but they do have to keep the receipts and invoices for... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure for Florida on
Q: Can I sell my home before foreclosure?

A week ago, my mortgage company sent my case to an attorney to start foreclosure proceedings.

There is no sale date as of yet.

I'm trying to sell my house before anything happens.

My questions are:

- About how long will it take for the attorney to set a sale... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jul 7, 2023

I absolutely agree you should hire an experienced foreclosure defense attorney who can also facilitate the sale and you have been provided an excellent answer by Mr. Clifton. No one should buy, sell or rent real estate without a lawyer and it can be especially challenging with a foreclosure... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: I have an Air bnb in FL. Currently there are no restrictions on rentals. Can hoa amend Ccr’s and prohibit air bnb’s?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jul 4, 2023

Yes, they can but whether or not it is applicable to a current owner has yet been addressed in a published opinion by appellate courts. In my opinion, they cannot be applied retroactively but it would take a judicial decision to convince some association attorneys. Condominium statutes prohibit... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Is a partial rent payment made via Zelle to the landlord and is automatically posted, is that knowledge of noncompliance

Tenant paid $118 rather than $850 via Zelle. The payment was automatically posted upon receipt with an email afterwards with notification of the deposit. The Tenant followed up with a statement that they felt their rent was too high and not justified and was only willing to pay $667/month and the... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on Jun 9, 2023

Tenants don't get to set the rate for rent and hopefully you have a written lease agreement. There are specific technical requirements for providing a tenant with a notice to vacate and the length of time to provide the notice depends on the lease terms. I encourage you to consult with a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Business Law for Florida on
Q: Can they ask me for more money when by my account, I’ve paid up everything I’ve owed and I’m up to date?

In a letter dated March 31, 2023, I was informed by the Head of Accounts Receivables that I owed $789.99 to the Association. The letter states, “must be paid within 30 days of the date of this letter. "

On April 29th, 2023 I sent the full $789.99 within the 30 days of the date of the... View More

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage
answered on May 16, 2023

Technically you missed the 30 day deadline if the payment was not received by April 30th. Without knowing how much your dues are and what the frequency is for payments, it is impossible to give you a definitive answer if this amount being demanded is an overcharge. Legally, the management company... View More

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