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Questions Answered by Barbara Billiot Stage
1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Can I fire the roofing co named in my insurance sett. If they are named on ck bc I think they are scammers!?

We settled with ins co to get a new roof. It was one of those companies that knocked on our door. At first they were great; promised us new roof, carpet, paint, etc. now that we got settlement they said we will give u 7500. Use that where u want but that’s all and that’s not even in writing. I... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 26, 2022

Lawyers on this website are not allowed to call anyone. This website is designed for general information. You need to take the paperwork to a lawyer for a consultation as soon as possible. The lawyer hired to negotiate the settlement was not your lawyer and worked for the roofing company. Do... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: i purchased townhome in FL 7 years ago with a back porch. the hoa demands the permit now. the porch was buildt during c

construction in original build. hOa has no documents nor does the town. how am i responsible

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 24, 2022

Generally, the HOA only has five years to bring an action but there are exceptions, especially if the HOA could not see the back porch from the street. With satellite photographs becoming more easily accessible through county websites it could be the HOA only discovered it within the past five... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts for Florida on
Q: My lease went into eviction status here in Florida. However , I received help from a program ERAP which covered

The balance on the account. My lease is up in April and is covered until then. I just began new employment and my landlord told me my lease is not renewable. Is there a way to fight this?

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 18, 2022

Landlords are not required to renew leases. It is very possible your landlord is planning on selling the property while the real estate market is hot and prices are high.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: I asked my golf course association for copies of all my records VIA FOIA and was told I had to have attorney ask ONLY

My golf club didn't follow Florida statute 720.305, suspension of 1 year without interviewing me and was done in 3 days.

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 17, 2022

It depends on if your golf club is paid for with your annual HOA assessments or if it is operated independently. You would need to have an experienced association lawyer review your HOA documents if you are unsure. If you are sure it is paid for with your annual assessments and there is no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can our HOA board controlled by Builder make us sign release to be on transition committee?

....and assigns release, waive, acquit and forever discharge and hold harmless Property Name, Inc., and each of its, successors, assigns, members, officers, directors, employees, agents, managers, management companies, servants, heirs, executors, administrators, insurers, attorneys, and persons,... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 11, 2022

They can always ask but you do not have to sign it. I would recommend you not sign it without having a lawyer review the entire document, which may not be worth the cost, considering you are volunteering.

Developer-controlled HOAs will do or say anything because they are counting on you not...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Is it worth going after an HOA for an illegal charge? I have pointed this out to them several times.

I owned 2 commercial condos.

I was going to rent one and the HOA consulted an attorney without my knowledge and wanted me to pay fees.

I sold the unit in question and have an estoppel letter from the HOA for that unit.

I am now selling my 2nd unit and they have transferred... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 6, 2022

It depends on the amount of the charge and the language in the condo documents as to whether or not they can demand legal fees pre-litigation. Some documents do provide the association is entitled to pre-litigation fees. It would not be a case of slander of title unless an actual lien was filed.... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Personal Injury and Constitutional Law for Florida on
Q: Can HOA's create rules in their bylaws that circumvent state laws they operate within.

I live in Florida and the state law identifies what common areas are, but the HOA bylaws say the board has broad discretion with respect to what common areas are and the HOA has used this broad discretion to bill only certain homeowners for cost to maintain common area's deeded to the hoa.... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 3, 2022

The common areas are designated by the plat of the community and the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. The board has discretion on how to spend HOA funds to maintain common areas. I am not sure what you mean by the last part of your statement "have used the bill only... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: In Florida, Can a voluntary Association transfer expired covenants (over 20 years expired per s.712) to an other group

and the other group revive the covenants and put their name on them and make them, and make them mandatory so the property owners have to pay them? This is with out votes...

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Jan 3, 2022

It depends on what you mean by "group?" Revitalization is a very technical process and there must be a vote with a majority of the homeowners approving revitalization. If the revitalization was sent to the Dept. of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and obtained a confirmation, the homeowners... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Unit was sold midway through lease, estoppel clearly states security to be returned upon last day of lease , nothing in

Lease states any extended time for return, new owner states Florida law allows them 30 days to return security. I have read estoppel is last word and needs to be followed?

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 28, 2021

Florida law does provide 30 days to return a security deposit. If you are the tenant the problem you will have is you are not a party to the estoppel and it is very likely the buyer has not seen the estoppel. Even if the court were to grant you standing to enforce the estoppel, by the time you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Arbitration / Mediation Law for Florida on
Q: What is my responsibility as the seller to property's HOA agreement to mediate?

I sold my property to a corporation. Everything cleared and closed through title. Now HOA is sending me an Agreement to Mediate, stating that the HOA does not allow the property owner to be a corporation. Shouldn't this have been caught by the title company, and never gotten to closing? What... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 16, 2021

If you do not mediate the HOA is free to file a lawsuit. As the owner of the property it was your responsibility to know the restrictions in the HOA documents. You will need to obtain a copy of the estoppel to see if the correct information was provided to the HOA and they may have some... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can the president of an HOA board also be a member of the architectural committee? Can her husband?
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 6, 2021

Each committee, except a committee to impose fines, has a chairman who is usually a board member unless the board decides to appoint someone else. Often the architectural committee is made up of the board of directors because of the lack of volunteers. A board members spouse can serve on a... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Collections for Florida on
Q: Hello I was sick with COVID and fell behind on HOA assessments and dues. HOA had now referred me to their attorney.
Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Dec 2, 2021

I am not sure what your question is since you did not ask one but assuming it is "can they do this?" the answer is, unfortunately, yes. There was no moratorium on HOA assessments. You should settle the amount in the demand letter as soon as possible because you are risk of losing your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Business Law for Florida on
Q: It is my understanding that there are only three ways to determine monthly maintenance fees and special assessments.

Square Footage, FMV or a flat rate that everyone pays. My neighbor, who was close to the Board President, claimed that the BOD reduced our budget and cut our fees by $10 per month, per unit. Now they are claiming we don't have any money. We are getting a fee increase and an assessment to... Read more »

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

Monthly assessments and special assessments are two different types of assessments and how they are calculated depends on the language in your association documents. I have never heard of monthly assessments being based on Fair Market Value. Special assessments can be passed for various purposes,... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, Contracts and Business Law for Florida on
Q: What options are available to me or what can I do? I could get the money to pay the judgement but I can't afford more.

My business was being sued. The case had been going on for about 2 years. I was having financial issues and could not make payments to my attorney. He requested to withdraw and I granted it. I did not realize how hard it would be to find a new attorney and during my search me and my other two... Read more »

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

Depending on how your business is organized, what personal liability you may have and the basis for the judgment, it may be wise to file bankruptcy to completely discharge you debts or to re-organize and pay over a five-year plan. The Tampa office of the Middle District of Florida has a pro bono... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: My lease expires 1/31/22. I have asked to renew my lease and have emailed the property manager. no response.

I am aware of the 60 day notice to not renew the lease. The management company is not providing me with any info regarding my concern, I would like to know my rights as I think they will give me very little notice to vacate the property. I have emails were I have asked them repeatedly regarding the... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Nov 10, 2021

There is no law that requires your landlord to renew your lease. You should assume their silence means they are not going to renew.

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Does seller have to return down payment if buyer unlawfully breached contract?

Buyer broke and entered into property prior to closing and was living in property until police removed them. The contract violation ulitmately terminated sale. Do I have to return the $10,000 down payment? The buyer drilled the door locks, moved personal belongings in and was living there.... Read more »

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

That's impossible to answer without seeing a copy of the contract, which should have been reviewed by a lawyer before signing. You will need to consult with a lawyer now to explain the terms of the contract to you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: does a lien on a house, registered in court, for money owed (in FL) loose its validity after some time?

my ex signed a paper, owing me $6000.00 in 2009 and payable in 2014. She kept saying she could not pay until the house was sold. In 2016 I sent here an e-mail that the money was overdue and I would charge her interest.

Now that house got sold for $320.000.00 and I refuse to cancel the lien... Read more »

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

It depends on the type of lien. If it was a judgment lien it is likely still valid but a lawyer would need to review the lien. Anyone can sue anyone else in the US. The question is whether or not she can win. You need to address this immediately to preserve any rights you have and to avoid... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Is foreclosing on a condo hotel unit harder or any different than other real estate?

I'm looking into micro hard lending for smaller condo hotel units as no one finances them and they must be purchased w cash. They will only lend 100k or more which is more than the cost of many units. If I required 50% down this would secure the loan adequately. Are these units treated any... Read more »

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Oct 15, 2021

You should hire a real estate lawyer, preferably one with condo-tel experience, to review the condominium documents because these types of condominiums a have their own special headaches other than foreclosure and a lot is affected by the Declaration of Condominium and other documents. There is a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: How can I change the decision made by my association of HOA regarding my roof that I change an d the color doesn’t fit

We made this without asking for but It was because of misunderstanding by my son we try to apology for our mistake but nothing work we still have to take out the roof

Barbara Billiot Stage
Barbara Billiot Stage answered on Sep 28, 2021

The HOA is not likely to approve any variance but it never hurts to ask. Sometimes the board of directors are not aware they can, but are not required to, grant a variance. If the roof is drastically different than the colors that are allowed the board of directors cannot grant a variance because... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: What lawyer do I contact? Received a UCC filing because my husband didn't sign closing paperwork on a property.

My husband is a volunteer for our home owners association, he's the President. The association was selling vacant property and there was a company that wanted to purchase it. They agreed on a price, however, at the closing, the realtor had added $500 to her commission and my husband would... Read more »

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

You need to contact a real estate litigator. There are real estate attorneys who do closings and other transactional business, real estate litigators who do court cases and real estate attorneys who do both. Both is preferable. There are some pieces of information missing from this so it's... Read more »

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