Boca Raton Real Estate Attorney
As a legal term, “Real Estate” refers to far more that just houses, commercial buildings, and land. It’s a term that refers to a property’s holistic value, meaning any natural resources such as water or fertile soil that can be found within its parameters, its potential for further development, and the market value of any man-made structures on it. Real estate law is a branch of law that deals with the regulations and procedures involved with purchasing, financing, and selling properties. As such, it is sometimes called property law. Contact our Boca Raton real estate attorneys for more information.
Topics Covered Under Boca Raton Real Estate Law
Real estate law covers a wide range of legal topics. Disputes between landlords and their tenants, evictions, mortgage loan procurement and fraud, foreclosures and related frauds, tenants’ rights, and eminent domain are all part of real estate law.
Real estate law cases can sometimes cross over into criminal, civil, corporate, and environmental law.
In Florida, there are a few categories of cases that regularly occur within real estate law: Lease and Rental Agreements, Adverse Possession Laws, Homestead Laws, and Statute of Limitations laws.
Homestead exemption laws are part of real estate law. These exist to protect homeowners from creditors and tax collection agencies if they cannot afford to pay their bills following a spouse’s death. Florida has some of the most generous homestead exemption laws in the United States. In Florida, properties of up to half an acre in cities and towns and properties of up to 160 acres in rural areas are protected under this law. To seek homestead protection for his or her property, a homeowner must prove that he or she does not own any other properties and that he or she cannot afford his or her taxes or mortgage because of his or her spouse’s death. This protects the homeowner from having his or her house forcibly sold or foreclosed upon.
In Florida, there are no limits to the amount of money a landlord can require for a security deposit on rented properties. However, all other forms of housing discrimination outlined in the Federal Fair Housing Act are illegal. Landlords also have the right to choose what to do with a security deposit once they receive it. They may post a surety bond and pay the tenant 5% interest, they may put the money into a non-interest bearing account, or they may put it into an interest-bearing account at 5% interest or at 75% of the average interest rate.
Adverse Possession refers to any situation where an individual moves into a neglected property and maintains and improves it for at least seven years. After seven years, the individual may be granted the title to that property.
Boca Raton Real Estate Attorney Questions
Can one property owner cut down tree limbs or foliage that come onto your property?
Florida allows you to cut down limbs or foliage that are on your property. You may not damage or trespass on the property of the adjacent landowner without their permission or consent.
What is real property?
Real Property is the area of law that covers ownership and leasing of real estate property in Florida. It covers all areas of real estate including vacant lots, single family homes, condominiums, rental properties, and commercial property.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a home?
The number one advantage of home ownership in Florida is our Florida Homestead law. It protects from creditors your primary residence and a certain amount of attached land depending on whether you live in the city or country. No one may ever take your home or place a lien on it unless you give a specific mortgage covering the home or have work performed on your property that may qualify under the Florida mechanics lien law. At the present time the federal government also gives an income tax deduction for your interest and taxes. You should consult with your tax professional regarding all of your tax benefits of home ownership. The disadvantage is you are liable as the property owner for any injuries that occur on your property of which you are aware or should be aware. In addition, you have responsibility for all repairs, maintenance, taxes and insurance.
Is there a difference between a residential and a commercial lease?
Yes, however the law is very similar to both residential and commercial leases in Florida. In a residential case, the tenant has many more protections available than in a commercial case.
What can be done to ensure the home seller moves out of a sold home at close of escrow?
It is very uncommon that the home seller does not vacate after the closing. In the event he does not vacate then you have the remedy of filing an eviction action and having an order entered which will forcibly remove him and his possessions with the assistance of the local Sheriff.
Whose responsibility is it to repair and pay for fixtures, heating system, air conditioning system, water heater, furnace, stove that fail soon after a home purchase?
Florida requires full disclosure of known defects in a home. It is common to obtain the services of a home inspection service prior to closing which should reveal any defects or need for repairs. In the event there is a major defect that is discovered after closing and you can prove that the home seller had knowledge of the defect and did not inform you, than you may be able to bring a lawsuit against them for misrepresentation. Generally however, once the home is closed and title transfers it is the responsibility of the new home owner.
What are some of the common forms of property ownership?
Tenancy by the Entireties, which means title is taken by a married couple. Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship, which means in the event of the death of one owner the property automatically passes by operation of law without the necessity of probate to the remaining title holders. Tenancy in Common, which means that each title owner owns a representative share in the property based on the number of titleholders or based on an agreed upon percentage of ownership – in the event of the death of a tenant in common his or her share shall pass to his respective estate instead of passing to the remaining title holders – this usually requires probate in order to make an effective transfer. Life Estate, which allows an individual to stay in a home for their life, including in most instances the right to lease it and mortgage it, and the remainder to pass upon his death to the named remainder men.
What is eminent domain?
Eminent Domain is the taking of your real property by the state or a state entity (i.e. city, school board, county) for public purposes. In Florida you have the right to a jury trial of 12 of your peers to determine whether it is a lawful taking for a public purpose and the fair amount of compensation you should receive as well as your attorney fees.
What is a life-estate?
A Life Estate allows an individual to have all of the privileges of home ownership during their lifetime and upon their death it automatically passes to the named remainder men without the necessity of probate.
Do I need a lawyer if I receive foreclosure papers?
Yes. You should immediately consult an experienced foreclosure attorney or you risk losing your home to foreclosure. The attorneys at LBR are experienced in immediately defending foreclosure actions and protecting your rights. We will closely review the foreclosure complaint documents and your loan documents to preserve all of your rights. We will negotiate on your behalf with the bank holding your mortgage and defend you in court.
Our Boca Raton Real Estate Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been involved in a case regarding Boca Raton real estate that you own or have rented and want to work with an experienced attorney who knows Florida real estate laws, call Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. at 561-395-0000 for your free legal consultation. You’ll be able to discuss your case’s individual circumstances and your personal concerns and desires with a caring attorney who can guide you toward a positive resolution for your case.