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Tampa Real Estate Law Blog

What costs do buyers and sellers pay at real estate closings?

It would seem as though the sale and purchase of a piece of property should be simple, whether it happens here in Florida or elsewhere. One party, who relinquishes title to the land in question, receives an agreed-upon payment from the other party. However, what actually happens in real estate closings involves both buyers and sellers having to come up with certain amounts of money in order to complete the transaction.

Florida buyers can expect to receive a line item assessment that constitutes around 2 percent to 5 percent of the agreed-to price of the property. Some of the fees that make up this amount include fees for appraisals, tax servicing and bank processing. Other fees include an origination fee, a recording fee and a notary fee. Buyers also pay for title insurance, prepaid insurance and prepaid interest. Other assessments may also be included in the amount they pay at closing.

Eviction: One of many commercial landlord/tenant issues

Leasing space in a building or complex may be a good way for property owners to earn extra money, but it also comes with some challenges. One of the many commercial landlord/tenant issues that may come up here in Tampa is the eviction of a commercial tenant. Property owners need to tread softly in order to avoid violating the law and the rights of their tenants.

When the property owner leased the space to a commercial tenant, it was obviously with the understanding that the rent would be paid on time and in full when due. If a tenant stops making those payments in accordance with the lease, things may become complicated. Simply changing the locks is not generally allowed. Instead, the eviction process must take its course.

It can take a long time to uncover theft by HOA board members

Florida homeowners periodically (usually monthly) give a portion of their hard-earned money to their neighborhoods to pay for certain amenities such as landscaping, swimming pools and more. They expect that the dues they pay go toward these things and not into the pockets of HOA board members. Unfortunately, not every neighbor is trustworthy, and it could take years for homeowners to realize that a homeowners' association board member was stealing money right out from under their noses.

For example, a man was recently charged with a felony, a second-degree grand larceny in another state. He is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his HOA. It is claimed that when he was a member of the board, he took the liberty of depositing almost $94,000 worth of his neighbors' dues checks into his own account without permission. At the time, his wife and mother also served on the board.

2 aspects of real estate law you may not want to hear

Are you looking to buy a condominium here in Florida that has a condominium association? If so, then you may want to make sure that you understand the real estate law applicable to the community in which you want to make your purchase. Otherwise, you could wind up in an uncomfortable and expensive situation at some point in the future.

If you purchase a unit, you may want to know that the condominium association may fine you for a violation of the rules -- within reason, that is. The association must go through certain steps in order to do so, however. The board cannot simply send you a bill and expect you to pay it right away. You are allowed a certain time to respond and a hearing if you choose. These fines cannot become a lien against your condominium, and the board may simply suspend your privileges to common elements for a time in lieu of a fine or until the matter is resolved.

3 reasons a landlord may keep a security deposit

When you sign a lease and move into a new property—whether it is a commercial space for your business or an apartment you will live in—you will likely pay a security deposit intended to cover any potential damages or expenses that your landlord incurs during your tenancy. Some deposits are nonrefundable, but sometimes landlords even retain deposits that are supposedly refundable. 

This might seem unethical, and in some circumstances, it is. There are certain situations in which a landlord can rightfully keep a refundable security deposit from a tenant, though. The following are three reasons why this might happen to a tenant. 

Real estate law: Is one neighbor taking up property of the other?

The lines between the property owned by Tampa residents is often blurred. One neighbor's garage may be partially or completely on the property of the other, or a fence may not be on the legal boundary line. When these kind of boundary disputes arise, owners may need to turn to real estate law for answers.

While a person lives on a particular piece of property, it may not make a difference whether the neighbor's garage is on the wrong side of the property line. However, if an owner wants to sell the property, it could become quite a big deal. The new buyer may want to make sure that he or she has the use and enjoyment of all of the property, including that occupied by the neighbor's garage.

Most real estate closings can't occur without funding day

Unless a Florida resident is fortunate enough to pay cash for a home, it will be necessary to work with a mortgage lender. When a mortgage loan is part of the transaction, there may be additional steps for prospective homeowners to take before real estate closings can occur. One of those steps is funding day.

In many cases, funding day corresponds to the day of closing, which is the day that ownership of the property in question transfers from the seller to the buyer. However, it may occur a day or two prior to that date, depending on the circumstances. The important thing is that it takes place, but that will not happen until all of the lender's requirements are met.

Condo owner says he lost his home over battle with HOA

Everyone has to follow rules whether it is at work, on the road or at home. Homeowners' associations here in Florida and elsewhere implement and enforce rules for the communities that have them. The problem is that some HOA members may not agree with the rules, and it could have unintended consequences for the homeowner, even if he or she is right.

For instance, all a condominium owner in southern Florida wanted to do was show appreciation to the men and women who fight for this country by displaying a small American flag in a flowerpot. He received a violation notice from his HOA telling him to remove the flag. This started a battle that ultimately spilled into federal court.

Determining the percentage of CAMs a commercial tenant pays

They say that location is the primary concern for a business when searching for the right rental space. That may be true, but for many Tampa business owners, marrying the right location to the right price may be a challenge. This is often because a commercial tenant has more to worry about than just the base rent. Among other add-ons, the cost of common area maintenance charges also needs to be taken into consideration.

A tenant ordinarily pays a portion of the CAMs. The question is what that portion is. For instance, in a building with 100,000 square feet of space, a tenant may rent 4,000 square feet. Since that equals 4 percent of the building, the tenant should pay 4 percent of the CAMs. Logically, that makes sense, but it may not be the formula used by the property owner.

Tips for winning condo association or HOA disputes

If you count yourself among the millions of Americans who currently must abide by the guidelines dictated in a condo association or homeowner’s association agreement, you may have, at some point, found yourself involved in some type of dispute. Maybe your association believes your home needs a fresh coat of paint, or maybe you are receiving letters from your association asking you to take better care of your lawn, among other examples.

Condo and HOA disputes are quite common, but they can also prove frustrating in that they demand your time and can potentially cause discord between you and your neighbors. If you decide to fight your condo or HOA on a particular issue, there are certain steps you can take that may increase your odds of a favorable outcome. More specifically, before you go to bat against your condo or HOA, be sure to:

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