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Homeownership,Concept

Understanding Common Property Disputes in Florida

A property dispute is a type of real estate dispute that can occur during any part of the homeownership process. Property disputes can arise whether you are buying a home or have lived in the same place for several decades. A property dispute is a disagreement over how a piece of property is used, such as a home, business, waterway, or vacant land. Below, we break down the most common property disputes in Florida and how to resolve them. 

Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes occur when there is a disagreement over a homeowner’s property line location. Property lines should be surveyed and documented on a property owner’s deed, but discrepancies between surveys may show two people own the same land. It may not initially be a problem until constructing a shed or fence on the disputed portion of land, adding or removing trees from a property, or using the area unsatisfactorily (such as for old car part storage). 

There are two possible outcomes in a boundary dispute if the case goes to court. First, an ejectment may be ordered, determining the offending structure or possessions are trespassing on your land and must be removed. Or, a declaratory judgment may be issued, which is when a judge legally determines the property owner.

Easement Disputes 

An easement is when one person owns a piece of property, but someone else is authorized to use it for a specific purpose. For example, many utility companies and government agencies may have easements to access your property to maintain electrical poles or water lines. There are several types of easements: 

●      Easement appurtenants—do not expire within a specific timeframe and are intact despite who owns the land. 

●      Easements in gross—are tied to a person or an organization, not a particular property. Utility companies often possess easements in gross to access and maintain power, cable, and internet lines. 

●      Prescriptive easements—may be requested when there is continuous use of land over a significant period (20 years or more in Florida). 

 

Titles 

Title disputes arise when selling a home Title disagreements occur when someone opposes ownership over a particular portion of a property. If there was an error in the property survey or title search, litigation might be necessary to rectify the problem. If you are in the process of a home sale, working with an experienced real estate attorney to perform a title search can help correct any defects. 

How to Settle a Property Dispute 

Property disputes tend to come with high emotions, as they may pit neighbor against neighbor. When settling a property dispute, the most friendly outcome is for you and your neighbor to resolve the dispute independently. However, this is not always possible. If you and your neighbor cannot agree, you may need legal assistance to file an injunction and settle the dispute. When filing your claim, you will want to present documents and gather information such as surveys, titles, and boundary maps. For assistance, contact a real estate attorney at the Boutty Law Firm to help file your claim. 

Settle Property Disputes Amicably with the Boutty Law Firm

Property disputes can be very complicated and emotional, especially when dealing with neighbors. If you are facing a property dispute in Central Florida, seek the counsel of an experienced real estate attorney like the team at the Boutty Law Firm. Call our office at 407-710-0461 for an initial consultation.

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Real estate law

Should I Work With a Real Estate Attorney?

In today’s current real estate climate, buyers are abundant, but inventory is low. As a result, many buyers negotiate various elements of their purchase offer to make it more attractive to the seller, like waiving inspections and appraisals. Working with a real estate attorney during these transactions will ensure your contract is in good legal standing, lessening the chance the deal will fall through during the closing process. Here are the types of transactions where it is beneficial to hire a real estate attorney. 

Commercial real estate transactions

Commercial real estate transactions require a different set of logistics compared to residential transactions. If you are a land developer or business owner looking to build a new retail space, you must ensure your building adheres to local zoning laws. This can be a complicated process, which is why an experienced real estate attorney can help make sure your development plans meet all requirements before construction begins. 

Closing assistance

During the closing process, a real estate attorney can serve many roles. They look over closing contracts and documents and make sure both parties are aware and understand its terms. Real estate attorneys gather the necessary paperwork, such as the seller’s disclosure statement, commercial leases, and sales finalization papers, to ensure they are legal and ready to enforce. During the closing, real estate attorneys are present to secure a smooth and orderly transition from buyer to seller.

Appraisal appeals and negotiation 

An appraisal is an integral part of securing a mortgage for a home loan. Lenders want to know that the property you are looking to purchase is worth the price the buyers are selling it for, and having an appraiser assess the property is the most common way to do this. Unfortunately, in this hot real estate market, a home may not appraise for the offer price. When this happens, buyers may have to come up with the cash to make up the difference in the appraised value and the offer price to secure a mortgage. Instead, some homebuyers appeal the appraisal—which is where a real estate attorney can assist. A real estate attorney will help negotiate the appraisal appeal on your behalf, citing factors such as the comparable properties (“comps”) that were used and additional home improvements that may increase the home’s value. 

Title and lien searches 

Another critical part of the real estate transaction process is the title and lien search, which helps determine whether the seller has the legal ownership and right to sell the property. A Real estate attorney will develop a detailed report, including a history of ownership, a list of current mortgages, and any liens on the property. This allows the potential homeowners to purchase the home free and clear.

The Boutty Law Firm: Orlando real estate attorneys 

Our experienced real estate attorneys at The Boutty Law Firm can assist in all aspects of real estate law and transactions, whether commercial or residential. If you are a real estate agent or a potential homeowner, let us partner with you to ensure a smooth real estate transaction. Visit our office in Maitland, or call 407-622-1395 to schedule a consultation.

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zoninglaws

How Do Community Zoning Laws Affect Your Business Expansion?

Zoning laws exist to help communities expand and grow effectively. Community zoning laws help create thriving economies with space for different types of businesses and residential properties. Zoning is usually part of a town’s “master plan,” a comprehensive strategy of how the city would like to grow in the future. Zoning is an important legal matter because it determines where you may build a commercial structure, open a new business, or construct a home or subdivision. Therefore, it is essential to understand how a local municipality’s zoning laws will affect your plans to build a new home or business. 

What are zoning laws? 

Zoning laws are legal ordinances that divide the land in a city or town into distinct sections, called districts. Zoning regulations specify what kinds of structures can be put in specific community areas, restricting the type of buildings allowed within the particular district. They also regulate the building size and location, such as how tall the building can be, lot size, density of the surrounding area, and square footage. 

Why are zoning laws necessary? 

Restricting the types of businesses and structures within a district allows for different enterprises to flourish. Zoning laws can influence the overall community structure and tone. For instance, by separating commercial zones from residential ones, homeowners can live in an area with limited traffic and less noise than if a commercial building was allowed in the same place. Zoning laws can also help restore and maintain the historic integrity of a particular area, as seen in the historic downtowns of many of the cities located in Central Florida. 

Local zoning districts 

Zoning districts may vary between individual cities, but generally, they fall into categories and subcategories of commercial and residential properties. For example, in Orange County, there are five zoning districts: 

Commercial 

This zoning district may include office spaces, wholesale commercial structures, retail shopping complexes, and stores. 

Industrial 

Industrial zones are for factories, manufacturing plants, and storage facilities. In Orange County, there are three subcategories of industrial zones: light, medium, and heavy. 

Residential 

Just like industrial districts, there are several subcategories within this zoning district as well. Residential communities may include specified rural areas, mobile home parks, University residential districts, urban villages, and residential subdivisions.  

Agricultural 

Agricultural zones include farmland. In Orange County, there is even a special denotation for citrus farming.

Rezoning

 If you are looking to open a business in an area that is not currently zoned for it, you can apply to amend the current zoning code. To apply to amend the zoning district, you will need to contact the county’s Planning Division. Suppose there is a disagreement about what type of district your business belongs to. In that case, there may need to be a public hearing where people can voice their opinions on the new construction. 

Central Florida zoning and land use attorneys 

The Boutty Law Firm offers experienced real estate attorneys who guide you through various real estate-related issues such as applying for the correct permits, negotiating, and litigating real estate issues. Contact our Maitland office at 407-622-1395 to get started. 

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Property defects: property inspection

Failure to Disclose Property Defects in Real Estate

   The purchase of real estate is perhaps the most significant financial investment of a lifetime. There is a strong emotional attachment to real estate as it signifies a new beginning for a buyer. After having carefully researched and inspected a property, a buyer feels confident as they close the sale and enter into ownership. Eventually, the buyer may discover that there are undisclosed defects which affect the property value or prevent the property from being used for its intended purpose. What is the legal recourse for damages from the buyer after-the-fact?

 Real estate law in the State of Florida requires the seller of a property to disclose significant material defects that affect the property’s market value. If the seller has not disclosed defects, either by failing to remember or by deliberate concealment, the buyer is entitled to monetary damages. Even if real property is sold “as is,” the buyer is culpable for damages if they have not complied with full disclosure. For example, after the sale of a property, a buyer may find a damaged roof or water seepage, mold, or septic problems that were not obvious at the time of purchase. There may be environmental issues, such as radon gas, a history of sinkholes, zoning violations, boundary disputes, or coastal erosion.  

The Boutty Law Firm P.A. Protects its Clients’ Interests

The purchase of real estate has many complexities. When entrenched in a dispute regarding a failure to disclose property defects, it is in the buyer’s best interest to hire an attorney with substantial real estate experience. The Boutty Law Firm P.A. handles all aspects of real estate and construction law. Our skilled attorneys offer compassionate legal representation for disputes in negotiations, mediation, or courtroom litigation. We have a strong presence and can find practical solutions or powerful advocacy in the courtroom.

 In a Court of Law, the Elements of a Non-Disclosure Case are:

  • The seller must know about the defect.
  • The defect must affect the market value of the property.
  • The buyer must have evidence that the seller failed to disclose the defect.
  • The defect must not be readily observable to the buyer.  

Although not required by law, many real estate transactions utilize a Florida Disclosure Form to sell a property. It is critical that the buyer and the seller document defects, which become enforceable in the event of a dispute. Some of the items addressed in a Florida Disclosure Form are issues related to the structure of the building, pest infestation, water intrusion, plumbing, roofing, sinkholes, and environmental defects. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 is a Federal law that protects the buyer regarding the presence of lead-based paint in a property if built before 1978.

Boutty Law Firm P.A. Serves Central Florida and the Surrounding Areas

   In any real estate transaction, the purchase documents are your legal safeguards for the protection of the buyer and the seller. To prevent disputes, The Boutty Law Firm P.A. will review and scrutinize real estate contracts for legal risks. Undisclosed property defects that the buyer discovers after the purchase of real estate is a breach of contract, and you have legal rights. Call our Maitland, Florida office at 407-622-1395 for a free initial consultation to discuss an undisclosed defect dispute or any real estate law aspect.  

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Housing Market Projections

Housing Market Forecasts for 2020

   Happy New Year!  While many are trying to adhere to their New Year’s resolutions, such as dieting, exercise, maybe finding a new job or a new relationship, real estate investors are on an emotional rollercoaster about the prospective housing market for this year.   Expert predictions of real estate trends for Florida in 2020 are variable, at best, with some market predictions for the Sunshine state being positive and others projecting a doom and gloom forecast. 

   Over the past decade, the housing market across the United States was strong, with the number of investors and buyers often exceeding the availability of inventory.  This was a consequence of a thriving economy, with low unemployment rates, low interest rates and various other economic factors.  Potential buyers and sellers were able to fulfill their dreams.  Although real estate forecasts can differ from state to state, the Florida Realtor Association recently reported that housing sales were up, almost by 15% in November of 2019 and the housing inventory was low.  While this appears to be good news for the housing market in 2020, there are inconsistencies in the economists’ predictions for the year ahead. According to a study done by the 2018 Q2 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, a study which included the polling of one hundred real estate experts and economists, they believed we will be entering into a housing recession beginning this year.  However, as 2019 progressed, Zillow recanted that position, advising that there will most likely not be a recession in 2020, as the economy has shown signs of growth and there is healthy consumer confidence.  In a survey that was conducted in August, 2019, of more than 200 economists, by the National Association for Business Economics, 72% believe there will be a recession, beginning in 2020. They cited trade policy, stock market volatility and rising interest rates as likely reasons for the next recession. In spite of the negativity of some real estate predictions, many believe that it is likely that the Florida real estate market will continue to flourish and it is a favorable environment for a lucrative investment.  Florida is the fastest growing state in the country, with Central Florida having the fastest growing cities in the United States.  There continues to be a high influx of northerners, immigrants from other countries and tourism driving the economy.

   While the real estate market is cyclical, with periods of high and lows, one thing is certain; every real estate transaction, whether buying, selling or leasing residential or commercial property, is best handled by a knowledgeable real estate attorney. The services of an attorney can safeguard your rights and ensure that you negotiate and close the deal, while protecting your interests and assets.  Whether you are a business owner, a real estate investor, an inheritance beneficiary, or an individual buying or selling your home, the Boutty Law Firm is experienced and effective in real estate and business law transactions.  Start the New Year off right, by calling for a consultation to discuss your real estate goals with a trusted attorney.   

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