What are the options when a piece of real estate is owned by two or more people and at least one of those people wants to sell the property while the others don’t? A common scenario is where family members inherit real estate as heirs in a will. It also occurs in divorces, when unmarried couples split up, and when businesses dissolve. In addition, cohabitation between friends and associates is on the rise and often leads to the necessity of selling jointly owned property.

Sometimes a Partition Lawsuit is the Only Solution

When owners of jointly owned property are not able to agree on the sale of real estate, a partition lawsuit is the tool used by courts to resolve the matter. Ideally, the co-owners will be able to resolve the dispute without a court order. One way the owners can resolve the matter is the owner, or owners, that do not want to sell the property can buyout the owner that wants to sell. Even in a buyout scenario, however, the parties will still need to agree on a fair purchase price. Another way to solve the matter without a lawsuit is for the owners to agree to sell the property. If the parties decide to sell the property voluntarily they will still need to agree on how to split the profit from the sale. This can be contentious because the parties may have conflicting opinions regarding their contribution to the real estate over the course of their ownership. Contributions to the initial down payment, mortgage payments, property taxes, improvements, and more, are often topics of disagreement. As you can see, there are many factors that can lead to disputes when disposing of jointly owned real estate.

Because the decision to sell and the decisions on how to fairly divide the proceeds from the sale can be so contentious, often the only way to resolve the dispute is to file a partition lawsuit. In a partition action, the court makes the ultimate decision on whether to sell the property and how the proceeds of the sale should be divided amongst the owners based on their ownership share. The court may also consider other factors mentioned above which relate to each party’s level of investment in the property.

Partition Lawyer Stephen K. Hachey Is Here To Help!

Stephen K. Hachey, an experienced partition attorney, can not only help you determine your options, but he can advise you on the best course of action based on your unique situation. And with offices spread out across Tampa Bay, he’s available and accessible to begin working for you. It is never too late to get help. The Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey proudly serves Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater, Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Riverview, South Tampa, Orlando, Bradenton and everywhere in between.

Know Your Rights Before You Act

Real estate law involves state statutes and laws, which can often be complicated and intimidating. Stephen K. Hachey can explain laws and regulations that govern any and all activity dealing with residential or commercial real estate. As a real estate law firm, the Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey is committed to helping individuals and businesses in connection with all types of real estate transactions.

Stephen K. Hachey Can Help You Wade Through This Difficult Process To Reach A Positive Solution. Call 813-549-0096 Today!

***The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

As a new landlord, you may be faced with new challenges. It’s important to go into this role headstrong and with a determined attitude. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips to keep in mind as you begin your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep reading to learn more.

Get a Home Warranty Plan

A home warranty plan can be a great asset for your properties, especially if you don’t want to do repairs yourself. Whenever a tenant needs a repair, you can simply submit a request to the home warranty company. Doing this saves you time on repairs and finding a reputable contractor as well as give quality repairs if you aren’t an experienced handyman.

Having a home warranty company can also help if you don’t live near your rental properties. To learn more about what home warranty plan may be best for your properties, check out reviews of Florida home warranties.

Don’t Become Too Personal With Your Tenants

As a new landlord, getting your first tenants can be an exciting experience. Your first tenants may make you feel successful, but you may feel more connected to them. It’s important to not have a personal relationship with your tenants as a landlord. If you become too close to your tenants, it may be tough to make important decisions, and can cause serious conflict if problems like late rent payments or evictions arise.

With that being said, you may want to seriously consider whether or not you want to rent your properties to family or friends. While you may want to help them out, it is possible that they can take advantage of their relationship with you.

Treat Your Properties Like Your Own Business

You need to be serious about the properties you are renting out. Being a landlord isn’t just renting out your property to another person. It’s about staying updated with laws, regulations, payments, maintenance, management, and more. Unless you hire a property management company to manage your rentals, you’ll be doing the work yourself.

The more you take your rental properties seriously, the more successful you will be. This includes properties you stay in as well, such as vacation homes.

Don’t Be Too Intrusive

Yes, you are the owner of the properties you rent out. However, you should not be intruding in the lives of your tenants. While you should play an active role in maintaining your properties, no tenant wants their landlord to make frequent visits. Additionally, never enter the property unless there is an emergency. Certain states require landlords to give notice before entering a property, but even if there is no such law in your state, you should respect your tenant’s privacy.

Keep Up to Date

As mentioned above, you should treat your property like a business. Part of this means keeping up to date with any laws and regulations on both the national and local levels. New laws can be put into effect at any time, and can potentially change the way you manage your property. Without keeping up to date, you may find yourself breaking rules and regulations without knowing it. As long as you pay attention to real estate news, you should be okay.

Once you are up to date, make sure you keep your properties in accordance with the regulations. Don’t ignore any needed updates just to save money.

By following these tips, you’ll find yourself in a good position as a new landlord. Becoming a successful landlord takes time and dedication. Whether you only want to rent out one property or you want to acquire multiple properties, you should treat the job all the same.

Stephen K. Hachey Can Help You Wade Through This Difficult Process To Reach A Positive Solution. Call 813-549-0096 Today!

***The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

As a landlord, one of the best ways to protect yourself is to require tenants to sign a rental agreement or lease. This document should outline all obligations and rights of both parties–the landlord and the renter. Regardless of the agreed upon terms, however, state law under the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act always trumps policies in the lease. For this reason, it is highly recommended that all state laws be reviewed to ensure the Florida Landlord Tenant Laws and your lease align. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a losing legal battle you didn’t bargain for. As a landlord, here is a brief overview of the laws you should follow.

Rental Payments and Lease Termination

All rental payments should be made on time with a reasonable window for late payments. Unless a tenant has obtained court approval, it is unlawful for he or she to withhold payment due to a landlord’s failure to keep the premises in a safe and clean condition. Should a landlord choose to evict a renter due to late or missed payments, the only action a landlord may take in attempting to force a tenant out is through filing a complaint with the courts.

Background Checks

Before leasing your property to a tenant, you should always perform a background check on all renters who will be signing the lease. This is of utmost importance to ensure the security of your property and ultimately protect yourself. Not to mention, this provides additional security for neighbors, especially if your rental property is in an apartment or condo building.

Deposits

Deposits should be collected prior to or at the signing of the rental agreement and the amount should be included in the written terms of the lease. The money collected should be deposited into a separate account where it will not be intermixed with any other of the landlord’s income or money. The landlord is required to disclose to the tenant this location where the deposit will be held and if it is an interest-bearing account. At the end of the lease, the landlord must return to the deposit to the tenant unless written notice including specifics of why the deposit will not be returned is given to the tenant within 30 days of the end of lease.

If you are writing your first lease or you are unsure if your agreement complies with Florida Landlord Tenant Laws, it is highly recommended that you consult with a knowledgeable, licensed real estate attorney. He or she will be able to guide you through the state legislation and requirements necessary for both renter and landlord to enter into a legal lease agreement.

Stephen K. Hachey Can Help You Wade Through This Difficult Process To Reach A Positive Solution. Call 813-549-0096 Today!

***The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

Nothing is more of a kick in the gut than faithfully paying rent on time for years just to get a notice stating that your rent is about to climb. You’ve budgeting your money intently with the purpose of having a rent check handy for your landlord on the first of the month. You may not necessarily have the means to absorb a rent increase, but now you have one. And you have a decision to make. Pay the increased rent or look for a new home. It’s a frustrating and often, unanticipated decision that many of us have faced throughout our lives. What’s worse is that Florida is not a rent-controlled state. This means that your landlord can increase rent as much as he or she wants and, in more desirable parts of the state, rent increases can be extreme from year to year. While it may appear that you are powerless to constant rent increases, there is a way to fight back.

People may become squeamish at thought of negotiating for the things they need in life, but they really shouldn’t. Negotiation is no longer the domain of corporate power players and people trying to win back hostages. It’s a simply of method for ensuring that your interests are protected. We all earn a certain amount of money and it’s up to each one of us to make the best decisions in regard to it. While saving your money and making proper investments is a part of that, so to is getting the best prices possible for goods and services. The rent you pay for your home is no different. To protect your interest in this area sometimes requires asking the right questions and seeking the best price possible.

Negotiating a better rent doesn’t have to be intimidating. Follow these basic steps and you may earn a rental price that works best for your budget.

Put in the Homework

First and foremost, you have to do some research. What are your neighbors paying for their places? What are the rent prices for comparable places in your area? Not just places on your block, but places of similar size, quality and age. This will be done in the hopes that you find a pattern of locations like yours with lower rent prices. Armed with this information, you can approach your landlord with the confidence to negotiate.

Build a Plan

Part of building a plan is determining what outcome are you looking to achieve. Do you want to keep the same rent? Gain more amenities? Upgrade certain items? Once you’ve determined what you want, it’s time to gather your research of similar places and the positive attributes you bring to the table and build a sound argument. If you’ve paid your rent on time each month, not hosted all-night foam parties, and been an all-around model citizen, you have more leverage than you realize. Your landlord is not going to be as willing to roll the dice on finding a tenant of your ilk. Use that to your advantage.

Put Yourself in Your Landlord’s Shoes

To that point, empathy is a critical part of any successful negotiation. While your landlord wants more income on a monthly basis, they also don’t want to risk losing a good and stable tenant. This doesn’t mean that you tell your landlord “my way or the highway”, however it does help you determine what you can offer to get what you need. Perhaps you offer to pay a couple of months rent in order to keep your rent at the same price. Or you may offer to sign a longer lease. Oftentimes, consistent income is better than more income.

Negotiate in Person

In our digital age, it’s become all too easy to hide behind and a screen and push people around. It’s much harder to be aggressive in person. When negotiating your rent, do so in a formal meeting. It’s likely that your landlord will not have prepared thoroughly for the discussion. If you come in polite, prepared and persuasive, you’ll have a great advantage in negotiation.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be a master negotiator, just confident and motivated to get what you want out of a situation. That and preparation will go a long way.

Stephen K. Hachey Can Help You Wade Through This Difficult Process To Reach A Positive Solution. Call 813-549-0096 Today!

***The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

When a homeowner falls behind on his or her mortgage payments and doesn’t make new arrangements with the lender, he or she risks foreclosure. In most cases, the lender can’t foreclose on the property until they have filed a lawsuit and received permission from the court. If the court dismisses it, the lender has to either re-file the lawsuit or try to collect the property or mortgage payments another way.

What to Know About the Foreclosure Process

In Florida, a lender can’t foreclose on a property without a court order. If a homeowner hasn’t made mortgage payments and the lender decides to foreclose the property, it usually files a complaint with the court. The homeowner then receives a copy of the complaint and has a choice to ignore it, answer it or file a motion to dismiss it. During the hearing to review the complaint, the judge will determine whether to proceed with the foreclosure case or to dismiss it.

What to Know About a Dismissal

If a judge decides to dismiss the foreclosure case, the lender can’t proceed with the foreclosure process. The judge might dismiss a foreclosure case if he or she doesn’t believe the lender owns the mortgage or if he or she doesn’t think the lender has followed the state’s foreclosure process properly. The mortgage lender can also dismiss the foreclosure case if it notices that it has made a mistake during the procedure or if the homeowner has made arrangements to pay the debt.

What to Know About Post-Dismissal

If a judge decides to dismiss the foreclosure case because the mortgage lender made a mistake or doesn’t have the ability to file a lawsuit against the homeowner, the lender has to start the legal process all over again. It’s important to note, that it’s possible to dismiss a foreclosure case in some states with prejudice, meaning that the mortgage lender can never re-file it. And some states limit the number of times a mortgage lender can file a foreclosure case, even if the judge decides to dismiss it without prejudice. To learn about Florida’s laws regarding foreclosure cases, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable real estate attorney.

What to Know About a Voluntary Foreclosure

If a mortgage lender has decided to foreclose on the property, the homeowner can sometimes propose a voluntary foreclosure, known as a ‘deed in lieu of foreclosure,’ and request that the lender dismiss the case. In most cases, a voluntary foreclosure doesn’t impact the homeowner’s credit, and it prevents a lender from filing a lawsuit if the monies from the sale of the property don’t cover all of the homeowner’s debt. If you voluntary foreclose, you waive the right to receive any profit from the sale.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

According to Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes – specifically article 67 – a landlord cannot remove locks from a property unless it’s for the purpose of maintaining, repairing or replacing them. The same chapter also covers whether a tenant can change the property’s locks without the landlord’s content. Let’s take a look.

Landlord’s Access to the Property

According to Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes – specifically article 53 – a tenant can’t unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the property from time to time to inspect it, complete maintenance or repairs, and these other reasons.

  • To supply agreed services
  • To show the property to prospective or actual purchasers and other persons

The same article also specifies that a landlord can enter the property at any time to protect or preserve it. A landlord can also enter the property at any time if he or she has given the tenant a reasonable notice with a reasonable time, which is at least 12 hours before entry. The landlord should only enter between 7:30 A.M, and 8 P.M. Additionally, a landlord may have access to the property if:

  • The tenant has provided the landlord consent.
  • There is an emergency.
  • The tenant has unreasonably withheld consent.
  • The tenant has been absent from the property for a lengthy period of time.

A landlord can’t abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant.

Read the Lease Carefully to Determine if You Can Change the Lock

Unless it’s stated in your lease that you can change the lock provided you supply your landlord with a copy of the key, you can’t do so without his or her consent. Otherwise, you could subject yourself to an eviction. If you’re having issue with a landlord entering the property without your consent, or if he or she isn’t following the aforementioned guidelines for doing so, it’s best you contact an attorney.

For more information about this all-too-common problem for renters, contact an experienced real estate attorney who can investigate your complaint and deal with it properly. The last thing you want to do is risk eviction for protecting your privacy.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

If you own a property and are thinking about selling it with a tenant still occupying it, you might ask yourself if you’re legally able to. Simply put, you can sell your property if you buy the tenant out of his or her lease. Otherwise, the person who purchases the property would have to honor the terms of the withstanding lease.

Let’s take a closer look at this often-asked question.

How to Handle a Month-to-Month Lease When Selling a Property

If you’ve rented your property on a month-to-month basis, you’ll only need to notify the tenant before you’d like him or her to move out. You must notify the tenant with a letter, either by mailing it (ensure that he or she has received it with a signature) or delivering it in person. In Florida, when terminating a month-to-month lease, you must notify the tenant not less than 15 days before the end of any monthly period.

Remember, you don’t need a reason to terminate a month-to-month lease, which is one of the benefits of having one. When writing the letter, ensure you include:

  • The current date.
  • How many days the tenant has before you terminate the lease.
  • A statement to remove all possessions and return the keys by that date.
  • A statement informing the tenant you’ll start the eviction process otherwise.

How to Handle a Fixed-Term Lease When Selling a Property

If you’ve rented your property on a fixed-term basis, it’ll take a little more effort – or money – to ensure your tenant moves on. Here are the five options you have.

  • Wait until the fixed-term lease has expired
  • Sell the property with the lease still active
  • Negotiate and pay the tenant to vacate
  • Sell the property to the tenant
  • Execute an early termination clause in the fixed-term lease

While a month-to-month lease is relatively easy to work around, a fixed-term lease is another story. Although you have options, it’s best to talk with an experienced real estate attorney to sort through them.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

Managing your assets while you’re alive and distributing them after your death are important steps to establishing financial family security. Creating a revocable trust is one way of doing so, and many people choose this option because you can change or cancel its provisions at anytime before you pass. With a revocable trust, you also ensure that a court doesn’t manage how your assets are distributed after death.

If a spouse or a minor child survives you, keep in mind that Florida law prohibits the devise of a homestead property, including ‘gifting’ through a will or ‘transferring’ through a revocable trust. To put it simply, if you have a surviving spouse or a minor child, Florida prohibits you from gifting or transferring your property after you die.

The Florida Constitution states that, “The homestead shall not be subject to devise if the owner is survived by spouse or minor child, except the homestead may be devised to the owner’s spouse if there be no minor child.” This can especially impact people who have been married multiple times and established long-held trusts.

Luckily, you can work around the Florida law and its homestead property restrictions. One way of doing so is setting up an irrevocable trust. Florida law states that if a homeowner commits his or her interest in a homestead property to an irrevocable trust and surrenders the power to revoke it, a court won’t consider the transfer of it a devise and it’ll respect the its disposition as directed by the trust.

Although irrevocable trusts aren’t as flexible as revocable trusts, Florida law still provides homeowners with some features of flexibility when planning one.

With an irrevocable trust, a homeowner can:

  • Retain a lifetime interest or a term of years.
  • Delay the possession of the homestead property until a specific date.
  • Subject the interest to a lapse or a divestment.

For more information about homestead properties and the different types of trust planning, contact our real estate team today to alleviate your worries and stress.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

There are two types of real estate contracts in Florida, including the ‘as is’ real estate contract. In a nutshell, an ‘as is’ real estate contract specifies that the person purchasing the property must do so in its existing condition without demanding the seller make any upgrades or repairs. The contract also states the purchaser has a short time period – usually 15 calendar days – to get the property inspected. Upon inspection, if the property needs repairs, the purchaser can ask the seller to lower its selling price or provide a credit at closing to cover the future repair costs. If the seller declines, the purchaser can back out of the contract within that time period.

Sellers Must Disclose Things About the Property to Prospective Buyers

If you’re debating whether to purchase a property using an ‘as in’ contract, it’s important to note a seller must disclose the following things about the property:

  • Potential or actual complaints, claims or legal proceedings
  • Disputes regarding boundaries
  • Pest damage and infestations
  • Potential or actual damage from sinkholes, whether past or present
  • Environmental hazards
  • Problems with HVAC, plumbing, roof, electrical, etc.
  • Homeowners association rules to comply by

Although it gives you less time to inspect the property, an ‘as is’ real estate contract offers more flexibility to back out of a deal if you’re a buyer.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

Effective July 1, 2016, there are new property laws in Florida that apply to building codes, elevators in private residences and fumigation rules. If you’re a property owner or a property manager, here’s what you need to know about the new laws.

Changes to Florida’s Building Code

A new bill, HB 535, makes more than 30 changes to Florida’s building code, including these important ones that are most likely to impact you:

  • Exempts employees of communities with 100 or more apartments from contractor licensing requirements if performing minor repairs to existing HVAC systems if it costs less than $1,000 and they meet specific criteria
  • Allows a non-licensed electrical contractor to install some low-voltage lights
  • Requires that residential pools have an alarm that makes a sound when it detects an accidental or an unauthorized entry into the water
  • Requires a contractor or an alarm company inform property owners about any obligations they might have to register their alarm systems
  • Exempts Wi-Fi- smoke alarms or those that have multiple sensors
  • Requires Florida’s Building Code to mandate two fire service access elevators in every building above a specific height

Rules for New Elevators

A new bill, SB 1602, states new elevators in private residents must:

  • Have gates or doors that can withstand 75 pounds of force
  • Meet distance requirements between the landing door and the elevator gate
  • Meet distance requirements between the elevator shaft and the edge of the landing sill for sliding or swinging doors
  • Have a device that can stop the elevator’s downward motion at any time

Possible Upcoming Changes in Florida’s Fumigation Procedures

Right now, HB 1205 only authorizes Consumer Services and the Department of Agriculture to adopt safety procedures for residential buildings before being reoccupied. As of now, it has no impact on Florida’s fumigation rules unless they act.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***