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Inspections of Condo and HOA Official Records

November 15th, 2019

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Condominium and homeowner’s associations are required to maintain the official records* of the association within the state for at least 7 years and make them available to the owners or their authorized representative for inspection within 45 miles of the community or within the same county.  For condominiums, Florida Statute § 718.111(12)(c) requires that the association provide access to the records within 10 business days of receiving a written request.  Failing to provide the records within the 10-day period creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to provide the records and the requesting owner becomes entitled to damages in the minimum amount of $50.00 per day beginning on the 11th business day after the request. 


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IRS Audit Rate Has Dropped Steeply Since 2010

November 8th, 2019

Posted in IRS & Tax Information

Are you concerned about being audited by the IRS? An IRS audit takes place when the Internal Revenue Service chooses to review a taxpayer’s accounts to verify that tax laws are being followed. As a preliminary caution, beware of phone scams as the IRS will always initiate a tax audit by mail. The IRS will not call to demand immediate payment or ask for a debit or credit card number over the phone, nor will they threaten to bring in local law enforcement to arrest people. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims.


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Florida Leads the Way Revolutionizing Estate Planning by Allowing Electronic Wills

September 20th, 2019

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

Florida is leading the way in estate planning as a new bill is revolutionizing the way Floridians execute their last will and testaments. The Florida Legislature passed House Bill 409, which allows for electronic wills and electronic signatures starting January 1, 2020. Like a traditional will, an electronic will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.  An electronic signature is defined as “an electronic mark visibly manifested in a record as a signature and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”


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Filling Vacant Seats on the Board of Directors

August 30th, 2019

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

The typical board of directors for a condominium or homeowner’s association consists either 3, 5, or 7 directors, depending on the governing documents and participation within the community.  The election of directors by the membership generally occurs each year at the annual meeting.   Some associations have trouble finding enough candidates to fill the open director positions at the annual elections, but what happens when a director unexpectedly resigns, passes away or is disqualified before the end of his or her term?  How does the association fill that vacant director’s seat?


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Florida Property Taxes – You Must Act Soon If You Wish to Contest Your County’s Proposed Assessments

August 22nd, 2019

Posted in IRS & Tax Information

Your local Florida County Property Appraiser mails out the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (Truth in Millage or “TRIM” form) in August or September of each year.

Property owners or taxpayers who wish to contest or appeal their property value to the Value Adjustment Board must file a petition (one of the DR-86 forms) with the clerk of court within 25 days of the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes:


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How to Transfer Title after a Car Owner Dies

August 12th, 2019

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

Transferring the title of a decedent’s vehicle is relatively easy in Florida, courtesy of Florida Statute 319.28.  The initial step in transferring a vehicle title is assessing the ownership.  If the vehicle is owned jointly, then it automatically passes to the co-owner by operation of law at death.

For example, a vehicle titled John Smith and Mary Smith automatically passes to Mary Smith upon John Smith’s passing and vice versa.  Contact the DMV to update the title along with a death certificate.  Form 82152 can be used by surviving spouses.  The DMV’s website is here:  FL DMV


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Recently Enacted Law Puts Florida Trees at Risk

July 19th, 2019

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law,Real Estate Law

Florida is home to some of the most beautiful trees in the world and is known for its oak canopies and palm tree groves that give our cities and neighborhoods their unique look and feel.  Under H.B. 1159, or “Private Property Rights,” which went into effect on July 1, 2019, limitations have been placed on the ability of cities and municipalities to require a permit in order for a homeowner to prune, trim, or remove a tree from his or her property that may pose a danger.  The new law also prevents local governments from requiring a property owner to replant a tree that was pruned, trimmed, or removed.


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Florida Sales Tax on Commercial Leases Reduced in January 2020

July 1st, 2019

Posted in Real Estate Law

Good news for Commercial Landlords, the reduction on state level sales taxes continues to decline. Florida is reducing the state-level sales tax rate on commercial leases for occupancy periods beginning on or after January 1, 2020 down to 5.5%.  

However, counties are still imposing the local option surtax so be careful to check your county’s guidelines. The local option surtax varies between 0.5% to 1% for those counties that impose it.  Currently, for 2019 St. Johns County has an additional 0.5% surtax.


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