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Real Estate Law

Florida Sales Tax Rates on Commercial Leases May Reduce to 2% in 2022

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August 13th, 2021

Posted in Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate Law,Tax Law & IRS Defense

A legislative bill was recently enacted that may reduce the sales tax rate on commercial leases to 2%. The timing of the decrease depends on the economic recovery of the unemployment compensation trust fund. Once this balance has reached its pre-pandemic level, the sales tax rate will adjust. You may need to periodically consult with your accountant to determine the current tax rate since it is contingent upon the amount in the employment compensation trust fund.


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Restrictions on Display of Certain Flags Within Community Associations

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February 16th, 2021

Posted in Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate Law

For many people, one of the most attractive aspects of living in a condominium or homeowners’ association is to have an aesthetically pleasing environment. To that end, there are often restrictions on displays by owners. This blog post covers the unique aspects of certain flags.


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What is the Business Judgment Rule and How Does it Protect the Board of Directors of a Community Association?

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November 20th, 2020

Posted in Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate Law

A community association’s board of directors is often tasked with making difficult and sometimes controversial decisions regarding community issues, such as covenant enforcement, collection action against delinquent owners, or larger issues with neighboring associations or governmental entities, among other issues. The gravity of these critical decisions can be stressful for board members and create questions regarding their own exposure to liability. A common question and concern from community association directors in these situations is, “Can I be held personally responsible for my actions as a director?”


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Bankruptcy Issues for Community Associations

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August 14th, 2020

Posted in Asset Protection,Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate Law

The purpose of bankruptcy laws is to provide an opportunity for a fresh start to honest but unfortunate individuals (or debtors in the bankruptcy context) and to allow for the equal treatment of creditors who may be owed money.  The successful completion of a bankruptcy plan generally entitles the debtor to a discharge of certain debts.  The discharge of a debt prevents creditors from later attempting to collect the discharged debt.  Additionally, 11 U.S.C §362(a) imposes an automatic stay on any collection activity against the debtor or their assets.  The automatic stay begins immediately upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition and acts as a temporary injunction preventing collection activity by creditors.  Generally, the automatic stay will remain in place during the life of the bankruptcy proceedings unless the creditor obtains a court order granting relief from the automatic stay.


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Your Permanent Residence for the Homestead Tax Exemption

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June 12th, 2020

Posted in Real Estate Law,Tax Law & IRS Defense

As most Florida homeowners know, the Florida Constitution provides for a valuable homestead tax exemption. In general, to qualify for this exemption under Section 196.031 of the Florida Statues, you must have legal or beneficial title to your home and in good faith make the home your “permanent residence” as of January 1st.  Determining whether you make the home your “permanent residence” can be complicated for those who have multiple homes or sometimes rent the home on occasion.


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Condo & HOA Collection Practices

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May 15th, 2020

Posted in Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate Law

Collections practices in Community Association law are largely controlled by Florida Statutes (Section 720.3085  for Homeowners Associations or Section 718.121 for Condominium Associations) as well as adherence to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Association documents such as the Declaration of Covenants. Once courtesy notices have sent to a delinquent owner, accounts should generally be turned over to your attorney for collections. The legal collection process typically starts with a Notice of Intent to Lien being sent to the property owners of record, giving condominium owners thirty (30) days to respond and homeowners association members forty-five (45) days to respond.


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COVID-19 “Coronavirus” Actions for your HOA or Community Association

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April 17th, 2020

Posted in Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate Law

On March 27, 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) issued Emergency Order 2020-04 (found here), which clarifies that community associations, including condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations, can exercise the use of emergency powers in light of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


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Inspections of Condo and HOA Official Records

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November 15th, 2019

Posted in Business & Corporate Law,Real Estate 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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