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Real Estate Law

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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Florida Sales Tax on Commercial Leases Reduced in January 2019

December 21st, 2018

Posted in Real Estate Law

Florida imposes sales tax on rental payments for the lease of commercial real estate. The 6% state-level tax was reduced to 5.8% for 2018. The Florida legislature passed another law to further reduce the state-level rate to 5.7% for occupancy periods beginning on or after January 1, 2019.
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Florida Property Taxes – You Must Act Soon If You Wish to Contest Your County’s Proposed Assessments

September 7th, 2018

Posted in IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

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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Legal Considerations for Rental Property Owners

August 6th, 2018

Posted in Business Law,General Practice,IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

Many local governments have enacted laws which require the owner of a short term rental property to obtain a certificate or other permit in order to utilize the property as a rental. This regulation comes in addition to obtaining a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a local business tax receipt, and the remission of Florida Sales Tax to the Department of Revenue. The issue of regulating short term vacation rentals has also been addressed recently by the Florida legislature.
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Shipwrecks and House Bill 631

April 13th, 2018

Posted in Real Estate Law

This Spring, St. Johns County residents along with visitors across the county flocked to an area of a state protected beach in Guana State Park. With help from national news coverage, the visitors came to lay eyes on a 48-foot section of a once sunken ship which is believed to date to the 1700’s. Had this amazing artifact washed up later this year on a privately-owned stretch of beach subject to an ordinance establishing the customary public use of that part of the beach, the passing of House Bill 631 on March 8, 2018 could have allowed a private owner of beach to prevent the public from viewing the wreckage.
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Buyer Beware of Ghosts: Does a Seller Have to Disclose Whether a House is Allegedly Haunted?

October 27th, 2017

Posted in General Practice,Real Estate Law

Each year, people visit St. Augustine to experience the rich history that comes with being the Nation’s Oldest City.  Visitors flock to learn about any number of our City’s offerings: the Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in in the continental U.S.; the Oldest Wooden School House; or Flagler College, built in 1888 as a luxury hotel for Henry Morrison Flagler.  But as any local will tell you, no visit to St. Augustine is complete without a good ghost story or two along the way.
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Post-Hurricane Irma Cleanup and Safety Tips for Community Associations

September 15th, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law,General Practice,Real Estate Law

As communities in Northeast Florida work toward recovering from Hurricane Irma, we would like to share a few important reminders for condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. While the task of repairing and cleanup is extensive, communities should be on the lookout for the following “scams”:

  • Beware of government “officials” coming to your community offering to perform inspections. Require documentation and contact information from any such individual.
  • Many out of state “contractors” appear offering to do a free inspection of a roof or common areas and common elements. Ask for their licensing and contact information before entering into any contract for work.
  • Do not execute an Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) without first contacting your insurance agent and attorney.
  • Beware of any contractor requiring a large down payment for “supplies”.


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