south florida real estate law

Florida is the number one destination for people looking to move. Miami’s median home value rises by 7% like clockwork, year in and year out. Everyone knows that real estate in South Florida is a red hot market, and the forecasts are very positive.

The problem is, however, that not everyone knows the law. The Berman Law Group has experienced real estate lawyers who are ready to help you today. We want you to understand the fundamentals of Florida real estate law.

Buying and Selling Houses

Florida has one of the most convoluted homestead laws in the country.  Many people are not even aware that there is a homestead law, let alone what it means. In order for a home to qualify as a homestead, someone must have a legal or beneficial title on January 1st, it must be a place of someone’s permanent residence, and you must apply for the homestead exemption in person between January 1st and March 1st.

When a home qualifies as a homestead, it has implications in terms of real estate taxes, creditor protection, and inheritance. If your home qualifies as a homestead, you are entitled to certain land tax exemptions. In addition, if your home meets the criteria for a homestead, a creditor cannot force you to sell your home. The implications for inheritance are worth their own in-depth exploration.

When people buy homes, they often ask if it is a good idea to place their deposit in escrow, or to release the funds to the builder. Escrow seems like the more appealing option, but it is a good idea to weigh your options carefully. If the buyer chooses the escrow route, the builder has the right to charge the buyer the cost of borrowing that amount of money. This may raise your costs.

Buying or selling a home is just like any other legal affair. You should have a contract. That contract needs to be airtight. Many people are confused by legal and financial jargon. This means that it is a good idea to take your time and make sure that you are not overwhelmed. Hiring a lawyer could prove beneficial.

Renting

Renting is regulated by a few different codes of Florida law. They are Florida Statute 83.04, Florida Statute 83.49, and Florida Statute § 760.23.

Generally, once rental agreements go over their contract period, they become month-to-month. Just paying your rent is not considered enough.

If you want to continue your agreement, you need a written statement from the landlord. At this point, it becomes a tenancy at will. If there is no written agreement, then it is considered to be tenancy at sufferance. This means that the tenant lives there without the landlord’s consent. This creates a significant number of legal issues.

Federal law dictates that landlords are not allowed to discriminate based on the following factors:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status
  • Handicap

Florida has its own Fair Housing Act. This law provided for the creation of advocacy centers to make sure that no one is discriminated against. These centers, as well as the Florida Commission on Human Relations, helps vulnerable people protect their rights.

There is no statewide limit on security deposits. Security deposits may be used if the tenant owes rent, damages the place, or commits another lease violation. Landlords may not raise the rent unless the lease allows for that, but they may raise rent at the end of the lease or if the lease is on month-to-month basis. In certain areas, like Brickell, Boca Raton, and Las Olas, that can be really important.

If you have any questions about real estate law, The Berman Law Group can help. We are experienced real estate lawyers, and we are ready to work for you today. Call us at 1-800-375-5555.

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