Friday, September 2, 2011

Common Landlord Mistakes

Foreclosure filings are on the rise and more and more people are purchasing these properties and using them as rentals. With the occurrence landlords and tenant relationships are on the rise. There are several mistakes that residential landlords tend to make, first make sure you have a well written lease. Leases they sale at the office supply stores or online are cookie cutter leases and may not meet the needs or concerns you have with renting your property. Second ask for references you will renting to someone you don't know and therefore you want to provide references so you can discern whether or not they will be good tenants. Third make sure you keep the security deposit in a separate account. It doesn't matter whether it's interest or non interest bearing the money must be kept separate from your own.  Fourth you will want to take lots of detailed pictures of the property before renting it out and more pictures after the tenant leaves. These pictures are worth there weight in gold if the property becomes damaged. And lastly you may want to consult with an attorney,  a good  attorney can help you prepare for your role as a landlord and avoid making costly mistakes.

If you need more information check out the link below:

This blog does not constitute legal advice if you want legal advice you should contact a lawyer licensed by the bar of your resident state.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why do lawyers use ESQ. and what does it mean?

Although this not a legal question it is one that comes up often so I decided to address it in my blog.
Esquire (abbreviated Esq.) originally was a social rank title above that of mere gentleman, allowed, for example, to the sons of the nobles and the gentry who did not possess any other title. On this basis, a gentleman was designated Mr ('mister' before his name), whereas an Esquire was designated 'Esq.' (without a nominal prefix) after his name. A very late example of this distinction is in the list of subscribers to The History of Elton, by the Rev. Rose Fuller Whistler, published in 1882, which clearly distinguishes between subscribers designated "Mr" and those designated "Esquire" — of higher social position; though old-fashioned, "Esq." remains widely used in upper-class circles.

In the United States, there are no native titled gentry or nobility. The suffix "Esq." has no legal meaning (except in some states), and may, in theory, be adopted by anyone, (given its meaning, any man). In practice, it is used almost exclusively by lawyers (of both sexes), and so it generally may be assumed that, when "Esq." appears on business cards or stationery, the man or woman so identified is a member of the bar.

That "esquire" may be used to indicate that an individual is a lawyer is a remnant of the British practice, in which barristers claimed the status "Esquire" and solicitors used the term "Gentleman". In the United States, though a lawyer may choose to specialize in litigation or other types of law, there are no licensing or bar membership distinctions between the equivalent roles of barrister and solicitor.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The types of home equity scams: Consumers Beware

You could lose your home, the equity you have built in your home and your money if you are pressured to take out a loan by unscrupulous lenders or mortgage brokers who offer you a high-cost loan. Mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers may mislead you into signing a loan that is difficult for you to pay knowing you have equity in your home. Certain lenders and brokers target homeowners who are elderly or who are low income or who have credit problems- and then try to take advantage of them by using deceptive practices. You may even be talking to a broker who will charge you extra to find a loan when you think you are working directly with a lender. The Federal Trade Commission cautions all homeowners to be on the lookout for:

Home Equity Scams

Equity Stripping: The lender gives you a loan, based on the equity in your home, not on your ability to repay.
Loan Flipping: The lender encourages you to repeatedly refinance the loan either to catch up missed payments or pay off other bills. Every time you refinance the loan, new fees and other charges will be added to the amount you owe.
Credit Insurance Packing: The lender adds credit life or disability insurance premiums to your loan, which you may not need. This insurance is expensive and may not be necessary. It is also sold without regard to the borrowers’ ability to benefit from the coverage.
Bait and Switch: The lender offers one set of loan terms when you apply, then when you show up at the loan closing, the interest rate is higher or the terms have changed, i.e. a fixed rate loan is now an adjustable rate loan. You feel pressure to sign the new loan because you do not know of the changes until the last minute when you feel you have no choice but to go through with the loan.
Deceptive Loan Servicing: The company collecting your loan does not provide you with accurate or complete account statements and payoff figures, receives your payment on time and holds it to make it seem late or adds expensive insurance premiums to your payment claiming you did not keep up your own insurance.

Some of these practices violate federal consumer protection laws requiring certain disclosures about loan terms, prohibiting discrimination based on age, gender, marital status, race or national origin; and governing debt collection activities. For example, you may have the right to “rescind” your loan under certain circumstances if proper disclosures are not provided before you sign the loan and you are entitled to an accounting to make sure your loan is being properly collected and you know how much you have paid and how much more you owe.

You may also have additional rights under state law that would allow you to bring a law suit against your lender or the company collecting your loan.

This blog is not intended to be a substitution for legal advice. Although it is written by a licensed attorney if you need legal assistant you should consult a attorney right away to discuss your options.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some things to keep in mind when writing your will in Florida

Florida Law has some strict requirements when constructing your last will and testament.  Here are some things to keep in mind: In Florida you must be in sound mind and at least eighteen years old.  The requirement of being in sound mind is meet generally unless you have been found incompetent in a legal proceeding.  The Heading should include a statement of Last Will and Testament of ... The next thing is to make the declaration that it is your intent to draft a will.

When drafting your will,describe your property and explain who is to inherit it. This is very important especially in families with lots of heirs. This will eliminate confusion and possible challenges to the will.
 In Florida, you can make specific devises (such as saying "To [Friend o Family Member's Name], I give my collection of baseball cards located in the top drawer of my study") or a general devise (such as saying "I give my entire estate to [Friend or Family Member's Name]"). For specific devises, describe the property (what it is and where it is located) sufficiently so that no dispute can arise.

Please keep in mind you will need to update your will several times in your life time as your situation changes.  A will should be update at least once every five years.

If you have any questions you should consult legal counsel right away.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trying to Relocate with your children? Here are some things you should know.

If you are seeking to relocate with a minor child there are several rules that you should consider. According to Florida Statute 61.13001(1)(e), relocation "means a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child."  In essence, this means that if you are seeking to move with your children, and there is a pending or closed case which already decided timesharing matters, you must comply with the relocation statute.  There are two ways which you may do so.  First, if the parents both agree to the relocation, they can enter into a written agreement which provides three key elements: (1) the parent who is not relocating gives express consent; (2) the agreement contains a timesharing schedule to be used after the relocation; and (3) the agreement addresses travel expenses to be paid by the parties.  The second option comes into play when the party who is not moving refuses to consent to the move.  In this case, the parent seeking relocation must file a document called a Petition to Relocate.  This Petition to Relocate must contain the following elements:
1.  A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known.
2.  The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.
3.  The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.
4.  The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
5.  A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation. If one of the reasons is based upon a job offer that has been reduced to writing, the written job offer must be attached to the petition.
6.  A proposal for the revised post relocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the post relocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child. Absent the existence of a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause predating the petition, failure to comply with this provision renders the petition to relocate legally insufficient.
7.  Substantially the following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type, or larger, as the type in the remainder of the petition:
This Petition to Relocate must be personally served on the other party if your case has already been closed.  If the case is open, service can usually be obtained through certified mail.  If the other party objects appropriately, the Court will have to ultimately decide whether to grant the relocation.