From left to right: Ryan Binkowski and Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering) with Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner (Henderson Franklin)
From left to right: Ryan Binkowski and Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering) with Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner (Henderson Franklin)

This year’s two day Urban Land Institute (ULI) Annual Florida Summit was held in Miami at the Turnberry Isle Resort and was comprised of more than 650 attendees. The theme of this year’s event was Creative Disruption: “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be.”

The mission of ULI is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is an independent global nonprofit supported by the top real estate professionals from throughout the state including developers, attorneys, engineers, architects, and land use planners, from both the private and public sector.

The “Creative Class”

Continue Reading “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be”- 2016 ULI Florida Summit

In light of the recent death of a 2 year old boy by an alligator attack in the Orlando Walt Disney World Resort, associations who operate water bodies within their communities may be wondering what, if anything, they should do to help prevent such tragedies and to protect themselves from liability in the event a wild animal does attack.

The concept is called “ferae naturae” in legal terms, meaning “wild animals.” The question is whether an association owes a duty to its homeowners to guard them against wild animals. In short, the answer is “no.”

The Law on Wildlife

Continue Reading Disney Alligator Death is a Wake Up Call to Florida Associations

Continuing with our series to introduce you to members of our Condo and HOA Team, today meet Molly Maggiano.

Fort Myers Condo and HOA Attorney Molly MaggianoMolly concentrates her practice in real estate matters, more specifically in the areas of community association representation, residential and commercial transactions, real estate development, and other general real estate matters.

Molly has a passion toward photography and the arts, which she expresses through her involvement with the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Here, Molly shares with us a little about why the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is such a valuable resource to Fort Myers:

The arts play an important role in enriching the lives of our community. Not only are they a form of enjoyment and entertainment, but they expose us to different cultures and offer educational opportunities that can increase the quality of our lives.

It is easy to take things such as art and music for granted and forget that such programs haven’t always been available, or may not be available to future generations if they aren’t preserved. For this reason, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center (“SBDAC”), of which I have the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors.

Continue Reading Meet Henderson Franklin’s Condo and HOA Team Members: Molly Maggiano

The term “due diligence” gets thrown around a lot in the development world, but often with little regard for what the term entails. As with all things relating to property, this post is in no way intended to encompass all considerations in due diligence as properties are unique and present specific needs of review. However, the following list provides a brief glimpse into items to review when you are considering the purchase of real property for development in Southwest Florida: Continue Reading 8 Practical Tips for Land Use Due Diligence in Southwest Florida

tax.jpgAs a property owner in Florida, you have a right to appeal the property appraiser’s assessment of your property’s value, a denial of your application for an exemption (homestead, veterans, or senior citizen), a portability denial, and a denial of your application for property classification such as agricultural or historic. For a few “Helpful Tips for Reviewing your TRIM Notice”, please click here.

Typically, once a taxpayer decides to bring a challenge based on any of the above-mentioned grounds, a request for an informal conference will be made with the County’s property appraiser to discuss the value or to discuss the denial of an application for a property exemption or classification. Following an informal conference, in the event that the issues cannot be favorably settled, taxpayers (or their representatives) can file a petition with the local Value Adjustment Board (VAB). Alternatively, Florida law allows taxpayers to bring such challenges in circuit court.

Appeals to the Value Adjustment Board (VAB)

Continue Reading Know Your Rights as a Property Owner in Florida Before Opening your TRIM Notice for 2016

The Situation

A friend of mine just bought a vacant lot and plans to build a house on it someday. While telling me about the purchase, he mentioned that he thought it was great that he could pay so little for title insurance, yet still insure the full value of his future home against a title defect.

While trying not to deflate his bubble too much, I explained that the title insurance he purchased very likely would not cover the house, or any other improvements he might make to the property. The title insurance policy only insures him (the policy holder) up to the amount stated on the face of the policy.

The amount on the face of the policy is almost always limited to the market value of the property at the time of purchase. This means that his title policy covers the value of the vacant land at the time of purchase, but any additional value created by appreciation, construction of improvements, or by any other means would not be covered.

The Solution

Continue Reading Title Insurance Tip #1: One-Size Coverage Does Not Fit All

Objection. Compound question.

But the answers are:

  • A phrase used to describe rights in real property; and
  • Because the bundle of sticks is valuable and each of the individual sticks has value.

I first heard about the “bundle of sticks” when I was at law school. My property professor talked about the bundle of sticks when describing the variety of rights that a property owner has:  rights to what’s underground, rights to the ground, rights to the air. I didn’t appreciate the usefulness of the concept until I’d been practicing as a dirt litigator—sorry, real estate litigator—for several years.

Each stick represents a different property right, and depending on the words in the deed or other document by which you acquire title, you may be entitled to exercise all, or only some, of the rights associated with a piece of real estate.

Now why is this important? The amount you pay for a piece of property may vary depending on what rights—sticks—are present and what rights have been retained by the grantor/seller. For example, the grantor/seller might retain the right to extract minerals. You don’t have the entire bundle of sticks and your property could, conceivably, be worth less as a result.

So when buying real estate, be sure to find out if you’re getting the entire bundle of sticks. And when you own property, beware when the government, or a private company with the power of eminent domain, wants to take one of your rights. Don’t let them “stick” it to you.

 

Image courtesy of Oliver Schöndorfer under Flickr Creative Commons License

coffee-desk-notes-workspace“How do you get them to read?” Sterling Jenkins, CEO and Co-Founder at Gladly, who has both lived in and managed community associations, recently posed this question to the Community Associations Institute group on LinkedIn. Mr. Jenkins acknowledged the importance of community association’s governing documents, but that so few people who live in associations actually read them.

Creative Suggestions

Continue Reading Encouraging Community Association Members to Be Familiar with the Governing Documents May Reduce Violations

financial flickr courtesy of www.SeniorLiving.orgThis question comes up a lot from our association clients. The short answer to the question is “yes.”

When are they due?

Under Florida law, community associations are required to provide owners with an end-of-year financial report. Specifically, within 90 days after the end of the fiscal year, or annually, as provided for in the bylaws, the association shall prepare and complete a financial report for the preceding fiscal year. The financial report must be mailed or hand delivered to the address last provided to the association, upon written request from an owner.

Are formal audits required?

Continue Reading Are Community Associations Required to Provide Financial Reports to Owners?

iStock_000015122897XSmall.jpgIncreasingly, paper is becoming a thing of the past, and although the law is notoriously slow to follow trends, it has been rather quick to latch onto the digital wave.

It is as if some black-robed man with a curly white wig slammed down the gavel and proclaimed, “All men witnesseth that heretofore law shall no longer move like a snail, but rather shall transpire at the speed of light!”

In 2000, Congress actually made such a proclamation; it passed a law making electronic documents and electronic signatures valid in almost every legal fact, except wills, certain trusts, and some relatively esoteric commercial transactions.

Continue Reading Florida Real Estate Law Meets The Digital Age: Are Electronic Documents Valid?