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Collier County Business And Real Estate Law Blog

Florida among states with most mortgage application fraud risk

A recent study found that Florida is among the top three riskiest states for mortgage application fraud. That's according to the more current Mortgage Fraud Report from the global property information and analytics company CoreLogic. Moreover, Tampa Bay came in eighth among metro areas across the country for application fraud risk.

The risk of mortgage application fraud continues to increase across the country, according to CoreLogic. As of the second quarter of this year, the risk index showed a 12.4 increase over the same time last year -- 0.92 percent versus 0.82 percent of mortgage applications. Those were the applications found to contain some indication of fraud.

Understanding commercial leases

As a Florida entrepreneur starting a new business or an established business owner seeking to add a new location, you likely will confront the necessity of signing a commercial lease. If you have previously leased commercial property, you already know that commercial leases are considerably different from residential leases.

For one thing, a commercial lease offers you far more opportunity to negotiate its terms with the owner of the property. For another, however, a commercial lease contains fewer protections for both the lessor and the lessee than a residential lease. This is because the law presumes that both of you are sophisticated business people reasonably well-versed in the complexities of commercial leases and/or that both of you will retain knowledgeable attorneys to draft your specific lease agreement.

Affordable LGBT senior housing complex coming to South Florida

South Florida is one of the most popular areas in the country for people to retire. Many of those retiring seniors are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). That group is growing. By 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there will be 7 million LGBT people over 50 years old.

However, LGBT seniors often don't feel comfortable or welcome in retirement communities and assisted-living facilities. Sadly, some still face discrimination when looking for a home to rent or buy. That's created a market for retirement housing for LGBT seniors.

Jaguars battle with former player over 'Sacksonville' trademark

Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars know the term "Sacksonville." It originated last season when the team's defensive line had 10 sacks during its first game. The Jaguars went on to have more sacks than all but one other team in the league during the season.

Now there's a legal battle over who owns "Sacksonville." The Jaguars have sought to trademark the term. However, Dan Skuta, who was a linebacker with the team for two years, says it's rightfully his.

Florida homeownership rate hits new low

Experts often look at the health of a state's housing market to help determine how well its economy is doing. As Governor Rick Scott runs for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, he is touting the state's economic strength. However, Florida has reached a record low in an important indicator -- the rate of homeownership.

The percentage of Floridians who own homes is lower than it's been in at least several decades. That was the grim news delivered to the Legislative Budget Commission this month by an economist with the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

What you should know if you're considering a short sale

When a homeowner can no longer afford to pay their mortgage, they may opt for a short sale. This is where the home is sold for less than the amount remaining on the mortgage(s). However, the homeowner isn't required to pay the difference.

Therefore, the mortgage lender, usually a bank, must agree to the short sale as opposed to a foreclosure. Most homeowners prefer short sales to having their property foreclosed on if they've run out of options for modifying their mortgage so they can afford the payments.

Legal grounds for eviction in Florida

Tenants have numerous rights under the law, and for good reason. The law seeks to protect tenants because they are the more vulnerable partner in a tenant/landlord relationship. In the event a landlord attempts to evict a tenant on unscrupulous grounds, the tenant could end up homeless. 

To avoid a lengthy court process, landlords need to make sure they are attempting to evict a tenant for a lawful reason. There are several legal grounds for eviction, as well as guidelines that the landlord must follow

Are handshakes binding agreements?

Handshake agreements, also known as "gentlemen's agreements," occur when two or more parties come to an understanding and each agrees to provide the other with a service. There is no paperwork. Instead, both parties merely shake on it and hope the other party will follow through. 

When forming a small business, you will rely on numerous other parties to carry out various services for you. For example, you may hire a contractor to work on the building for you. The contractor does not offer any paperwork, but instead insists the two of you simply shake on it. Although a handshake is symbolic, it will not do much from a legal perspective. 

Land once owned by Burt Reynolds being developed for homeowners

Actor Burt Reynolds, who died earlier this month at a Jupiter hospital, called the area his home for many years. It's been announced that the 153-acre estate he once owned is going to be turned into a development containing multiple upscale homes.

Reynolds used to let local kids play and ride horses at Jupiter Farms. He also allowed his neighbors in Palm Beach County to use the property for fundraising events for various local organizations.

Take care when using trademarked and other protected work

Event organizers here in South Florida often partner with local and national businesses who are sponsoring an event. Having these businesses' logos and other identifying images on your marketing material and around the event venue itself can help promote it. However, it's essential to get the appropriate clearances to avoid infringing on their intellectual property rights.

Even if you're using stock images found online for your marketing materials, it's essential to abide by any licensing agreements that those images carry. Read the terms and conditions carefully. For example, sometimes images may be used online but not in printed materials.

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