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Collier County Business And Real Estate Law Blog

What are my options if adequate seller disclosures weren't made?

Many jurisdictions require individuals selling their homes to make certain disclosures about any known defects that their house may have to potential buyers. Despite this, it's possible for a new owner to end up with a home with defects that they didn't anticipate it having. There are some legal options available to them if this happens in Florida.

Most "material defects" that a home has have to be disclosed to buyers. This includes any potentially defective components or systems that a residential property may have. These defects must put the safety of others at an unreasonable risk or adversely affect the value of the property. Systems or components that may break down due to wear and tear aren't considered to be material defects.

What are your primary responsibilities as a commercial landlord?

As a commercial landlord in Florida, your duties and responsibilities typically involve far more than just finding tenants and collecting rent each month. While leasing commercial properties to renters can prove to be highly profitable, doing so can also expose you to potential liability if you do not take steps to protect yourself and your property from the outset.

Part of protecting yourself and doing your job to the best of your ability involves fully understanding your role and associated responsibilities. The more you understand about what your tenant expects of you, the less likely you are to face trouble or wind up in litigation. So, what, exactly, are your responsibilities as a commercial landlord?

How can interior designers protect their work from plagiarism?

Interior designers create unique looks for their clients. However, their works have not generally been considered intellectual property that can be protected from plagiarism.

With the ease of sharing interior designs via social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, it's become more common than ever for people to create "knockoffs" of interior design elements or an entire room with no credit, let alone compensation, given to the original designer. Many companies market low-cost duplicates of furniture, textiles, accessories and other design elements to customers who want to save money with do-it-yourself interior decorating.

Songwriters' heirs sue CBS over use of iconic theme song

Most everyone knows the theme song to the class television series The Andy Griffith Show -- even though it was simply whistled. The show, which ran from 1960 to 1968 reflected a simple world that seemed far removed from the turbulent times the country was living through. It's still seen in reruns and across multiple media platforms nearly sixty years after its debut.

The two men who wrote the song, Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer, registered the copyright for it in 1960. The rights were later transferred to Larrabee Music, which was the company in which they were partners. After both men died, their families' trusts inherited the rights to the song.

Why are cash real estate purchases popular in South Florida?

In addition to its year-round sun and beautiful beaches, South Florida lures new homebuyers with its tax-friendly laws. Many buy their homes outright, with no financing. In fact, over a third of all real estate closings in Miami-Dade from last November through this March was in cash. In Broward County, the percentage was even higher -- between 38% and 41%. Close to half of closings in Palm Beach were in cash. Those numbers are considerably higher than the national average, which is 20%,

The number of cash real estate purchases in South Florida has not gone unnoticed by the federal government. Their concern is that foreign buyers are using cash real estate purchases to launder money. Last year, the U.S. Treasury began requiring title companies to disclose information on people making cash real estate purchases of at least $300,000.

Understanding 'right of first refusal'

If you have a contract with someone who has "right of first refusal," it's essential to understand what your obligations are to them. It means that they have the right to enter a particular transaction before anyone else is offered that right.

Individuals and entities seek the right of first refusal in everything from real estate to publishing to sports and entertainment. Often, partners who are involved in joint ventures and shareholders in a company have right of first refusal to buy out a portion of the business that another partner chooses to sell before it's offered to anyone else.

When can landlords legally enter units unannounced?

Landlords in Florida need to remain on the right side of the law. Lawmakers in the state recently moved forward with legislation to require landlords to give tenants at least three months of notice before raising the rent. Additional provisions are on the table to prevent discrimination on certain grounds. 

Tenants have rights, and one of the most important rights is that the landlord cannot enter the property unannounced. In Florida, landlords must give tenants a minimum of 12 hours' notice before walking in. Additionally, landlords can only enter at reasonable times unless the tenant has given consent to meet later or earlier. There may be circumstances when a landlord can enter unannounced, but they are few and far between. 

Why should you have an attorney when buying a Florida home?

Buying a home is a significant event in anyone's life. Your home is likely the most expensive thing you'll own at any given time. However, most Floridians know little about real estate transactions. They rely on their real estate agents for guidance. However, these transactions are governed by state laws. Florida has some unique real estate laws. Therefore, even if you've purchased property in other states, buying a home in Florida can present some potential challenges.

It's never a bad idea to have an experienced real estate attorney at your disposal when buying a home. You may not need them to guide you through every aspect of your transaction. However, they can offer valuable advice on some key aspects of your purchase. Let's look at a couple of examples:

Protecting your intellectual property from hackers

You can take all available legal steps to help prevent the theft of your intellectual property, including requiring employees, vendors and clients to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). You can limit access to those required to have it. However, these days, your biggest intellectual property theft threat may come from hackers.

That's why it's essential to put as many safeguards in place as possible on your systems to keep unauthorized users from breaching them. Otherwise, you may have your intellectual property stolen and not even realize it until you see it popping up somewhere else.

Why older homeowners are having a difficult time downsizing

You found your dream winter or vacation home in South Florida some years ago. You planned to live in it year-round once you retired. It's big, sprawling and great when all of the kids and grandkids are with you.

However, now you and your spouse are in your 70s, and it's just too much home to take care of. The sweeping staircases are harder to manage with your arthritis. You rarely use the pool, but it's expensive to maintain. You sold the boat you once had docked out back. Perhaps your spouse has passed away, and you're there alone. Your family only visits over the holidays and for a week or two in the summer.

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