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Real Estate Transactions | Foreclosures | Evictions

Gherman Law Practices
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Real Estate Transactions | Foreclosures | Evictions

Our firm helps clients to understand and navigate through the morass of rules governing the real estate transactions. We assist clients in the purchase and sale of real properties, both commercial and residential.

The firm also helps to deal with foreclosures. Foreclosure plays an important role in the real estate market. Nonetheless, foreclosure plays even a more important role in people's lives who are affected by the process itself -- on both sides of that process.

Depending on the facts of each case, a foreclosure process can last from a few months to a couple of years in extreme cases. In most cases a foreclosure can be accomplished in 6 to 8 months. Foreclosures of homestead and residential properties are ordered to mediation. The process for non-residential foreclosures, condominium foreclosures, commercial foreclosures, mechanics and construction lien foreclosures differs from the residential/homestead process and follows a traditional judicial path, which is somewhat faster.

Generally, the foreclosure suit is resolved at the summary judgment stage, about 5 months after filing of the complaint, and without an actual trial. Clerk's sale follows within 30 to 60 days, then in a few weeks the clerk issues certificate of sale, and then issues certificate of title. If at that time someone still resides at the property, a request for [a writ of] possession can be made. Once the writ issued, the sheriff can knock on the door of the foreclosed property and ask the residents out.

Landlord-Tenant | Evictions

Fluctuations in our Floridan economy drive the ebbs and flows of occupancies. Opportunities to make money in the real estate galore; so do the pitfalls. We help to wind and unwind the deals, leases, contracts, whether by a settlement or suit. Landlord-tenant disputes are tense. Cool-headed and commercially sensible proposals may settle quarrels. Regardless, timing is of great importance when it comes to compliance with the valid provisions of a lease.

In vast majority of cases, commercial lease terms will govern the relationships between landlord and tenant, even when the lease seems unfair or unreasonable. A "standard" form lease never exists in a traditional marketplace. Negotiate everything!

Should you be served with eviction papers, seek legal assistance without delay. If you do not timely respond and act, then you and/or your business may lose important rights.

Evictions vary in complexity, however the process for uncontested evictions is fairly uniform in South Florida. Post a 3 or 7-day notice and wait the proper time to pass, not including weekends and holidays. File a complaint for eviction in a court of competent jurisdiction. Serve tenant with summons and wait 5 days for an answer. If there is an answer, then the eviction is contested and the suit will depend on the substance of the answer. If there is no answer, then apply for clerk's default and then apply for a final judgment with a request for issuance of a writ of possession. Once the clerk issues the writ, schedule with the local sheriff for execution and removal of tenant from the property. Indeed, if there is an answer the lawsuit can turn sideways and be complex. Due to the importance of timing in litigation, do consult an attorney so as not to lose important rights.

Constructive Eviction

A landlord or landlord's representative's act(s) of making premises unfit for occupancy, after notice of objection from tenant, causing the tenant to leave the premises, may constitute constructive eviction. Such an eviction usually results from a breach of the covenants of warranty and quiet enjoyment. While it is not necessary that municipal authorities declare the leased premises are uninhabitable, such declaration may assist in the proof that a landlord's failure to properly maintain the premises constitutes constructive eviction.

What may or may not constitute constructive eviction is a fact-intensive inquiry which varies from case to case. For example: Landlord's interference with a tenant's right of ingress and egress to a building may constitute constructive eviction; Landlord's changing the locks on the rented premises where tenant maintains a business may constitute constructive eviction. However, Landlord's statutorily defective notice to pay rent or get out does not amount to constructive eviction; same with the incidence of criminal activity in the neighborhood.

Water Run-off Disputes

"Neighbor wars" over storm water run-off are bitter, especially when neighbors begin an engineering competition to elevate portions of their property so as to divert the natural course of water onto the other neighbor's property.  A determination "who is right" may include whether one built the elevation in violation of a city/county ordinance or a building code, and whether the elevation deviates from the natural slope of the terrain, or whether the elevation to improve drainage was not "reasonably" constructed. Ordinarily a neighbor is not liable for harm caused by the natural condition of the land. Florida follows a "reasonable use" rule, which analyzes case-by-case the criteria of the drainage improvement by the "upper" neighbor. "Reasonable use" test is inherently fact-based which makes the water run-off disputes highly technical and trial-prone.