Whether you are looking to sell, buy, or even refinance any type of real estate, it is important to hire a knowledgeable attorney that will be able to oversee any transactions all while ensuring that your investment is protected. Here at SG Law Group, we take pride in what we do and are willing and able to provide the proper help to guide you on your real estate journey.
Selling, buying, and refinancing any kind of real estate property is a big responsibility and a financial investment. Selecting a professional real estate attorney may prove particularly important. Make sure to select someone organized, knowledgeable, and attentive to your needs. Contact SG Law Group today if you are in need of a real estate attorney.
Representation At Closing
Representation at a closing is very important, as an attorney will ensure your interests are protected when purchasing or selling a property.
There are certain tasks that a closing attorney may handle for their clients during the real estate transaction. Below we have a list of the functions a closing attorney would execute for a client that is purchasing a property:
1. Title Examination
When purchasing a property, it is important to make sure that the title is clear. This is because, without a clear title, the sale may become a lot more convoluted, and it may end up not being a smart financial transaction for the buyer or the lender. This is also why it is one of the first steps a closing attorney may take when handling a closing. Depending on what the attorney learns upon his review might make or break the whole deal.
When examining the title, the attorney is looking to see if there are any existing mortgages that will need to be paid before the transfer of ownership can be done. They may also want to know what other restrictions of use there are on the title such as liens or judgements. This is also important information that the lender will want to know to ensure there are securing a first lien position on the property. If they learn that there are existing liens, they may either back out of the deal or offer higher rates and fees to counteract the added risk of an unclear title.
One of the most important functions of a closing attorney is facilitating an open line of communication between multiple parties involved in the closing transaction. The attorney will not only communicate with the seller and ther seller’s attorney on the purchaser’s behalf, but they may also speak to lenders, real estate agents, the seller’s mortgage holder, the purchaser’s soon-to-be home insurance provider, the county property tax office, county inspectors, contractors, homeowner associations, any other party that may be involved in any stage of the transaction. Coordinating with these parties is important at any step of the transaction, however, communication becomes especially crucial when it is time to draft the settlement statement as dates, times, and dollar amounts for the costs must be negotiated.
3. Documentation Review
This function may seem obvious, but that does not mean it is of any less value as the other tasks mentioned so far. Reviewing, drafting, and preparing documents is the knitty gritty of what closing attorneys do. The documents they may prepare during a closing includes the deed, bill of sale, any necessary affidavits, and closing statement. There are also a plethora of other documents that are not drafted by the closing attorneys, but reviewed by them to ensure their clients interests are protected.
4. Recording and Distribution
Finally, the fun part! After all the necessary steps have been reviewed and performed, the attorney will review the local registry to update the title and record the deed. In regards to distributing the funds, escrow agents are usually used as they act as unbiased third parties. Often times, the escrow agent may be another closing attorney. Besides the funds received by the seller for the sale of the property, there are many other fees that may need to be satisfied to parties that have also been involved in the closing transaction. These fees may include insurance premiums, inspection fees, homeowner association dues, lender’s fees, and attorney’s fees.
As you can tell from this summary, closing attorneys do a lot, and it is all for the benefit of their client. The purchase of a property is an exciting journey, but it can also be incredibly overwhelming without the proper guidance. If you are planning on purchasing or selling a home, be sure to speak with a qualified attorney.
Drafting And Review Of Leases
When looking to rent out a property, it is best advised to have a lease written up for both the landlord’s and tenant’s protection. There a couple of different reasons why it is important have an attorney familiar with landlord/tenant law to prepare the lease agreement. These include:
- The lease can be tailored to your individual circumstances.
- The lease will comply of Florida Law.
- An experienced attorney will be able to add clauses in the lease agreement that can protect you from situations that may not have come to mind, but are important to be aware of and protected against.
- An important, but often overlooked, clause is an Attorney’s Fees clause. This type of clause, and many like it, are clauses that only professionals would know to include in a lease agreement. Moreover, it can be beneficial down the line if it is ever necessary to file a lawsuit against the tenant, which can be the case in may eviction proceedings.
If you are currently dealing with an uncooperative tenant and are left with no other alternative but to evict them from your property, it is a good decision to contact an attorney to see exactly what your legal options are. If you don’t know the right procedure on how to evict someone in Florida, you might find yourself wasting your time, money, and mental energy on a longer-than-necessary eviction process.
As a landlord hoping to evict a tenant from a property, it is beneficial to understand the correct method of doing so, however, it is even more important to understand what you may NOT do.
You may not:
- Shut off the utilities
- Change the locks to keep them from entering the property
- Remove doors
- Forcibly remove the tenant
- Threaten the tenant
- Take or destroy their property
The correct procedure to evict a tenant in Florida usually begins with a Notice of Eviction. The notice will explain why the landlord is evicting the tenant and how long they have until the eviction takes place or whether or not they can fix the issue to avoid eviction. The two most common reasons for evictions are:
Failure To Pay Rent
If the tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord can begin the eviction process by sending a Three Day Notice. This means that the tenant has three days to provide the landlord with the overdue rent or leave the property.
Breach Of The Lease (Other Than Failure To Pay Rent)
If the tenant is being evicted because they broke a rule or clause in the lease agreement, the landlord may send a Seven Day Notice that makes the tenant aware that they have seven days to fix the issue to be compliant with the agreement again, or leave the property.
If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the next step is for the landlord to file a complaint for eviction with the Clerk of the Court. At this stage on the eviction process, it is highly recommended to consult with an attorney to ensure the formalities of a complaint are met before filing.
Claims For Security Deposit
Tenants have been granted certain rights in the State of Florida pertaining to security deposits.
According to Florida Law, a landlord has two security deposit rules to follow. The landlord must either
- Return the security deposit in full within 15 days after termination of the lease OR
- Within 30 days from the date of the termination of the lease, notify the tenant in writing that they will be placing a claim on a portion or all of the security deposit for property damages.
If the landlord does place a claim, they must provide detailed reasons as to why. Moreover, if the landlord is only placing a claim on a portion of the security deposit, it is necessary to return the balance to the tenant within those 30 days of the lease termination date.
It is important to also remember that the landlord may not use the security deposit at any point during the duration of the lease for items such as unpaid rent or damages that are the responsibility of the landlord.
My Landlord Placed A Claim On My Security Deposit, What Do I Do Know?
After receiving the notice from the landlord of intent to claim the security deposit, the tenant has 15 days to object to the claim in writing and via certified mail.
If a written objection is not sent to the landlord within the 15 day period, the landlord may proceed to apply the security deposit to the damages claimed.
What Happens When The Landlord Neither Notifies The Tenant Nor Returns The Deposit Within The Required Time?
If this is the case, then the tenant is within their rights to file a lawsuit against the landlord. These suits are usually filed in small claims court as the amounts are normally not more than $8,000. Under Florida landlord/tenant law, the prevailing party in a landlord/tenant security deposit lawsuit is entitled to receiving their court costs plus reasonable attorney’s fees.