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house for rent

RENTING OUT ROOMS DOES NOT DEFEAT HOMESTEAD PROTECTIONS
Anderson v. Letosky, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1266 (Fla. 2d DCA May 27, 2020)

        A homeowner had rented out three of the four bedrooms in his home to three separate individuals at the time he passed away.  He left the home, his homestead, to his son.  A judgment creditor of the deceased homeowner sought to collect from the equity in the home.  The probate court ruled that seventy-five percent of the home was not protected by the constitutional homestead protection and was subject to the claims of creditors.

The Second District Court of Appeal considered the case and analyzed the homestead protection contained in Article X, Section 4 of the  Florida Constitution.  It observed that since the enactment of Florida’s first homestead exemption clause in 1885, not a single reported case declared a residential family home occupied by the owner non-exempt simply because the owner conducted business activities within those premises.  Accordingly, the Second District ruled that the entire home was entitled to protection from creditors as homestead property, even though three of its rooms had been rented.

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RENTING OUT ROOMS DOES NOT DEFEAT HOMESTEAD PROTECTIONS
Anderson v. Letosky, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1266 (Fla. 2d DCA May 27, 2020)

        A homeowner had rented out three of the four bedrooms in his home to three separate individuals at the time he passed away.  He left the home, his homestead, to his son.  A judgment creditor of the deceased homeowner sought to collect from the equity in the home.  The probate court ruled that seventy-five percent of the home was not protected by the constitutional homestead protection and was subject to the claims of creditors.

The Second District Court of Appeal considered the case and analyzed the homestead protection contained in Article X, Section 4 of the  Florida Constitution.  It observed that since the enactment of Florida’s first homestead exemption clause in 1885, not a single reported case declared a residential family home occupied by the owner non-exempt simply because the owner conducted business activities within those premises.  Accordingly, the Second District ruled that the entire home was entitled to protection from creditors as homestead property, even though three of its rooms had been rented.

ATTORNEY’S $90,000 MISTAKE EXCUSED
Dale v. Schaub, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1976 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug. 19, 2020)

     When an attorney sent a proposal for settlement to an insurance company, rather than seeking the policy limits of $100,000, he mistakenly made it for $10,000.  The insurance company sent him a $10,000 check the next day at which time he realized the mistake.  The attorney filed a motion to withdraw the proposal based on the legal doctrine of unilateral mistake claiming the mistake was obvious based upon communications between the attorneys  and a later one based on a lack of authority to settle for that amount.  The judge denied both motions, resulting in an appeal.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed finding, that while there was some negligence in sending the offer for only $10,000, which resulted from miscommunication between the attorney and a paralegal, it was not inexcusable.  The Fourth District also found error in that the attorney was not authorized by the client to accept a settlement.  It appears the large difference between the $100,000 policy limits and the $10,000 proposal was a major factor considered by the appellate court.

statute of limitations

JUDGMENT FOR HOMEOWNERS REVERSED

Deer Brooke S. Homeowners Ass’n of Polk County, Inc. v. Battles, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1882 (Fla. 2d DCA Aug. 7, 2020)

     A homeowners association filed suit to foreclose its lien for unpaid assessments.  After the association failed to respond to certain requests for admissions, the homeowners argued, for the first time, that the Notice of Intent and Claim of Lien were invalid and unenforceable because they sought assessments outside the five-year statute of limitations.  After a hearing, the trial court judge granted summary judgment in favor of the homeowners.

The association appealed the decision to the Second District Court of Appeal which reversed, finding that the homeowners had not properly raised the defense of “statute of limitations”.  In Florida, the statute of limitations is what is called an affirmative defense which must specifically be raised when a party answers a complaint.  Because the homeowners failed to do so, the Second District ruled that judgment was improperly entered in their favor.

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BOND MUST BE POSTED FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION TO ACCESS UNIT
Patchen v. Quadomain Condo. Ass’n, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D1826 (Fla. 4th DCA July 29, 2020)

      When a condominium unit owner refused to allow his association access to the balcony appurtenant to his unit to perform restoration work, the association filed a lawsuit and obtained two temporary injunctions.  The court did not require a bond when it entered the temporary injunctions.

The unit owner challenged the injunctions in the Fourth District Court of Appeal, arguing that they should be vacated because the required bond had been posted.  The Fourth District ruled that the temporary injunctions were properly issued, and that the bond should have been posted.

Jed Frankel is a shareholder with Eisinger Law. He is a Florida Certified Circuit Mediator and is Board Certified in Condominium and Planned Development Law, as well as Civil Trial Law, by The Florida Bar. He focuses his practice on community association law, litigation and dispute resolution. He can be reached at jfrankel@eisingerlaw.com or 954-894-8000 x 301.

This presentation is designed to provide general information on the topic presented and is not rendering any legal or professional services.  Although these materials are prepared by professionals, the content and information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional services, and such content and information does not constitute legal or other professional advice.  If legal or professional advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought. Eisinger Law is a full-service Florida law firm focusing on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, commercial litigation and insurance law. Visit eisingerlaw.com