Property Law issues arise in business, family, and personal settings, commercial and residential arenas, involve rental properties, inherited or purchased properties, and could involve governmental licensing and permitting boards, courts and mediators, insurance adjusters and attorneys, community associations, wills and estates, contract negotiations, arbitration, limited liability companies and a myriad of other legal considerations which may require the help of a competent attorney.
Every case is different and the tiny intricate facts often matter in cases involving property rights. For a general overview on Findlaw.com regarding state property issues, check out these links: Kentucky Property Law | Florida Property Law. Common property law issues may involve the concepts briefly explained below:
Premises Liability is a legal concept involving a plaintiff's injury due to unsafe and/or defective property conditions. Negligent/Inadequate Security cases arise when a criminal act occurs on a property where the owner has a duty to protect guests/invitees from such harm by providing security measures for guest safety. These cases can arise in parking lots or garages, around and inside stores or shopping malls, hotels, office complexes, schools, and parking garages. Most of these cases arise from violent, unexpected attacks, or sexual assaults, occurring where guests/invitees, or possibly trespassers, should feel protected. Often, state statues will require that injuries sustained were preventable and/or foreseeable. In Kentucky, a plaintiff must show that 1) the defendant owed a duty of care, but 2) breached the duty 3) causing injury. With regard to establishing a duty, "`[t]he rule [in Kentucky] is that every person owes a duty to every other person to exercise ordinary care in his activities to prevent foreseeable injury.'" In Florida, the standard is similar, requiring proof that a duty was breached and injury was foreseeable. Florida lawyers also examine the level of are appropriate for the person injured, considering the visitor's status to be a 1) public invitee (visitor invited to event on property that is open to public), 2) business invitee (one doing business with a land owner and enters property), 3) licensee by invitation (such as a social guest to a birthday party), 4) uninvited licensee or 5) trespasser upon the property. In Florida, the first 3 categories of visitors are entitled to a higher degree of care than a uninvited licensees or trespassers.
Adverse Possession is a legal theory granting a property ownership rights to a trespasser when the trespasser has been using another's property for an extended period of time continuously, openly and/or notoriously (without being evasive), exclusively, hostile (trespasser must be aware of his/her trespassing or merely occupy the land [with or without knowledge that it is private property] or make an honest mistake [such as relying on an incorrect deed], or otherwise treating it as his/her own - for example, by paying property taxes or making improvements. Adverse Possession statutes may be helpful to those who inherit property, perhaps passed down through many generations, who have no actual legal title and/or proper documentation or recordings to verify ownership. (Florida Adverse Possession requires 7 years' occupation + color of title or 7 years occupation + tax payments | Kentucky Adverse Possession statutory period is, most often,15 years. See KY Adverse Possession Information and See K.R.S. §413.010 and §413.060).
Homestead Exemptions: Kentucky's Constitution allows property owners who are 65 or older to receive a Homestead Exemption on their primary residence. If you are eligible to receive the Kentucky Homestead Exemption, the exemption amount is subtracted from your property's assessed value, reducing your property tax liability (for 2019 - 2020, the amount is $39,300). In Florida, when someone owns property and makes it his/her permanent residence (or the permanent residence of his/her dependent), the property owner may be eligible to receive a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes, including school district taxes. The additional exemption up to $25,000 applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes. Florida also has additional benefits that can reduce property tax liability such as the Save Our Homes assessment limitation that assists thousands of homeowners in saving money on their property taxes each year. Further benefits are available to property owners with disabilities, senior citizens, veterans and active duty military service members, disabled first responders, and properties with specialized uses.
Real Estate Purchase Contracts/Agreements are binding agreement, usually between two parties, for the transfer of a home or commercial property. The parties must both have the legal capacity to make the purchase, exchange, or other conveyance of the real property in question. The contract is based on a legal "consideration" and is often created using templates of state legislatures and administrations governing the sale of real estate. In Kentucky, K.R.S. Title XXIII, Chapters 381-385, governs the ownership and transfer of property. Florida Realtors have three residential contracts templates; two are Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contracts (FR/Bar), 1) the standard Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase and the 2) “AS IS” version, and one is the 3) Florida Realtors Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase (CRSP).
Residential & Commercial Lease Agreements + Eviction (Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act): Florida Statutes, Title VI, Chapter 83 Governs Residential and Commercial Landlord And Tenant cases. The Florida Bar Association also provides consumers with guidance on standard lease agreements and eviction procedures on its website. Miami-Dade County government also provides sample lease documents for public use. In Kentucky, Chapter 383 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) governs residential and commercial leases. Both Kentucky and Florida utilize the U.R.L.T.A. "URLTA", or Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, in whole or in part. URLTA is a federal act endorsed by the American Bar Association in 1974 created to standardize lease and eviction terms and procedures. See Also.
The Kentucky Condominium Act is found from K.R.S. 381.9101 to 381.9207. Florida's Condominium Statutes are within Title XL, "Real and Personal Property" Chapter 718. Legal matters in condo law may involve contract review and revision, general legal advice regarding local property laws, enforcement of restrictions, collection of unpaid assessments, bylaw(s) and amendment(s) drafting and/or enforcement, board meetings, litigation against or on behalf of a community association or condo/coop, negotiations pre-suit, mediation and negotiation during lawsuits, litigation at hearings or in trial, discovery and evidence collection/preservation, administrative and judicial appeals, supplier and contractor agreements, pursuit of construction defect claims, trespass (civil/criminal), civil injunctions, contract remedies or other legal issues. According to Lawyers.com: " A host of legal issues come up concerning condominiums, particularly because the property is not entirely one’s own. Condos involve partial joint ownership, and their use (as well as use of common areas within the development) is governed by a homeowners’ or community association. Whether you are buying, selling, or renting a condo, or are an owner, board member, or developer involved in any sort of issue or dispute involving the property, consulting a real estate attorney can help you understand and protect your rights and reach a satisfying resolution. The ownership structure involved in buying into a condominium community offers many advantages, but also comes with many rules. Prospective buyers can expect to have to wade through and make sure they can live under the association’s bylaws, rules, and or Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs). And disputes can arise in any sort of ownership matter, whether they involve an unexpected special assessment on top of monthly dues, some condo unit owners’ failure to pay these assessments, unfair actions by the volunteer board, objections to enforcement or a neighbor’s use of common areas, and more. An experienced homeowners’ association lawyer will be able to analyze your community’s various governing documents, explain the relevant law and how it applies to your property and situation, and strategize appropriate follow-up actions. If your matter might require litigation, an attorney will be able to offer insight as to local court procedures and the tendencies of prosecutors and judges. As your purchase or sale transaction or legal case moves forward, you’ll want representation you’re confident in."
Divorce and Property Division Upon Dissolution: Often, a Florida or Kentucky divorce will result in the division of the marital home or other real or tangible marital property by transfer (refinance and quit claim, for example), sale or, in difficult scenarios, foreclosure actions. Looking to your state's family law statutes for these matters will be the best reference point because family court judge make determinations regarding these other "property law" issues. The American Bar Association ("ABA") and The Family Law Quarterly publish charts in conjunction with the annual "Family Law in the Fifty States Case Digests" to summarize basic laws in each state by topic, including property division, based on law reporters from the various states.
Foreclosure: Generally, "[w]hen you sign a mortgage (or deed of trust) as part of a home loan transaction, this document gives the loan owner the right to sell the home through a process called foreclosure if you fail to make the payments. The proceeds from the sale go towards repaying the loan." See Nolo's State Foreclosure Laws information at this link. In both Kentucky and Florida, Foreclosure actions are a "judicial process" (the bank or foreclosing party must file a lawsuit and seek an order from a judge to foreclose), not a "nonjudicial" one, allowing out-of-court foreclosure. When a home foreclosure sale price is less than the outstanding mortgage debt balance (creating a "deficiency"), Kentucky and Florida laws may allow a foreclosing party to also pursue a “deficiency judgment”, an amount due to satisfy the full mortgage amount against the borrower if the mortgage is not fully paid-off/satisfied by the sale proceeds. Other states prohibit deficiency judgments. Sometimes states may allow a plaintiff to reinstate a mortgage (with certain time constraints) if he/she brings the delinquent loan current in a single payment (with fees and expenses resulting from default). Generally, Florida plaintiffs may reinstate before the clerk files the certificate of sale, or the time stated in the judgement of foreclosure. In Kentucky, generally, there is no right to reinstate the mortgage unless the terms of the mortgage contract allow a borrower reinstatement opportunities. If loan is a high-cost home loan (under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 360.100 or Chapter 494, Florida Statutes), the foreclosing party must provide a notice of default giving a borrower at least 30 days to reinstate before filing the foreclosure complaint. Veterans may receive additional foreclosure protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Business & Professional Property Purchases, Sales, Contracts, Loans, Court-Ordered Sales, Bankruptcy and Foreclosure: Real property, assets, inventory, intellectual property, trade secrets, contract rights, shareholder con