Fair Housing Laws in Florida

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 21, 2014

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination of individuals based on several factors, including sex, race, color, natural origin, religion, handicap, or familial status. Discrimination can be much more, or subtler, than just refusing to rent a dwelling.

Discriminatory actions include:Fair Housing Laws in Florida

  • Refusing to negotiate
  • Using different terms and conditions
  • Providing different housing
  • Lying about availability of housing
  • Persuading owners to leave
  • Denying services for renting or selling

In addition to these restrictions, Florida has additional fair housing laws, called the Florida Fair Housing Act. It parallels the fair housing act in terms of making it illegal to discriminate in the renting, buying, selling, advertising or providing brokerage services for housing. This basically means any party—from a real estate agent to mortgage broker to ad agency—cannot be caught discriminating or only appealing to a certain population segment when it comes to housing services.

Discrimination can come in many forms—it’s doesn’t have to be an outright refusal of service. Any time it can be proven that a person is treating any one of a protected class of individuals in a consistent way that results in a less desirable experience than others, that’s discrimination. It could be giving individuals with therapy dogs units with bad carpet or charging certain people more for a security deposit.

Violation of the Fair Housing Act can include civil judgments, criminal charges, and even jail time depending on the type of discrimination. Many times, more violent and flagrant violations of the act can be prosecuted under separate criminal laws as hate crimes.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have close to 10 years of experience handling Real Estate, Personal Injury, Immigration and Commercial Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

Golf Ball Hazards in Florida

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 20, 2014

Golf Ball Hazards in FloridaThe State of Florida is home to more than 1,400 golf courses—the most gold courses of any state in the entire United States. That many golf courses means a lot of golf course communities with beautiful views—and the hazards of wayward golf balls.

Golf course living can pose a few problems. First, there’s the damage they can cause to your home. Secondly, there’s the noise of golf balls bouncing off your walls. Third, there’s trespassing—golfers who want to retrieve their ball from your property. So what happens when you are fed up with these first-world problems of golf course living?

Golf course communities almost have language in their deed restrictions that not only allow golfers to come on to your property to retrieve golf balls, but also protect the golf club, your builder and the course designer from any damage caused by wayward drives.

In short, this means that you can only sue the golfer who hit your home for damage caused by golf balls. It also states that golfers are allowed on your property at “reasonable times” and in a “reasonable manner” to retrieve balls without being subject to trespassing laws. Reasonable could vary from opening a gate or reaching into a hedge, to hopping a fence or walking through a flowerbed.  You should check the deed restrictions, easements and covenants of any property on or near a golf course before you buy if this sounds like it will be a problem for you. Each community will have it’s own rules.

Special homeowner’s insurance policies can help protect your wallet from the expense of replacing windows, siding or gutters due to golf ball damage.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have close to 10 years of experience handling Real Estate, Personal Injury, Immigration and Commercial Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

What is the Homestead Exemption in Florida?

November 19, 2014

What is the Homestead Exemption in Florida?A homestead exemption is part of the federal bankruptcy code, but each state defines a homestead differently. This difference matters when you are filing for bankruptcy, since the amount of your homestead exemptions determines if you are able to keep your home or not.

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Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent

November 18, 2014

MoneyJust about everyone knows someone who lived in an apartment, condo, or rental home where the owners refused to fix important things like air, heat, or a broken appliance. In Florida, there are conditions in which it’s justifiable for a tenant to withhold rent until certain demands are met. However, it needs to be done within the confines of what allowed by law.

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Security Deposit Disputes

November 17, 2014

money lendingJust about everyone has had a landlord keep their security deposit for no good reason—a spot on the carpet, a scratch on the wall–something not worth fighting about. But what if you were required to put down a substantial amount, or needed that money for your move?

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