Yuca Sues over Commercial Lease Dispute

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 22, 2015

Yuca Sues Over Commercial Lease DisputeA court battle over an expired lease, a verbal agreement, and a holdover tenant is waging on Lincoln Road. The case highlights the importance of having every aspect of a commercial lease written down and signed by both parties.

The litigation began when the landlord at Lincoln Road, J. Berens & Sons, decided that property values in the area had increased enough in recent years to make it profitable to sell. Berens & Sons initiated the eviction process on the grounds that Yuca has no lease and as a holdover tenant, owes double the monthly rate, and must vacate when the property sells.

However, Yuca restaurant, an establishment that has been at the location since 1995, said their deal with the landlord includes 5-year extensions every five years, along with a 5 percent increase in the rent. Owners at Yuca contend that although their lease is up, they had an oral agreement with the landlords to continue with the same arrangement.

Yuca says the eviction process was only initiated because the Yuca lease affords them “right of first opportunity,” in the event that the landlord decides to sell. It guarantees the restaurant the right to know that the property is being sold and 20 days to come to an agreement with the landlord before they are able to execute an agreement with a new owner.

This case brings up several important issues with commercial leases. First of all, there’s no such thing as a standard lease. Every lease is different and contains special agreements that are specific to that landlord-tenant relationship. Although a lease may look standard, always have it looked at by a real estate attorney to advise you on any special clauses that you need to be aware of.

Second, the lawsuit alleges that Yuca began $500,000 worth of renovations on the property based on the verbal agreement that they say gave them their 5-year extension on the lease. Even if you have had a relationship with the landlord for many years, such as in this case, never invest in a property on which you do not have a current lease.

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.

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What is a Special Assessment?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 21, 2015

what is a special assessmentHomeowner’s fees and condo association fees are generally charged monthly or yearly. These amounts increase every few years to keep up with inflation.

The HOA monthly or annual fee is designed to pay for planned expenses: road repairs, landscaping, pool maintenance, playground upkeep, and streetlights. There is also usually some money for savings built in to this amount, too. The money that is put back is used for capital improvements. If you are in a COA, this might include reroofing or painting your building, or resurfacing the parking lot.

Before you purchase a home or condo, you may want to have a real estate attorney review the HOA monthly fees and special assessment costs to see if they are reasonable, and if the association is being run efficiently. A bad or wasteful HOA can affect your home’s future value.

Special Assessments

When an HOA needs to do a large project or repair that was not budgeted for, they may charge the residents a special assessment. This is a yearly fee that comes in addition to whatever monthly or annual fees you already pay. If you think the amount is unreasonable, you and other HOA members have the right to challenge it in court. But keep in mind, losing may mean that you end up paying the legal fees for your HOA. A qualified real estate attorney can help you decide if a lawsuit is worth it in your case and advise you on the outcomes.

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.

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New Condo Development in MiMo to Begin Sales Sept 1

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 20, 2015

 New Condo Development in MiMo to Begin Sales Sept 1The MiMo district will be getting a new mixed-use development that includes retail space along with 107 condo units ranging in price from $550,000 to $3.8 million. Condos will be offered for sale at the beginning of September, and the development group says they are meant for “end users” and not investors.

Amenities will include a pool, barbeque area, playground and pet area. Below the condos there will be 40,000 square feet of retail space, which Unitas Development Group says will cater to the needs of local residents. Currently, the developers are looking for a niche grocer, a lifestyle brand and luxury services. The aim is to bring convenience to the development without adding additional amenities that condo residents have to maintain.

This is a smart move for the development group on behalf of prospective residents. Condo association fees are budgeted for every year by the board of directors, and they create a community budget based on all the items that the community has to pay for, such as operational expenses like insurance, landscaping, insurance, and any extra services like a gym or spa. Then, they have to save money back for big expenses like roofing, roads and parking lots. The more items you add to that list, the more fees and assessments residents will end up paying.

If fees are not increased and the COA falls behind on saving for capital improvements or a large expenditure comes up that was not budgeted for, the COA has two options: raise monthly fees for the next year or pay for the bill with a one-time special assessment. This is a separate fee passed on to association members so that the COA can pay the bills.

By building in space for independent retailers to provide services for residents, the condo avoids passing on the costs of maintenance and upkeep for those services to residents.

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.

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COA Charges Resident $1 Million to Combine Units

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 19, 2015

COA Charges Resident $1 Million to Combine UnitsThe Grand Venetian Condo Association apparently wanted some of the action when it noticed that one of its residents, who bought two condos for $4 million, put the newly combined 6,400 square-foot unit on the market for $11.75 million.

However, the property owner happened to be renowned real estate developer and daughter of Barneys New York founder, Louise Sunshine. Now, she’s suing the condo association for its retraction of consent for the project.

Sunshine states in her lawsuit that she submitted her plans and got approval for the condo remodeling project in August 2013. But then in October, the board informed her that she could only go ahead with the project if she paid a $1 million fee.

Her lawsuit alleges extortion and fraud on the part of the condo board, and says they are in violation of their own declaration by instituting arbitrary fees in an attempt to stop her from combining the units.

Sunshine is seeking several million in damages and attorney fees. She had already remodeled the units and combined them into one six-bedroom, six-bath, two-story condo with an elevator, marble floors, three terraces, and views of the water by the time information about the fine surfaced.

Sunshine’s story underscores the importance of submitting everything to your condo board and getting approval well before beginning any construction projects. Review your association’s rules on renovations and combining units with a real estate attorney before you do anything so that if the COA changes it’s mind, you know you have the rules on your side.

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.

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Will Refinancing my Property Effect my Credit Score?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 18, 2015

will refinancing my property effect my credit score?Refinancing can have many benefits. When you refinance, you can lower your monthly payments, shorten the life of the loan or get extra cash out of your home.

Balloon loans are popular for properties that are going to be flipped, since the payments are smaller and a large lump sum is due at the end. If you successfully flip the property, you’ll be able to sell it before the balloon payment is due. However, if the balloon payment is coming up and you haven’t sold the property, you’re going to need to refinance to avoid default.

When you already have a mortgage but you want to take out an additional loan for property improvements, one factor you might consider is the impact on your credit score.

Any time you apply for a loan or even just give someone permission to check your credit, it can impact your score by as much as five points. How much it affects your credit will depend on how many creditors you have and how extensive your credit history is.

The extension of additional credit usually has a negative impact on your credit score, since it means your debt-to-income ratio is higher. But if you refinance for the same or a lower amount, the affect on your score will be minimal.

One way you can avoid any impact on your credit score is to modify your loan instead of refinancing. If you don’t need any extra cash and you are just trying to save money or shorten the loan, a loan modification can accomplish this without an impact on your credit.

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.

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