weather icon Clear

Owner can force sale of Florida home

Q: I am half-owner on a property in Florida, and I am eager to sell; however, the other owner will not agree and also will not pay half of the property tax. Is there any way I could claim the property, seeing as I have been paying all the taxes for 50 years? — M.S.

A: I don’t think so because either owner is responsible for the full tax bill anyhow. You do, though, have the right to go to court and force “partition” — an all-cash auction sale with division of the proceeds. (Different rules may apply, by the way, if the property is owned by a married couple.)

Partition might not yield as much as a sale on the open market. Sometimes, a letter from your lawyer explaining this is enough to bring your partner’s consent to a normal sale.

As for the property taxes you’ve been paying — a judge might rule on whether you would be entitled to a larger share of the proceeds from selling the property.

No homeowners insurance

Q: My daughter is looking to buy a home. She had her offer on a house accepted and has a preapproved loan. Then came the home inspector, who found that the roof is covered with T-lock shingles, and insurance companies will no longer write a new policy for a house with a T-lock roof. The seller won’t replace the roof. Is there any way to rescue this deal? — to askedith.com

A: It’s possible that some insurance companies just might still accept T-lock shingles. An independent insurance agent could contact a number of firms to inquire. And has anyone investigated whether the present insurance company would transfer the existing policy to a new owner?

Your daughter’s lender won’t go through with it if the property can’t be insured. Then it’s the seller’s problem. He’d have to replace the roof in the end anyway or hold out for an all-cash buyer willing to take a risk until a new roof could be installed. That buyer would certainly expect a discounted price.

What about gift tax?

Q: I have two sons. One has a mortgage of $90,000, and the other has a student loan of $90,000. If I paid these bills off, would they have to pay a gift tax? — G.

A: I don’t quite see what that has to do with real estate, but at any rate:

Recipients don’t pay gift taxes. As the giver, you must file a federal return if you give anyone more than $14,000 a year. No actual tax would be due, though. That $180,000 would be subtracted from what Uncle Sam lets you leave tax-free at your death — currently more than $5 million.

Releasing escrow deposit

Q: My husband and I accepted an offer May 5 with a buyer who chose to close on or before June 30. He obtained a commitment letter, but then the bank found out he is divorced and responsible for the mortgage on his old home. The bank said he’d have to be released from that existing mortgage. The realtors were aware of this, as were the attorneys, but we were not informed. June 30 came, and we were told the buyer was “looking for other financial options” and he would “be able to close soon.”

We requested that our attorney issue a “time is of the essence” clause for July 13 at 10 a.m. Needless to say, he was a no-show. I asked about when his earnest money deposit would be sent to us and was informed by our attorney that buyer and seller must agree to release the money.

It is clear on the contract that if buyer or seller do not perform according to the terms of the contract, the deposit should be released to the seller. The funds remain in escrow. Can you give us any information on what our attorney calls this “new law” regarding the release of earnest money? — P.

A: Yes, the closing date in most sales contracts is simply a target, unless the words “time being of the essence” are included. If that date comes and goes, the contract is still in effect. Yes, either party can do as you did, later making time of the essence, which is pretty much a “show up or drop out” ultimatum. And yes, whoever is holding the buyer’s good-faith deposit in escrow has no authority to release it without the parties’ agreement or a court order.

It’s interesting that your contract says the seller is entitled to the deposit even if it’s the seller who fails to perform — not that that applies here. At any rate, your attorney will have advice about what to do next.

Contact Edith Lank at www.askedith.com, at edithlank@aol.com or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Changes in law will affect how associations can tow vehicles

Senate Bill 212 was changed. It affects how associations can tow vehicles in the community. The existing law states that a vehicle may not be towed until 48 hours after affixing a notice to the vehicle that explains when it will be towed (with the exception of vehicles that are related to health, safety or welfare, i.e. parking in front of fire hydrants, etc.).


Editor’s note: Listings include the resale home’s parcel number. The address listed is the homebuyer’s mailing address and not the actual location of the resale home. About 90 percent of these addresses reflect the home purchase. Check the parcel number to make sure. Also, a few transactions do not reflect the market value of the homes. The information is provided by Accudata, a local research firm. For the complete listing, visit RJRealEstate.Vegas.

New Nevada laws that will affect HOAs

There were not too many laws passed in this last legislative session that affected our local homeowners associations. Here are some that did.

BHHS partners with Adwerx to offer Realtors new program

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, in partnership with Adwerx Enterprises, has launched a new platform, called Brilliantly Simple to immediately advertise its real estate listings online. The platform automatically creates digital advertising programs for each home, including custom ads that are optimized for social media, apps and websites.

Homeowners have right to see HOA financial records

Per Nevada Revised Statute 116.31175 (1a), upon written request, you are entitled to receive financial statements from your association. Please send a formal specific request of what financial statements that you would like to receive.

High land costs affect developments

For all the job growth and expansion in the Las Vegas economy, a lack of land and its high cost is restricting growth in the valley, experts told the Southern Nevada real estate and development community.

Local home prices stuck at $300,000

For the third straight month, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, GLVAR, reported that local home prices are hovering at $300,000, while the number of homes on the market continues to increase.

Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for disabled

The Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for the disabled. Based upon your email, the homeowner would have a strong claim against the association if the homeowner was forced to remove the motor home, or if the association were to fine the homeowner because of the therapy equipment. Take the time to meet with this homeowner and see if there are any other viable alternatives.

HOA must deal with bully board member

The only way to keep bully board members in check is for the entire board to deal with the issue in executive session. Depending upon the gravity of the situation, legal counsel should be informed and invited to attend the executive session.

Federal law allows for service animals in HOA

The Fair Housing Act amendments of 1988 extended the protections of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Associations must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability.