Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's the worse that can happen if you violate a federal accessibility law?

You may be ordered to tear down the entire building! This exact question was answered by a federal judge in Oregon. (Indep. Living Res vs. Or. Arena Corp., 1 F. Supp. 2d 1159) In this case, the federal judge stated that the ADA allowed him to order the demolition and reconstruction of the entire stadium. Although the judge was merely quoting the ADA, and did not actually order the demolition of the stadium, this case goes to show the severity of ADA and FHAA violations. Federal accessibility laws are controlled by two Federal Acts: 1) American with Disabilities Act (ADA); and 2) Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA). FHAA applies to residential construction. ADA applies to commercial and all other types of construction. Compliance with these acts is critical...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vote yes on Amendment 1!

Although a testy issue, I highly recommend that you vote "yes" on Amendment 1. Soaring real property taxes are a major burden on this states' construction/real estate industry. Although Amendment 1 may not be what we all want, it's certainly better than nothing. There was a great Q & A in last Monday's Miami Herald that explains the fundamentals behind Amendment 1. In a nutshell, Amendment 1 will: 1) double your homestead exemption (except for school asssessments); 2) allow you to carry over your "save our homes" tax savings to new homestead property (up to $500,000); 3) "save our homes" protection remains on current or newly acquired properties; 4) 10% cap on real property tax increases for businesses; etc...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can you foreclose on a construction lien attached to homestead protected property?

The short answer to this question is, yes. Article X, Section 4(a) of the Florida Constitution states that an individual's homestead "shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for the payment of taxes and assessments thereon, obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement or repair thereof, or obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty . . . ." Therefore, an action to foreclose on a construction lien for "contracted for" improvements is allowed, and is not prevented by homestead protection.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Foreclosure Help!

Great article in today's Miami Herald. Local nonprofits and government agencies are organizing efforts to deal with a wave of foreclosures sweeping over South Florida, in an effort to keep borrowers in their homes. If you know of anyone that needs help regarding the foreclosure of their home, please have them call the following organizations: Nationally: Neighbor Works America 888-995-HOPE; Broward: Broward County Housing Authority: 954-739-1114; Miami-Dade: Neighborhood Housing Services: 305-751-5511

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Phony contractor accused of more rip-offs

In yesterday's Miami Herald, there was an article about an unlicensed contractor who would enter into contracts with homeowners, begin some of the work, and become hard to reach after pocketing their deposits. Scams such as this are happening more and more. Before you hire a contractor, make sure you check the status of his contractor's license. This can easily be done at

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can illegal immigrants recover worker's compensation benefits?

That's the issue in an article written by James F. Kidd and Rick Blystone. This area of the law is somewhat shady at best. The above article concludes that regardless of how Florida's Worker's Compensation Statute (F.S. 440) is interpreted, emphasis should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the knowing employee, who has "unclean hands" and not the unwitting employer. At the very least, courts should place some burden on unauthorized workers to show that their employer knew or should have known when they hired the worker that he or she was not authorized to work, before it determines that accidents such as these are compensable.

I personally disagree with the above article's conclusion. If employers are benefiting from cheap labor, they should at least treat all their employees equally (i.e. provide equal access to recover worker's comp benefits). Great article, I highly recommend that you read it...