If you have recently made a real estate purchase in the State of Florida, a new home, commercial property, or land, and have incurred a problem after the transaction has been completed, you are certainly not alone. The current market conditions with higher-than-expected values, low inventories, attractive interest rates, and multiple buyers in many instances, are making for a fertile seller’s environment. Buying property can be a complicated matter involving many moving parts including sellers and their real estate agents, inspection services, mechanical services, remediation companies, title companies, real estate attorneys, property appraisals, survey companies, HOA and COA’s covenants, credit reporting, banks, mortgage companies, and other lending institutions. Each entity can play a vital part in the process, negotiation, purchase price, and final outcome of the sale. Each entity also has responsibilities and specific due-diligent duties as part of their roles that can involve both the buyer and seller. Real Estate agents are transactional brokers and are bound to be ethical, honest, and dedicated to the smooth transition of the sale. Real Estate brokerages and agents are especially vulnerable to legal issues, and the rules governing their behavior and responsibilities to both buyers and sellers are complex. Florida Real Estate agents also need to keep abreast of changes in local, state, and federal laws. Current owners who decide to put their property on the market also have legal responsibilities to the agents that serve their needs and the buyers who will ultimately acquire their property. In turn, buyers have certain responsibilities to ensure that the property they are purchasing has been professionally inspected and evaluated to secure their purchase.
So, when you are purchasing a residential or commercial property, what should be your main concerns, and what are the remedies if problems arise after the sale had been completed.
Non-Disclosure and Misrepresentation
Sellers need to perform a “Sellers Disclosure” disclosing the known condition of the property. Failing to disclose pertinent issues such as an unpermitted renovation, or easement issue could result in a legal issue. Misrepresentation, misstating facts about the features of the property or structure such as making unsubstantiated claims about the condition is one of the most common occurrences. If the seller does not provide a disclosure form, then the buyer is responsible for agreeing to a “non-disclosure form” understanding that certain conditions may exist, and it becomes the buyer’s responsibility to determine the true condition of the property.
Environmental Issues and Hazards
The seller needs to also disclose any known environmental issues and hazards, like contaminated water, use of asbestos, radon gas, or the presents of lead paint. Sellers must know how to accurately address and disclose these issues and make aware their agent and potential buyers of the hazards that might exist.
Fair housing laws that protect against discrimination also come into play when listing and selling a property. References to neighborhoods, classes, race, religion, family make-up, etc. should not be articulated to potential buyers.
False & Misleading Advertisements
Advertising properties, internet listings should be factual and honest. Any attempt to mislead a potential buyer about the condition of a property is in violation of states laws. Real Estate Brokerages and their agent are bound by a Code of Ethics to not misrepresent a property for sale.
At Heekin Law, P.A. our lead attorneys, Geoff Heekin and Ariel Spires have over 50 years of shared legal experience dealing with all types of issues that arise from the sale of a residential or commercial property. Non-disclosure of a condition that exists and was not detected during the inspection phase but became apparent to the new owner after taking possession of the property is one of the most common occurrences. Defending sellers from unwarranted litigation and representing buyers for issues arising after the sale is all part of the general practice of real estate law. If you are having to defend against an action brought about by a buyer, or feel that you are the victim of a mistake made by a party during the transaction or of a condition of the property not disclosed we can help. We specialize in all types of transactional and litigation services for real estate and our consultations are always free and provided at no cost to you. Please give us a call at 904-355-7000 so we can review the facts in your case and give you direction on how you should proceed to seek a fair and just settlement in your case. Our office hours are very flexible and we are sensitive to the current covid-19 crisis and can provide you with, phone, in-person or online appointments.
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to