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Ralph H. Schofield

Ralph Schofield’s Answers

307 total


  • Who do I sue in small claims for return of my security deposit?

    We rented a home in Crestview, FL last year from co-owner/broker Tiffany Spence of Three D Realty. The owners of the home lived out of state and we never met them however they did sign lease. On our lease Three D Realty has only a PO Box and we ha...

    Ralph’s Answer

    This may depend on the specific language in your lease, but typically you have a landlord/owner and a landlord's agent/property manager, in which case the true defendant should be the landlord. If the lease is unclear as to whether the broker was acting as an agent or as the landlord, you would probably sue both parties to be sure and have them point the finger at each other as to liability.

    Also, you should be able to get information on any entity as to its registered agent for serving a lawsuit at sunbiz.org, and you should be able to get the owner's current address on the website for the property appraiser (here, okaloosapa.com).

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  • I need a guardianship lawyer that works in Seminole County FL.

    I have had a guardian/conservatorship since 2006 it was ruled by the courts in MO, the case has been sent to Seminole county FL. But the physical guardian remains in MO. I am seeking a lawyer to help restore my rights to me. I have lived 2 years o...

    Ralph’s Answer

    You can likely find a number of attorneys out there by searching the internet or contacting the Florida Bar.

    Our firm, which is located about an hour southwest of Seminole County, may be able to assist with this process. If you are interested, contact my firm (information on my profile page) for a consultation.

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  • Ownership or possession?

    When I sign the stipulation for a final summary judgment giving me 180 to remain in the home - who owns the house me or the bank? Does the bank have ownership and me just possession - or do I have ownership until the actual sale date. It's to my u...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Based on the facts as you describe them, you have both ownership and possession. If there is going to be a sale, no ownership transfers until after the sale and issuance of a certificate of title.

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  • Property is in a trust and want to add people to deed. Is the trust the Grantor or the person under the trust?

    I want to add my children to property deed that is under my Trust.

    Ralph’s Answer

    The trust is the grantor. The trustee -- presumably you -- would be the individual signing on behalf of the trust.

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  • Live in a gated community in Tampa, fl, My car was repo and the repo man back into the exit gate to come in, causing damage i

    The repo man could have waited and follow someone in, but instead he back into the gate to cause it to open and caused damaged to the mechanism, is this consider vandalism. and are they liable for the gate damage. by the way the whole incident was...

    Ralph’s Answer

    Yes, your community association likely could sue to recover repair or replacement costs for the exit gate. Further, the act may be criminal. This would not affect your individual rights, including your rights as to your vehicle/loan.

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  • Accrued vacation time take away?

    Today, it was announced in my organization that the company would be taking away ALL vacation time accrued for all employees on March 31. The organization is not also approving any additional time off between now and that time. Basically, one is...

    Ralph’s Answer

    As phrased, you would be entitled to your vacation time.

    The key is whether the time was truly "accrued." In Florida, there is no requirement of an employer to provide paid vacations or to "roll over" that vacation time from year to year. Assuming you have an employee policy or contract in place that sets out a vacation time policy that would allow you to take vacation time today, the employer taking away that right tomorrow is unlawful.

    If, however, you were in the process of accumulating vacation time that could not actually be used until some time after April 1, the issue is more difficult and may very well be resolved in favor of the employer.

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  • What can I do to get a car back that I defaulted on payments.

    I defaulted on car payments (over 6 mo). I transferred out of state for a job & had a friend keep the car. I called my friend to get my car back and he said the finance company had picked it up. I called the finance co and was told it was not ...

    Ralph’s Answer

    If you are correct in your suspicion, you should be reporting the car theft to the police and your insurance company.

    The car could be registered in someone else's name if the finance company did, in fact, repossess the car and sell it. The finance company could only do this if it sent you notice of the sale in advance.

    If the finance company is in possession of the vehicle, you can work with the company directly to either (1) buy back the vehicle in cash or using a loan from another lender, (2) bring your loan up to date, or (3) negotiate some other sort of new loan terms.

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  • I pd $106,00.00 for my condo which is now valued at $30,000.00. My HOA is going bankrupt . The complex looks like a ghost town.

    Can I just walk away and let it go into foreclosure? What would should I do? This place is going down and I want out.

    Ralph’s Answer

    If you owe more than the condo is worth, you may wish to contact your mortgage company and try to negotiate a "deed in lieu," which would mean that you hand over ownership of the condo to the bank in exchange for you being released from further liability on the condo. Be careful, because this process may result in undesirable tax consequences!

    You might also consider walking away and taking the credit hit of a foreclosure, bankruptcy, and/or collections action.

    An attorney can assist in negotiating with the bank or further advising you on the consequences of simply walking away under your particular circumstances.

    Best of luck.

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  • I was under the impresion a traffic contrl device was something that changed from day to night or time to time school zone times

    I recieved a failer to obey tcd instead of speedin 56 in a 45 but there is just signage not a changing device.

    Ralph’s Answer

    Signs, traffic signals, markings on the road, and all other items placed or erected for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic qualify as "traffic control devices." So, yes, a speed limit sign is a traffic control device.

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  • IS a quiet title action remedy for judgements against a former property owner, on tax deed sale property in Florida? Thank you

    If one buys a property at a tax deed sale auction in FLorida, will a suit for quiet title protect the buyer from incurring judgements against the former property owner? Thank you very much, Christine Harrison

    Ralph’s Answer

    Not exactly. The purchase of property via tax deed should itself have the result of cutting off any claims from the prior owner and his creditors. The quiet title process might give you further peace of mind on that front, and the quiet title process may be necessary in a certain situation where the property's title history is confusing or disjointed, but the primary reason to use a quiet title process after a tax deed sale is to make the property marketable (i.e. insurable by a title company) so that the buyer can turn around and sell it for a profit.

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