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Cristen Heather Messina

Cristen Messina’s Answers

118 total


  • Real estate-foreclosure

    If up coming hearing on the 27th of July for a real estate case is there a motion that can be filled for opposing summary judement?

    Cristen’s Answer

    At least 5 days prior to the hearing you can file an affidavit in opposition to motion for summary judgment. This document will outline the facts that support your position that the opposing party is not entitled to summary judgment. It must be signed by you and notarized, then filed with the court with a copy to the opposing party's attorney. Good luck!

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  • Can pro se defendant's get court costs?

    I'm a defendant in a case that was filed in 2012. The last filing in the case was in March of 2014 and it was my filing (discovery documents). The plaintiff (who has a lawyer) has not filed anything since 2013. Here’s my question, if the judge dec...

    Cristen’s Answer

    It will depend on the type of case and whether there is a statute or contract that permits the recovery of court costs. Another option is that costs may be awarded as a sanction for the plaintiff filing a frivolous lawsuit against you. Look at Florida Statute 57.105 for more information on this option. I agree that parking will not likely be a recoverable cost.

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  • During an residential eviction process the tenant could argue that the debt be covered by the deposits held by the landlord?

    Might be possible that the judge considers delay on removal if the tenant answer to the court arguing that the outstanding debt be covered by the amount of deposits held by the landlord?

    Cristen’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues, but will just specify that if a security deposit is to be used to cover unpaid rent, it will only be at the landlord's discretion after the landlord considers any physical damage to the property.

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  • Did they have the right to deny me?

    In 2010 I applied for a low income apartment here in Florida, the apartment advertisement stated $399 move in and about $500 after the first month. I was denied. Is there a law that states due to my social security income I have to be accepted?

    Cristen’s Answer

    No, there is no law that states that just because you receive social security income, a property owner or management company must accept you as a tenant. You can not be denied based on a discriminatory reason, however, short of discrimination, they can deny your application.

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  • In a Foreclosure Case, should my company file Motion to Intervene or Third Party Complaint?

    My company has Certificate of Title from an HOA Auction. My company has owned it for 3 years and now the Bank is going to auction the property in February. There's a catch, the bank has not followed the Administrative Order. They have not filed th...

    Cristen’s Answer

    If your company has an interest in the property, the bank should have named it as a defendant in the lawsuit. The bank is required to do a title search prior to filing the foreclosure action and must name all parties who may have an interest in the property. Sometimes the bank's foreclosure action and an HOA's foreclosure action are filed separately. Usually, the HOA's suit proceeds more quickly through the litigation process than the bank's. If that is the case and your company obtained title through the HOA's foreclosure action, it took title subject to the bank's lien on the property. If you think the bank is not entitled to foreclose, your company can intervene and object to the judgment. However, it sounds like a judgment has already been entered and a sale date is pending. If that is the case, it is probably too late. A third party complaint would not be the proper mechanism to defend against the bank's foreclosure. Hope this helps!

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  • Landlord continues to not fix many things in our apartment in Florida. Statute is very confusing. We do NOT have a lease.

    I have spent hours researching Florida Statute 83, specifically 83.201 about him not repairing things in our apartment, but that section seems to refer to "untenantable" units. Ours is not. I understand I can give him a 7-day letter to cure or we ...

    Cristen’s Answer

    It sounds like this is a residential tenancy, so you are looking at the wrong section of the Florida Statutes. You should be looking at Sections 83.51 and 83.56. It is also important to review what is covered by your lease agreement. Additionally, it depends on what you want the landlord to repair. Not all repairs entitle you to deduct rent or to terminate your lease after 7 days if left uncured. I highly recommend you consult an attorney before doing anything because if you improperly deduct repairs from your rent payment, you could put yourself at risk for eviction. If you decide to do it on your own, you can deliver your written notice by mail or by hand delivery. Hope this helps!

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  • Lease agreement.

    Because of my cash flow, I have not paid my March rent, although I have tried to work it out with the Landlord. I have been threatened with an eviction notice. That said, my emails from the agent, indicate, I never received the signature copy. Doe...

    Cristen’s Answer

    If you signed the lease agreement, and it is an otherwise enforceable contract, then the fact that you do not have a copy of it probably will not prevent an eviction. I recommend you pay your March rent as soon as possible. If an eviction lawsuit is filed against you, in order to avoid a default judgment, you must pay the full amount of back rent into the court registry. Additionally, you will need to file a response within 5 days from the date you are served with the lawsuit. Therefore, I suggest you contact an attorney immediately upon being served with an eviction lawsuit. If your goal is to stay in the home for the remainder of your lease, I suggest you pay all back rent and late fees as soon as possible. I would also start by requesting a signed copy of the lease from your landlord. Good luck!

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  • The owner of the property and house I occupy has been violating the lease. What can I do about this?

    The owner has been showing up without written or verbal notification as stated in the lease. He shows up and harasses me about the property that was here prior to me moving in. He showed up today and without notifying me and said he was locking up...

    Cristen’s Answer

    Based on the above, it does sound like your landlord is violating the lease agreement. As long as you are current on your rent and are not violating the lease in any way, your landlord will not be able to evict you. Even if a lawsuit is filed, it will not be successful. I suggest you notify the landlord in writing of the violations, giving him an opportunity to cure within 10 days. If he continues to violate the lease, you may be able to terminate the lease and move out. However, I suggest you discuss this with an attorney first who can review your lease and advise you more specifically.

    Good luck!

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  • Can I get out of buying a home that I placed a contract on, but have not closed on the home?

    I agreed on a price for the home. I had the home inspected and filled out paperwork for the loan. I have not closed on the home. I put down a deposit on the home.

    Cristen’s Answer

    If you walked away, you would likely lose your deposit. In addition the seller may file a lawsuit against you for specific performance, which would seek to force you to proceed with the transaction. I suggest you take the contract to a real estate attorney who can review it and advise you regarding any potential ways to avoid a lawsuit. It also may be worth talking to the seller to see if they are willing to work with you. Good luck!

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  • If a tenant abandons a rental property, can the landlord take possession after 15 days and remove any items left behind?

    tenant has not paid Dec rent and I am unable to contact. Went to property over the last few days at various times and no one was there. On Dec 6 I went inside because there are dogs there...the place was covered in dog feces, trash strewn ever...

    Cristen’s Answer

    It sounds like a presumption of abandonment has arisen under the section 83.59, Florida Statutes. Therefore, you are permitted to retake possession of the premises. However, I would consult with an attorney to make sure that all of your bases are covered before you begin removing or disposing of the tenant's personal property. You may also file a lawsuit to recover the unpaid rent and the cost to repair the property to the condition it was in at the beginning of the lease term, taking into account normal wear and tear. Good luck!

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