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Pamela Jo Hatley

Pamela Hatley’s Answers

13 total


  • Is it legal to put up a gate on a county road that would inhibit the traffic of residents on said road?

    The person threatening to gate the road owns property on both sides of the road but not all properties on this road.

    Pamela’s Answer

    No, it is not legal for a private individual to erect a gate on a county- owned or -maintained roadway. However, an individual might petition the county to vacate the right-of-way through a public process governed by section 336.09, Fla. Stat. This process requires notice to affected property owners and an opportunity for those property owners to be heard and to participate in the process. If the county were to grant the vacating petition, title to the abandoned right-of-way would vest in abutting property owners. Thus, the owner of whom you speak would own the portion of the road abutting his or her property. Other owners would own other portions of the vacated roadway abutting their own properties, usually to the mid-point of the vacated right-of-way. The other property owners would also be entitled to a way of necessity, or an easement, across the vacated area in order to access their properties if the vacated roadway is their only access.

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  • How do you remove a life use from a deed? The person with the life use is alive and is willing to be removed from deed.

    I own the condo and my stepmother has a life use deed and wants to give up her life use of the condo. What do I need in Florida to accomplish this?

    Pamela’s Answer

    If your stepmother has a life estate she could convey her life estate to you by deed. If the deed says something to the effect of You as owner, subject to a life estate in Stepmother...or Stepmother as to a life estate, and You as remainderman, then once Stepmother conveys her life estate interest to You, then by doctrine of merger You own in fee simple. You should have a real estate attorney verify the manner in which title is held, and prepare the deed accordingly.

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  • How to sue your city water and drainage dept. when they make your house unusable due to plumbing problems.

    A builder built a house next to mine without proper drainage. The problem was pointed out several times to the builder and the drainage dept I was given a plan by the drainage dept. and an email from the drainage dept head that the new property w...

    Pamela’s Answer

    You may have a cause of action against the owner of the adjacent property under theories of trespass, negligence, private nuisance, and possibly others. One way to approach this would be to engage an attorney to serve a demand on the property owner to correct the drainage problem. It would be advisable to have your own independent expert evaluation of the drainage system. If the owner is cooperative s/he might do the right thing and take corrective action. If not, your only recourse might be to sue. You may have a cause of action against the permitting entity (city) as well, but in my opinion a suit against the property owner would be more effective.

    Another approach would be to report the problem to the water management district or Department of Environmental Protection. One of these agencies likely issued an Environmental Resource Permit for the stormwater system. If the water management district or DEP permitted the storm water system, and the storm water system was not constructed according to the permit requirements, that is a violation of the permit conditions and the water management district or DEP might institute an enforcement action, saving you the trouble (and money).

    I believe you will need to contact an attorney to help you with this.

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  • What is involved with creating an easement for ingress and egress?

    I plan on purchasing some vacant property with no roads or streets going to it. About 700 feet away there is a road running parallel with that property. To make an easement going from that property to the street running parallel would involve goi...

    Pamela’s Answer

    The answer to your question is...it depends. It depends on several facts that you have not disclosed in your question. First, section 704.01(1), Florida Statutes provides that an implied grant of a way of necessity is presumed if a landowner conveys lands to which there is no accessible right-of-way except over her or his own land. In such cases, an implied way of necessity is presumed only if there is no reasonable and practicable way of ingress and egress, and a way of necessity is reasonably necessary for the beneficial use or enjoyment of the portion of land granted. So, if you are purchasing the land from the owner of the adjacent land over which you need an easement, there might be an implied way of necessity. On the other hand, if that is not the case, section 704.01(2), Florida Statutes provides for a statutory way of necessity where land is being used (or will be used) for a dwelling or agriculture, where there is no practicable way of ingress and egress. A statutory way of necessity would provide access to the nearest road (either public or private). From the way you framed your question, it sounds like you may not be able to take advantage of an "implied" way of necessity. If that is the case, then you will need to acquire a way of necessity, or an easement. You may either approach the property owners and see if they are willing to convey (sell) an easement to you, and for what price. If they are not willing to negotiate with you, you may have to sue them to obtain a statutory way of necessity. Either way, you will have to pay the value of the easement rights. Keep in mind, an easement represents use rights only; it does not mean you own the land. You own only the right to use the land for a specific purpose (here, ingress and egress). Also, either way, you will need an attorney to prepare the easement instrument. It must be signed, witnessed, and notarized, and it must be recorded in the public records in the county where the property is located.

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  • I want to keep the house, would I be responsible for the second mortgage on the house?

    The first mortgage has a second rapped into it now. Both second mortgages are from credit card debt over the life of the marriage.

    Pamela’s Answer

    The short answer is "Yes." The lender may foreclose on the home if you fail to pay debt secured by a mortgage on the home. If you are unsure whether the debt is secured by a mortgage on the home, you should meet with a real estate attorney to review your documents.

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  • 4 parties on deed as jtwros, mom, dad, myself and DP. Mtg in dads name only. Dad and mom died. Can I pay off entire mtg balance?

    Four of us have owned home for 10 years. Mom, Dad, myself and domestic partner. Dad was on mtg. We are all on deed as JTWROS. Over past 2 years mom and dad have deceased. Bank was never notified of dads death. Mortgage payments have always been ...

    Pamela’s Answer

    You may certainly pay off the loan...it is doubtful any lender would refuse a payment. How to get an accurate payoff amount seems to be the real problem as you expressed it in your question. Apparently the lender is reluctant to give you information on the loan because you are not the borrower. You may be able to get around that... For example, does the lender send a monthly statement showing the principal balance? Or at least an end-of-year statement showing the principal balance? If so, you can calculate the approximate payoff yourself. If you overpay the balance, the lender would have to refund the difference. However, since your father was the borrower, the lender would refund any overpayment to your deceased father. You would be unable to negotiate an instrument payable to your father. To me, a more glaring issue is clearing up the title to the property by removing your deceased parents' names. Have you, or to you plan to, administer your parents' estates? If the deed does name you all as joint tenants with right of survivorship, it would be a simple matter to clear up the title. Thus, in answer to your specific question, i.e. can you "get a payoff figure and send a payment," you can certainly send a payment. Indeed, you have been sending payments. And you most likely can calculate an approximate payoff amount yourself to ensure your payment covers the balance, plus accrued interest, in order to completely pay off the loan. But I recommend you consult with an attorney to clear up the title. If you administer the estate you will receive letters of administration naming you the personal representative. Most likely the lender would not hesitate to quote a payoff if you were officially named the PR.

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  • In Probate, if a party is determined homestead can that person lose it or have it dismissed?

    If the wife of my father was granted homestead of the our house giving her right to live in it, but then she abandons the house (moves out and doesnt return or upkeep) does she forfiet it? Or can I return to court to now take possession? she ha...

    Pamela’s Answer

    Based on your question, it is not clear exactly how title is held in the property. Nevertheless, section 732.401, Florida Statutes, states, "...if the decedent is survived by a spouse and one or more descendants, the surviving spouse shall take a life estate in the homestead, with a vested remainder to the descendants in being at the time of the decedent’s death per stirpes." Assuming your father's wife holds a life estate, and you and your siblings are "remaindermen," your father's wife owns a present possessory interest in the property for her life time. You and your siblings own a vested future interest. When your father's wife dies, fee title to the property will vest in you and your siblings. The statute also provides an option for your father's wife to have elected to take a one-half interest (not a life estate) as a tenant in common with you and your siblings, who together would have taken title to the other one-half interest. Regardless, from your question it appears your fathers wife does hold title to either (1) a life estate; or (2) a one-half interest as tenant in common with you and your siblings. If a trust was not created, section 738.801, Florida Statutes, allocates ordinary expenses, including taxes and insurance, and ordinary upkeep, to the life estate holder. This is a duty of the life estate holder, and courts have held that this duty is comparable to the duty of a trustee. In other words, the life estate holder owes a duty to the remaindermen to not injure the property or allow it to fall into disrepair. If the life estate holder fails to pay these expenses, or abandons the property and allows it to fall into disrepair, the remaindermen (you and your siblings) may have a cause of action against the life estate holder for "waste." One remedy might be to have the court appoint a receiver to lease the property and account to all of the title holders (life estate holder and remaindermen) for the rents. This is a complicated matter for which you will need a competent real estate attorney to help.

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  • Is there a relatively new Florida law grandfathering leasing rights in the absence of any HOA covenants?

    Our HOA is working on a restrictive leasing amendment, but we'd like to know if existing investment owners are free to rent at will.

    Pamela’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Your amendment must be reasonable, and the HOA must very carefully follow its own procedural requirements, as set out in the declaration, bylaws, and article of incorporation, for the adoption of covenant amendments. Amendments such as the one you wish to adopt, which restrict property rights that were in existence when the parcel owner took title will be subject to strict scrutiny. The restriction on leasing rights will apply prospectively, to future rentals in the community; not retroactively to void existing rental agreements or disapprove existing tenants. Thus, where existing investment owners are already renting to existing tenants, the covenant amendment will not void those existing rental agreements. The covenant amendment becomes effective upon being recorded in the public records of the county where the property is located. After it is effective, the covenant amendment will apply to all parcels, and to all future rentals. I urge you to engage an attorney to prepare the amendment and review with the board the necessary procedural requirements.

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  • I have my state Lic for a in home day care and I moved in this sub division now the HOA is telling me I cant have it here

    someone told the HoA that I had a business and they say no Commerical business can be ran out of my house but I never got the bylaws

    Pamela’s Answer

    State law requires the seller to give the buyer an HOA disclosure prior to executing a contract to sell a residential parcel. You could have voided the contract prior to closing if you did not receive this disclosure. However, the right to void the contract based on failure to disclose terminated at the closing. So you cannot void the purchase now that you have closed on the sale. Even if you never received a copy of the HOA declaration and other governing documents, the use of your parcel is subject to them. Having your state license to operate a home daycare will not trump deed restrictions that were already in place when you took title. However, from your question it is not clear to me in exactly what instrument the prohibition on commercial business exists. Your question says "bylaws," but I doubt the prohibition is actually in the bylaws document. Most likely it is in the declaration IF it exists. It is imperative for you to obtain a copy of your HOA declaration, including all of the amendments to it, and the association articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations. Ask your HOA for a copy of these or download them from your county clerk's website if possible. Read them carefully, or consult an attorney to read them with you. You need to ascertain from the HOA governing documents whether there actually is a provision that is applicable to your home daycare business. It is possible, for example, that the HOA board or manager is incorrectly construing language in the HOA documents. Or it is possible that the HOA governing documents actually do not prohibit your home daycare business, but the board has promulgated a rule that does. If that is the case, it could be possible that the board did not have the authority to adopt such a rule, or that it did not follow required procedures for doing so. Regardless, the law requires a dispute such as this, involving an HOA and parcel owner over the use of a parcel, must be submitted to mediation prior to filing a lawsuit. It is possible that your dispute could be settled to your satisfaction through this mediation process. Either you or the HOA could serve a demand for presuit mediation. Finally, it is imperative for you to know the date your HOA declaration was recorded. It is possible that the HOA declaration is no longer enforceable against your property by operation of the Marketable Record Title Act if the declaration was recorded more than 30 years ago. I encourage you to consult with an attorney on your question.

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  • I am on title with my father and his new wife. My father is the only one on Mortgage note. I want to homestead home in my name.

    I am on title with my father and his new wife. My father is the only one on Mortgage note. I want to homestead home in my name. Would a quit claim deed do it? Any chance lender will see recording and call in the note? I don't want to have to refin...

    Pamela’s Answer

    I assume your question relates to homestead tax exemption. If so, pursuant to section 196.031(1), Florida Statutes, to qualify for homestead tax exemption you must as of January 1 have title to the property and reside on the property as your permanent residence. You may hold title jointly in common with others. Thus, if you own the property jointly with your father and his wife there is no need to change that. If only one of the owners of jointly held property actually resides on the property, that owner is allowed a homestead exemption. You must file an application for homestead exemption with the office of the property appraiser in which the property is located. For more information see Section 196.031, Fla. Stat. at the link below. Also see Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's website.

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