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Boca Raton Florida Legal Blog

What does the law require in a real estate contract?

If you are selling your home in Florida, it is essential to ensure you have a legal contract. While you may have professionals who create the contract for you, knowing the proper elements required by law will help you to understand the process better and ensure the contract you use is completely legal and valid. The Florida Realtors explain what you must have in your real estate contract.

The first important thing to keep in mind is that your contract must be in writing. There are only limited situations where an oral contract works, so always make sure any real estate transaction has a contract that is in writing.

Cybersecurity threats for businesses

In today’s world, cybersecurity issues can have major impacts on businesses. There are all kinds of important customer and financial data held by companies. This makes businesses a target for hackers. Some estimates point to cyberattacks against companies having gone up nearly two-fold over the past five years.

A business can suffer great harm when its data is compromised by such an attack. For one, major financial losses can come from such a breach. A data breach could also hurt a company’s reputation and erode consumer trust in the business.

Panhandle building codes under scrutiny after Hurricane Michael

While South Florida has kept up with strict building codes meant to help buildings stand up to hurricane-force winds, the Panhandle didn't start tightening up its codes until later. Exemptions were provided under the theory that the region's forests would act as a barrier against catastrophic storms.

"We're learning painfully that we shouldn't be doing those kinds of exemptions," says a former Panhandle legislator who is now with the Florida Building Commission. "We are vulnerable as any other part of the state. There was this whole notion that the trees were going to help us, take the wind out of the storm. Those trees become projectiles and flying objects."

Are you in a dispute with your homeowners association?

A homeowners association (HOA) can protect property values in the neighborhood by setting rules and regulations, maintaining common amenities and ensuring that renovations and repairs are completed on time and in uniformity with neighborhood standards. They act in the best interest of the neighborhood (or another common interest development, such as a building), as opposed to in the interest of individual homeowners.

Most associations maintain a set of covenants and codes and collect fees and assessments. These should be in accordance with the association's foundational documents and are generally expected to be reasonable. However, each association sets its own rules, and people naturally disagree about the reasonableness of rules, so disputes are relatively common. It's also possible to get into disputes over how the rules are enforced, how fees and assessments are set, and how the association is managed.

Merchants, credit card companies settle lawsuit for $6.2 billion

Visa, Mastercard and several credit-card issuing banks have agreed to settle a long-running dispute with merchants over credit card swipe fees. The class action lawsuit was brought more than a decade ago on behalf of approximately 12 million retailers who accept credit cards.

The 13-year-old lawsuit accuses Visa, Mastercard and several banks that issue the cards of violating federal antitrust laws. Merchants say they are forced to pay a swipe fee every time a customer uses a credit card and that they are not allowed to direct customers to payment methods that are less expensive for the merchant.

Sears spinoff making a mint redeveloping unprofitable stores

Since its founding in 1892, Sears has been locating stores in prime areas. While the retailer itself is struggling, a spinoff company called Seritage Growth Properties is taking advantage of that prime real estate by buying up underperforming locations and redeveloping them into luxury retail centers, offices and even residences.

Consider a former Sears location in Aventura, Florida. Construction has already begun on a luxury shopping center with palm-lined boulevards, water fountains and upscale eateries. In Hicksville, a town on Long Island, a former Sears is slated to become a 600-unit apartment complex. In Santa Monica, California, offices tailored to the tech elite are taking shape just blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

Have a small or medium business? You need a succession plan

If you've started a business from the ground up, it may have become part of your identity -- the fulfillment of a dream. Have you considered what would happen if you suddenly became incapacitated and could no longer run the business? Have you arranged for someone to take over when you die?

If you watched the HBO series "Succession" earlier this year, you have an idea of what a worst-case scenario might look like. Without a rational succession plan in place, family members may struggle for control of their business. Yes, the situation is dramatized, but the reality is that it can be difficult to begin a conversation about succession.

Tribune ends merger deal, announces lawsuit against Sinclair

Those concerned about media consolidation had criticized the proposed merger between Tribune Media Company and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The concerns heated up after Sinclair made headlines in April by ordering dozens of its TV stations to present the exact same speech about "biased and false news." The cookie-cutter speech was noticed by comic John Oliver, who called it propaganda.

In June, the Federal Communications Commission announced "serious concerns" about the merger. "The evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law," said FCC chair Ajit Pai.

How can you prevent or handle business dispute between employees?

A successful business is not always run by those who get along and agree on everything. Like any kind of relationship, relationships between employees can involve internal disagreements and arguments. These disputes can be caused by various circumstances, clashes in personality or simply a bad day. They are also inevitable. When it comes to a major dispute within the work place, the situation could quickly escalate if not handled well.

Serious disputes could cause harm to the management or organization itself. In a worst-case scenario, a dispute would be brought to court to resolve. This could cost time, money, relationships and possibly reputations. While this may be necessary in some cases, working with those involved to prevent the dispute from going that far can be beneficial for both employees and employer.

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