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Orlando Business & Commercial Law Blog

How the increased cost of Canadian lumber affects Floridians

It might not seem like lumber production would be a hot-button issue for average citizens in the U.S. However, this very issue made headlines after the Trump administration recently approved the collection of tariffs on lumber coming into the U.S. from Canada. The result is that Canadian softwood lumber, which makes up about 30 percent of residential construction lumber, will be more expensive.

You may be wondering, "How does this political move affect individual homeowners right here in Florida?" In short, it means that the cost and availability of construction materials is changing, and that can lead to legally complex issues including construction liens and defective materials.

Leasing commercial space? Beware of these 4 rent-related issues

One of the top concerns people have when it comes to leasing property is how much they are paying in rent. Tenants want to be sure they can afford rent and are getting their money’s worth; landlords want to make money and ensure their expenses are covered.

However, there is a lot more to rent than the amount paid in a check every month. In fact, contentious legal battles can arise from a number of issues related to rent. If you rent or plan to rent commercial space in Florida, you should be aware of these issues, some of which we examine below, before you sign anything.

Is your new house a money pit?

Making an offer on a house comes with excitement and a little fear. Buying an existing home often means settling for a little mystery. You can never be certain what you're getting or how long it will be before you discover the true flaws in the structure.

However, if your seller has been forthright with you, the surprises should be few and minor. While every house has its creaks and groans, Florida law protects buyers by requiring sellers to disclose any major defects they are aware the property may have.

In which projects are construction defects most likely to occur?

Construction defects are at the heart of many construction-related lawsuits. Disputes arise regarding whether something is a defect, who is responsible and what should be done to remedy the situation. And whether the property involved is residential or commercial, these disputes have the potential to be costly and draining for everyone involved.

With all this in mind, it is crucial for contractors, suppliers, property owners and developers to have in place a plan for dealing with claims of construction defects, should they arise. This can be especially important for people involved in the development of condominiums, as these are reportedly the projects that see the highest number of construction deficiency claims.

Does your contract have an arbitration clause?

Contracts of any kind are often long, specific and full of legalese. Because of this, many people may not always grasp every element of the agreement. This is not uncommon, but if you sign something without understanding it and without getting an explanation from your attorney, you could wind up agreeing to some unfavorable terms.

For instance, if you own a business, you may very well be party to several different contracts with employees, partners, suppliers, contractors, property owners and other businesses. Do you know if any of these contracts contain an arbitration clause?

Serious injuries suffered when escalators malfunction

There are dozens of malls across Florida, from small strip malls to huge malls like the Aventura Mall. Whether a mall is a few thousand square feet or a couple million square feet, property owners are expected to ensure that every square foot of the premises is reasonably safe. This includes the various stairways, escalators and elevators that patrons use to get from one floor to another.

Ensuring these areas are properly maintained and secure is crucial, as an accident could lead to falls and serious injuries. A recent accident outside of the U.S. should serve as a grim reminder of what can happen when something goes wrong in these areas.

Brain injuries bring unimaginable changes

Following a catastrophic accident, the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury may be among the most frightening things for family members to hear. Your uncertainty is rooted in so many unknowns. Medical science barely understands the way a healthy brain works, so how can they know the best way to repair an injured brain? Whether your loved one's injury occurred as the result of a motor vehicle accident or some other negligent act, you are likely already facing frustration as you search for treatment or wait for a prognosis.

Self-driving car companies battle over technology

People all across Orlando are eagerly anticipating the arrival of self-driving cars, and several companies have been promising to deliver these vehicles in the very near future. However, in the race to be first at anything related to new technology, companies often run into legal obstacles that can create delays.

For instance, recently Waymo and Uber have been battling over technology that is critical to the creation of self-driving systems. The information is related to a laser-guided system that allows autonomous vehicles to operate properly. The disputes hinge on whether Uber is violating intellectual property laws and using Waymo-protected technology. 

Homeowners: Watch out for these 5 types of construction defects

When you are having construction done on your home, you are likely going to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety. After all, renovations, updates, expansions or improvements to your home can make it a better place to live, but these projects are often expensive and can seriously disrupt your home life.

Unfortunately, these headaches don't always end when construction ends. This can certainly be the case if there are construction defects that jeopardize the safety, integrity or stability of your home. If you own a home that is under construction, or if you are about to start construction projects, then you should be aware of some common construction defects.

What are 'handshake agreements,' and are they binding?

If you are a baseball fan in Florida, you are likely aware that the Miami Marlins have had a challenging past few years, and it may not surprise anyone to learn that owner Jeffrey Loria is looking to sell the team. In fact, sources report that Loria has a "handshake agreement" with someone looking to buy the team for $1.6 million.

This story has left some people wondering what that means and asking the question in this post's headline. Are handshake agreements binding? And the answer is: maybe.

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  • Pete Carr has represented my companies for the past several years. He has handled all of the companies litigation needs along with providing legal counsel and legal documents as needed. Pete is always extremely professional but the thing that I like the most about Pete is how responsive he is when needed.
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    Results Real Estate Partners, LLC
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