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Understanding Tenant Rights

Renting home or business space from an owner comes with legal rights and responsibilities. The landlord can’t do ‘anything they want’, and neither can the tenant. Federal, state and local laws all apply, and it’s important for tenant rights to be fully understood by all parties.

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, tenant applications can’t be rejected based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, family status, or mental or physical disability. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires landlords to advise that tenants can request a credit report if they are rejected based on a credit check. State and local codes usually cover property, contract issues and landlord conduct.

A safe, habitable building is one of the key property rights applicable to tenants. Other codes cover tenant-landlord contracts, including security deposits, interest, return dates, and in some cases, even rental rates. Rental arrangements should always be documented in writing, and tenants are entitled to copies of the documents.

Conditions for ending rental are usually defined in laws as well — and even eviction conditions. It’s advisable for a tenant to document everything – including photos of property condition – to minimize disputes with facts should something arise.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How to Handle Storm Damage

How to Handle Storm Damage

How to Handle Storm Damage

Floridians are no strangers to storms, whether it’s a passing afternoon thunderstorm or a raging hurricane. However, tropical storms and hurricanes tend to cause more storm damage to properties during the summer months, so we’ve compiled some tips to keep in mind in the event your home is ever damaged by a storm.

1) Secure the Area

Safety is key here. Even small pieces of debris can feature sharp edges, so be extra careful if you need to clear an area. For large jobs like removing trees or sizable debris such as cars, boats, parts of homes, etc. contact your insurance company to get access to their preferred provider list. Beware of post-storm opportunists who canvas neighborhoods asking for exorbitant prices for debris removal.

Your insurance company will likely have approved resources listed for water remediation as well as companies that will cover damaged roofs and broken windows to prevent further water damage. These resource are often available on the website so you don’t have to spend time holding to get information. Providers vetted by your insurance company will often not ask for money upfront, instead, they will help you file a claim to cover the costs of damages.

It can be confusing to know what is covered by the insurance company and what falls under your responsibility. Your best option is to gather information directly from your insurance company and your local municipality. Often, local sanitation departments will help with debris removal, but it can take time for them to get to your home.

2) Document the Damage

The more comprehensive your documentation the better. Video has become a favored medium for recording damage, however, insurance companies and government agencies aren’t always able to receive or process video files. In addition to video, make sure you have still photos and plenty of notes to clarify what the photos represent. If available, before and after photos can be helpful in demonstrating the extent of the damage.

This can be a traumatic and overwhelming task, so try not to do this alone. Take a relative or friend that you can trust to be emotionally supportive and also helpful in identifying and documenting damage. Avoid lingering in unsafe conditions. However, if the area is safe, then take your time and document carefully. If you are taking video, slowly narrate what you are seeing and explain the damage you see.

Inside the home, check for evidence of flooding and roof leaks. Be methodical, yet avoid any areas that seem unsafe. Never enter a flooded basement or climb onto a potentially unstable roof. If you are not certain if your roof has been damaged, speak to your insurance company about an assessment by an approved roofing company.

3) File a Claim

After a storm, be prepared for long hold times when calling your insurance companies. Use a landline or make sure your mobile phone is sufficiently charged. Especially if you need to contact multiple insurance companies such as your home insurance company, auto insurer, flood insurer, and/or wind insurer.

When calling insurance companies, it is typically better to stay on hold rather than hanging up and calling back. Have your policy information handy (if possible), be prepared to calmly describe the damage sustained to your home, and have photo and video files ready to transmit once you have instructions from your insurance providers.

It’s a good idea to have pen and paper ready to take notes. Also, if you are leaving the area or do not have access to mail service, provide your insurance companies with a forwarding address where they can mail important documents. The same applies if you have a new or temporary phone number.

4) Tap Into Government Resources

Stay abreast of communications emerging from local, state, and federal agencies. They will have critical information on resources available to help with damage control and debris removal. Depending on the nature of the storm and the total impact to your community, your region may be declared a disaster area, in which case different types of financial assistance and services may be available to you. There are many misconceptions about payouts from FEMA and other agencies, so please make sure you conduct careful research and speak to qualified personnel. Try not to rely on rumors or unofficial social media posts.

5) Watch for Deadlines

Insurance claims and applications for financial assistance all come with important deadlines. In the aftermath of the storms, days can be lost while you struggle to clean up and get life back to normal. Set reminders for yourself and make sure you have access to phone and internet service when needed to submit applications or substantiating documentation. Put your claim or case number on all correspondence and keep careful documentation of all submissions, conversations, and contacts.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Real Estate Rumors Revealed

Jar Wars

Jar Wars

Be a FORCE for Good in Our Local Community

Star Wars may have taken place in a galaxy far, far away, but hunger is happening right here on our doorstep. That’s why Title Junction has teamed up with Southwest Florida’s WAY-FM and the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida for their annual Jar Wars to collect jars of peanut butter and jelly to help stave off hunger in our community!

According to a recent update from the Harry Chapin Food Bank, the need for food in our community has increased 137% since the coronavirus pandemic started. This growing need means that every jar of peanut butter and jelly you can spare will be a tremendous help to members of our community who may have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet.

We’re collecting as many jars of PB&J as possible until the end of August, then donating them to the Harry Chapin Food Bank to help feed families in need in Southwest Florida. Help us defeat the dark side of hunger!

PB&J donations will be accepted at Title Junction’s office until August 31st, 2020.


For more information give us a call at 239.415.6574 or email us at marketing@title-junction.com.

Title Junction Office Address:
6214 Presidential Court, Suite F
Fort Myers, Florida 33919

Business Hours:
Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

Real Estate Rumors Revealed

Real Estate Rumors Revealed

Rumors are everywhere, whether they’re about the latest celebrity scandal or political policies. But what about rumors in the real estate market? Believe it or not, there are quite a few common real estate rumors floating around! Avoid these fallacy mix-ups by staying aware of the facts!

RUMOR #1

You should just price your home higher, that way you can settle for the price you really want.

This may be one of the most harmful delusions out there. Pricing is a major element in the home hunting process and negotiation should be considered later on, not predicted. If you price your home much higher than you’d actually accept, you may miss the opportunity to meet with a handful of potential buyers! This only elongates your home sale.

RUMOR #2

You should wait for the market to improve.

This is usually a great excuse to delay your future real estate transaction but the reality is, the real estate market is constantly changing and shifting depending on your location, specific circumstances, and homeowner mindsets. Think of the real estate market like you do the weather. Though we may be able to predict or analyze patterns, it’s always in a constant state of fluctuation.

RUMOR #3

You’ll save a lot more money if you just sell your home without an agent.

Most people don’t even trust themselves to cut their own hair, so why wouldn’t you trust a professional when it comes to one of the greatest financial investments you may ever make? Hiring a real estate agent gives you guidance, inside knowledge on the market, and an educated individual who is working around the clock for your same goal! And as they say, time is money, and selling your home on your own is a huge commitment that can take away from other parts of your life for the duration of the selling process.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Why You Need Title Insurance

Why You Need Title Insurance

Why You Need Title Insurance

Have you ever made an expensive purchase such as a car, a boat, or a home, but decided to forgo the insurance that would cover you in case of an accident? Probably not.

Well, the same should go for your property rights! It’s important to have insurance to cover you and your assets even in the best of circumstances. When you purchase a home, you insure it to make sure that if a fire or a hurricane damages the building, it can be replaced or you have the funds to start over. Similarly, the protection title insurance gives you when you close on a property in Fort Myers or Cape Coral will ensure that you aren’t left high and dry in the event of a title dispute.

Once you have title (ownership) of the property, title insurance covers you into the past from the day of recording your deed and/or mortgage. That’s right, into the past. Your title company will search the property history to make certain that all mortgages, liens, judgements, and the like have been cleared up so you have “clear title.” And if a problem crops up that was hidden, you’re covered!

As an example, let’s say John and Karen were the owners of the property you just purchased. However, by the time the home was sold to you, Karen had already passed away. They had taken title as Husband and Wife but never legally married, and no one said anything. The title company filed a death certificate for Karen, and John signed the deed.

Fast forward a few years when Karen’s daughter returns to Florida from living overseas and realizes that John sold the home. Karen’s daughter is an heir to half of the property, the part that Karen owned. Now she wants her portion of the sale—she can file a claim against the policy, but you, the homeowner, are protected with your owner’s title insurance policy and don’t have to pay a dime!


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Alternatives To Litigation

Alternatives To Litigation

While there’s no concrete answer to how long a lawsuit process might take in court, US cases take over a year on average, and cases running 5 or more years are not unheard of. The load of cases before state courts has increased over time, while staffing has not. Statistically, most litigation is not completed by a court decision, but settled out of court.

How long cases take to reach settlement is also unpredictable. Mediation and arbitration are common routes to settle outside litigation. In mediation, the parties engage an independent 3rd party to facilitate settlement – but settlement is typically voluntary. In arbitration, the parties agree to be heard by an independent, qualified arbitrator, and to abide by the decision of the arbitrator.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

Hurricane Plans to Protect Yourself and Your Home

Hurricane Plans to Protect Yourself and Your Home

Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, we’re all in the same boat come hurricane season. So before any storms can appear on the horizon, it’s wise to make hurricane plans to protect both yourself and your home to the best of your ability. Here’s a checklist of things you can do to make preliminary preparations for any hurricanes that might crop up this season.

Plans to Protect Your Home

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
  • Obtain and prepare any materials you might need to secure your house, such a storm shutters, plywood, and sandbags.
  • Keep up on outdoor upkeep that can help minimize wind and flood damage, such as trimming tree branches and cleaning out gutters.
  • Check you insurance coverage – flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.

Plans to Protect Yourself

  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home and community for hurricane hazards.
  • Determine meeting places and escape routes from your home, work, and schools.
  • Keep an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Create a plan for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency phone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its batteries every 6 months.
  • Take First Aid, CPR, and disaster preparedness classes.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

In this day and age, we hear about all sorts of promotions and catchy phrases such as “go green” in order to promote the idea of a healthier environment. We’ve made huge technological strides in a short time period and through our own amazement, we often forget that it takes a tremendous toll on our natural conditions. But the good news is, taking steps to save our planet can have the added bonus of saving our wallets! So what are a few things you can do to save energy?

Proper blinds and/or curtains – The more heat that radiates into your home, the harder your air conditioning system has to work. The harder your air conditioning systems work, the harder you have to work to pay that heftier bill! Keeping your windows covered, especially when you aren’t even home, can help reduce your monthly costs.

Lightened rooftop color – Though you may not be in a hurry to make this change to your current home, this is a wonderful thing to keep in mind when buying a home. The darker the rooftop, the more heat the house will absorb. This change in coloring can actually be a substantial game changer.

Energy-saving appliances – Is it about time you upgraded the fridge? Have those lightbulbs quit on you? When shopping, check out the products that pride themselves on conserving energy. These products work just as well while helping you save those dollars in the long run! It’s a practical investment that you would otherwise be tossing away.

Check on your plumbing – If your water bill has steadily climbed over time, it may be due to a faulty line. Why pay for water you aren’t even using? Fixing small pipeline defects will get you back on track!

These are just a few energy-saving ways you can contribute to the wellness of the world while keeping those runaway dollars inside your bank account!


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What You Should Know About Title Commitments

What You Should Know About Title Commitments

What You Should Know About Title Commitments

At some point during the process of closing on your new home, you’ll receive a stack of papers from your real estate title company. They’ll tell you it’s your title commitment, but here’s the question: do you know what that is and why you’ve received it?

A title commitment is the title company’s promise to issue a title insurance policy for the property after closing. The title commitment contains the same conditions, terms and exclusions that will be in the actual and final insurance policy.

For title agents, an essential part of the closing process is keeping you informed, and the title commitment is an important document that contains information specific to your transaction. So let’s have a look at the parts of your real estate title commitment. 

Schedule A:

The who, what, where, and how much. Schedule A discloses the seller (current property owner) and proposed insured (buyer), the title insurance amount (sales price), the lender and loan amount (if applicable), and the legal description.

Schedule B-I:

Schedule B-I are the requirements (to-do list) that must be cleared/satisfied in order to close and issue a policy covering the new owner and/or lender.

Schedule B-II:

This section notifies the lender and/or buyer of all the exceptions to coverage. These items will not be covered/insured in the title policy.

It’s important for all parties to review the real estate title commitment. If you ever have questions, make sure to call and speak with your title company so they can help you understand everything you need to know to have a smooth closing.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What is a Limited Liability Corporation?

What is a Limited Liability Corporation?

In US law, corporations are organizations authorized to act as a legal entity. United States law also recognizes another legal status for a company, called a ‘limited liability corporation,’ or LLC for short. LLCs are not separate legal entities like regular corporations, but they do provide some legal protections for owners.

LLCs can be insured separately from owners, and they also limit the personal liability of owners. If someone sues an LLC company, their suit is against the company, not the company owners. Owner risk from the suit is commonly limited to the value of their investment in the company – with some exemptions and conditions.

Unlike corporations, LLCs are not taxed on their own. LLCs are ‘pass-through’ tax entities; profits and losses pass through to the owners’ personal tax returns. Creating an LLC is relatively simple, involving state filings and modest fees.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Why Homebuyers Should Care about Flood Plains

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