Law 360: Ruling Puts Banks On Hook For Fla. Real Estate Back Taxes

Law360

Law360, Miami (October 27, 2017, 8:25 PM EDT) — When a mortgage company loaned money to a Miami buyer in 2007, the lender didn’t know the homeowner would improperly claim a homestead property tax exemption. It wasn’t until seven years later that the county would file a lien for the unpaid taxes, a lien that a Florida appeals court now says applies retroactively and takes priority over the mortgage.

The decision, issued Oct. 18, could cause headaches for lenders and title insurers who will now need to worry about priority liens popping up after closing and applying retroactively.

The biggest issue with the decision is its retroactive nature, which could, depending on the property and how long the homeowner wrongly claimed the exemption, lead to liabilities of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Farach. By law, a tax assessor can claim up to 10 years’ worth of back taxes for improper homestead exemptions.

“Florida has always been a first in time, first in right state, with one exception: that government liens are superior,” said Marko Cerenko, a partner at Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine PL. “But this means you can go back in time and prioritize a subsequent lien.”

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Rainmaker Q&A: Kluger Kaplan’s Alan Kluger

Law360

 

Founding member of Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine PL, Alan J. Kluger is a Miami-based powerhouse trial attorney who advocates for his clients at all stages of the litigation process. Kluger is a veteran courtroom lawyer who represents some of the nation’s largest businesses and most prominent individuals in their most challenging and complex cases.

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Many of his clients come to him after first facing him as an adversary and determining that Kluger’s tough, no-nonsense litigation tactics and creative, out-of-the-box thinking is what they need for their own disputes. His practice is guided by three key principles: thorough preparation, thoughtful strategy and mastery of the facts and the law. These are the reasons he consistently earns top rankings by peer-reviewed publications such as The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Florida Super Lawyers.

As devoted as he is to his clients, Kluger is equally passionate about his community. He and his wife, retired Judge Amy Dean, created a private charitable foundation, the Dean-Kluger Charitable Foundation, which supports various local and national charitable organizations.

Q: What skill was most important for you in becoming a rainmaker?

A: The key in becoming a rainmaker is to be able to “catch,” rather than “pitch.” That means understanding a client and asking them thoughtful questions that show you care about them and their business. So often when I meet someone, either at an event or through mutual friends, we spend so much time talking about them before they even know what it is that I do. But that is what puts me in the best position to understand the issues that they face and give the trusted advice that they need.

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