Prepare for Hurricane Season- Helpful Tips!

Please utilize the resources below if necessary. I also encourage you to share this information with your friends and neighbors as we work together to recover from this storm- Hurricane Michael.

FEMA ASSISTANCE

To apply for FEMA assistance visit: www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) TTY: 1-800-462-7585. To find the nearest FEMA Disaster Recovery Center visit: https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/ DRCLocator

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

If you need emergency help call 9-1-1.

BASIC SUPPLIES

If you need supplies, such as food, water, or ice, please contact your county emergency management at: http://www.floridadisaste r.org/fl_county_em.asp or by phone at (850) 815-4001 for the location of the nearest distribution center. Your county emergency management can provide up-to-date information about shelters and local distribution centers for food and supplies.

HELP FOR SENIORS

If you know of a senior who needs assistance call the Florida Department of Elder Affairs hotline at 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337). To report elder abuse, call 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).

HELP FOR VETERANS

Veterans in need of assistance or in need of their medication can contact the Veteran Disaster Hotline at 1-800-507-4571 or go to any VA medical facility for assistance.

MENTAL HEALTH

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress please call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor. You may also visit: http://bit.ly/2vH2Huc for more information about managing stress after a disaster and talking with children about traumatic events.

DIALYSIS

To find a dialysis center in your area visit: http://www.dialysisunits.com/. Patients of DaVita Dialysis may contact 1-800-400-8331 to find the nearest Dialysis Center.

MORTGAGE RELIEF

To find out if you qualify for temporary mortgage relief, visit the Freddie Mac website at: http://www.freddiem ac.com/about/hurricane-relief.html , the Fannie Mae website at:http://www .fanniemae.com/portal/about-fm/hurricane-relief.html or by phone at 1-800-2FANNIE (800-232-6643). To contact the Federal Housing Finance Agency visit:https://www.fhfa.gov/Homeownersbuyer/MortgageAssistance/ Pages /Disa ster-Assistance.aspx

You may also contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to find out if you qualify for any hurricane related help with your mortgage or mortgage insurance. To contact HUD about disaster assistance visit: https://www. hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/ins/203h-dft or https://www. hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/nsc/qaho0121

TAX RELIEF

Taxpayers in affected areas may be eligible for tax relief from the IRS. To learn more about IRS assistance visit: https://ww w.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations.

DISASTER RECOVERY LOANS

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing various disaster loans to qualifying Floridians. For more information about SBA disaster loans visit:https://www.sba.gov/disaster-ass istance/. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides loans to qualifying individuals, businesses, and communities after disasters. For more information visit: https://www.usda.gov/topics/d isaster/storms, or contact the USDA office in Florida at: (352) 338-3400.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Floridians who are unemployed as a result of a disaster, and who are ineligible for regular state unemployment insurance, are encouraged to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through the U.S. Department of Labor. For additional information about DUA visit: https://workfo rcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/disaster.asp or contact the U.S. Department of Labor by phone at 1-866-487-2365.

HURRICANE RESPONSE HIRING

The U.S. Small Business Administration is hiring a variety of temporary positions located throughout areas affected by recent disasters. For more information visit:https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/hurricane-response -jobs -sba< /a>. For FEMA hiring visit: https://careers.fema.gov/hur ricane-workforce.

FEMA ASSISTANCE

For in-person assistance with storm related questions, visit your local FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. For a list of centers in your area visit: https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/ DRCLocator or call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) TTY: 1-800-462-7585.

Be aware of SCAMS: Federal and state workers never ask for or accept money, and always carry identification badges. There is no fee required to apply for or to get disaster assistance from FEMA, or the State of Florida. If you suspect fraud call FEMA’s Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or the Florida Attorney General fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

RESOURCES

Emergency Assistance 9-1-1

Local resources (food, shelter, childcare,) 2-1-1

Food, water, ice distribution https://www.floridadisaster.org/, 850-815-4001, TDD/TTY: 1-800-226-4329

County Emergency Management Offices https://www.floridadisaster.org /counties/

Shelters www.floridadisaster.org/sh elter-status/

Florida Highway Conditions: www.flhsmv.gov/f hp/traffic/live_traffic_feed.html, or dial 5-1-1 or *FHP (347)

Florida Elder Affairs Hotline 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337)http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/

Veteran Disaster Hotline www.va.gov, 1-800-507-4571

Disaster Distress Helpline (for emotional distress) 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746

Blue Tarp Roofs (Army Corps of Engineers) 1-888-ROOF-BLU

FEMA www.disasterassistance.gov, 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) TTY: 1-800-745-0243

Source: BILL NELSON OFFICES IN FLORIDA

Actions to Take When a Hurricane Threatens for Individuals & Business Owners

When a hurricane threatens your community, be prepared to evacuate if you live in a storm surge risk area. Allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.
Secure your home:
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows.
  • A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit and ready to install.
  • Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the pre-storm rush.
 Stayed tuned in:
  • Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office.
  • Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials.
  • Leave immediately if ordered!
If NOT ordered to evacuate:
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level during the storm.
  • Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
  • Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.
Stay informed. Visit www.floridadisaster.org to find Florida’s Division of Emergency Management. Text FLPREPARES to 888777 to receive updates via text or use the Florida Emergency Information Line 1-800-342-3557. For live updates on Hurricane Irma, follow the State Emergency Response Team @FLSERT on Twitter and Facebook. VISIT FLORIDA is also providing weather updates and official source links for visitors to keep up with the latest changes here.Register your business with FLVBEOC. Register to report your open/closed business status, complete a business damage assessment survey and request or offer resources. Businesses may also report their status to esf18@em.myflorida.com and via the Private Sector Hotline 850-410-1403.

Know before you go. For up-to-date traffic information, visit FL511.com or call 511. Use GasBuddy to find gas stations with fuel.

Learn re-entry requirements. Governor Scott has issued an Executive Order that rescinds all weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can be quickly brought to Florida. After the storm, individuals and businesses seeking to provide essential commodities and services to impacted areas will be allowed re-entry by possessing and presenting specific documentation to local officials. Learn what you need.

Provide emergency accommodations and have compassion for cancellations. Those seeking available lodging may find and reserve a room here. Reserve by brand here. During this emergency, lodging operators are strongly encouraged to waive cancellation fees and to not require minimum stays for evacuees. In preparation for FEMA’s potential activation of the Emergency Lodging Assistance program, lodging operators are encouraged to sign-up here.

Extend hospitality to pet evacuees. FRLA strongly urges its members, and the industry at large, to consider waiving normal pet restrictions and fees for evacuees seeking shelter and safety during this catastrophic storm. Search for pet-friendly lodging on BringFido.com or PetFriendlyTravel.com.

Follow power outages. Find a map of statewide power outages here. FPL customers can use the FPL Power Tracker map, and report or track outage information at www.FPL.com/outage or call 1-800-4-OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243).

Food safety tips. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, there may likely be power outages and flooding.  Both pose a risk to the integrity of food and water. For a guide to food safety during severe storms, visit the USDA or Florida’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants to learn guidelines for emergency recovery.

Free WiFi access. Comcast has opened more than 137,000 free Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the state for individuals in need, including non-Xfinity customers, to help residents and emergency personnel stay connected. Find a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots here.

Report price gouging. As the entire state of Florida is under a declared state of emergency, Florida’s price gouging law applies statewide. Learn how to comply and/or report violations online or via the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

Filing insurance claims. Florida’s Division of Consumer Services offers assistance to insurance consumers in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma by offering the insurance Consumer Helpline 1-877-693-5236Learn more.

For additional information and continued updates, visit FRLA’s Hurricane Resource Center for a comprehensive guide of tips on how to stay safe during the storm and how to recover and rebuild.

Most of all stay safe our Florida family, friends, colleagues and clients!
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Sources: AAHOA, Visit Florida, FRLA

Why do I need a Lien Search?

Recently, the Gainesville Sun reported that a couple could not get a permit from the city when they wanted to put a screen enclosure on their back porch. That’s because there was an expired permit on the property that was 10 years old. The couple has owned their home since 2010 and had no idea  that was the case.

The Sun says the issue was that a roofer had completed a partial shingle re-roof without getting a final inspection from the county to close out the permit. Because the company was still in business, they were eventually able to resolve the issue.

It’s important to note that the homeowners were VERY LUCKY in this story. Because in many open/expired permit cases people have to spend thousand to close out permits. In a lot of cases, the permit was not closed out because the work was done incorrectly and the new owner has to pay for these corrections.

Pretty much one-out-of-four of our real estate deals have an open permit, expired permit or municipal lien issue.

I know firsthand that a LOT of title pro’s in that area will say that they don’t need to do these searches, but THIS is a prime example of how you can be mis-led to believe your property is “free and clear.” Always obtain a municipal lien search before purchasing your real estate.

New Land Trust Law

Source: Professional Lien Search

ATTENTION: NEW FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESSES- BEWARE OF SCAMS!


scam1

A Florida company based out of Tallahassee, Florida, has been attempting to convince new business owners who have recently formed a new corporation or LLC, to send money by exaggerating to be involved in a vital step in the business formation process. This “company” has gone by other aliases such as the “Florida Center of Corporation,” and now currently operates under “United Business Services”

scam3

In the letter it states: “You have one step left to receive your Florida Certificate of Status”, they are instructed to complete their filing by filling out a stub and to “mail back to the corporations center with your payment of $47.00 (some recent mailings have said $47.99 or a similar amount) to complete your articles of organization certificate.” We urge caution because the correspondence is made deceptively like it is coming from a government agency. And note in the image here, that in very fine print, it states that “This is not a government agency.”

 

scam2

We classify this as an inappropriate deception of the Florida Department of State services because the only service United Business Services is providing is to obtain a Certificate of Status (or good standing) from the Secretary of State of Florida.  The state only charges either $8.75 (for an INC) or $5 (for an LLC) for this.  Furthermore, when we checked the address for the company, it came up as an empty office space which is available for rent. The company came up in no searches affiliated with that address, or any other.

 

If you have any questions as to the legitimacy of these letters, do not hesitate to contact your Florida Business Law Attorney as soon as possible.

Maintaining Accurate Records

files

Regardless of the size of a company, whether a small business or a large one, it should comply with its state law record-keeping requirements.

Here is a list of some of the important corporate documents to maintain:

– A copy of the corporation’s articles of incorporation or organization;

– Corporate bylaws or operating agreement;

– Organizational minutes;

– Annual reports;

-Minutes from any shareholder meetings;

-Maintain an updated list of all executives, employees, etc;

-Accurate accounting records; and

-Important Financial statements.

 

For a year-end business check-up, contact your Business Law Attorney today!

Do you have a social media policy in your company?

socialmedia

With the fast and dynamic expansion of social media, it has become a highly used tool in our daily life as well as in the workplace. It is a necessary means of development and something you cannot avoid.
Initially designed for friends to keep in contact with each other, it has also become a necessary business tool for companies to market their products and services, build relationships with prospective customers and maintain relationship with existing ones.
When it comes to employees utilizing social media in the workplace, a policy needs to be set in stone, so that everyone is actively aware of the things they post online.
A sample policy can include language as follows:
-Be aware of what you post, clients or your managers could be looking;
-Remember whatever you do post, will have an effect on your reputation as well as the firm.
-Be thoughtful and courteous of other people’s feelings.
We get so mixed up in the social media world, we tend to forget what we post online. Whatever you post, is not only within your friends, but has the chance of being shared. It is very common for friends and family to share other people’s posts.
As long as you educate your team on the do’s and don’ts in terms of social media, it will allow them to be mindful of the content that they post online. This in turn will give you a good night’s sleep, knowing your team are on the same social media page as you are.

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Toys For Tots Collection in Our Orlando Office

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, collecting toys for children during the winter holiday season is a great feeling, and we here at Gulati Law are a participating location for Toys for Tots. Come by our Orlando office- Gulati Law, to drop off your toy donation.

MISSION:
The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

GOAL:
The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

OBJECTIVES:
The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

ACTIVITIES:
The principal Toys for Tots activity which takes place each year is the collection and distribution of toys in the communities in which a Marine Corps Reserve Unit is located.  In communities without a Reserve Unit, the campaign can be conducted by a Marine Corps League Detachment or group of men and women, generally veteran Marines, authorized by Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to conduct a local Toys for Tots campaign.  Local Toys for Tots Campaign Coordinators conduct an array of activities throughout the year, which include golf tournaments, foot races, bicycle races and other voluntary events designed to increase interest in Toys for Tots, and concurrently generate toys and monetary donations.

We will also update you on our activities for Thanksgiving, and how to join us in giving back to the community!

Source: Toys for Tots

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