Q: The house next door was recently sold, and there is construction going on day and night.
The workers are loud and have no consideration for our privacy. We have not felt comfortable spending time in our yard due to the noise and being watched.
They still have a lot of work to get done. What can we do?
A: While your neighbors may renovate their new home, they must do so in a way that does not ruin your enjoyment of your property.
Like most problems with a neighbor, your first step is to have a polite but firm conversation with them. Ask the work to be limited to specific times and that the workers show more consideration for the folks living nearby.
Since the home was recently purchased, you may need to check your county’s property appraiser website to discover who bought it.
If this approach does not work, or you cannot locate the new owners, try to speak with the construction company’s management.
If you live in a planned community, your association will likely have rules when construction can occur. Contact your community manager to have them step in and resolve the problem.
Most municipalities have rules about when construction work can be performed. It is typically allowed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, with more limited hours on Saturday and no construction at all on Sundays and holidays.
The times can vary by city and even neighborhood, so you will need to check with the building department to confirm your community’s allowed times.
If the construction company is breaking these rules or otherwise misbehaving, you can complain to the building and code department. In my experience, most municipalities are good at dealing with these complaints.
Q: I bought a house with my mom two years ago because she did not qualify for the entire home loan based on her income and credit score.
The first year I helped with mortgage payments and told her before purchasing the house, I would only help for one year, so she would have to find another income source. Since then, she was late on her payment twice, which has affected my credit.
She cannot qualify to refinance and is refusing to sell the house.
How do I get my name off the mortgage and title?
A: Unfortunately, I deal with this scenario often in my law practice.
You and your mother both own the property and are both responsible for it.
You are also both borrowers under the mortgage loan and equally responsible for making the payments. Your lender will not be concerned with any understandings you may have had with your mother.
You cannot remove yourself from the mortgage loan unless your lender agrees, which will not happen.
You can deed your half of the property to your mother, but this would leave you in the unenviable position of owing money on a home you do not own. That is not a good situation to be in.
I recommend that people who are not married to each other who will own property together sign a contract detailing their understanding of each person’s roles and responsibilities.
Unless you can talk your mother into selling or refinancing the loan without you, you will have no choice but to take her to court to force her to either buy you out by paying off the loan or having the property sold on the open market. This type of lawsuit is called a Partition and is a typical result of situations such as yours.
I am sure that you do not want to sue your mother, but if she does not cooperate with you on this, you will be left with no other reasonable choice.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.