Hot Topics for a Chilly Week

Dear Members,

First of all, IT'S COLD!  I think it's cold everywhere in Florida.  Personally, I love it but many do not share my sentiment.  So to warm you up, here are a few things to note.

Cyber fraud.  Let's start off this week's blog posting with a warning and some advice about cyber fraud attempts to divert money coming and/or going in connection with a closing.  I know we nag and nag on how important it is to stay diligent about the threats and risks.  It is so important to have a plan so that you know exactly what to do when your transaction is a target and monies are mistakenly wired to a criminal.  One of our Members had a recent experience that can be best described as a "very close call" and only because the Member was prepared and knew what to do was the money returned.

Here's what happened.  A buyer was sent fraudulent wire instructions for the Member's trust account.  The buyer wired the money…..and THEN called the Member's office to verify the instructions.  Upon realization that the account information was incorrect, the Member immediately notified the Secret Service and reported the theft on the IC3 website.  Two days later, the Member told us that the FBI/Secret Service had been able to retrieve the money……but only because the Member acted so quickly to report the crime.

Whew!  These stories are real and you could be the next target or victim.  Please review your procedures with your entire staff for the handling of all type of wires.  Have a "quick action" plan in place.  You can find all of the information you need to help you with this on our website at

Legislation.  The 2022 legislative session is in full swing and there are a lot of bills in the system that we are watching.  We keep being told that very few bills will make it across the finish line but we look at every bill as if it will make it through… least for now.  One bill that might be of interest to you is HB 537.  It allows a landlord to provide the tenant with the option to pay a fee in lieu of a security deposit.  The fee can be collected on a monthly or other schedule agreed to by the parties.  Lots of disclosure requirements are in the bill.  If you represent landlords or tenants, you might want to take a look at this bill.  Here is a link to the version as of 1/28/22.

Fund Assembly. Registration is open, so grab early bird pricing now on Fund Assembly, June 16 – 18, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Seems like ages since we’ve been together, doesn’t it? I hope you’ll join us in person, or you can attend live online. It promises to be a stellar event as always. Get the details and register here. Remember to book your hotel too.

That's all for this week.  Stay safe and let us know how we can help you.

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel