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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 5 Issue 8


2008 FLORIDA APARTMENT ASSOCIATION (FAA) CONVENTION A GREAT SUCCESS

Despite Tropical Storm Fay, the Education Conference and Trade show at the Omni in Celebration was well attended and packed with fun, information and educational opportunities for those in the multi-housing industry. We urge you all to be a member of and get involved in your local apartment association. These tough times demand we all work together as a cohesive group in legislation and all issues impacting the stock of affordable housing in Florida.

Click here to  find your local apartment association.

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YOUR TENANT IS IN THE SLAMMER

You have not received rent for the month, go out to the property to serve your Three Day Notice, and the next door neighbor informs you that the tenant is in county jail. The property is full of belongings, and the tenant’s car is parked in the driveway. Can you evict? Should you post the Three Day Notice on the door? Do you want your tenant to come out of jail and find he has been evicted and everything he owns is gone? Not good, eh?

Click here for more info on dealing with the incarcerated tenant.

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RENT TO ME, I WAS FORECLOSED ON

Would you rent to an applicant who told you he was foreclosed on? Probably. After all, he just got in over his head, and if the mortgage company trusted him in the beginning, so will you. The problem is that the tenant knows you have a soft heart for this type of story and may simply make it up. If an applicant claims to have been foreclosed on, investigate it thoroughly and demand proof from the court.

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GOING OVERBOARD A BIT?

Landlords and property managers are always trying to increase revenue. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Being a landlord is a tough business, profits have decreased, and liability is always on the rise. Unfortunately, many landlords and property managers are doing things now which may or may not be considered illegal by some. Word spreads quickly among associations, landlord groups, and from training classes, and a novel idea that one company has implemented often spreads like wildfire. Are these new charges or practices legal, or can they result in serious and expensive lawsuits? Is it legal just because “everyone is doing it”, or you were “told” it was legal by a non-lawyer?
 

Click here to see what is happening out there and choose for yourself.

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SHORT SALES AND THE LEASE

Many troubled property owners are selling their properties through ”short sales”, in which the bank agrees to a lower payoff amount to facilitate the sale. Often there is a tenant in the unit. Does the lease survive a short sale? You bet. A short sale is simply another form of a sale of a property, and unless there is a termination on sale clause in the lease, the lease must be honored.

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A SECURITY DEPOSIT PRIMER – PART 2 - INITIAL DISCLOSURES

Florida law requires a landlord to inform the tenant about several aspects of the security deposit and advance rent.  A failure to provide the information is a violation of the statute and could be the basis for a tenant’s lawsuit against the landlord.  Knowing what to disclose and when to disclose is key to starting a tenancy on the right foot. 

Click here for Part 2 of attorney Cathy Lucrezi’s series on Security Deposits.

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FAILING TO TURN OFF THE UTILITIES

It will happen. The tenants move in, fails to get the utilities put in their own name and then you or the property owner gets the surprise bill. Your first instinct is to call the utility company and tell them to take it out of the owner’s name ASAP. Problem is that this would result in the tenant’s utility being shut off. Fair? Sure, but also illegal. Proper steps taken by the property manager can avoid this potentially expensive problem. 

Click here  to see how to deal with the utility issue.

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU - The “Pith of The Lease” and What It Means To Commercial Landlords and Property Managers
                                                                 By Kevin Jursinski, Attorney at Law

In today’s troubled economic times, there is a rash of lawsuits being initiated by contractors against tenants for leasehold improvements and tenant build outs. If the landlord fails to properly protect its interest as to the premises, the landlord’s real property interest may be subject to a construction lien claim under Florida law by the contractor who was not paid by the tenant.  Is your client protected?

Click here for info on how the lease agreement can protect your client from unwanted consequences of a tenant build out.

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THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - WELCOMING DISABLED APPLICANTS                                                           By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

All landlords want to place tenants into units that will best suit a tenant’s needs.  After all, that helps make a happy tenant (meaning rent is always paid) and a happy community (meaning neighbors aren’t griping about each other).  Sometimes, with the best of intentions, a landlord tries to make sure that a disabled applicant will be happy with a particular unit.  What questions can he ask?
 
Click here  to see how you are Welcoming Disabled Applicants.
 

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In this issue:

FAA Convention

Tenant In The Slammer

Rent to Me, I Was Foreclosed On

Going Overboard a Bit?

Short Sale And The Lease

Security Deposit Primer - Part2

Failing to Turn Off the Utilities

Commercial Law and You

Fair Housing Corner

 
 

September
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude these Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in September  2008!

1 - Labor Day

30 - Rosh Hashanah

 

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