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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 7 Issue 8


THE SHARKS ARE CIRCLING

With the downturn in the economy, a new concentration area has developed by some attorneys: resident representation.  In busy times, most attorneys would not even take a call from a resident who had a problem with her property manager or was under eviction, but now attorneys are taking these cases with the hopes of not only getting an award of attorney’s fees, which is allowed by law, but also a “multiplier”, which can increase that award by 2 to 3 times the original amount.  Attorneys are looking for small technical deficiencies on notices and are successfully defending eviction actions. Your little mistakes that you got away with for years could now result in your company having to pay thousands of dollars to the resident’s attorney. When your eviction attorney appears “picky” and tells you that the Three Day Notice has to be redone, listen and learn how to do it correctly from now on.  Don’t get angry at your attorney; just do things correctly.

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REPAIRS AND RETALIATORY NON-RENEWALS

The owner does not want to renew the resident, because he is feeling "nickeled and dimed to death".  The owner thinks there are some valid repair requests, like the a/c repair.  Even then, the a/c company had to return four times to the unit for what they deemed unnecessary follow-up.  So they charged the owner for the extra trips.  The repair requests for minor items just keep coming and coming, such as squeaky doors, loose handles on the kitchen cabinets, etc.  The end of the lease term is only 60 days away.  The owner is hurting financially and expects the resident to continue to ask for repairs. The owner decides to non-renew the tenancy.  He knows that under Florida law, this is his right, and he does not need a reason to non-renew.  Could there be any problems?
 

Click here  to find out about the risk of a retaliatory non-renewal claim by the resident.

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CONDUCTING A MID-YEAR REVIEW

Soon the summer of 2010 will be over. Before we know it, 2011 will be rolling in, and 2010 will be in the past. Unfortunately, for many property managers, the same mistakes they made this year will continue into 2011.  Property managers face great challenges due to the poor economy, high taxes, fees, utility bills and other increased operational expenses. That is all the more reason to try and limit your exposure to lawsuits by changing your leases and addenda along with your policies and procedures. Guess what? It is easy! The fact that you are reading this newsletter tells us that you may be a cut above other managers who do not have the initiative to stay abreast of the law. Now follow through!

Click here  to make your early New Year’s Resolution.

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THE NEW CONDO/HOA LAW AND THE RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGER - PART 2

It has been two months now with condo and homeowners’ associations taking advantage of the new law which gives them the power to bypass the owner/manager and collect rent directly from the residents. Owners, residents and managers have been in a continuous state of confusion, as the residents have been receiving rent demand letters from the attorneys for the associations. However, this is not the only power that they have over the residents if the owner is delinquent, and these other powers may surprise you.  Associations have the power to deny residents access to amenities and limit the residents’ rights on the property, if the owner owes delinquent amounts to the Association. Who will the resident come to for answers? You, the property manager.

 

Click here  to learn about the non-rent collection related powers of the CONDO/HOA under the new law.
 

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MAINTENANCE STAFF TIP

Your resident catches you in the parking lot and tells you her a/c is broken. You tell her to call in a work order; she doesn’t, and then she uses the broken a/c as a defense in a subsequent eviction action. She tells the judge you knew the a/c was broken, and you tell the judge the resident never put in a work order. Will the judge care? Maybe not.  The judge may say you had “actual notice” and failed to make the repair. Possibly your company will lose the eviction. Your policy of only doing repairs when the resident puts in a work order is the wrong way to go. Be proactive, listen to your resident, take notes, and immediately coordinate the repair with the resident. Don’t wait for the resident to place the work order before you get your repair procedure in place with the resident.
 

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU –  Debt Obligations And Personal Liability on Guaranties with inartfully drawn leases

Currently there is a significant increase in the amount of commercial lease litigation that is taking place due to many tenants defaulting.  In commercial leases unlike residential, the lease is generally written so that the tenant is identified as an entity rather than an individual’s name.  In most instances, barring the entity being a significant national tenant or being substantially solvent, the landlord will require on such commercial lease that the tenant provide for a personal guaranty.  The problem is that the lease is drawn up improperly, and it becomes executed improperly, causing serious problems for the landlord.

 

Click here  to see if your leases properly reflect the responsible parties  by Commercial Law Attorney Kevin Jursinski.
 

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In this issue:

The Sharks Are Circling

Repairs and Retaliatory
Non-Renewals

Conducting a Mid-Year Review

The New Condo/HOA Law

Maintenance Staff Tip

Commercial Law and You

 

Commercial Law and You

September
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in September 2010!

Sept. 6 - Labor Day

Sept. 9 - Rosh Hashanah

 

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Law Offices of Heist, Weisse & Wolk, P.A.

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