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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 12 Issue 1


NAN CAVARRETTA

On January 12, 2015 the world lost an amazing individual many of you were able to get to know and love over the years. A mother, sister, wife, teacher, mentor, inspiration, companion, supporter and most importantly, a friend, Nan Cavarretta touched many lives inside and outside the rental housing industry in so many ways. Nan had many “best and dearest friends” which is how she would introduce them to you. She always made you feel special and took a personal interest in so many people throughout their lives.  Nan knew so many people nationwide, and if you had the privilege of knowing her, she probably touched you in many ways, leaving a lasting impression on your life.  A Memorial Fund will soon be set up by the Florida Apartment Association in honor of Nan and to preserve her legacy.

 

Click here  for her official obituary, and click here for the flyer with info about the Celebration of Life scheduled for February 21 in Orlando.

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ON WHAT DAY TO END THE LEASE

Most leases end on the last day of a given month, and this is the preferred way it is done.  However, some property managers like to end the lease on an earlier date, either at the request of the resident, to make the lease an even one year, or to give the manager time to prepare the unit for re-rental for a 1st of the month rental. Seems logical, but this approach can cause problems.  If you look at a typical lease, it usually has a requirement that the resident give a certain number of days’ notice to non-renew, or requires a certain number of days’ notice to be given before the end of a lease. If the lease ends on a date prior to the end of the month, this can cause all kinds of confusion. On top of that, if a lease ends on an earlier day of the month, the resident will only need to pay a prorated amount of rent, which again causes confusion with amounts and late fees.  Stick to the end of the month as the date to end a lease, and avoid a lot of headaches and confusion.

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PROPERLY EXECUTING CORPORATE LEASES AND GUARANTY AGREEMENTS

Your district manager has been pushing you to improve your occupancy percentages. A company called SKAMR, Inc. signed 14 leases with you three months ago, and you were ecstatic. Life was good, as rent was paid on time until a few weeks ago. You had never heard of SKAMR, Inc., so you required the president of that company to sign a guarantee of lease, and he was agreeable to do so.  You just confirmed with the Florida Secretary of State that SKAMR, Inc. does not exist, and you were sickened when your attorney told you that the personal guarantee is worthless, because the owner’s corporate title was listed. How could you have prevented this?  Do you have a company policy on corporate leases?

 

Click here  to properly execute corporate guarantee agreements and leases.

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THE EVICTION FLOWCHART

Many property managers send the evictions off to their attorney, the case is filed, and eventually the resident vacates, either by voluntarily leaving, or being required to leave involuntarily when the sheriff knocks on the door and issues an ultimatum.  What really happens though?  How does the process work?  Reading, understanding and keeping the “Eviction Flowchart” handy can take some of the mystery out of the process, help in planning, and make you a more informed manager.

 

Click here  to download the “Eviction Flowchart”.


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LAUREN’S KINGDOM

Many of you know Ron Book, the lobbyist for the Florida Apartment Association (FAA). His daughter, Lauren, is an internationally renowned child advocate and has written her first book for children. Set in the fanciful backdrop of a young girl’s imagination, the book empowers caregivers to discuss the important, but often danced around, topic of personal safety with their children. The book tells the story of little Lauren, who lived with her loving family in a small stone house by the sea. Her radiant smile and sweet disposition warmed the hearts of everyone she met, and she loved to play pretend, but things changed the day a new babysitter came into little Lauren’s life.  With the help of her best friend, Rodney, Lauren finds the courage to use her voice and face her fears. Together, Lauren and Rodney learn an important lesson for children everywhere: “If you’re choking back tears and your heart’s filled with fears…You know very well, it’s OK to tell.”

 

Click here  to pre-order your copy of Lauren's Kingdom.

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DISCLOSING YOUR PRINCIPAL

Sometimes the owner or a property management company wants to “hide” their identity from the resident.  The purpose they feel is to protect themselves, the owner, or to keep the resident from contacting them directly. While this may seem logical and safe, it puts the agent or management company in danger. If you hide your owner or “principal”, and there is a dispute, you may end up having to “stand in the shoes” of the owner and be held liable, as if you were the actual owner. In the multi-family setting, the owner is often found with a properly registered fictitious name, and in the single family setting, you always want to put the owner’s name on the lease agreement. You can also state on the lease that you are the agent, but hiding the owner or putting your company’s name down as the landlord when you are not really the owner of the property could get you in a serious mess in the event of a legal dispute.    

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YOU MEAN I CAN’T USE THAT ROOM

Your owner tells you that one of the bedrooms, closets, shed, storage area, cabinet or area of the house is not to be used by the resident. You show the home and forget to mention this to the resident. The resident then moves in and does not have access. You get the phone call. Is the resident entitled to have access? Yes. Unless an area, item or personal property of the owner is specifically excluded in the lease agreement, the entire premises can be used by the resident. Always be aware of this, and always ask the owner prior to renting if they intend that anything is off limits to the resident, or you will have a lawsuit or a dispute on your hands.

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HEIST, WEISSE & WOLK FACEBOOK PAGE

While our firm is not extremely active on Facebook or other social media, each week we post a Q & A addressing common issues, as well as announcing upcoming classes or important developments. Keep an eye on it, LIKE the page, and check it each week. We are always open to suggestions and try to give our clients what they want and need.

 

Click here to be directed to the Heist, Weisse & Wolk Facebook Page.

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THE CURABLE NONCOMPLIANCE – PART 3

The vast majority of noncompliances with which a property manager must deal are termed “curable”. Residents either need to start doing something they are supposed to be doing under the lease or law, or stop doing something they are not supposed to be doing under the lease or law. Each noncompliance is unique in its own way, requiring the proper wording on the Seven-Day Notice of Noncompliance with Opportunity to Cure. If not cured, the landlord will need proper proof to proceed to termination and a possible eviction action. This is Part 3, where we examine three more specific, curable noncompliances in depth, notices, proof issues, and the action plan for the property manager.

 

Click here for Part 3 – Curable Noncompliances.

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SMOKE ALARMS – THE NEW FLORIDA LAW

After a number of years of unsuccessful bills in the Florida Legislature, finally a bill addressing smoke detectors has passed into law.  Florida Statute Section 553.883 governs what the property manager or owner must do under certain situations with regards to smoke detectors.

 

Click here to see how the new Smoke Detector Law may apply to you.

 

 

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IS EMAILING THE RESIDENT OK FOR NOTICE??

Now that almost everything is emailed, many of our clients ask us if they can email the resident things like inspection notices, 3-day notices, notice of a change in banks and the like. Unfortunately, while this method is easy and effective, it is not yet allowed or provided for by Florida law.  In most cases, notices must be sent by regular mail or hand delivered. If you want to use email as a backup, this is great, but it cannot yet be the primary means of getting a message across.

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“I NEVER GOT THAT NOTICE!”

We have all heard it before. The resident claims a notice was not received, and as usual, it was an important one such as a notice of non-renewal or a 3-day notice. You sent it by certified mail to be sure the notice is received, but there it is on your desk returned to you undelivered.  Did the resident get notice? Now you are in a pickle.


Click here for some best practices with serving notices.

 

 

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IT’S ABOUT THE PERSON, NOT THE ANIMAL

Many of our clients either ask for proof that a dog is a “certified service animal”, or they are given “proof” of certification by the applicant or resident. Actually, there is no such thing as “certification”.   Most of what you see is fake and is obtained off the internet. Sure, some animals are specially trained, but there is really no universal certification.  It is not the animal that is the issue, it is the person. If the person provides proof that the animal is needed to help with that person’s disability or some other occupant’s disability, this is enough. Not sure? Is the condo association giving you a problem? Call your lawyer ASAP.

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Commercial Law and You

Legal Holidays
in February

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in February 2015!

02/16 - President's Day

 

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Monthly e-newsletter of the
Law Offices of Heist, Weisse & Wolk, P.A.

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

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