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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 9 Issue 1


WE NEED YOUR IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS!

Our Legal Email Newsletter has gone out each month without fail since October of 2004 providing hundreds of legal articles and thousands of pages of information, forms and notices, all for free. It is now sent to over 13,000 people, with many signing up each month! We need your suggestions on what you would like to see us provide to you.  Send us an email at info@evict.com with topic ideas and format suggestions, and remember that most of what you read on www.evict.com can be reprinted with permission from us in your local association print or email newsletter. Just email us at articles@evict.com for permission guidelines.

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IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR LEGISLATIVE DAYS

Last month, we encouraged you to sign up for the Florida Apartment Association’s Legislative Days (FAA). There are important bills in the works.  It is NOT too late. The dates are February 21 and 22. NARPM members are invited to the FAA February 21 event as well, but registration is a must!

Click here  for more info and to register!

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TOWING – AN IN DEPTH LOOK

Last week, one of your residents barged into the management office, and he was furious. His car was towed, as he parked in a space that was intended to be used only by visitors and guests of the apartment community. Your towing company assured you that the proper signage under Florida law was in place, making it clear that unauthorized vehicles would be towed. You told the resident that the problem was his now to deal with, and that he should leave your office. Today, you received a fax from an attorney. She is demanding proof in the form of pictures that your resident had parked illegally. The towing took place late at night, so no pictures were taken. The attorney also points out that the lease does not specify what is considered unauthorized parking of vehicles. Will your company lose in court over this matter?

Click here  to learn more about how to deal with towing of residents’ vehicles.

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SATELLITE DISHES

Earlier this month, you were transferred to a new apartment community by your company. When you arrived, you could not believe how the prior manager failed to enforce company policies and procedures. When walking the grounds of the apartment community, you noticed an abundance of satellite dishes improperly installed on the residents’ patios, on the walls of the buildings and on the common area grounds in violation of the rules and regulations of the lease. It turn out that with regard to many of these residents, management has been accepting rent for years with knowledge of these lease non-compliances.  After warning the residents that this could not continue, last week you simply removed all of the satellite dishes installed within the common areas. Did you just make a huge mistake? Can your company be sued for significant amounts due to your actions?

Click here  to learn more about taking action on unauthorized satellite dishes.

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PRIZE PROMOTIONS

Applications have been down the past several months. The manager decides to hold a promotion in the community to increase the number of applications for apartments.  The prize is a surround sound audio system.  If a prospect completes and submits an application, he or she is entered in the contest.  A prospect decided not to apply, but asked for an entry form.  The manager explained that the contest is only for prospects that submit applications.  The prospect said that is illegal and threatened to report the manager to the State. Is the manager’s promotion legal?

Click here  to be safe in Prize Promotions.

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PACKAGE DELIVERY DILEMMAS

Your company is keen on customer service, so you and your staff gladly sign for deliveries. The problem is that someone is keen on stealing, and one of the packages your office signed for disappears, and of course it is extremely valuable. Problem? You bet. One of your residents gets 5 deliveries a day. Your assistant manager now essentially has become your resident’s “assistant”. Problem? You bet. Does your company have a system in place to deal with the inevitable problems caused by accepting deliveries for residents?

Click here  to learn how to protect yourself while accepting deliveries.

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THE SURPRISE FAIR HOUSING VIOLATION REQUEST

Often single family homeowners will ask their property manager to place clauses in the lease, such as “no children allowed”, or request that a release or indemnification clause be put in the lease in the event a child gets injured or drowns in the pool, lake, river or canal. While the “no children” request is obviously a “no go”, the pool release or indemnification request problem is harder to explain to the owner. Simply put, you cannot try to take away the right that someone has to sue just because a child may potentially get injured or drown. This is a clear cut violation of Federal Fair Housing laws. If you get this request and the owner will not let up, even after it is explained to the owner, you need to consider dropping the owner, explaining that you did so because you refuse to discriminate.

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PERSONAL PROPERTY STORAGE BEFORE OCCUPANCY

Occasionally an individual will sign a lease for occupancy at a future date and request that he be allowed to store some personal property in the unit or garage prior to taking occupancy. Is it a good idea? Doesn’t sound too bad, but it is fraught with dangers. Sometimes though, in an effort to save a deal, something like this will be allowed to occur. We have to expect the potential that the individual may not move in, or that something could happen to the personal property. The property manager and landlord must be protected from these possibilities, so the proper form should be used. Email us, and we will send you our latest form to deal with pre–occupancy personal property storage.

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NON-RENEWAL NOTICE QUICK TIP

Residents who are non-renewed for whatever reason often become angry. They feel it is not fair or it is wrong that they do not have the choice to stay for another year. The method of non-renewing, be it regular mail, certified mail, hand delivery or otherwise may be governed in the lease document. Often the resident denies receiving the Notice of Non-renewal.   We strongly recommend that when you non-renew a resident, you go above and beyond the lease requirements and serve the Notice of Non-renewal by regular mail, certified mail, hand delivery and posting on the premises. If you really want to go the extra mile and feel a resident may deny receiving the Notice of Non-renewal, use a private process server. Feel free to call us if you need a recommendation on one in your area.

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU: REDUCE THE RISK

Commercial leasing agents are exposed to the risk of lawsuits on a daily basis.  Without careful planning, the money earned by commissions can be lost to money judgments and even attorney’s fees awards.  The liability is substantial because of the large sums of money involved in commercial transactions, so precautions must be taken to reduce the leasing agent’s exposure.  Although the risk of a lawsuit cannot be eliminated, it can be substantially reduced and defrayed through the proper use and preparation of listing agreements, contracts and other documents.  Are you aware of the risks, and are you taking the precautions to protect yourself?

Click here  to see “How to Reduce the Risk” by attorney Jason Holtz of Kevin F. Jursinski and Associates.

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February
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in February 2012!

Feb. 20 - Presidents' Day

Commercial Law and You

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

Copyright 2004-2012. All Rights Reserved.

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

17264 San Carlos Blvd Ste 308 Ft Myers Beach, FL 33932 (Principal Address)
Available by appointment at:

2451 N McMullen Booth Rd., Ste. 244, Clearwater, FL 33759
37 N Orange Ave Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801

Phone: 1-800-253-8428     Fax: 1-800-367-9038