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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 7 Issue 6


FREE ONLINE MARKET SURVEYS

The Florida Apartment Association (FAA) is now offering an online market survey system to all Property Managers, Regional Managers, and Owners. This means no more interruptions with these calls and no more faxing! They recently partnered with Orlando based MyRentComps.com to handle all of their online market surveys statewide. Now owners or property managers from Tallahassee to Key West can go to their local apartment association to update their market information. In the time it takes to walk to the fax machine or answer just one market survey call, they can be done giving out their information for the entire week! If managers own/manage several apartments in multiple associations, they can go to www.fl-apartments.org and click the market survey button. Next the user logs in to update their rents/occupancies and can then run a free market survey on up to 9 apartment communities surrounding their property. It’s that simple!
 

Click here for more info on myrentcomps.com.

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DO YOU HAVE A MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IN PLACE?

As we move into the summer and we still cannot see the light at the end of the recovery tunnel, it is a great time to pause and examine your property management systems, standard procedures or lack thereof. Are you using checklists for everything you do from application to collections or relying upon memory? Do you have a policies and procedures manual or are you just winging it? Most property managers perform their tasks the way they were trained to do it by their predecessor who may or may not have had any training or do it the “way it always has been done here”.  With no formal training in property management, mistakes are made over and over again and can become expensive. It is time to break the cycle and carefully look at the way things are being done, examine mistakes that are being made and implementing ways to them from occurring again.

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ABANDONMENT OF THE PREMISES

The rent is late and the landlord has had no response to the Three Day Notice that he posted.  The landlord opens the door to his rental and finds the resident gone.  Almost all the resident’s property is gone also.  The problem for the landlord is the “almost all”.  The resident left some things behind in addition to full garbage bags and some trash on the floor.  The landlord faces the recurring problem of determining if this resident abandoned the rental and the remaining property.  The landlord would like to avoid the expense of an eviction if possible.  How does the landlord decide?

Click here  to learn about the law and practicalities of abandonment of a rental unit.

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USING PUBLIC RECORDS TO SUPPLEMENT SCREENING

Hopefully by now you have come to your senses and are using a “screening company” rather than just obtaining a credit report and doing a criminal background check but is this enough? Do you know if your applicant is or was under eviction? Did they really get foreclosed on? Did they really have to move because of their prior landlord’s foreclosure?  The public records available to you for free have a wealth of information and you need to know how and when to use them.

 

Click here  to learn how to improve your  current screening activities.
 

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MILITARY TERMINATION OF LEASE

Curtis, one of your residents, has walked into the management office. Your leasing assistant tells you that Curtis would like to terminate his lease with no further rent obligations. His lease is not due to expire for another six months. You ask Curtis to step into your office so that you can discuss the matter. You politely inform him that he will be responsible to pay the rent until the apartment is relet. Curtis shakes his head, tells you that he will now be stationed in Germany, and that you will violate federal law and state if you do not allow him to break his lease. This is news to you! Is he correct?
 

Click here  to learn how to properly deal with the military termination.
 

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DEMANDING A CERTIFIED CHECK OR MONEY ORDER

Many property managers lose their patience when trying to collect rent, rightly so, and want to avoid taking a personal check on a late payment due to the risk of the check bouncing late in the month or into the next month. The manager boldly places wording on the Three Day Notice that “Payment must be made by Cashier’s check or Money Order only” . The problem though is that unless the lease agreement states that you can make this demand, you cannot.  Easy fix?  Do not put any extraneous wording on your Three Day Notice and if tempted, call your attorney who will see if your lease supports  a demand of rent in a restricted form.
 

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SILLY MISTAKE OF THE MONTH – THE SECURITY DEPOSIT AND RENT

A common mistake by a property manager is to think that a security deposit can only be used to pay for the physical premises “damages” a resident causes and NOT rent.  Owed rent is considered a “damage” and you can deduct rent that is owed from the deposit when you process it upon the resident vacating. While your lease may say that the deposit cannot be used for “rent”, this means that the resident cannot decide to use it for rent (as they often will try) but this does not preclude YOU from deducting owed rent from the deposit when making the claim.

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SUPREME COURT APPROVED LEASE CHANGES

If you are a real estate licensee currently using the Supreme Court Approved lease, please remember that on April 15, the revised version was published and you now must provide the resident with a full copy of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act Part II along with the lease.


Click here  to download your latest copy of the Landlord and Tenant Act.
 

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU –  The Effect of Commercial Foreclosures on Commercial Tenants PART I: Attornment and Non-Disturbance

The real estate market of 2010 has been generating a significant increase in commercial foreclosures which is affecting commercial tenants. When a commercial foreclosure is initiated, the lender initiates suit to foreclose out the interest of the owner of the subject property who is the commercial landlord. In the event of a commercial foreclosure, the commercial lender may have the opportunity to eliminate the interest of the tenant at the commercial property. The impact and effect on the commercial tenant is significant. The tenant could be exposed to having the leasehold interest foreclosed and losing occupancy especially if a tenant has a below market lease. Both the commercial landlord and tenant need to fully understand the effect of the attornment and subordination clause in a lease and have the proper wording in place.

 

Click here  for Part l "Attornment and Non-Disturbance" by Commercial Law Attorney Kevin Jursinski.
 

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In this issue:

Free Online Market Surveys

Management System

Abandonment of the Premises

Free Public Records for Screening

Military Lease Termination

Demanding Certified Check

Silly Mistake of the Month

Supreme Court Approved Lease Changes

Commercial Law and You

 

Commercial Law and You

July
Legal Holiday Alert

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

Monday, July 5 - Independence Day

 

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