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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 6 Issue 3


THE 2009 LEGISLATURE IS IN SESSION

The 2009 Florida Legislative session is in full swing with a number of bills directly related to property management filed and moving through the process.  On Tuesday and Wednesday March 24th  and 25th, Legislative Day’s were held with the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) and the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers (FARPM), well represented by their staff and members, including those in property management directly and the affiliate members who provide the goods and services to the industry. Session has just begun and we urge you to stay informed, get involved and most of all, contribute to the political action committees APAC and RPAC.  

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THE MISSING LEASE

Missing leases are a fact of life, whether through negligence or theft.  Whenever a business deals in as much paperwork as the apartment or home rental business does, misfiled, mislabeled or mistakenly destroyed paperwork, including leases, are bound to happen.  Not to mention the lease, and often the entire file, are taken by an employee for his benefit or the benefit of a friend.  How do you deal with these situations?

Click here  for some info on the Missing Lease.

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ACCUMULATED UTILITY BILLS, LATE CHARGES AND THE TENANT – CAN YOU COLLECT?

You just took over a property that has had 3 managers in the last 6 months. Needless to say things are a mess, and each day you find more money owed by tenants and inconsistencies in the rent records, receipts and especially the utility accounts and late charges. It is pretty clear that collection of these bills was the last thing on the prior manager’s priority list, but your company is now faced with tens of thousands of dollars in utility bills and a growing ledger full of late charges. Can you simply bill the tenant and get paid? Not so fast. Collecting this money will be a “process”. 

Click here for some collection tips.

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DON’T GUESS – STATISTICALLY MEASURE THE RISK OF LEASE DEFAULT

Many companies maximize property value and net operating income (NOI) by using rank-ordered risk scores to accept those applicants that are the best qualified candidates to meet their lease obligations and renewals. Companies using statistical lease modeling benefit by using a tool that incorporates deeper data and can better predict the unique payment behaviors.  Without a thorough picture of applicant history, operators needlessly admit those applicants that drive up skips and bad debt. Do you understand the difference? Are you focusing on credit alone?

Click here for some info on Statistical Lease Modeling.

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THE DECEASED PROPERTY OWNER – NOW WHAT

You have been managing the property for an elderly out of state investor when suddenly you receive word that your owner is deceased. The rent checks are still coming in, and normally you would deposit the checks, take out your commission and send the balance to the owner.  The owner’s son asks you to send the checks to his bank account. Knowing it is the owner’s only child, you oblige. To your surprise, four months later someone claiming to be an heir is demanding you send her the money. Conflicting demands? You may be in trouble now.

Click here for  some tips on dealing with the deceased owner.

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MANAGEMENT QUICK TIP – DISCLOSING A DEATH OR SUICIDE

You had a drug related killing or a suicide occur in one of your rental units. This is called a "stigmatized property". You had the unit cleaned by a certified company who deals in biohazards, crime scenes and bodily fluids, and there is no trace or evidence of the prior incident. Do you need to disclose this? Under Florida law, no disclosure is necessary, BUT if you fail to disclose, you will run the risk that your new tenant may find out and decide to break their lease. Will a judge be sympathetic to the tenant? It is anyone’s guess. Talk to your owner and attorney to decide how to proceed.

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LEASE SIGNING – WHO GOES FIRST

A common mistake among property managers is to sign the lease first and then give it to the tenant to bring home. The tenant never returns it to you and then you decide to non-renew. The minute the tenant receives the Notice of Non-renewal, the signed lease appears on your desk. The problem is that you already leased that unit out to someone else. What happened? You were snookered by the cunning tenant. Never sign the lease first and after signing, ALWAYS give a copy to the tenant.

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH – BRENDA NEEDHAM

Business Development Manager with First Place Management, Inc. located in  Jacksonville, Florida. Her primary responsibility is new business. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Brenda began her real estate career in 1998 as a sales agent, quickly switching to property management after seeing so many opportunities in the industry. The desire and ability to service many customers and manage one of their most expensive assets was exciting, and bringing it all together is always challenging.  She describes property management as a job with many moving parts. Brenda knew property management would be her passion.

Continuing to serve on various committees and holding leadership positions while giving back many hours to her community and the property management industry, she is an active member with Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, NEFAR, the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers, FARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, NARPM, and the local Jacksonville chapter Northeast Florida Association of Residential Property Managers, NEFARPM. 

Brenda was nominated NEFAR Property Manager of the Year in 2005 and more recently in 2008.  She is well known for mentoring other professional property managers and is very conscientious with regard to ethical and professional issues.  When she takes time off she is in Orlando spending quality time with her son James, daughter-in law Nadine and baby Nikolis.  Go Brenda!!

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In this issue:

2009 Legislature Session

Missing Lease

Can You Collect

Statist. Risk of Lease Default

Deceased Property Owner

Disclosing a Death

Lease Signing

Industry Leader of the Month

 
   

April
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in April 2009!

10 - Good Friday

 

USEFUL LINKS:









 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

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