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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 8 Issue 3


LEASE BREAK PENALTIES, TERMINATION FEES, LIQUIDATED DAMAGES, FAILURE TO GIVE NOTICE FEES

Are they legal? Are they in your leases?  All property managers and regional managers need to examine their lease forms and procedures and see if these charges are creeping back into the lease or being charged to the resident. Some are legal, some are not.  Just because a lease comes from the out of state corporate office means nothing. Ask your Florida attorney NOW if you suspect your company may be charging something which could expose your company to significant lawsuits.

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UNDERSTANDING SMALL CLAIMS COURT

Much to your dismay, your problem resident Rick vacated his apartment home and left the place a complete mess. A security deposit of only $99.00 was collected under the lease. There were huge puncture holes in the living room wall, many walls of the unit were repainted in purple and bright yellow colors without your permission, and the one year old carpet is full of stains and may need to be replaced.   Your regional manager is livid; it is going to cost the landlord at least $2400.00 to repair the trashed unit.  She instructs you drive to the courthouse and file a lawsuit against Rick. You are told by an employee of the Clerk’s office that you will need to file a small claims court action.  You have no idea how that process works.   

Click here  to learn more about small claims court.

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ON-SITE EMPLOYEE RENTALS

The manager has decided to terminate an employee’s job.  The employee resides in an apartment on-site with his family.  When he terminates the employment, the manager also wants to terminate the employee’s lease and have the employee and his family vacate.  When he discusses termination with the employee, the employee claims he is entitled to continue with his lease at the discounted rental rate shown in the lease, even if his employment is terminated.  The manager is now worriedly searching the office to find the employee’s file.  How could the manager have avoided this problem?

Click here  to learn about handling on-site employee rentals and terminations.

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A PYTHON IN THE APARTMENT? – NO, IT IS ONLY A BOA

Most landlords have strict policies, procedures, addenda, deposits and fees when dealing with dogs and cats. What about more “exotic” animals? Do you want your residents to have snakes, reptiles, fish, mice, gerbils, spiders, hamsters, ferrets or rats as pets?  Most landlords only think of dogs and cats as pets, then ask us to make a resident remove the other pets. Where do you draw the line? The lease. If you are experiencing problems with “other” pets, please make sure your lease specifically addresses the issue, or you may be in for a surprise.

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FIRST CONTACT WITH THE RESIDENT

You advertise two pools in a magazine ad, but only one is completed, the fitness center is being remodeled, and the contractor just disappeared. The property will be undergoing a major rehab, which will be a noisy mess for about 2 months if you are lucky. The problem is that some residents moved in not knowing any of this. Now they want out of the leases, or worse yet, are threatening a lawsuit. You are angry, because these things were “out of your control”.  Before you even dream of having an application filled out, many other items must be carefully considered and disclosed to avoid misrepresentations, false advertising or unfulfilled promises. This example is just the tip of the iceberg.  Advertising and leasing is all about expectations and being on the same page.
 

Click here  for Part 1 of Advertising the Property and Dealing with Prospects.

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BANKRUPTCY SHENANIGANS

An owner tells you he is filing bankruptcy and wants you to hold the rent money you are collecting in your escrow account until the bankruptcy is over. Can you do this?  A tenant tells you that he is filing bankruptcy and wants to pay you the entire year right now in advance. That is a great deal you think. Can you do this? The answer is yes and yes, but expect serious repercussions if the bankruptcy trustee gets wind of these arrangements,  including possible bankruptcy court sanctions and being personally liable to return all money collected.   Never get involved with anything illegal that an owner may ask you to be engaged in. If you don’t feel right about it, get legal advice fast, and document your refusal to engage in the action.

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DO YOU MANAGE FOR FOREIGN OWNERS?

You are new to property management and have an owner from Canada. No big deal, right?  Wrong. The Internal Revenue Service requires strict compliance with documentation requirements, and special forms must be filed to avoid the 30% withholding requirements. Failure to comply could result in significant penalties and costs to your company. Are you aware of these forms and the special withholding requirements?
 

Click here  for “Reporting Procedures for Rental Agents” by Thomas C. Roberge and Company, CPAs who are experts in dealing with the foreign owner.

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU – Parking Issues For Commercial Tenants - Part 2

The economic downturn can have a direct and surprising impact on the tenant with regard to parking facilities. The commercial landlord may fail to maintain the parking areas, resulting in liability to the tenant. Possibly the parking areas will be used for special events by the landlord to generate income. Maybe the landlord will even sell or lease part of the parking area for another business, permanently taking away parking spaces, the parking spaces the tenant thought he was going to be able to utilize! Does your lease properly address these issues?
 

Click here  for “Part 2 of Parking Issues for Commercial Tenants” by Kevin F. Jursinski, Attorney At Law, to see if your leases are properly addressing this important subject.

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In this issue:

Lease Penalties, Termination Fees, Liquidated Damages

Understanding Small Claims Court

On-Site Employee Rentals

A Python in the Apartment?

Advertising the Property

Bankruptcy Shenanigans

Do You Manage for Foreign Owners?

Commercial Law and You

 

Commercial Law and You

April
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in April 2011!

22 - Good Friday

 

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

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