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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 11 Issue 2


THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

Sometimes after we have filed an eviction, we find out that a client “withheld” certain information from us that ends up having a serious impact on the case.  Of course, most clients claim that it was unintentional or an accident, and that they simply forgot to tell us some crucial little factoid about the situation. Withholding information will not make your eviction more successful, no matter how good your attorney is. In fact, it could cause you to not only lose a case, but cause you to become embroiled in a complex mess.

 

Click here  to see some of the information we need from you before we file an eviction.

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FLOOD INSURANCE NEWS

Many property owners were facing massive flood insurance increases based upon 2012 legislation which was aimed at raising artificially low flood insurance rates and making them more in line with the actual risk of flooding. Some homeowners received bills up to 800% higher than the previous year’s bill.  Thankfully, we can breathe somewhat of a sigh of relief, as what was known as the misguided Biggert-Waters Act has been amended, but rates will still be increasing, especially on rental properties and second homes. When educating your property owners as to costs of ownership, advise them to set aside up to 25% more a year for flood insurance due to the new legislation.

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THE “NEW LIGHT BULBS”

Many property managers will charge the resident for burnt out or missing light bulbs. For the most part, most residents have been pretty diligent at making sure the bulbs in a home work, and they replace the burnt out bulbs. Now things have changed a bit. The typical 60-watt bulb that was $1 now is being replaced by law with the $6 LED bulb or the awful curly florescent bulb.  The 65-watt recessed light bulb is running $16 at the big box stores. Will the resident replace these, or will you be the one footing the bill? You may want to begin addressing this in the lease agreement.

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MAINTENANCE MONEY SAVING – SHOWER HEADS!!

So your resident calls you up. No water pressure from the shower. They have been putting up with it for months, but now it is terrible. Your plumber goes out, and $100 later it is fine. The problem? Dirt, sediment, and sand in the shower head. An avoidable expense? You bet, but you need to have your handyman check this when you do the move-in inspections. More owner money is wasted because of the failure to check the most basic things in the rental. Want to anger a resident or lose an account? Ignore these little items that add up in cost and aggravation.

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DANGERS AND DIFFICULTIES OF EVICTING SERVICEMEMBERS

Carl, one of your residents, was recently ordered to deploy to the Middle East.  Carl is in the Army. You tried to contact him last week because he is way behind in paying rent, but you were unable to determine his location.  Yesterday, out of the blue, he called you and said that he cannot pay the rent, and he warned you that you could go to jail if you do not follow all the laws protecting active duty military personnel. He is willing to sign an agreement to vacate, but the regional manager did not approve the request due to the length of time Carl wanted.  Are you able to evict him? Could you really end up in jail if the eviction is not handled properly? Does it make sense to sign an agreement to vacate?

 

Click here  to learn how to handle the dangers and difficulties of evicting servicemembers.

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TERMINATION OR INTERRUPTION OF THE RESIDENT’S UTILITY SERVICES BY THE PROPERTY MANAGER AND OTHER PROHIBITED ACTIONS

Last week, Henry, a current resident, came into your office. He informed you that his water had been shut off and demanded that you remedy the problem by having the water service turned back on. He also admitted that he had failed to pay his water bill that had been sent to him by the water utility provider. You told him that it was his problem to fix, not yours. Yesterday, you received a nasty, threatening e-mail from the resident’s attorney. She told you that the landlord committed a prohibited practice and must pay a three-month rent penalty, because the water bill was also in the landlord’s name as required by the county. Does this resident have a basis to sue the landlord? Could this possibly be true?

 

Click here to learn how to avoid liability in connection with the termination or interruption of the resident’s utility services.

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THE LAW AND COPYING MILITARY ID

It is common practice and even recommended by most attorneys that the manager makes a copy of the ID of a prospect, applicant and/or resident.  We wrote an article on this in the March 2008 issue of the Newsletter.  A person may come to you without a driver’s license, and you of course will ask for some sort of government issued ID. After all, you need to confirm the person in front of you is not in fact some other person than who that person claims to be.  There is an interesting and often ignored law that you MUST know, and that is the law regarding copying military ID.
 

Click here for a surprising article on military ID.

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH – STACEY STUART

Stacey Stuart is an experienced multi-site community Manager for the Bainbridge Companies.  With over 15 years of experience in the multi-family housing industry, she is currently responsible for overseeing 486 apartments for two separate communities in Sarasota, Florida.  Stacey has been heavily involved with her local apartment association, where in addition to serving on several committees, has served as president for four consecutive years.  Her countless hours and effort within her local association earned her the honor of volunteer of the year four separate times.  She has also been honored by the Tri-City Apartment Association as Property Manager of the Year, and her properties have been awarded Community of the Year multiple times. Stacey’s involvement extends to the state and national level, where she currently serves as the President of the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) and a Delegate of the National Apartment Association (NAA).  She has also served as both the Education Conference Chair and Legislative Chair for FAA.  Her civic involvement included a past membership with The Junior League of Sarasota, where she served on the marketing committee and was involved with several community projects.  Stacey holds a bachelor degree from Florida State University in Family and Child Sciences.  She has a strong commitment to professional education, and holds both the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) designation and the Certified Apartment Supervisor Portfolio (CAPS) designation.  In addition, she has completed the FAA Leadership Lyceum program. When Stacey is not working, she enjoys boating with her husband Scott and her 2-year old daughter Payton.  She enjoys wine tasting and fine dining.  Stacey is also a huge Florida State football fan: “Go ‘Noles!”

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NEW MATERIAL FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER ISSUE 4

Most members of the various local apartment associations are familiar with our Q & A Columns that appear in their monthly or bi-monthly newsletters. We provide one for your local NARPM Chapter, Association, Board of Realtors or property management group. Feel free to publish the Q & A as you see fit, and we are always open to ideas for questions and topics!
 
Click here  for Issue #4.

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Commercial Law and You

Legal Holidays
in
April and May

Don't forget to exclude these Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in April and May 2014!

04/18 - Good Friday

05/26 - Memorial Day

 

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

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