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Vol. 6 Issue 5


Probably the biggest news of 2009 will be that the eviction filing fees will be reduced. A special thanks goes out to the volunteers and staff of the Florida Apartment Association, the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers, and the wise legislators who realized the inequity in the dramatically high filing fee increase of 2008, and made this become a reality.  The filing fee change will save Florida landlords over $12 million dollars in hard costs and help Florida continue to be a place where our residents can have access to safe, affordable housing. Please show your thanks to the legislators who made this happen, and donate to APAC, the Florida Apartment Associations Political Action Committee. Without the Florida Apartment Association taking a lead role in this matter, the decrease would NOT have occurred. Note: This is not official until the Governor signs the Budget or May 30 (whatever comes first) as the Governor has veto power, but we do not expect a veto.

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You give the tenant the move-in inspection form and tell them to fill it out and get it back to you. Sounds easy, and over 50% of property managers do this. The problem is that it is the WRONG way to do it. Why would you let a tenant do your job, especially a job that if done wrong can have serious ramifications down the line? Do they know how to do it?   Will they even do it at all? Take control of the situation and do your inspections the proper way. “Easy” is not always “best”.

Click here  for more info on Move-In Inspections.

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Don’t have time to go to the post office, but are at your deadline for claiming all or part of the security deposit? There’s a new service from the United States Post Office: online certified mail.  Users can upload documents from their computer and mail those documents online.  Like all online services, there are good points and limitations.  It may be useful in property management, particularly in the certified mailing of the Notice of Intention to Impose Claim on Security Deposit required by Florida Statutes 83.49. 
Click here to read about one user’s experience with the service.

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The tenant leaves in the middle of the last month of his lease without paying for that month.  Fortunately, you have a security deposit equal to two months’ rent.  The lease provides for the automatic forfeiture of the security deposit for breach of the lease and for damages as provided under Florida law.  Your notice of claim states that the tenant has forfeited his security deposit. Will your lease clause hold up? Is it even legal?  Read further to see if you have any problems.

Click here to read about forfeiture of security deposits.

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The Chinese made drywall problem is not going away, and lawsuits are being filed all over the United States, especially in Florida. Tens of thousand of homes are affected and have Chinese drywall present in the home. While some large builders are removing and replacing the drywall, in most cases you will not know what to do when you discover the home you are managing has this problem.  If it is determined that Chinese drywall poses a health hazard, there may be serious liability imposed upon the landlord or property manager.

Click here for some further info on Chinese Drywall and some steps you can take.

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Unless you are legally required to send something by certified mail, don’t do it! Many landlords feel that by sending something by certified mail, this will ensure delivery. Quite the contrary.  Many tenants will refuse to pick up the certified mail. The tenant feels that by accepting the certified mail something “bad” will happen. They simply do not pick the mail up or refuse the mail. When mailing correspondence other than the security deposit claim letter, if you feel the burning desire to send it by certified mail or your attorney has advised you to use certified mail, always send the exact same thing by regular mail as well.

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Have you ever found a money order in your drop box with the payee section empty? It is as good as cash to a dishonest person, who may have this payment in hand and decide to put his or her name or a friend’s name as the payee and cash the money order. This form of theft is one of the most common types we see occur at apartment communities and real estate offices. Place a sign up in your office, send out a letter to all your tenants, or put a message in the apartment community’s newsletter. Notify your tenants that an incompletely filed out money order will NOT be accepted, provide them with a stamp in the office to make it easy to put your company’s name on the money order, and the first time you receive an incomplete money order, take it back to the tenant and explain your policy.   Don’t let someone else’s laziness result in theft on your property.

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU - Rental Recapture Provisions on Sale of Business And/Or Assignment of Leases

Your commercial tenant is going under and decided to sublet. Can you withhold consent? You gave your tenant a significantly discounted rent, and he is now subletting for more. Can you receive some or all of the difference? Careful lease drafting can and should be used to deal with these possibilities and even inevitabilities based on today’s market conditions.

Click here for some recapture and subletting  info by commercial law attorney Kevin Jursinski.

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Senior Regional Director for WRH Realty Services, Inc. has over eighteen years of experience in property management. She has a diverse portfolio that reaches across Central and South Florida. Linda knows the demands of this industry are great, but says that the rewards are bigger.

After graduating from Iowa State University, Linda’s first post-college job was with a planning agency in Iowa, where she wrote grant applications for public housing. Part of this process required her to work with architects and developers to ensure that the projects were built. Linda was a “one man show”, because once these projects were built, she was then charged with managing them. As this cycle continued Linda found that she enjoyed the management side of this process more than the application process.  She discovering that management was more than a job, it was the start of a promising career.

In the late 90’s Linda’s career led her to Central Florida where she received her Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation by the Institute of Real Estate Management. With a new area and new portfolio Linda decided to become involved with the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando, where she would later become the President. Her involvement began as a member of the board of directors, and she has since served in many different positions from 1996-2004.  Holding these different positions had provided the opportunity for Linda to hold positions on both state and national levels, as she was a Florida Apartment Association State Delegate as well as a National Apartment Association Delegate from 2002 through 2004.

While she continued to be actively involved with local, state and national associations, Linda also has been busy working throughout the state of Florida with a diverse portfolio of apartment communities from the management companies that she has worked for. Her knowledge and management style are assets to the companies that she has worked for, and as she celebrates five years with WRH, she has been recognized twice as regional director of the year.

Linda resides in Orlando, Florida and in her free time she enjoys learning and exploring different places. She is passionate about every aspect of her life and lives life to the fullest. A congratulations goes out to Linda for recently being nominated to the position of Secretary/Treasurer of the Florida Apartment Association.

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In this issue:

Filing Fees Reduced

Move-In Inspection Mess

Click2Mail Certified Mail

Forfeiture of Security Deposit

Chinese Drywall and You

Certified Mail Quick Tip

The Dangers of Money Orders

Commercial Law and You

Industry Leader of the Month




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