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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 9 Issue 5


FAIR HOUSING TESTERS ARE ON THE PROWL

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has given $4,200,000 in grants to various legal aid organizations to be used to enforce the Fair Housing Act through investigation, testing of alleged discriminatory practices and to educate housing providers, local governments and potential victims of housing discrimination about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. Fair Housing compliance is CRUCIAL, and you must get your Fair Housing education. Fair Housing laws can be violated by an innocent action or common but erroneous company policy. The key is to get proper education for you and your staff, create policies and procedures, and most importantly, ask for legal advice if you feel that you donít know an answer. Undercover Fair Housing testers are going to be hitting the pavement soon, and you DONíT want to get in trouble.

 

Click here  for the latest HUD Press Release.

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SUING A FORMER RESIDENT

Four months ago a resident broke her lease and moved out, owing a lot of money. Your property owner spent a significant amount of money retaining an attorney, filed a small claims court case, and got a judgment entered against the former resident for all past due rent and other amounts owed. Now this owner is calling you, angry that the collection attorney is telling him the resident is judgment proof. Even garnishing the wages of the former resident will not be a possibility due to something called the head of household exemption. Was it worth it for the owner to have hired an attorney?  Is the owner angry you gave the attorney referral? Is there a better approach?

 

Click here  to understand the difficulties of attempting to collect on a judgment for money damages.

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THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT

Last month your resident screening company advised you to decline two applicants applying to rent in your community because of some issues related to their credit reports. One applicant had a fraud alert on her report, while another applicant had a very poor payment history along with a low credit score.  The applicants were denied due to those reasons, and basic adverse action letters were sent.  Today you received a letter from an attorney representing the declined applicants. The attorney claims that a new law took effect which makes the adverse action notices you mailed out defective, and the attorney claims that denying an application due to the fraud alert is unlawful.  Will the applicants win if there is litigation?

 

Click here  to learn more about the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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THE WRIT OF POSSESSION FROM A-Z

The most important step in the eviction process is finishing the eviction up. While just about every property manager has at some point in time filed an eviction action, not all have finished up the eviction, as often the tenant vacates prior to the end the process. Often the end of the process is skipped or handled improperly, causing severe potential liability to management. The property manager must know all the steps of the eviction action and be aware of the many variables at the end of the road. Anything can and does happen at the end, and you must be prepared.

 

Click here  for an in depth examination of the Writ of Possession.

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COMMUNICATION IS CRUCIAL

You are not sure if your resident has vacated, so you needlessly file an eviction and waste money. One of your residents seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth leaving a full unit, and you have no way to contact him.  He is no longer employed at the work number you have for him, and no one at his former job is telling you anything beyond that.  You are at a loss. The problem is that the contact information you have gathered is insufficient and out of date. These days, people have so many ways of being contacted, but you are using the same old procedures from 20 years ago. Is it time for a reevaluation?

 

Click here  to see how you are shaping up and what you can do to improve your communication pathways.

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH - DANA CAUDELL

Dana Caudell is employed by Madison Apartment Group out of Philadelphia as the Regional Property Manager for the Florida portfolio. She has been with Madison for 18 months in this role, cultivating a fun and successful work environment for her teams. Dana takes great pride in her enthusiasm for the multifamily housing industry, and is very involved with teaching courses, including Fair Housing and Customer Service modules of the Certified Apartment Manager program (CAM) at the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO).  Danaís tenure in property management began in 1998 as a leasing consultant with AIMCO in South Carolina, later moving on to ZOM Residential Services and Altman Management. During her years in the industry, Dana received Altmanís Signature Service, Signature Sales, Best Controllable Expense/NOI awards, as well as the coveted Presidentís Appreciation Award. Most recently Dana was nominated by her property manager and won the AAGO Regional Supervisor of the Year Award. Dana believes strongly in education, holds a Florida LCAM license, and has obtained the CAPS designation through NAA. She is currently working on her CPM designation through the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). With her dedication to the industry, Dana currently is involved as a leader in the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando, serving on the Board of Directors and as Chair of Legislative Committee, is a Delegate to the Florida Apartment Association and is on the Executive Council and Chair of the Legislative Committee of IREM.   When Dana is not working, she enjoys boating with her husband Trey, 3-year old son Osten and 5-year old daughter Tori. Trey is a certified diver, and each year the family vacations in the Florida Keys for some fun in the sun with a hint of relaxation. If there is a spare moment to grab, Dana enjoys reading articles and books about history and law. Thank you for your service to the industry, Dana!!

 

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A BIG THANKS!!

We have been receiving great donations for our Laptop Computer and School Supply program in Costa Rica. Most recently the Pensacola NARPM Chapter, Jacksonville NARPM Chapter, Sarasota Manatee NARPM Chapter, Jordon McDowell of Exit Realty and Debbie Burkhardt of Coldwell Banker Premier Partners all made generous donations of supplies and money for the purchase of 6 laptop computers.  We are forever grateful for these life changing acts of kindness!


 

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USING THE PUBLIC RECORDS

Is your applicant in a hurry to move in? Are you having trouble verifying an applicantís current address? You just donít feel right; a few things are not adding up, but your screening company is giving you the green light. Can you dig any deeper? Sure can. Public Records from each Florida county provide a treasure trove of information about people. Criminal records, arrests, civil records, traffic cases, injunctions, restraining orders, evictions, foreclosuresÖ all this info is right at your fingertips and free. It just takes a little time to find out where and how to search. Email carol@evict.com for the links to any courthouse you request, so you can get a head start on how to look up applicants, residents and court cases.  We use it all the time, and so should you.

 

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Commercial Law and You

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

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

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