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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 10 Issue 6


NARPM, FAA, IREM

You have all seen these acronyms many times. What are they? The National Association of Residential Property Managers, the Florida Apartment Association and the Institute of Real Estate Management.  Are you a member? If you are a member, are you active? Are you going to the many education classes that are occurring all over the state at any given time? Have you gone to a local class or driven four hours to enhance your business and to be a better property manager? There are no other real sources of education and resources for property manager than these three organizations in Florida. While the Florida Association of Realtors is one of the largest and most powerful advocates for buying and selling homes, it really does not focus much on the property manager, so we have these great alternative associations. In November, we had the largest gathering of single family home managers in Florida’s history.  Dedicated people traveled from as far away as Key West and Georgia. How dedicated are you?

Join now! NARPM FAA IREM

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THE CURABLE NONCOMPLIANCE

The vast majority of noncompliances with which a property manager must deal are termed “curable”.  Residents either need to start doing something they are supposed to be doing under the lease or law, or stop doing something they are not supposed to be doing under the lease or law.  Each noncompliance is unique it its own way, requiring the proper wording on the Seven-Day Notice of Noncompliance with Opportunity to Cure.  If not cured, the landlord will need proper proof to proceed to termination and a possible eviction action.  Over the next year, we will examine specific curable noncompliances in depth, notices, proof issues, and the action plan for the property manager.

 

Click here  for Part 1 – 3 Curable Noncompliances.

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CRIME AND THE APARTMENT COMMUNITY

A recent court case currently on appeal held an apartment community liable for two murders that occurred on the property. A big part of the case had to do with a broken access gate, whether there was adequate security, and also whether notice was given to residents of prior crimes. Ironically, Florida law does very little to address any of these issues or create any requirements, so these decisions in court are often left to sympathetic juries who don’t understand how apartment communities are operated. Cases like these can have serious ramifications to the multi-family housing industry, and we urge you to keep yourself informed so when the time comes for a legislative fix, your company will financially support the efforts. Email us at info@evict.com for a copy of the aforementioned case.
 

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MUSIC ON HOLD LEGALITIES

Dead air is boring. Let’s connect the radio or an MP3 player to the phone system. Problem solved, or is it? It is not legal to ever rebroadcast music from a radio station or play copyrighted music on a phone system without express written permission from the copyright holder or the policing organizations such as BMI or ASCAP to whom you will have to pay a fee. Be careful, as there are people whose full time job is to look for these violations, and the penalties can be severe. If you want music on hold, buy some royalty free music, get written permission from a copyright holder, or sign up with a legitimate music license provider.

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NAME CHANGE AT YOUR APARTMENT COMMUNITY?

There is a lot of buying and selling going on out there in addition to management changes, quite possibly at record levels.  Many apartment communities are changing their names. Is this an issue? It sure is.  Make 100% sure that your new name or current name for that matter is properly registered to the actual owner of the property in the Florida Secretary of State’s records, or you could end up with a dismissed or delayed eviction.

 

Click here  and insert the name of your apartment community. Go ahead, no one will know.

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ADVERSE ACTION

A few days ago you processed an application for Joe, a potential resident. Unfortunately, the rental screening company declined this applicant. However, you were able to offer Joe the ability to rent, but told him he would need to pay a significantly higher security deposit than you would normally require.  Like you have always done since you became a property manager ten years ago, you still sent out an adverse action notice because the higher deposit was required.    Joe moved in and seemed to be a happy camper. In today’s mail there is a nasty letter from an attorney representing Joe. The attorney is asking for money from you because Joe’s credit score was not listed on the adverse action letter. The attorney also mentioned that there was a change in the law two years ago. What is going on here? Will you lose if this goes to court?

 

Click here  to learn how to make sense of adverse action notice requirements.

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ATTORNEY FEE MULTIPLIER

You lost an eviction on some technicality to a resident represented by an attorney, or had to return money that was claimed against a resident’s security deposit after the tenant retained an attorney and decided to sue your company. No big deal, right? After all, your attorney only charges $135 for an eviction, and in the security deposit case, you only had to go to court for a couple hours. Now you get hit with a judgment for $10,000!!  Is this possible? It sure is, and it can get worse.
 

Click here  to see how bad it can get.

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NO KEYS UNTIL…

So many problems can be avoided if your company has a policy that no keys will be given to the resident until certain “things” or “occurrences” take place. Once you give those keys out, you have lost a lot of control and leverage. It happens every day. You did not use a checklist, you trusted the residents to do what they were “supposed to do”, and NOW you have a problem: avoidable mistakes indeed.  If you have a system or policy in place, AND you follow it, many problems can be avoided.

 
Click here  to see when the keys should be held back or handed over.
 

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IN-HOUSE LEGAL SEMINARS

In addition to the legal seminars put on each year by attorney Harry Heist through the various apartment associations, NARPM chapters, boards and associations of realtors, private, FREE, in-house legal seminars from 3-6 hours long are available for the larger multi-family clients of Heist, Weisse & Wolk.  Having a large statewide or regional meeting? Get a quality, custom-tailored class for your company. Dates are limited for 2014, so contact us soon at info@evict.com.
 

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JANUARY 1, 2014 LAW CHANGE

While the Landlord Tenant Act changes went into effect on July 1, 2013, one change applied later. All leases will be required to have a new disclosure regarding deposits beginning January 1, 2014. The disclosure really makes no material procedure changes to the lease other than the wording and is more just informative in nature. If the Heist, Weisse & Wolk single family home lease is used, the changes have already been implemented. For multi-family leases, the Blue Moon Lease has been revised. If you are using the FAR/BAR lease, make sure that you have the most up to date and correct lease. Feel free to email or fax it to us for a free, quick compliance review.
 
Click here  for the required New Wording.
 

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EVICTION AND RENT ACCEPTANCE

The moment you decide to file an eviction and send the file to your attorney, make sure you don’t accidentally accept full or partial rent. How can this happen? Easy. The resident comes in, pays, and it is accepted by your leasing agent, or a third party pays for the resident, a direct deposit is made, or maybe a payment is made through your online rental payment portal. These payments can be fatal to your current or future eviction action.
 
Click here  for some ways to avoid the accidental rent acceptance.
 

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH – ROB JOHANSEN

Rob Johansen is owner and operator of Get A Grip of FloraBama LLC, a national kitchen and bath resurfacing company.  Rob’s territory spans the Gulf Coast and has served multi-housing since 2007. Rob has been extremely involved within the various multi-housing associations on all levels. He has served on both the Emerald Coast Apartment Association (ECAA)  and the Mobile Bay Area Apartment Association (MBAA), holding the Parliamentarian and President positions in MBAA and Legislative Chair and Secretary positions in ECAA.  Rob served on both the Alabama Apartment Association (AAA) and Florida Apartment Association (FAA) Board of Directors, and has been a delegate to the National Apartment Association (NAA). In over 6 years of business, Rob and Get A Grip have received many awards, including Vendor of the Year for both ECAA and MBAA. In 2010 Get A Grip was awarded the 2010 Associate Volunteer award by ECAA, and in 2011 was awarded Vendor of the Year again by MBAA. In 2013 Rob completed FAA’s Leadership Lyceum course in what was ECAA’s first group to do so.  When asked, “What is your drive?”, Rob answers, “To be there for anyone at anytime at any level is a reward that can only be felt when done so”. Rob is humbled and honored to be part of the multi-family housing industry. When not working, Rob enjoys Alabama football, camping and gardening along with his family. Rob’s wife and biggest supporter is Taura, and he has three children, Drew 14, Hannah 7, and Carli 4. Rob is currently seeking other avenues such as motivational speaking and counseling, as well as missions in Central America. Rob recently returned from a mission trip to Guatemala in October. He brings years of skills and life experience to the multi-family housing industry and is a great example to us all.

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NEW MATERIAL FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER ISSUE 2

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 #2.
 

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Commercial Law and You

Legal Holidays
in December and January

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in December 2013 and January 2014!

12/24 - Christmas Eve
12/25 - Christmas Day
01/01 - New Year's Day
01/20 - Martin L. King, Jr. Day

 

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

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