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LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 7 Issue 10


REQUIRED READING

There is no better source for practical articles on Florida property management law than www.evict.com. Currently there are over 200 articles written by the attorneys here at Heist, Weisse & Davis. In our opinion, these articles should be required reading for any serious property manager. Take the time to peruse these articles, and read one a day. Copy the article, and put it in a binder or save it to your computer. This is your homework. You will be amazed at what you learn, and you will surely become a better property manager. Can’t find a topic? Tell us, and we may write about it.

Click here  to see the massive index of articles.

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FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE FUN

With the economic downturn, the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is ramping up audits of apartment communities and managers of single family homes. We all know that with taxes, you are “guilty until proven innocent”, or so it seems. Recently, the Florida Department of Revenue has decided to enforce the taxation of something that almost no one knows is indeed taxable. Failure to pay the taxes could result in significant back taxes, penalties and interest. Do you know what this tax is? Have you purchased anything on the internet from another state recently? Do you make purchases from out of state companies?

Click here  to find out about “use tax” and see if you are in compliance.

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THE TENANT’S DUTY TO MAINTAIN

The manager vaguely remembers that the resident has some repair and maintenance obligations under Florida statutes.  The manager would like to know if these duties include responsibility for replacing broken sink and tub hardware, changing the a/c filter, repairing the washing machine and dryer, and running the a/c to control humidity.  In discussing this with her attorney, the manager is surprised to learn that the resident also has statutory duties with regard to cleanliness, damaging the landlord’s property and disturbing the neighbors.  It is good news for the manager if she can rely not only on the lease but also on Florida Statutes.

Click here  to learn about the resident’s statutory requirements to maintain the rental.

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EVICTIONS AND FLORIDA EVIDENCE LAW

The final eviction hearing involving your problem resident Clinton is starting. The judge questions you as to why you are evicting Clinton. You point out that Clinton destroyed his apartment during a domestic violence episode. You then provide the judge with 17 pictures of Clinton’s apartment. There are huge holes in the walls and smashed in doors along with broken windows. The judge asks if the pictures were taken by you. You respond by telling the judge that the pictures were taken by your maintenance supervisor who is not available to testify. The judge does not admit the pictures into evidence, and you are baffled as you leave the courthouse after the judge denies your eviction!

Click here  to learn more about the importance of having your proof admitted into evidence at trial.

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DON’T FORGET VETERANS DAY

Veterans Day is a legal holiday, so it must be excluded when counting your days for the expiration of the Three Day Notice. Will thousands of property managers forget this again this year? Of course, and they will have to redo the Three Day Notice and lose more money. Stop and look to the top right of this newsletter each month, mark your calendar, and stop forgetting legal holidays.

 

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ALL ADULTS ON THE LEASE

One applicant has great credit, the other’s is terrible. You put one on the lease as tenant and one as occupant. Correct? Wrong. Always put all adults on the lease as tenants, and have all these tenants sign the lease so they become real tenants. This common mistake that seems logical can have rough legal ramifications, especially when the manager begins to accept rent from the occupant, creating a tenancy under which the occupant has all the rights of a tenant but no responsibilities of a tenant. This is the best of both worlds for the occupant who is not a tenant on the lease and a nightmare for you.
 

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HOMESTEAD FRAUD?

Some out of state owners of Florida rental properties  decide it is worth the risk to have their properties declared as homestead to take advantage of the exemption tax benefits and the “Save Our Homes” cap. An aggressive prosecutor or tax assessor could try to involve you or your company in an investigation or prosecution of what is a felony. Do you know if the owner had made a homestead declaration? Will the owner try to blame YOU when he  gets busted? We recommend you take the time to periodically check the tax appraiser’s website, as it will clearly indicate if a property is homesteaded or not. If a property you are managing is classified as homestead, do not continue managing it until such time as the owner has it legally reclassified, and document everything in writing.

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In this issue:

Required Reading

Florida Sales and Use Tax

Tenants's Duty to Maintain

Evictions and FL Evidence Law

Don't forget Veteran's Day

All Adults on the Lease

Homestead Fraud

 

Commercial Law and You

November
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude these Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in November 2010!

Nov. 11 - Veteran's Day

Nov. 25, 26 - Thanksgiving

 

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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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Phone: 1-800-253-8428     Fax: 1-800-367-9038