Click here to view the Newsletter in your Web Browser
Click here to go directly to EVICT.COM


LEGAL NEWS

Vol. 9 Issue 7


Florida Apartment Association (FAA) Education Conference and Trade Show is in October!  Are You Registered?

Mark your calendars and register for the annual FAA Education Conference and Trade Show October 10-12 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.  There will be plenty of educational sessions, Golf Classic, Apartment Political Action Committee (APAC) fundraiser, an incredible trade show showcasing the latest products and services to the multifamily housing Industry, and or course a load of networking and fun.

 

Click here  to register for the Convention.

Back to Top

SOUTHEAST FLORIDA APARTMENT ASSOCIATION (SEFAA) SUCCESS!!

SEFAA kicked off its Conference & Expo with a dynamic group of national multifamily experts.   Five different education tracks designed to suit the various levels of industry professionals went on simultaneously. Heist, Weisse & Wolk, P.A was proud and honored to sponsor national superstar Kate Good. Topics ranged from federal, state and local legislative updates to new marketing ideas for the 2012 renter. The Expo doors were opened, and attendees headed to the Trade Show floor for lunch and conversation with exhibitors.   This event is destined to be one of the biggest and best annual events in Florida for the multifamily industry for years to come.

Back to Top

THINK YOU HAVE A CASE?  THINK AGAIN

It is a Monday, and three residents are complaining about another resident having wild parties all night long.  This is not the first time, and it probably will not be the last. You served your Seven-Day Notice of Noncompliance with Opportunity to Cure last month, but still are getting complaints. Let's evict!  Wait a minute. What is your proof? Will the neighbors REALLY come to court? Did you or your staff witness the disturbances? No police came out? Your case is far weaker than you may think.  Speak to your residents, and explain to them how hard it is to evict when you do not have solid proof or witnesses who will appear in court. Give the residents a number they can call, so you or your staff can immediately come out if the disturbance occurs again. Urge them to call the police. These situations are extremely frustrating for the harried manager, but your attorney can be the best in the world, and still lose the case if the proof is not there. Your file notes, notarized statements and phone logs might not be allowed as proof in court.  We generally need PEOPLE in court to win a case: people who can testify in person.

 

Back to Top

SHOWING THE UNIT

The simple act of showing an apartment or house to a prospective resident is fraught with problems. Are you certain you are doing it correctly, or are shortfalls or statements by you or staff causing you potential problems later? A proper showing can mean the world to the upcoming relationship with your resident.
 

Click here  for some more info on Conducting Proper Showings.


Back to Top

COLLECTING THE INITIAL FUNDS

How you collect the initial funds from your soon to be resident is important. Do you accept cash? Personal checks? Certified funds? Often the funds paid are not deposited quickly, or come back NSF after the resident moves in. Proper policies and procedures must be put into place to protect your company, and if you are managing for others, the owner of the property. Now is a good time to review this issue.

 

Click here  for an article on Collecting the Initial Funds.

Back to Top

RESIDENT DEATH AND RELATIVES WHO WANT ACCESS

Your resident passed away over the weekend, relatives show up at your door and want in. Don't do it. Your liability can be huge. The relatives MUST hire an attorney and begin the probate process, but often they don't want to expend the money and time. Do not let your guard down. Letting a relative in could result in a lawsuit against you by another friend or relative. It does NOT matter that someone may be named in a "will". A will means absolutely NOTHING until a judge says so.

Back to Top

BURNS FROM HOT WATER

Have you tested the temperature of the hot water in your rental units? How about the common areas such as the clubhouse, the pool shower or the bathrooms by the pool?  We doubt you have. Did you just install one of those energy efficient, tankless, instant hot water heaters? Great, right?  Water is really hot, right?  Each year thousands of people are scalded by tap water, and some even die. This was due to the failure of someone to check the temperature of something that almost every resident has: hot water.
 
Click here  to see how you can reduce your liability NOW.

Back to Top

ORDINARY WEAR AND TEAR VS. DAMAGE DEFINED

Well, not really.  Florida law does not define ordinary wear and tear.  In fact, the words "reasonable wear and tear" do not appear in the Florida Residential Landlord/Tenant Act, but the concept is alive and well in Florida courts.   Therefore, the property manager is often put in the precarious position of trying to determine if there is chargeable damage or non- chargeable ordinary wear and tear. Unless a matter can be settled, the only person who will make this decision for you will be a judge. The more photos or video you have of the unit, both before move-in and after move-out, will help the judge rule your way if the damage is evident. If you can't prove it, don't charge it. If you insist on charging for it, be prepared to back down, hopefully before any litigation is filed. Security deposit dispute litigation is usually a no-win situation.

Back to Top

YOU HAVE A BATTERY BACKUP? OH REALLY?

Losing power during the usual Florida summer storms can be far more than just an inconvenience. An improper shut down of your computer can corrupt your databases and software, and all your emails can be lost. Stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW. I am not joking. Get under your desk. See if the plugs to your computer and monitor (s) are in the correct ROW on your battery backup.  Yes, the one that says "Backup", not just "Surge Protection". Sounds silly, but is one of the most common mistakes people make.  While you may have eight outlets on your battery backup, usually only one or two are really the "power backups".

Back to Top

FAKE SERVICE ANIMALS

A quick internet search will find you over 15 sites that for a fee will provide a fake certification that an animal, any animal,  is a "service animal".  These official looking documents would lead you to believe that the "service animal" is not only legitimate, but in fact is "registered" with a governmental agency. Don't be fooled!  If in doubt, find out.


Back to Top

APPLICATION HOT TIP – STRIPPING YOUR FILES

One of your employees goes off the deep end, goes through the residents' files in your unlocked filing cabinet, gets information off the applications, and commits massive identity theft and fraud. Could this have been avoided? Yes, if your files did NOT have the applications in them. We recommend you strip your files of the applications, save them in an encrypted digital format, and save the hard copies off-site at the corporate office or in some extremely safe place.

Back to Top

COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU – PRACTICAL TIPS FOR COMMERCIAL LANDLORDS AND TENANTS IN IDENTIFYING THE REALITIES OF PROSPECTIVE LEASE DEFAULTS: KICK-OUT” CLAUSE

In today's uncertain economic times, commercial tenants are reluctant to commit to long-term leases, and commercial landlords are finding themselves unable to effectively capture tenants on long-term leases.   The solution may be a "kick-out" clause. A "kick-out" clause is a provision in a commercial lease which allows a tenant to reduce their financial risk of a long-term lease, while at the same time allows the landlord a vehicle to entice tenants to enter into the lease and some incentive on the back end in regard to the "kick-out" clause, such as a payment option for the tenant exercising the lease.

 

Click here  to learn more about ways to break the road blocks for long-term leases, by attorney Kevin F. Jursinski of Kevin F. Jursinski and Associates.

 

Back to Top

Commercial Law and You

USEFUL LINKS:


October and November
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude these Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in October and November 2012!

Columbus Day - 10/08
Veterans Day - 11/12
Thanksgiving - 11/22 & 11/23
 









 

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

Copyright 2004-2012. All Rights Reserved.

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

2451 N McMullen Booth Rd., Ste. 244, Clearwater, FL 33759
37 N Orange Ave Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32801
17264 San Carlos Blvd Ste 308 Ft Myers Beach, FL 33932 (Principal Address)

Phone: 1-800-253-8428     Fax: 1-800-367-9038
Serving Florida's Property Managers with offices in Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Myers Beach, Principal Office