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LEGAL NEWS - APRIL 2006


FAA AND FARPM HAVE RECORD BREAKING LEGISLATIVE DAYS!   

March 28 and 29, the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) and the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers (FARPM) had their respective Legislative Days in Tallahassee, meeting with legislators and fighting for bills advantageous to, and opposing those harmful to, rental housing providers. FAA held Lobbying 101 presented by Gary Scarboro, FAA Governmental Affairs Director, and Jeff Rogo, BAAA Governmental Affairs Director, followed by a presentation from Jodi Chase, Lobbyist for FAA. FARPM held a dinner at Andrews attended by legislators, and both groups made large amounts of visits to both Representatives and Senators in the Capitol. Watch your monthly email for updates on the bills we are closely following. When the laws change, YOU NEED TO KNOW.
 

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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CONVENTION MAY 24-26  

Serious about your profession? Do you primarily rent single family homes, duplexes and tri-plexes? Want to learn how to make more money, have a great business and stay out of court? Then the 9th Annual Convention of the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers (FARPM) at the Renaissance in Tampa is just the ticket.

Click here for more information and registration and learn from the pros.

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DAYCARE AND BABYSITTING SERVICES IN RENTALS     

Picture this. One of your tenants is making some extra money babysitting other tenants’ children in their apartment or home they are renting from you, possibly even with permission from the county or municipality. One of the children climbs on a table and falls out of a third story window on to the pavement below. Potential liability? You bet. Does it ever happen? It just did to one of our clients.

Click here to see the dangers of allowing babysitting or daycare on the premises.

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WHEN A TENANT DIES    

The death of a tenant confronts the property manager with unique challenges.  It is not easy to juggle rent collection and property management with the anguished calls from the tenant’s family. Can you dispose of the tenant’s property if no one claims it? Family members suddenly appear, and people are demanding to get into the unit. Can you let them in? The answers are not easy, and the stakes are high.

 

Click here for some tips on actions to take upon a tenant’s death.

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SCAM ALERT – THE “I AM GETTING MY TAX REFUND DELAY TRICK”   

Every year we see the same old situation occur. The landlord falls for the promise by the tenant that he or she will be receiving a tax refund from the IRS. The landlord delays giving a Three Day Notice and evicting, and guess what happens? The refund never comes, the rent is never paid, and the landlord is now out even more money.  You have been warned!!

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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT QUICK TIP – GETTING POLICE INVOLVEMENT     

All too often incidents occur on a property which are in violation of the terms of the lease agreement and possibly in violation of Florida criminal law. A tenant may threaten a property manager, physically attack a maintenance person, threaten to destroy or damage property. In some cases a child will intentionally damage some property, inappropriately touch another child or start a small fire on the playground or in the backyard.  Do you call the police?  More often than not, the police are not called, and the problem is dealt with internally. Usually the landlord does not want to “bother” the police, or just feels that the police will not do anything if they respond.  While the landlord may be correct in thinking that the police may not do anything, it is extremely important to get police involvement, if only to aid in the documenting the event for a potential future event which could lead to an eviction.  When the next event occurs, the documentation of the prior event could be crucial to the success of the eviction action.

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HAVING A TENANT SIGN A PET ADDENDUM WHEN THERE IS NO PET YET- DON’T DO IT!       

Did you ever have a tenant sign a “Pet Addendum” when they had no pet upon move in? Why? Your lease should state that no pets are allowed unless approved and a pet addendum signed by the tenants with the requisite fees paid. Attaching a blank pet addendum to a lease is a SERIOUS mistake and can cause a myriad of problems. Our opinion? No pet, no “Pet Addendum”. Tenant asks you for permission to get a pet, out comes the “Pet Addendum”, it gets completed, monies are paid and the pet moves in.
 

Click here to learn about the common “Pet Addendum before a current pet mistake”.

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APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH!       

The Federal Fair Housing act was enacted on April 11 of 1968, 7 days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. In April of 1969 HUD completed the Title VIII Field Operations Handbook, and instituted a formalized complaint process. HUD then hosted a gala event in the Grand Ballroom of New York's Plaza Hotel with advocates and politicians from across the nation sharing in this marvelous evening, including one of the organizations that started it all -- the National Committee Against Discrimination In Housing. Unfortunately discrimination still occurs on a regular basis, and many discrimination complaints are filed against landlords every day. Many of these complaints are baseless, but can become costly to a landlord who has failed to institute policies and procedures and fails to have fair housing training on a regular basis. While most landlords do not intentionally illegally discriminate against applicants or tenants, the mere accusation of discrimination can result in a complicated endeavor for a landlord to defend.  Much of this can be eliminated by the landlord’s actions in documentation and calling their attorney immediately, if they have any uncertainty about an action to take regarding a person of a protected class. We urge all landlords to attend annual Fair Housing Training, most of which is offered by the local apartment association members of the Florida Apartment Association and the local chapters of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.
 

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH - NADEEN GREEN, ESQ   

Nadeen Green has been an attorney since 1979 and has been teaching Fair Housing law to the multi-family housing industry since the Fair Housing Amendments Act went into effect in 1989.  Her many programs (almost 700 to date) have been presented to apartment management companies and state and local apartment associations nationwide, and she has been asked to speak many times at the National Apartment Association, Multi-Housing World and NARPM annual conventions.  

Nadeen shares her fair housing knowledge through her “reader-friendly” articles on Fair Housing which are published regularly throughout the industry.  For many years she has been a source for many of the Vendome (formerly Brownstone Publications) industry newsletters, as well as serving on the Board of Advisors for their Fair Housing Coach® publication.

Nadeen is proud to be Senior Counsel for For Rent Magazine® which is published nationwide, as well as for the highly regarded www.ForRent.com internet website.  Her company provides Nadeen and her time and expertise at no cost, as part of its commitment to the multi-family industry and the important topic of fair housing.

As past president and long-time board member of her local bar association, Nadeen has had the opportunity to serve as a judge for mock trials and has taught high school students about career options in law. Nadeen has been a great supporter of the Apartment Associations, and her classes she gives each year to many of the local Apartment Association members of the Florida Apartment Association are not to be missed. In her non-lawyer life she takes joy in her husband Ned and pride in her children’s books, including the bi-lingual ecological tale Let There Be Dragons.

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THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - ARF!  IS THAT A SERVICE ANIMAL BARKING?                             By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

Is that dog a pet, or is it a service animal?  If it is a service animal that helps a handicapped person deal with daily life activities, you must make a reasonable accommodation in your policies, so that the animal and tenant can reside in your property.  If it is just a plain old pet, your pet policy applies.  So, how do you tell the difference?
 

Click here to learn more about Service Animals.

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In this issue:

Legislative Day 2006

Prop Mgmt Convention

Daycare Services in Rentals

When a Tenant Dies

Scam Alert

Getting Police Involvement

Signing Pet Addendum

April - Fair Housing Month

Industry Leader of the Month

Fair Housing Corner

 
 

May
Legal Holiday Alert

Do not forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in May 2006!

29 - Memorial Day

 
 

Legal News Archive:

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

   
   

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Law Offices of Heist, Weisse & Lucrezi, P.A.

Copyright 2004-2006. All Rights Reserved.

Law Offices of Heist, Weisse & Lucrezi, P.A.
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