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LEGAL NEWS - APRIL 2007


2007 LEGISLATIVE DAYS A MASSIVE SUCCESS!!

Last month almost 200 members of the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) and the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers (FARPM) met with our state legislators in Tallahassee to promote bills benefiting our industry and express our concerns regarding rising property taxes and insurance rates. Bills are moving fast through the House and the Senate. We will keep you informed of the progress of these bills in our Monthly Newsletter. Please let your property owners know how your efforts are making a difference in providing affordable housing in Florida and promoting the rental housing industry.

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WHAT IS THE APARTMENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE?         

The Apartment Political Action Committee (APAC). It is  crucial that the voice of the multi-family housing industry is heard loud and clear in Tallahassee. The more money that APAC can collect gains us access to politicians who will hear and hopefully respond to our needs. Whether you donate $25 or $2500, every dollar counts. Last year APAC was able to contribute over $70,000 to legislators and their campaigns. Over 86% of those receiving APAC contributions won their elections.  If you cannot contribute your time, a monetary contribution will go a long way in preserving the health of our industry.

Click here to learn more about APAC and how you can contribute.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE “SAMPLE LEASE”         

Common practice in the application process is to take an application fee from the applicant, possibly take a good faith deposit, and upon approval, presenting the approved applicant with the lease agreement which he is expected to sign. Did he see the lease agreement prior to applying? Probably not. It is imperative that you provide your applicant with a sample of your lease agreement and an information sheet showing all the charges due in order to gain residency. This will include items such as the rent amount, washer/dryer fees, key charges, any required deposits, and non-refundable fees BEFORE you take one cent from an applicant. Disclosure is crucial in any consumer transaction, and although you never meant to fail to disclose something or “trick” an applicant, common practice could be construed as such. From this moment on, PLEASE provide a Sample Lease Agreement to your applicant the moment she walks in your door.   

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TENANT SURRENDERS BUT STILL IS PAYING RENT            

If a tenant who surrenders the rental unit continues to keep the rent current after giving up the right of possession, does the landlord have the ability to retain the security deposit or last month’s rent?   When does the statutory claim letter have to be sent? Interesting issues!

Click here  to see how to deal with surrender and continuing rent payments.

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UNCLAIMED SECURITY DEPOSIT FUNDS             

The tenant has vacated, you sent a partial or full refund of the security deposit by certified mail, and it is returned to you unclaimed. What do you do with the funds? Hold them forever? Disburse them to your owner or company? Florida law specifically deals with the procedure a property manager must take with these funds.

Click here to see how to handle the unclaimed security deposit refund.

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CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE PROPERTY MANAGER              

You receive a notice of violation from Code Enforcement, and the compliance date is in 2 days. Possibly the mail was late or the property owner who received the notice initially failed to get it to you promptly. The problem may be tenant caused. You are being told to rectify the problem, or the owner faces a fine of $250.00 per day. Can you solve the problem that quickly? Will Code Enforcement work with you?

Click here to see how mutual cooperation can be had with you and code enforcement.

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SELFSTORAGELEGAL.COM - Do You Need a Separate Vehicle Storage Lease Agreement?    

Many of you may treat vehicles (car, RV, boat, etc.) as a regular self storage transaction and may lease the vehicle storage spaces, be they in an outdoor parking lot or semi-enclosed covered building with your regular self storage lease and then wonder, “Am I missing something?  Should I have a separate vehicle storage lease and/or does my self storage lease need any additions or special provisions that cover vehicle storage?”

 

Click here to read Self Storage Law expert attorney Jeffrey Greenberger’s article “Do You Need a Separate Vehicle Storage Lease Agreement?”
 

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU  - Evictions and the Commercial Landlord Part 1          

What is a landlord or property manager to do when a tenant defaults? At some point in time, the commercial landlord or property manager will be dealing with nonpayment, a breach of the lease, or a holdover situation. How is the landlord or property manager to proceed? The answer is that before the situation occurs, the commercial property manager should have already put in place a procedure for dealing with each and every instance.

Click here for the first in a 2 part series on dealing with the tenant default by commercial law attorney Kevin Jursinski.
 

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THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - ARE YOU UP TO DATE?             By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

It’s easy to let your forms get stale but essential to keep them up to date.  Complacency can lead to a common mistake in the fair housing language in your lease or application or management agreement.  Are you guilty or are you up to date?

Click here to see if your forms are “up to date”.
 

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In this issue:

Legislative Days 2007

Apt Political Action Committee

Sample Lease

Tenant Surrenders

Unclaimed Security Deposit

Code Enforcement

Self-Storage Units

Commercial Law and You

Fair Housing Corner

 
 

May
Legal Holiday Alert

Do not forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in May 2007!

28 - Memorial Day

   

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

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