LEGAL NEWS - AUGUST 2005


FLORIDA APARTMENT ASSOCIATION CONVENTION AND TRADE SHOW- LAST CHANCE TO SIGN UP!!   

This is it!! The Florida Apartment Association Annual Education Conference and Trade Show at the beautiful and historic Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton begins on Wednesday, August 24, starting with meetings and registration, with the main convention days being Thursday, August 25, and Friday, August 26. It is not too late to sign up for this incredible event! Whether you manage or own apartment communities or single family homes, this event will prove most valuable and is not to be missed.

Click here to see what you will miss if you don't register!

Back to Top

LOCAL ISSUES UPDATE:

CITY OF DAYTONA BEACH - A very important battle was won on August 3 when a large contingent of residents, property managers and industry leaders organized by Gary Scarboro, Governmental Affairs Director for the Florida Apartment Association, converged upon the city council meeting to voice their opposition to a far-reaching Rental Licensing Ordinance. A mass mailing was done prior to the meeting using Harry Heist’s database of property management companies representing both apartment communities and single family home managers resulting in a huge turnout and overflow crowd.  This grassroots effort, which included busing to the meeting and a pre-meeting barbecue, was funded by the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando as part of their commitment to the Volusia County property managers. The City Council agreed to a public hearing in October and scheduled a public workshop for later this month to retool the ordinance.


CITY OF FORT MYERS - Another battle was won on the Rental Regulation front as Harry Heist, members of the South West Florida Apartment Association (SWFAA) and other interested parties voiced their opinions to the Fort Myers City Council about the proposed “Minimum Rental Housing Standards” ordinance.  City Council voted unanimously to continue (postpone) the hearing for at least thirty days and scheduled a rental industry work group and meeting on August 31 to partner with the city in revising the proposed ordinance within the next few weeks.
 

It is extremely important for all property managers to get involved and notify us in the event your local government decides to implement any ordinance regulating or affecting rentals. If we work together with local government, we can assist them in dealing with problem properties, while protecting the good landlords from onerous regulation. If you hear about a proposed ordinance coming to your town, email Harry@evict.com or gary@aago.org

Back to Top

TRANSFERRING THE PROBLEM TENANT  

Every day brings another complaint about the neighbors, mold, location of the unit, weird odors, unwanted boyfriends stopping by, and the list goes on. Your complaining tenant wants to move to another unit on site. You have another unit available, you want to make them happy, hate to lose a tenant, sounds fine, should you do it?  Major problems occur when relocating a tenant on-site.

Click here to see when to relocate a tenant on-site.

Back to Top

THE KILLER LETTER FROM A TENANT  

A certified mail or regular mail letter from a tenant, now that is a change. Usually it is the property manager who is sending the letters and notices. You open the letter up expecting the tenant to be breaking his lease, but instead it contains a five page list of demands on you to make repairs to the property. The letter ends by saying that if you do not make the repairs within 7 days, the tenant will either withhold rent or break the lease. Rent is now due, and you have served a Three Day Notice. Can you file an eviction?
 

Click here to learn about the tenant’s most powerful weapon.

Back to Top

TRAINING YOUR REPAIR PEOPLE   

Your tenant calls you up with a complaint regarding the a/c unit. You promptly send your repair person over, and it gets fixed. Two months later, your tenant is on the phone screaming at you about what else? The a/c unit. It seems that your repair person was able to temporarily fix the a/c problem but now is demanding a new a/c unit, because your repair person told the tenant that the unit was “old and needed replacement”. Has this ever happened to you? Do your repair people know what to say and what NOT to say when making a repair?  Proper training of repair personnel is crucial to keep the property manager out of trouble. Repair personnel can inadvertently say something that could result in a discrimination action being filed against you or the property. More commonly, that simple slip of the tongue by the repair person or outside vendor where the tenant is told that something really needs to be “replaced” can cause you a lot of grief. While it may be 100% true that something needs to be replaced, your owner may be opting to keep patching the item up for whatever reason. Those words spoken by the maintenance person or vendor will be used against you in court or when the tenant decides to withhold rent. Mark my words!! 

Back to Top

SURPRISE BILLS FROM A CONDO ASSOCIATION ATTORNEY  

A letter comes in from the president of the Condo Board of Directors or management company informing you that a tenant has a grill on the lanai in violation of the rules. You speak with the tenant, and the grill disappears. Two months later you receive a bill from the condo association for $500.00 legal fees for the attorney writing a letter to the property owner.  Whose responsibility is this?
 

Click here to protect you and your owners from the Condo Attorney Fee Imposition!  

Back to Top

INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH - JULIE MILLS  

Julie Mills is currently the President of The Apartment Vendor Guide, a Florida based statewide resource guide for property managers seeking qualified vendors.

Julie’s entire career has been dedicated to the apartment industry. For fifteen years Julie managed apartment communities in New Mexico and Florida as an on-site manager and multi-site regional manager. From 1995 to 2003, Julie worked as an apartment industry vendor in publishing and marketing. As a property management decision maker, Julie recognized a need for the apartment professional to have a comprehensive, user friendly vendor reference guide that listed vendors on a statewide basis. As a vendor, she found a lack of advertising media sources available to showcase vendor products and services to a local and statewide market. To fill the void for this type of need in the apartment industry, Julie founded The Apartment Vendor Guide in 2003. The Apartment Vendor Guide currently distributes 10,000 books throughout the state of Florida showcasing over 1000-industry vendor services and products for the Multifamily Property Management Professional. Julie has been a true supporter of the industry, really understands our needs and has been a client and personal friend for years! Make sure you stop by their booth at the FAA Convention and Trade Show. GO JULIE!! GO JULIE!!

Back to Top

THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - TWO PEOPLE PER BEDROOM?
By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

When it comes to occupancy limits, it is good to follow the HUD regulations.  But what, exactly, are those guidelines?  Contrary to myth and rumor, the guidelines ­do not say “two heartbeats per bedroom”.  Instead, HUD recommends basing an occupancy limit on the number and size of sleeping areas or bedrooms and the overall size of the dwelling unit.

Consider two situations where landlords refused to rent a two-bedroom unit to a family of five, based on a “two people per bedroom” policy.   The first family was attempting to rent a unit with two large bedrooms and spacious living areas.  The second family was attempting to rent a small unit with two small bedrooms.  HUD says the first family likely has a claim for discrimination, while the second does not.

The bottom line?  There is no clear cut rule.  Your occupancy limits should be reasonable.  They should be based on size of the unit (how many square feet?) and the number of sleeping areas (i.e., people can use a den for a bedroom).

Lastly, your occupancy limit should refer to the number of people in the unit, not the number of children in the unit.

Back to Top

In this issue:

FAA Annual Convention

Local Issues Update

Transferring Problem Tenant

Killer Letter from Tenant

Training Your Repair People

Condo Assoc. Attorney Fees

Industry Leader of the Month

Fair Housing Corner

 
 

September
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holiday when preparing your Three Day Notices in September 2005!

 5 - Labor Day

 
 
 

Legal News Archive:

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

 
 
 

USEFUL LINKS:


 







 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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

Copyright 2004-2005. 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