LEGAL NEWS - MARCH 2005


 LAST CHANCE FOR "LEGISLATIVE DAY" - HAVE YOU REGISTERED? 

Have you made your reservations with the Florida Apartment Association (FAA) or the Florida Association for Residential Property Managers (FARPM) for their Legislative Days being held on March 30 and 31 in Tallahassee?  Bills have been filed regarding   domestic violence and leases, telecommunication affecting apartment communities, mold remediation and certification.  Don’t delay! We need your help!

Click here if you have not already registered for Legislative Day.

 

 NOTICE TRAINING OF THE MONTH – PREPARING THE "THREE DAY NOTICE"

Are you aware that more than 50% of all Three Day Notices we receive in our office are prepared improperly?  Did you know that filing an eviction with an incorrect or improper Three Day Notice could cause the case to be delayed or dismissed, and that the landlord potentially could end up paying the tenant’s attorneys fees in addition to the landlord’s own attorney’s fees and costs?  Most mistakes in the preparation of the Three Day Notice are totally avoidable if the landlord takes some time and uses a checklist. In our JANUARY ISSUE OF THE LEGAL NEWS, we explored the Serving of the Three Day Notice. Here we will discuss how to successfully prepare the landlord’s most common notice.

For an in-depth article on Preparing the Three Day Notice, click here.
 

 HOT LEASE TIP! TERMINATION OF LEASE DUE TO DAMAGE

Most leases contain a clause which allows the landlord to terminate the lease in the event the premises are destroyed. What happens if the premises are not destroyed but damaged substantially to the point where the landlord would want or need the tenant to vacate in order to make the necessary repair? Can the landlord just terminate the lease, or will the landlord have a duty to make the repair with the tenant living in the premises?  Proper lease wording is crucial here to give the landlord the ability and the choice to terminate the lease and have the tenants vacate the premises.

Click here for an easy way to improve your lease.  
 

 NEVER PREPARE A SEVEN DAY NOTICE AGAIN? THAT'S RIGHT!

Our office prepares all our clients’ Seven Day Notices for free. No more struggling to get the correct wording. To receive a fully worded Seven Day Notice, simply fill in the Seven Day Notice Request Form, and receive your completed Seven Day Notice by fax or email. Not only do you receive a properly worded Seven Day Notice, but it give us the opportunity to see the problem in the early stages, so we can chart the correct course of action for the case and potentially suggest eviction avoidance alternatives.

To receive a 7 Day Notice Wording Request Form, call 1 800 253 8428 or email us at info@evict.com
 

 THE TENANT CAN'T AFFORD A LAWYER? ARE YOU SURE?

The tenant will not fight the eviction or the security deposit dispute. The tenant cannot even pay the rent. How can he or she hire an attorney? The answer is simple. The attorney is free! Now we are not talking about a legal aid lawyer where the tenant must qualify to get free legal help; rather, we are talking about an attorney in private practice who will take a tenant’s case. Why? Because if the attorney can successfully defend the eviction or proves that you took too much of the security deposit, the attorney is entitled to an award of attorneys fees and costs from the landlord. These amounts can be in the thousands!

Click here for a discussion of the Attorneys Fees and the Landlord/Tenant Relationship.
 

 GENE BENNETT - INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH

Gene is the President and CEO for All American Management, serving metropolitan Orlando, Florida along with his business partner Gail A. Moncla, CPM, MPM, RMP. All American Management has approximately 1,000 single family units under management and 7,500 units under leasing. Beginning his property management career in 1977, Gene has earned the Certified Property Manager, (CPM) designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), The Master Property Manager (MPM) and Professional Property Manager (PPM) designations from the National Association of Residential Property Managers, (NARPM). He acquired his Florida real estate license in 1982, his broker’s license and the Florida Real Estate Instructor’s License. He is a founder and past president of the Florida Association of Residential Property Managers, (FARPM).  Gene has a wonderful wife Robin and four children: three sons, Mike, Ryan and Jason, and one daughter, Genelle. Gene is an accomplished private pilot and has successfully crash landed and totaled a plane in the Everglades. We will let him tell you about that trip!


 

 THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER      By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

It is unlawful to screen housing applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status.   However, asking housing applicants to provide documentation of their citizenship or immigration status does not violate the Fair Housing Act.  The landlord has a legitimate basis for seeking this information because it may affect how long the individual is able to be present in the country and, as a result, whether they will be able to fulfill the lease’s term.

If you plan to screen on this basis, it is wise to develop a policy and then apply that policy uniformly and in a nondiscriminatory fashion.  You may consider asking every applicant if they are a U.S. citizen.  If the answer is no, you can request the applicant to produce proof that they are lawfully in the U.S.A.  The kinds of documents you may see will include passports, visas, “green cards”, or other documents from the INS showing the person’s status.

The two following examples come straight from HUD:

Example 1: A person from the Middle East who is in the United States applies for an apartment. Because the person is from the Middle East, the landlord requires the person to provide additional information and forms of identification, and refuses to rent the apartment to him. Later, a person from Europe who is in the United States applies for an apartment at the same complex. Because the person is from Europe, the landlord does not have him complete additional paperwork, does not verify the information on the application, and rents the apartment. This is disparate treatment on the basis of national origin.

Example 2: A person who is applying for an apartment mentions in the interview that he left his native country to come study in the United States. The landlord, concerned that the student's visa may expire during tenancy, asks the student for documentation to determine how long he is legally allowed to be in the United States. If the landlord requests this information, regardless of the applicant's race or specific national origin, the landlord has not violated the Fair Housing Act.

 

In this issue:

"Legislative Day" Reservation

Preparing the 3-Day Notice

Hot Lease Tip - Damages

Wording a 7-Day Notice

Tenant Can't Afford a Lawyer?

Industry Leader of the Month

Fair Housing Corner

 
 
 

Legal News Archive:

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

 
 
 

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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