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LEGAL NEWS - MAY 2006


2006 LEGISLATIVE RECAP   

The 2006 Florida legislative session has ended with no major bills passing which affect the rental housing industry. The good news is that no bills adverse to the industry passed this year. The Florida Apartment Association (FAA) will be dealing with many issues in the coming year, including the cost of property taxes and insurance, which are currently spiraling out of control. We strongly urge that you get involved with the legislative committee in your local apartment association or NARPM chapter!!
 

Click here for a 2006 "Legislative Recap".

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ARE YOU ACTUALLY TRYING TO GET SUED?  

For over two years, we have been strongly advising property managers to carefully look into their leases and procedures due to the HUGE lawsuits which have been and are currently being filed against property management companies. Now, after millions of dollars have been paid out in attorney’s fees, settlements and lawsuits, property management companies still are failing to change their lease clauses and institute new procedures which could save them literally millions of dollars.  Many property management companies are deep in denial and cannot believe that what is happening to over seven major management companies can just as easily happen to them.

Click here to see where your company stands.

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IS YOUR LEASE “BAD”?     

Do you know what your lease says? Are different tenants on different leases? Does it really matter? Recently a landlord gave a Notice of Non-renewal to a tenant by hand delivery. The tenant failed to move, and an eviction was filed. Whoops – buried in the lease was a clause which required all notices to be given by certified mail. Result, case lost. Usually our problems are when something is NOT in a lease, but here you can see that what IS in a lease can be a major problem.

 

Click here for some tips on reviewing your current lease for problem clauses.

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TENANT TRICK ALERT – “I AM GETTING A SETTLEMENT FROM MY CAR ACCIDENT”   

No rent comes in this month, but you receive a letter from your local personal injury firm claiming that they represent the tenant in an auto accident case and guarantee payment of the rent from the proceeds of the auto accident. This sounds good, and you trust the lawyer.  The tenant pays no rent for 5 months, skips out, and you never see a dime.  Does it happen? Absolutely. ALWAYS call your lawyer before you even remotely consider agreeing to a “Letter of Protection”

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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT QUICK TIPS – COLLECTING CERTIFIED FUNDS PRIOR TO MOVE-IN       

Every week we receive calls from clients asking how they can collect the security deposit from the tenant. It is month 3, and the tenant still has not made good on the security deposit he paid by check when he moved in. The rent is current, but the security deposit is still unpaid. WHAT? Yes, the tenant was allowed to move in by paying with a check prior to the check clearing the bank. Here you took a piece of paper called a check from a complete stranger and let him move into your castle.  It is bad enough that you take checks after the person has moved in, but you really need to rethink your policy on requiring cleared or certified funds PRIOR to move in. Take control.  Demand a certified check or money order prior to move in.

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THE MISTAKE OF THE MONTH – FORGETTING TO SEND OUT THE SECURITY DEPOSIT CLAIM AFTER AN EVICTION       

The tenant is evicted and owes you a boatload of money. You are so happy to see him gone that you completely forget to send out the claim on the security deposit. 2 months later, he is demanding you pay him the security deposit because you failed to send the claim out within the 30 days as required by Florida Statutes 83.49. Is he correct? QUITE POSSIBLY. You may need to get out your checkbook!
 

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THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - WHAT DO THE LOCALS SAY?                                                            By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

Just when you thought things could not become more complicated, along comes your local government enacting its own version of fair housing law.  In addition to the federal protections based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and handicap, some counties and cities add other groups to the list.  Knowing what your local law requires may save you from a fair housing complaint
 

Click here to learn more about local laws.

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH - ROBERT (ROBIN) HEIN, ATTORNEY AT LAW   

Robin obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia and has been in practice for 28 years, representing owners and managers of multi-family housing.  Over this time period, Robin and his firm developed a legal practice that centers on handling the day-to-day needs of apartment management in their “apartment law” needs.

The firm (Fowler, Hein, Cheatwood, & Williams, P.A.) cultivated a niche, handling cases ranging from residential landlord/tenant cases to defending fair housing claims, employment discrimination cases, and mold personal injury matters.  Helping their clients with anything affecting daily apartment operations, the firm limits its practice to representing only apartment owners and managers. 

Located in Atlanta, Hein’s firm’s clients extend throughout the southeast region and include many national names. Robin consults with property managers in several states and has handled many administrative fair housing claims before the state enforcement agencies of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Atlanta.

Serving on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta and Georgia Apartment Associations, he is often a featured speaker on various industry topics for the National Apartment Association, National Multi-Housing Council, and many state and local affiliates.  He is a long time co-chair of the Atlanta Forms and Leases Committee and provided editorial oversight to the NAA in development of its national lease program.   Robin is the author of a published internet training program called Fair Housing for Apartment Managers and Owners.  He has considerable experience and success in defending personal injury and property damage claims of residents who claim they were sick or suffered property damage from being exposed to indoor mold.  He frequently provides seminars to apartment associations.  Robin can be reached at robinhein@apartmentlaw.com .

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In this issue:

2006 Legislative Recap

Are You Trying to Get Sued?

Is Your Lease "Bad"?

Tenant Trick Alert

Prop. Management Quick Tip

The Mistake of the Month

Fair Housing Corner

Industry Leader of the Month

 
 
 

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

April 2006

   
   

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Monthly e-newsletter of the
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