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Vacancy is at an all time high, leasing is grinding to a halt, foreclosures are at a record high, taxes and insurance “reform” never seemed to happen, skips are at a record high, tenants are demanding lower rent, your phone is not ringing, and someone just complained about bedbugs.  Will the bad news ever end? It will. Everything runs in cycles. Now is the time to take more education classes, examine your policies and procedures, evaluate your business, and make it a finely tuned, well oiled machine. Tap into the resources available to you. Apartment Management? Join your local Apartment Association.  Single family home management? Join FARPM and your local NARPM Chapter.  It is that simple. Make a small investment in yourself and your business, join, get involved, and succeed.

Click here for your resource links.

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Looking for a new employee or a career change? Overwhelmed by the costs and hassle of advertising for a job that produces so many unqualified applicants? The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando is now providing "The Apartment Industry Career Center" for its members, a one stop online resource for multi-family industry jobs. Maintenance, leasing, housekeeping, management, it is all there.  Get hooked up today and CLICK HERE.

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Every year many Courts seem to come to a grinding halt between Thanksgiving and New Years. Is it the fault of your attorney? No. Don’t worry, up to 21 of us are all here every weekday except for the major holidays. Between the vacations the Court employees take during this time period, the back up they experience when the Courts are closed for even one day, and the general sympathy that some judges feel at this time of year for the tenant, the evictions will slow down. The sheriff’s departments in many counties will not serve writs of possession for a time period, and to compound it all, there are record numbers of foreclosures that are being filed that are overwhelming the court system. All you can do is understand the situation and have patience.

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Still think there’s nothing to learn about security deposits?  Nothing new to learn?   If only that were so!  Security deposit complaints plague property managers.  Last month’s issue described some common mistakes.  Unfortunately, there are more.

Click here for Part 2 of attorney Cathy Lucrezi's article on Bad Security Deposit Habits.

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Due to market conditions, many landlords are trying their best to “work with the tenant”. There has been a large increase in the use of promissory notes for this purpose. The promissory note is NOT to be used when the tenant is in possession.  Incorrectly using a form is often worse than not using a form at all.

Click here for some tips on the Promissory Note.

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While Florida has so far been spared the methamphetamine scourge to a large extent, meth is here and is being manufactured in apartments, trailers and houses. Strong enforcement in other states is causing the manufacturers to relocate to our fine state. Besides the illegality of the drug and the social costs, the manufacture process can result in contamination of your unit, requiring costly decontamination measures. Do you know the telltale signs of methamphetamine manufacturing?

Click here to see how you can spot a meth lab in your rental.

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Taking advantage of the slow market, a number of scams are on the rise. One is the newly formed corporate housing company that wants to rent 5 units from you. They do so in the company name, put tenants in, and then stop paying you the rent.  Possibly its first rent check even bounces.  Others are working with a local business that needs housing for its employees. The corporate housing company leases the units, and either a deal falls through with the local business and the corporate housing company never gets paid by the business, or it never remit payment to you. Whenever dealing with corporate housing, make sure it is a well established company with a clean track record, and check all current and past references.

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Military personnel enjoy certain benefits, perhaps to compensate them for the tremendous sacrifices they make for the rest of us.  Some of those benefits fall into the housing area and affect the tenancies you manage.  Are you “at attention” to get some marching orders?

Click here to see how to handle the military tenant.

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Your maintenance person goes out to a unit, opens up the unit, fixes a maintenance issue and leaves. Only problem is, he forgot something. The key. The key is still in the lock. Your tenant comes home from work and sees the key in the door, and the tenant is livid. Now accusations fly that items are missing and that you are incompetent. A quick mistake avoidance technique? Make sure the keys are attached to the belt of maintenance person at all times with a retractable key holding gadget.

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SELFSTORAGELEGAL.COM - The Occupant's Change of Address

Occupants of self-storage units commonly change their address. Many times your tenants are renting a self-storage unit because they are moving, or they are between addresses due to the loss of a job, an eviction, or a transfer. There will come a time when you will not receive the rent payment on the self-storage unit, and by law are required to give the tenant notice prior to taking further action, which may include the lien, auction and sale procedures. This makes receiving and acknowledging a change of address one of the most critical operations you may have at your self-storage facility. Will the tenant claim they gave you the new address? Can you refute this claim? Is there now potential huge liability?

Click here to read Self Storage Law expert attorney Jeffrey Greenberger’s article “The Occupant's Change of Address”.

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COMMERCIAL LAW AND YOU - Continuing Ongoing Maintenance, Repairs and Expenses

The commercial landlord never should be having a dispute over who bears the responsibility for continuing maintenance and repair issues. This is an area that is often a negotiated aspect of lease obligations and which should be specifically identified by the Landlord. Is this a common area item which is the landlord’s responsibility? All the remaining areas of maintenance, repairs and replacements should be specifically identified, allocating to whether the Landlord or the Tenant is responsible for maintenance repairs or replacements to the structure.

Click here for info on how to deal with Continuing Ongoing Maintenance, Repairs and Expenses by attorney Kevin Jursinski.

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THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - “PARK IT RIGHT HERE”                                                         By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

Imagine this:  A tenant enters the office and requests a reserved, accessible parking space.  The tenant explains her child uses a wheelchair, and the parking space is needed to allow better access to the apartment.  Although you don’t show it, your mind races in panic, thinking of all the other tenants who will be demanding reserved spaces, and how can you handle it all?

Click here for some info on Parking and Fair Housing.

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In this issue:

Now is the Time to Act

AAGO New Member Service

Holiday Eviction Slowdowns

Bad Sec. Deposit Habits

Promissory Note Mistakes

Methamphetamine is Here

Corp.  Housing Scams

Soldiers, Sailors and Tenants

Maintenance and Keys

Self-Storage Units

Commercial Law and You

Fair Housing Corner


Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude these Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in December  2007!

24, 25 - Christmas




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

Copyright 2004-2007. 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