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LEGAL NEWS - OCTOBER 2006


EVICT.COM’S 2nd YEAR ANNIVERSARY

While our firm was established in 1989, EVICT.COM and our monthly email newsletter began in October of 2004. We hope you enjoy our monthly legal news and articles and welcome any suggestions. If you would like any members of your staff to receive the newsletter, send them to evict.com; signing up takes about 5 seconds.

Click here to access the past 24 issues of our Monthly Newsletter

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THE 15 DAY SECURITY DEPOSIT DISPUTE PERIOD

A tenant has just 15 days to dispute the claim on the security deposit, and if they do not, you are in the clear – Right? WRONG. The tenant has up to 5 years to sue you for a refund of all or part of the security deposit.

Click here to see how the 15 day dispute period works

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A LEASE RENEWAL QUICK TIP

You have sent numerous letters to particular tenants asking them if they want to renew, but they just will not respond and sign a new lease. They keep saying they are not sure, or they totally ignore you. If you do not want them to remain as month to month tenants, all you need to do is non-renew them. Simply look at your lease to see how much notice you are required to give, and serve the tenants with notice pursuant to the terms of the current or expired lease.

Click here to see how to properly non-renew.

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THE HOME WARRANTY PROBLEM

Many new homes have been put on the rental market due to the sales slowdown. Most come with a home warranty to cover many of the usual items which need repair. The problem? Most home warranty services are terrible, resulting in huge delays and legal ramifications for the owner. What are the tenant’s rights and the owner’s obligations?

Click here for info on home warranties and the tenant .

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CAN YOU PROHIBIT SMOKING ON THE PREMISES?

Many landlords are now setting aside certain units as “smoke-free”, or renting homes out and prohibiting smoking on all or part of the premises. Many tenants do not want to rent a unit where the prior tenant smoked, and in many units, smoke travels through the walls and ceilings, interfering with the rights of other tenants. Restricting a person’s ability to smoke on the rental premises in full or in part is not prohibited. The lease needs to clearly spell out the restrictions, and the challenge to the landlord will be enforcement and proof. Good Luck!!

Click here to see how to create Smoke-Free units.

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RENEWING A LEASE WHEN A BALANCE IS OWED

A common mistake when renewing a lease is to use a standard lease renewal or draw up a new lease, omitting any reference to money that may be owed from the expired or expiring tenancy. Late charges may have accumulated, the tenant may owe for some damage, or there may be NSF charges or other charges that were incurred under the prior lease. Once the new lease is executed, while the tenant may still owe you the money, there is no enforcement mechanism to collect it. You cannot evict under the new tenancy for money owed under the prior tenancy, UNLESS the new lease or renewal clearly spells out that there is a balance owed and states how the tenant shall pay this balance.

Click here for some info on renewing a lease with a balance owed.

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THE FAIR HOUSING CORNER - “HOW A COMPLAINT IS FILED” By Cathy L. Lucrezi, Attorney at Law

Tenants and applicants who have suffered an incident of housing discrimination have the right to file an administrative complaint with HUD, the Florida Commission on Human Rights, or a local agency dealing with fair housing. This article examines how that complaint gets filed and processed.

Click here to see the mechanics of how a discrimination complaint is filed.

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INDUSTRY LEADER OF THE MONTH - Caroleen Swanson

Caroleen Swanson is currently manager of Somerset Apartments, which is located on the beautiful beaches of Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach. Somerset is owned and managed by The Delaney Development Inc. of Mobile, Alabama. Caroleen grew up in a small farming town in Illinois. She was a military wife for 27 years. During that time she was a full time mom to 2 wonderful children. It was after her children were raised that she was able to pursue a career of her own.

Caroleen, along with a few interested parties was able to organize and charter the Emerald Coast Apartment Association of North West Florida (ECAA) in March of 2003. She served as president of this organization for the first two years and remains a member of the general board. She is currently the Emerald Coast Apartment Association (ECAA) Delegate of Legislative Affairs, which lobbies State Representatives and Senators regarding important laws and issues related to the Florida Apartment Association (FAA). She also participated in Capital Conference in Washington D.C. in the spring of 2006 lobbying for national issues concerning the Multi-Family Housing Industry.

Caroleen has served as president of the Valparaiso Town Home Association of Valparaiso, Florida, she is an active member of the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of The Mardi Gras Club of Fort Walton Beach. A big round of applause to Caroleen is in order for her accomplishments and especially for the formation and continued support of the vibrant and growing Emerald Coast Apartment Association. Go Caroleen!

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In this issue:

Evict.com's 2nd Anniversary

15 Day Sec. Deposit Dispute

Lease Renewal Quick Tip

The Home Warranty Problem

Can You Prohibit Smoking?

Lease Renewal When Balance is Owned

Fair Housing Corner

Industry Leader of the Month

November
Legal Holiday Alert

Don't forget to exclude this Legal Holidays when preparing your Three Day Notices in November 2006!

10 - Veteran's Day

23, 24 - Thanksgiving

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

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

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

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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