EVICTIONS AND THE RENTED GARAGE
Many multi-family unit residents, and in some cases, residents of condo units, either have a garage included in the tenancy, or can choose to have a garage at a cost in addition to their apartment. The way the lease agreement and garage addendum is worded can have major consequences in the event of an eviction action. Failure to use the proper wording can result in the unpleasant situation in which the resident is evicted from the apartment, but the property manager is left trying to deal with a garage full of the resident’s possessions. In a single family home, we do not have these issues, as the garage is usually attached or directly near the premises. In a multi-family setting, the garage is more often detached and may or may not be part of the “premises”.
The Typical Lease
The typical lease will state the monthly rent and then add a section for garage rent or have a check-off section stating that the garage is included. The garage is never mentioned again in the lease, and there is no garage addendum used. Sounds simple enough, and usually there are no problems
The Sales Tax Issue
Most property managers do not realize that if a garage is rented separately from the residential unit, sales tax must be collected on the garage rental. It is crucial to include the garage within the rental for this purpose to potentially avoid any problems with the DOR and sales tax. We recommend that you have a price stated for units with garages and a price for units without garages. Making a separation of the garage from the rental unit can trigger a sales tax issue. If you ever rent out garages to non-residents, you absolutely MUST collect sales taxes.
The Eviction Problem
As mentioned before, usually the garage is not listed as part of the premises but treated separately. This separate treatment can cause a major problem in an eviction action. Typically, the eviction is served on the rental premises and lists the rental premises as the premises that the resident is leasing. Have you ever seen a garage listed on the 3-Day Notice or eviction action? It is assumed by many property managers and thankfully many residents that in the event they get evicted, they need to remove everything from the garage as well, and most do. This assumption though may be false. A property manager could be faced with evicting the resident but not being able to get the resident to take items out of the garage. In fact, we have seen cases in which a resident moved his or her belongings into the garage, actually sleeps there at night, and the traditional eviction action cannot get the resident or his property removed from the garage.
The Lease Tie In
In the beginning of the lease agreement, we recommend that the lease clearly describes the premises as follows “125 Main Circle Unit 306 and Garage Number 16” We do not recommend separating out the price of the garage from the price of the apartment or condo. Simply add these together to have one amount.
SAMPLE LEASE ADDENDUM FOR GARAGE, CARPORT AND/OR STORAGE UNIT
- ADDENDUM: This is an addendum to the Lease Contract for Apartment No_____ in the ________________________Apartments ___________, Florida and is made between Resident(s) (hereafter referred to as “Resident(s)”) and Owner and/or Owner’s agent (hereinafter referred to as “Owner”).
- PREMISES: The Premises as defined herein, shall be an enclosed garage, a carport and/or a storage unit (hereinafter referred to as the “Premises”).
- USE: Only those persons whose names appear on this addendum may use the Premises. The Premises may be used solely for private residential storage, and under no circumstances shall any business activity be conducted from or in the Premises. No person shall be permitted to sleep in the Premises at any time or remain in the Premises with the door closed.
- PETS: No pets or animals may be kept in the Premises.
- DEFAULT AND REMEDIES: If Resident(s) default in complying with this addendum or the law, Owner has the right to retake possession as provided by Florida law and institute eviction proceedings. If, Resident(s) or invitee(s) engage in criminal activity on the premises, such action will be a default for which this addendum and the apartment tenancy may be immediately terminated. In addition to any of the foregoing, Owner has all other rights and remedies provided by law.
- RIGHT TO ENTER AND TERMINATE: Resident(s) consent to Owner entering the Premises at any time and for any purpose without notice. Owner reserves the right to terminate this Addendum at any time and for any reason whatsoever, and Resident(s) agree to immediately remove all items from the Premises or face eviction proceedings from the Premises and the apartment unit.
- REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE: Resident(s) acknowledge that they have inspected the Premises and are fully satisfied and accept it in "as is" condition. Resident(s) agrees to be fully responsible for any damage cause to the interior of the Premises, including but not limited to the walls, ceiling, floor and the door(s).
- ALTERATIONS: Resident(s) may not make any alterations or additions to the Premises or affix anything to the floor, ceilings or walls.
- CONTENTS: Nothing may be used or kept in or about the Premises which would in any way affect the terms and conditions of Owner’s fire and extended coverage insurance policy, constitute a violation of the law, or otherwise be a hazard in Owner’s sole judgment. NO FLAMMABLE OR COMBUSTIBLE LIQUIDS OR GASES, BATTERIES, FIREWORKS, EXPLOSIVES OR ANY OTHER ITEM OR SUBSTANCE, WHICH OWNER DEEMS DANGEROUS OR UNACCEPTABLE, MAY BE KEPT IN THE PREMISES. NO ELECTRICITY MAY BE HOOKED UP TO THE PREMISES, AND NO PLANTS MAY BE GROWN IN THE PREMISES.
- PEST CONTROL: Owner will in no way whatsoever be providing any pest control for the Premises and shall not be liable for any damages caused by pests to the Premises.
- LIABILITY: Owner will not be liable for any damage, loss, or injury to persons or property occurring within or about the Premises, whether caused by Owner, someone else, weather, fire, wind, rain, flood or any other acts of god. Resident(s) are responsible for obtaining Resident(s)' own casualty and liability insurance, and, agree to save and hold Owner harmless and indemnify Owner from any liability. OWNER STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THAT RESIDENT(S) SECURE INSURANCE TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY. Resident(s) agree to save and hold Owner harmless and indemnify Owner from any liability resulting from injuries arising from the use of the Premises.
- SECURITY: Owner does not provide and has no duty to provide security services for Resident(s)' protection or the protection of Resident(s)' property in the Premises. Resident(s) must look solely to the public police for such protection. The Premises has a lock, which Owner does not warrant in any way. In the event any locks are broken, Resident(s) shall be responsible for the cost of replacement of the locks. Resident(s) may not change the lock(s) on the Premises.
- POLICIES: In addition to the policies herewith and the attached rules and regulations or any other attachments, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, Resident(s) agree to observe and be bound by any other reasonable policies or rule changes which may be later implemented by Owner.
- GARAGE SALES: Resident(s) agree that no “garage sales” shall be permitted in or around the Premises, parking areas or common areas, and nothing shall be sold out of or around the Premises, parking areas or common areas without express written permission of the Owner.
ABANDONED PROPERTY: Resident(s) agrees that should they vacate leaving any items in the Premises or should Resident(s) fail to vacate the Premises after notice or eviction, Owner is expressly given permission to dispose of the items in any way, holding the Owner harmless, and Resident(s) agree to be liable for any expenses arising out the disposal with regard to any items left in premises after Resident(s) vacate the Premises. Resident(s) expressly agree to waive all rights and procedures regarding the disposition of abandoned property provided in Florida Statutes.
BY SIGNING THIS RENTAL AGREEMENT, THE TENANT AGREES THAT UPON SURRENDER, ABANDONMENT, OR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF THE DWELLING UNIT DUE TO THE DEATH OF THE LAST REMAINING TENANT, AS PROVIDED BY CHAPTER 83, FLORIDA STATUTES, THE LANDLORD SHALL NOT BE LIABLE OR RESPONSIBLE FOR STORAGE OR DISPOSITION OF THE TENANT'S PERSONAL PROPERTY.
- The Curable Noncompliance Examined PART 1
- THE CURABLE NONCOMPLIANCE EXAMINED PART 2
- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION – WHAT IT IS
- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION AND THE FULL UNIT
- WORK ORDER COMPANY POLICY AND THE LAW