Firework usage in Florida during the Independence Day period and New Year’s Eve ranks right up with baseball, hotdogs and apple pie. On top of that, Florida is one of the few states in the US where fireworks are completely legal if used to scare off birds, illuminate railroad tracks, agricultural uses or to start a race. WHAT? Then how come anyone can buy them? Fireworks stores get around the law by having customers sign a statement that they're at least 18 years old, and promise to use the fireworks for the exempted purposes. I am not just talking about sparklers or bottle rockets, but huge rockets, large exploding fireworks with up to 500 grams of gunpowder, firecrackers and aerial bombs. Fireworks that can kill or maim are for sale to the public in Florida every day of the year.
Close to 10,000 people are hospitalized each year due to injuries suffered through the use of legal fireworks. Many fires are started each year due to the use of fireworks, resulting in millions of dollars of damage The US Consumer Product Safety Council gives a chilling account of the dangers of fireworks. The problem the property management industry faces is that most leases do not address fireworks or prohibit them in any way. I am sure the board of directors of the condo where you rent out a unit will love that. This needs to change beginning now. All your new leases should contain a clause such as the one below which prohibits the use of or possession of fireworks on the premises. Can you change or add this to the rules and regulations of your current residents who signed leases prior to your decision to make this prohibition? Most judges would feel that this is a reasonable change or addition to your rules and regulations or community policies, but you need to notify each and every resident of this new prohibition. Enforcement is another issue. Prior to Independence Day or New Year’s Eve, a letter should be posted on every resident’s door advising of your rule and that you are absolutely serious about enforcement. You should make sure your staff abides by this rule as well, as if a resident sees a staff member violating the rule, your enforcement capabilities will be pretty weak. Can you evict someone for violating your fireworks prohibition? Possibly, but do not count on it. In apartment communities, we recommend having staff members patrol the property during the holiday periods where the use of fireworks increases. Many local jurisdictions have prohibitions on the use of fireworks, so the resident may be committing a crime. Suppose fireworks on the property you manage injure someone? Can your company be held liable? Absolutely, especially if you are failing to enforce your rules.
SAMPLE CLAUSE FOR LEASE, RULES/REGS, COMMUNITY POLICY
“Explosive devices, smoke bombs, firecrackers, flares, sparklers, fireworks or any other noise, smoke, flame or spark-creating item or novelty is expressly prohibited in the rental premises or anywhere on the premises or common areas. Possession of and/or use of any of the foregoing by the resident, any occupants or guests of the resident whether or not the items are legal or illegal to purchase, possess or use under the laws of the State of Florida, may subject the resident to eviction from the premises and shall constitute a serious default under the terms of the lease agreement”
- 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