THANKSGIVING & YOUR SMOKE ALARM

Having a happy Thanksgiving begins with having a safe Thanksgiving. As our nation comes together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday I would like to share with you some safety tips for both the Landlord and Tenant.   

 

According to data from the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking. In addition, these fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m. And unfortunately, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of non- confined Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

 

One BIG way to avoid fire damage is to have operational smoke detectors.

 

The Florida Landlord Tenant Statute states that: “Unless otherwise agreed in writing, at the commencement of the tenancy of a single-family home or duplex, the landlord shall install working smoke detection devices. As used in this paragraph, the term “smoke detection device” means an electrical or battery-operated device which detects visible or invisible particles of combustion and which is listed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual Laboratories, Inc., or any other nationally recognized testing laboratory using nationally accepted testing standards”. While the Statute does not address multi-family, the landlord’s obligation to install smoke detectors will certainly be found in the local fire codes.

 

The statute doesn’t address who has the responsibility to maintain the detectors. So if the landlord is not going to handle the preventive maintenance of the smoke detector, the landlord should be clear in the lease that it will be tenant’s responsibility to check to make sure the batteries and smoke detector are operational.  

 

Regardless who is responsible, here are some smoke detector tips that will keep you safe this Thanksgiving:

 

  • Test your smoke alarm following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If you haven’t replaced your battery over the past year, do so now.
  • If your alarm “chirps,” its warning that the battery is low. HINT:  Change your battery now.
  • Never “borrow” a battery from a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms can’t warn you of fire if their batteries are missing or have been disconnected. So put back that battery now.
  • Do not disable your smoke alarms even temporarily.
  • If you haven’t done so recently, vacuum or dust your smoke alarms following manufacturer’s instructions.

 

And of course – always keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

 

When it comes to managing your single, multi family or commercial properties, rest easy – Octazon Management has got you covered and can take away your property management headaches and distractions. Our full-service property management company can handle everything from tenant and vendor management to maintenance and landscaping, providing 3 day notices, eviction management, detailed financial reports and many other services through our advanced technology that allows us to stay connected and maintain transparency with our clients.

 

When providing management services to Realtors, Octazon will NOT provide the leasing, rentals or sales– so you never have to worry about losing control of your relationship with the owner. 

With Octazon, we bring order to residential property ownership.  Call us 888-324-9528 or email us at info@octazon.com . Check us out @ www.octazon.com 

Revisions to Residential Florida Landlord Tenant Act – Security Deposits

Well it’s official. HB 77 was signed into Law June 7, 2013. The 20 page bill extensively amended the residential landlord tenant act.

In this Blog, I will highlight one portion of the Bill regarding security deposits.

Acoording to the new revisions to the Florida Landlord Tenant Act, Landlord now needs to provide the Tenant with the following statutory disclosure regarding security deposits. This new statutory disclosure language must be contained in the lease and must have the following specific wording. This new disclosure language is only required for leases entered into after January 1, 2014.

” YOUR LEASE REQUIRES PAYMENT OF CERTAIN DEPOSITS. THE LANDLORD MAY TRANSFER ADVANCE RENTS TO THE LANDLORD’S ACCOUNT AS THEY ARE DUE AND WITHOUT NOTICE. WHEN YOU MOVE OUT, YOU MUST GIVE THE LANDLORD YOUR NEW ADDRESS SO THAT THE LANDLORD CAN SEND YOU NOTICES REGARDING YOUR DEPOSIT. THE LANDLORD MUST MAIL YOU NOTICE, WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER YOU MOVE OUT, OF THE LANDLORD’S INTENT TO IMPOSE A CLAIM AGAINST THE DEPOSIT. IF YOU DO NOT REPLY TO THE LANDLORD STATING YOUR OBJECTION TO THE CLAIM WITHIN 15 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE LANDLORD’S NOTICE, THE LANDLORD WILL COLLECT THE CLAIM AND MUST MAIL YOU THE REMAINING DEPOSIT, IF ANY. IF THE LANDLORD FAILS TO TIMELY MAIL YOU NOTICE, THE LANDLORD MUST RETURN THE DEPOSIT BUT MAY LATER FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU FOR DAMAGES. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO A CLAIM, THE LANDLORD MAY COLLECT FROM THE DEPOSIT, BUT YOU MAY LATER FILE A LAWSUIT CLAIMING A REFUND. YOU SHOULD ATTEMPT TO INFORMALLY RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE BEFORE FILING A LAWSUIT. GENERALLY, THE PARTY IN WHOSE FAVOR A JUDGMENT IS RENDERED WILL BE AWARDED COSTS AND ATTORNEY FEES PAYABLE BY THE LOSING PARTY. THIS DISCLOSURE IS BASIC. PLEASE REFER TO PART II OF CHAPTER 83, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO DETERMINE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS.”

Note: The above disclosure language replaces providing the tenant with a copy of subsection (3) of s. 83.49, F.S. Landlords should take specific notice of the above language which states that a tenant who fails to make a timely objection to a landlord’s claim against a security deposit does not waive any rights to seek damages in a separate action.

When it comes to managing your single and multi family residential properties, rest easy – Octazon Management has got you covered. Our full-service property management company can handle everything from maintenance and landscaping, to screening potential residents, preparing leases, marketing, advertising and managing your properties online with our advanced technology that allows us to stay connected and maintain transparency with our clients.

With Octazon, rest easy, because we bring order to residential property ownership.

Call us 888-324-9528 or email us at info@octazon.com today or check us out @ www.octazon.com “Single Family Residential – REO – Multifamily – Commercial”

DEATH OF A TENANT – THE DO’S AND DON’TS

When the only remaining tenant on a lease dies, it raises issues and presents challenges. While a landlord’s reaction of how to approach this situation may seem logical, common–sense, reasonable and proper, it may also be illegal and costly.

 

Florida Statutes 83.59 and 83.67 sets out rules for how the landlord can re-take possession of the unit and how to handle the abandoned property. The good news is that a properly worded lease can help the landlord navigate the challenges due to the death of a tenant.

 

Landlords need to keep in mind that upon death of a tenant, the Landlord cannot immediately re-take and re-rent the property, dispose of the personal property, or grant access to anyone – even children or the sole heir – even if they can produce a Will. Additionally, powers of attorney are no longer valid.

 

So what’s a landlord to do to protect themselves from this event – which is becoming more common? For starters, make sure you lease contains the language set forth in Florida Statute 83.67.

 

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.

If your lease contains this above language and (a) The last remaining tenant is deceased and (b) rent remains unpaid, and (c) at least 60 days have elapsed following the date of death, and (d) the landlord has not been notified in writing by relatives, friends, the court etc…of the existence of a probate estate being opened or that a personal representative has been appointed, then after the 60 days have elapsed and you complied with the above steps, the unit is yours to re-take, re-rent and dispose of its contents as you see fit.

 

In the event a probate estate is being opened, a claim would have to be made in that probate proceeding for anything due under the lease. In that case Landlord should deal directly with the personal representative. The Landlord can also allow access to those that have court authorization through “letters of administration” and can evict or file other necessary motions by suing the estate through serving the personal representative.

 

While this overview gives the landlord direction on handling the death of a tenant, it is best before taking any action to call your attorney and let the attorney walk you through the process to avoid any costly mistakes.

 

When it comes to managing your single and multi family residential properties, rest easy – Octazon Management has got you covered. Our full-service property management company can handle everything from maintenance and landscaping, to screening potential residents, preparing leases, marketing, advertising and managing your properties online with our advanced technology that allows us to stay connected and maintain transparency with our clients.

 

With Octazon, rest easy, because we bring order to residential property ownership.

 

Call us 888-324-9528 or email us at info@octazon.com today.

 

Check us out @ www.octazon.com

 

 “Single Family Residential – REO – Multifamily – Commercial”

 

Smokey and the Tenant

If you ever had a tenant or renter that smokes then you most likely had some smoking related damage to your unit. Smoking tenants may be  something you wish to avoid. How do you protect your property from smokers? Can a tenant be told he is not allowed to smoke on your property? Do smokers have legal rights? In other words, are they a protected class they can not be discriminated against?

Let’s clear the air about smoking. There are no federal or state laws or statutes that stop a landlord from prohibiting all forms of smoking in or around any part of the property. Smokers are not a protected class and therefore a landlord/owner can discriminate against smoking tenants.

This means that the Landlord/owner can make policies for all their units, houses, common areas, porches, lanais, gardens, play and swim areas etc….creating entire “smoke-free zones” or “designated smoking zones”.

While for landlords and owners the benefit of regulating smoking is obvious ( no butts littering your property, no accidental fires or burnings or other related injuries, no property damage etc..). Most non smoking tenants will also appreciate having rules against smoking and not being the victim of a smelly or dirty unit or worse yet, second hand smoke.

If you are going to regulate smoking, it is imperative that your lease and/or addendum to lease very clearly addresses smoking and related restrictions. Keep in mind that if you have an existing tenant that smokes, you may not be able to ban a current tenant from smoking, if in their lease or addendum there is no language regulating smoking. Even if the lease allows for the landlord to make future rules and regulations as the landlord deems necessary, the smoker most likely will be grandfathered in. In that case, you will just have to wait out the tenant and address this issue at time of renewals.

Of course, it is one thing to make a rule, it’s totally another to police it. However, your ability to police and ultimately enforce your smoking restrictions begins with proper language in your lease and/or addendum.

About Octazon:
Whether you own a few properties or hundreds of properties in Florida, Octazon Management, LLC is here to bring order and simplify property ownership and management. We can help you manage any and all of your properties. Call us 888-324-9528 or email us info@octazon.com today

How to Guarantee a Lease

If you are a leasing agent then you most likely recently turned down a tenant due to their negative credit report. This is the unfortunate reality of our time. However, when this happens –all is not lost so long as the tenant can find someone who can guarantee their financial obligations and responsibilities towards their unit.

Having a guarantor to a lease agreement is a common and popular tool especially during our current economic environment where many applicants have problematic credit scores. The basic function of the lease guarantee is to hold a third party responsible for all unpaid amounts in connection with the tenant’s obligations under the lease. Of course, as a practical matter you should run a credit check against the guarantor to determine if he/she will make a proper guarantor. Once the guarantor is identified and vetted, you are ready to draft the guarantee. For the guarantee to be effective and to hold up in court, the lease guarantee should, at a minimum, have the following elements and structure:

 The lease guarantee should be a separate document and should contain language that specifically references and relates back to the lease. This will prevent the guarantor from later asserting a lack of knowledge about what responsibilities were being guaranteed. It is good form to provide the guarantor with a copy of the lease (and even a copy of any future lease modifications, changes, addendums, extensions and renewals) and have the guarantor sign an acknowledgment that they received a copy of the same and acknowledge the obligation therein.

 The guarantor should be clearly identified in the guarantee agreement and should sign and date the lease guaranty form before 2 witnesses and a notary.

 The guarantor should not sign the lease. Only the occupants of the unit should sign the lease. In other words, the lease guarantee should be a separate and distinct form from the lease.

 The lease guarantee must be in writing and be very specific as to the obligation being guaranteed and the time period for which the guarantor will be guaranteeing the lease. If vague and lending itself to different interpretations and meanings, you run the risk that a court will not uphold the ambiguous language with respect to the terms of the guarantee, effectively eviscerating the guarantee.

 If your lease has renewal or extension language, in order for the guarantors obligations to continue during this new lease period, the guarantee must contain language that makes it clear that the guarantor is also responsible for any subsequent lease renewal and/or extension. Otherwise, you will unintentionally not bind the guarantor for lease renewals and extensions terms. Of course you also want to make sure your guarantee covers addendums, amendments,modifications and changes to the lease terms including increases in rent.

About Octazon:

Whether you own a few properties or hundreds of properties in Florida, Octazon Management, LLC is here to simplify property ownership and management. We can help you manage any and all of your properties. At Octazon we provide simplicity & peace of mind. Call us 888-324-9528 or email us info@octazon.com today.