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HLF Real Estate Law is a division of the Hansen Law Firm. HLF focuses on representing commercial and residential property owners and tenants involved in legal disputes. HLF was founded by Marcia Giordano Hansen, an experienced litigator and strong advocate for her clients. HLF’s clients are individuals and corporations needing assistance with evictions, unlawful detainers, ejectments, lease disputes, drafting of leases, condo association matters and any other real estate disputes arising from ownership and tenancy. HLF represents corporations and individuals alike providing one on one, VIP treatment to each client.
we provide exceptional representation for commercial and residential property owners and landlords
It’s such a common occurrence that it’s practically a cliché. So many landlords have to deal with the problem of unwanted occupants—usually a deadbeat boyfriend or shut-in girlfriend—staying in their rental units. If only they had thought to ask a real estate lawyer before drafting their leases.
Often it’s the most unassuming tenants who seem to think they can take liberties and invite guests to stay for extended periods. I once had a client who had to deal with this exact issue, and to put it simply, it didn’t end quietly.
My client, a landlord here in Miami, had a great tenant—let’s call the tenant Jen. Jen was your average young woman. She had a steady job and paid rent on time. My client never got any complaints about her from other tenants in the surrounding apartments. She seemed to lead a pretty quiet life. She was the perfect tenant.
Then everything changed in the blink of an eye. One night my client got a text from one of her other tenants that the police had entered the building looking for someone at Jen’s. Apparently, when asked by the police whether they had seen a man coming and going from the building, some of the other tenants had confirmed that they had, pointing to Jen’s unit. The man—by now, obviously he’s Jen’s boyfriend—had a warrant out for his arrest in New York. When the police knocked on her door and spoke with her, she denied that he was there. Because there was no evidence of a crime, the police couldn’t enter her unit to check.
Unfortunately, my client had to evict Jen in order to get rid of the boyfriend. If nothing else, though, the episode prompted her to put a clause in her leases that limits the amount of time that guests can stay. If she had thought to ask a real estate lawyer before drafting her lease, she might have avoided the whole thing.
If you want to deter and possibly prevent what happened to my client from happening to you, it’s important to revisit your lease agreement. One critical component of any lease is a clause that limits visits from non-paying guests to a certain amount of consecutive days per year. Doing this will protect you and give you legal ammunition if the lease is breached. Inform your tenants that if they plan to have someone move in with them that they need to let you know so you can screen the new tenant.
Screening your tenants is what lets you weed out the good from the bad. As a landlord, you have the right to choose who you will rent to as long as your decision is within the law (i.e. you’re not discriminating based on race, religion, ethnicity, etc.). If your tenant does not inform you of a new roommate, you have the right to terminate the lease.
It’s not an easy job being a landlord, but with the right legal advice at your disposal, you can be sure that you are not being taken advantage of. Don’t let your tenants determine how you run your business. Ask a real estate lawyer at HLF Real Estate Law by calling 305-760-4425. Se Habla Español.
In the landlord-tenant relationship, the law most often favors the tenant. Being a landlord is no easy task to begin with, and with the amount of responsibility that landlord tenant rights and laws place on them, it can be an almost impossible endeavor without the right help.
Case in point: I recently worked with a client who was trying to evict a tenant. Being a self-sufficient landlord, my client—before hiring me—had decided to go through the eviction process on his own. He had filed all the paperwork correctly and seemed to have everything under control. But his desire for a quick decision from the judge made him miss a crucial detail. His tenant had filed for bankruptcy before my client moved to evict.
It might not seem like an important thing to check for when evicting a tenant, but it is, as my client soon found out. Because the tenant had filed prior to the eviction, he was protected. The case went to the federal courts. Not only could my client not remove the tenant from his property, he also ended up having to pay for his tenant’s court costs. Had my client contacted me straight away, I would have caught the bankruptcy, and he could have saved several thousand dollars, not to mention a lot of time and stress.
Do you want to start 2018 the right way? Knowing these common landlord mistakes could help you avoid violating landlord tenant rights.
As my client discovered, you can think you’ve checked every box and still come up short when you try to evict a tenant by yourself. But checking each box doesn’t always happen. If you want to preserve landlord tenant rights (and avoid landing in trouble), you have to follow the proper legal eviction steps.
As a landlord, you have to follow the federal Fair Housing Act, which means you cannot deny someone housing for discriminatory reasons. Such reasons include race, gender and sex, disability, familial status, national origin, disability, and sexuality, but tenants who feel discriminated against can make a case for others.
What you can do is run a background check to look for any financial red flags, such as past bankruptcies.
Your lease agreement probably requires tenants to pay a security deposit upon moving in. This money is only to be used if the tenant owes you for rent or for property damages when they move out. Keeping the money without providing the tenant with proper documentation can lead to the tenant taking legal action against you.
No two situations are the same, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions about keeping your landlord tenant rights intact this year.
Want to keep your rental business legal in 2018? Call HLF Real Estate Law at 305-760-4425. Se Habla Español.
As a commercial real estate or residential property owner, you know that there might be times when you need to remove someone from your property. But do you know the difference between ejectment vs eviction? Whether it’s a tenant or a stranger makes a difference for the legal approach you take. Unlike unlawful detainer actions, which mostly apply to family, friends, significant others, and other non-contractual residents that need to be removed from the property, eviction and ejectment actions can be more complicated.
Let’s use the following scenario as an example:
Let’s say you recently went to check on one of your rental units to get it ready for a showing. A couple is interested in looking at it and possibly renting from you for years to come. They have a stable income, have only positive references from previous landlords, and are friends of a current tenant who always pays on time and hasn’t had a single complaint against him.
In short, they are ideal tenants.
Unfortunately, when you open the door of your rental unit, you discover someone living there without your permission. When you confront them and tell them to move out, they refuse and lock the door. Instead of consulting with an attorney about the best course of action, you decide to file for an eviction. After weeks of waiting, potential tenants lose interest and rent from a competitor. To add insult to injury, the judge dismisses your case.
Weeks after finding the stranger living on your property, you are no closer to regaining possession of the unit. Let me break down why your attempt failed by explaining the difference between ejectment vs eviction.
When you filed for an eviction, you started the legal process by setting yourself up for failure. Found in Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes, evictions deal primarily with tenants who have a written or oral rental agreement with a landlord. The most common reason that landlords evict their tenants is because of non-payment of rent, though other instances do occur. Because the person occupying your rental unit does not have a rental agreement with you and is not paying rent, you cannot legally evict them.
Had you consulted with an attorney before trying to take legal action against the trespasser, they would have told you that you should file for an ejectment and not an eviction. Ejectment, which can be found in Chapter 66 of the Florida Statutes, addresses occupants who are not the owner but who make a claim on the property. Whether frivolous or legitimate, the presence of a claim often complicates things for the landlord. Unlike cases of eviction, ejectments do not give landlords the right to summary procedure. In other words, ejectments can take a long time to resolve.
When it comes to ejectment vs eviction, Ejectment cases are more difficult to win in court than eviction cases. But with the right legal guidance to support you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Need to get rid of a non-paying occupant of one of your properties? Let HLF Real Estate Law handle it for you.
As a manager or owner of a high-end rental property, you know how critical it is to maintain good relationships with your tenants. But what about when your tenants become more trouble than they’re worth? When this happens, you need to start considering your legal eviction options.
The truth is they expect a certain level of service and responsiveness for any problems they might have. You have a reasonable expectation that your tenant will pay on time and that they will honor their leases. You know you’ll hold up your end of the bargain. That’s just how you conduct business. You can’t always be certain that they will do the same.
Here’s what you need to know about the eviction process in Florida:
If you ever need to evict one of your tenants, it’s helpful to know how to serve them notice. In Florida, a landlord can serve a tenant notice of legal eviction in three ways. Each depends on the circumstances of the eviction:
Knowing which type of notice you need for your situation can help expedite the process.
If you have a problem with one of your tenants, you really only have two choices—move to evict them or give them another chance. In most cases, the decision will be an easy one to make. But if you have trouble finding an answer, consider whether you have a good or bad history with the tenant. Working something out is always easier than taking legal action.
When eviction is your only option, you need to make sure you do it right. You’ve probably found plenty of websites offering guidance and forms that allow you to do a DIY eviction. I cannot emphasize this point enough—never, ever, ever try to evict a tenant on your own. Saving money by not hiring a lawyer to begin with might seem like a good idea, but when you get into legal trouble and end up getting sued by your tenant, you’ll wish you had hired a legal expert.
In cases of tenants living in high-end apartments, it’s more than likely that they will have the resources to fight an eviction. When you serve an eviction notice, do so only if you are prepared to present your case to the court.
Need help keeping your legal eviction within the law? Call us today: 305-760-4425. Se Habla Español.
Experienced real estate investors know that expert knowledge of local laws can be an integral tool to keeping their rental properties lucrative and above board. Miami real estate investment is no different. Landlords and property investors in the Miami area can benefit from hiring an attorney who specializes in real estate law. But what if you’re an international investor looking to start or grow a rental business in Miami? How important is expert legal advice to your success?
An international property investor who purchases property here in the United States with the intent to lease it out to local residents needs an attorney because if they don’t have one, it’s like going into a boxing match blind. They don’t know the regulations of the states. They don’t know the laws that can affect them negatively. A local resident likely knows these things. Therefore, they need the assistance of legal counsel to guide them through the process of setting up a lease agreement, helping them with problematic clients, helping them with evictions, and helping them close up a lease, and any other landlord-tenant dealings that may arise. Their Miami real estate investment depends on this legal expert knowledge.
An international property investor who wishes to lease out their property to a local tenant needs a lease agreement. I help customize that lease agreement to the benefit of the investor who is now a landlord. So I help protect their rights in case anything were to happen during the landlord-tenant relationship. In addition, if there is a problematic tenant during the lease that’s in place, I correspond with the tenant directly.
Unfortunately, what I often see happening with these international investors is that they communicate with these tenants through What’s App, through text, through email, and they say the wrong things. They’re basically setting themselves up for failure if this tenant, who knows the laws in the U.S., decides to sue them. So what I do is I correspond with them on my letterhead, and I write what’s appropriate in accordance with the Florida laws so that I can protect the landlord, the owner, the investor. In the end, the Miami real estate investment is able to continue operating uninterrupted.
Beyond the services that I provide to my client, I make myself available to my clients’ need. If they want to conference with me, I can speak to them via WhatsApp and via Skype. I can review any issues that may arise. Basically, I’m their go-to person here in the U.S. for any legal matters that may arise.
If they ever need any services beyond my specialties, such as a divorce, a bankruptcy, or estate planning, I can refer them to my trusted legal network here in the U.S.
Are you an international investor looking to buy property in Miami? Call us today: 305-760-4425. Se Habla Español.
Now that over a week has passed since Hurricane Irma landed in Florida, it’s time to think about how things will look moving forward. If you’re a renter, like 42% of Floridians, that might involve taking on your landlord and breaking your lease.
As we saw in Colony Park, West Palm Beach, what renters face when challenging landlords and property managers isn’t always a pleasant experience. According to WPTV, the property owners stopped tenants from boarding up windows prior to the storm. For the renters, this meant putting their personal property at risk of damage from Hurricane Irma.
Or take what happened in Houston after Hurricane Harvey as an example. There, landlords were demanding rent from tenants, but apartments were uninhabitable. It really was—and still is—a mess.
Even though you might find the prospect of challenging your landlord on the validity of your contract daunting, if you have a strong enough case and take the proper steps, you have nothing to worry about.
Here’s what steps you need to take to break your lease:
Hurricanes are destructive, as we recently witnessed. It’s not just the high winds that make these storms so devastating (though they do cause a lot of damage). Hail and flood damage are also to blame for the massive costs of repair and replacement that follow them. In fact, water damage can have lasting effects on the habitability and safety of your home. With moisture that goes unchecked and untreated, mold and structural rot could be close behind.
If you think that the damage from the storm is creating an unsafe environment for you and your family, then it’s time to have a talk with your landlord.
After you’ve assessed the damage to your dwelling, ask your landlord about what plans they have to fix the situation. Be sure to ask for an estimate on how long the repairs are going to take. In a situation in which repairs will take a long time, tenants may opt to terminate their lease.
In the meantime, talk to an attorney about your housing options and to come up with a course of action.
In reality, the first thing that you should do when you find yourself in a situation that makes you consider whether to break your lease is to call an attorney who specializes in tenant-landlord disputes. As Hurricane Irma has shown us, having that expertise at your disposal through each step of the process will not only give you peace of mind—it will get you results.
Do you need to get out of your lease, but don’t know what steps to take? Call us today—305-760-4425—Se Habla Español.