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Ian C. White

Ian White’s Answers

52 total

  • Tenant rights to dispute a deposit on previous lease with landlord

    disputing the return of deposit form previous lease agreement. Per the landlord repairs had to be done. The apartment was in excellent condition. Asked the landlord for proof of work and damages. He responded that he had none and that he did not n...

    Ian’s Answer

    Well...the landlord is wrong in his response to you. Florida law requires a landlord to send you a notice in writing of their intent to place a claim against your security deposit. If you left a forwarding address, the landlord has to mail you the notice within 30 days of the date you vacated. Failure to do this bars the landlord from deducting any portion of your security deposit. This does not mean that the landlord can't come after it later in a small claims action against you.

    Once you receive the notice, you are required to respond in writing within 15 days back to the landlord that you dispute the amounts being deducted. If you fail to do this, they get to keep the deposit (or at least a portion of it if the damages incurred are less than the deposit). If you dispute the claim made by the landlord within the time frame provided, you either work it out, or one of you files a small claim suit to determine who is entitled to the deposit funds. At that time, the landlord would need to prove his/her damages being assessed.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Landlord replaced carpet without informing us and wants us to foot the bill

    We recently moved out of our apartment to a new apartment complex within the same town few miles away. Though we made sure the apartment was left clean, we did not vaccum clean it. There were no stains/spots on carpet except in entrance area of ap...

    Ian’s Answer

    A carpet generally has a 5-yr lifespan, and if it has to be replaced, the landlord should pro-rate based on how old the carpet is. It's similar to having to repaint the walls. How long were you a tenant at this place and do you know how old the carpet is?

    Assuming you filed your objection to the landlord's claim against your security deposit in accordance with F.S. 83.49(3), and you believe strongly that the charges assessed are incorrect or unjustified, you would need to file a small claims action (assuming the damages are $5K or less) for the court to adjudicate who is entitled to the deposit funds. However, first I would try to work it out with the landlord to see if you can come to a mutual agreement. If not, then one of you needs to file an action with the court to see who is to get all or part of the funds.

    If you think the landlord has a practice of taking advantage of tenants, I would get with an attorney to discuss first before filing. A properly worded letter from an attorney to the landlord on what is about to happen might get the landlord to just drop the matter and return all of your funds. Just the mere threat that you are going to request to review all tenant files from the landlord going back 3 yrs is enough of a deterrent to drop the matter and return your deposit.

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  • Landlord tenant laws in FL, lease agreement

    If I did not sign a lease agreement but the owner made my girlfriend sign my name is it a legal contract in the state of Florida? He also put her on the lease and she was not supposed to be. She did sign her name. Can the owner keep my money an...

    Ian’s Answer

    I'm not aware of any 24-hour recission period in Florida for this type of tenancy either. If your girlfriend was going to be residing in the dwelling with you anyways, the landlord would of had her sign as a permitted occupant. Therefore, as it stands now, just your girlfriend is bound to the lease. But, if you live there with her (which I suspect was the goal) the landlord is going to request you come into their office to get your actual signature. At least that's how it should occur.

    Even if you never sign the lease, but reside there, the landlord could have you evicted as an unauthorized occupant. So, the end result is to just go in and sign the lease if this is where you plan to live. If not, you will need to consult an attorney about trying to get your girlfriend out of the lease she signed for.

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  • Landlord tenant laws in FL state, final eviction notice provided by landlord

    I evicted the tenants for non-payment of rent in early March. The sheriff came, tenants are out. I thought everything is final until I received NOTICE TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE PROSECUTION in the mail. I don't want the eviction to be dismissed, I do...

    Ian’s Answer

    Was your eviction complaint merely for possession or did you have another count in it for money damages? I presume you were seeking damages as well since the tenant owed you funds. Were any monies ever deposited into the Court Registry by the tenant? You might want to check.

    Chapter 83 requires a tenant to deposit all rent due plus amounts throughout the pendency of a case along with a written answer to avoid a default. Many times I get tenants who deposit monies, file an answer, and I still get a default because the answer does not state sufficient grounds why they should not be evicted.

    It sounds like you went at this one alone and the court only closed out the possession aspect of the eviction matter. In order to go after money damages, you have to have personal "individual" service on the tenant. If the summons and complaint was just posted at the residence, then you have to go back and get the person served again. A judge is not supposed to grant a monetary judgment unless the tenant is personally served.

    The notice you received is standard when a judge is trying to clear out his or her open cases. If no activity has occurred for 6 months (under summary claims procedure), or 1 full year on other matters, the judge will automatically send out a notice to dismiss for failure to prosecute. You have up to 5 days before the hearing to submit something in writing why the judge should not dismiss the action should you wish to have this matter stay open.

    It might be best for you to get with a landlord/tenant attorney to discuss your matter and make sure all issues are covered.

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  • FL landlord tenant laws, tenant's rights to negotiate lease provisions, attorney fees and late payment fees

    Can a landlord stipulate to a tenant they must sign a document stating the tenant will pay rent and attorney fees for the next four months in order to accept a late rent payment? An eviction process has begun but I have not been asked to appear in...

    Ian’s Answer

    My answer might be viewed as more pro-landlord since these are the typical landlord/tenant clients I represent. It is standard practice of mine to draft up a settlement agreement where an eviction has been filed, but the landlord/management company wishes to keep the tenant. Normally, this is a result of failing to pay rent on time and then after the service of the 3-day notice, you fail to pay all of the rent. The only thing you would want to check is to make sure the 3-day notice was sufficient. I see many times where management goes at this alone and issues a 3-day notice that ends up being defective. Calculation of time periods on that notice are very important as well as the language that is required by statute.

    Also keep in mind that your lease probably states you are responsible for fees and costs incurred to bring an eviction action before the courts. Most leases have that provision in there. If you settle in order to avoid the eviction, this is the best possible scenario assuming the reason for the eviction was valid. Because, if you take this to court and lose, you not only pay additional costs incurred to take it to a final hearing, but you have an eviction on your record. A judgment for eviction makes it hard to obtain a rental/lease somewhere else.

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  • What are grounds for legal search and seizure in OR state, police took items from our car

    we were searched by an officer. He seized items from our car with out give us an itemzed list of what was taken. We recived a speeding ticket but there is nothing stating why he searched us and what he took. IS THIS RIGHT?? I thought they had to ...

    Ian’s Answer

    In Florida all an officer needs in probable cause to search your car. I don't know enough facts to know whether probable cause existed. However, an itemized list is generally created as part of the officer's report when he or she gets back to the station. Contact the station and request an itemized list of what was taken, unless you have since received all items back into your possession.

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  • 25 mph in a 25 mph, Officer wrote the ticket wrong

    I was pulled over for speeding 15 mph ovet the speed limit. When the officer gave me the ticket he wrote "vehicle speed" 25, "in a " he left blank, "zone" 40. When i got home i seen that the speed limit sign said 25 mph. He obviously wrote the tic...

    Ian’s Answer

    I'm a little confused by your posting. You say the officer wrote your speed as 25 mph when he should have posted it as 40 mph. Is that correct? Then you said when you got home, the speed limit sign said 25 mph. I just wanted to make sure I understood your posting.

    Regardless, this seems like a clear case of where the ticket would be dismissed outright. It is about the same as the officer writting down the wrong statute that you violated. Even if you appear and plead no contest, that should keep you from having points assessed against your license.

    If I were you, I would contact the clerk and request a hearing. If you are not familiar with this process, it is fairly simple. A date will be set where you typically go before the judge in a room with about 20 or more people that are contesting their traffic violations. It's then up to you whether to plead not guilty or no contest.

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  • Tenant question

    I was informed by my landlord in writing that he is 2 mos behind on mortgage payments and the home that my family and I are living may or may not go into foreclosure. Although my rent payments are up to date, he has refused to allow me out of my l...

    Ian’s Answer

    I would go back and look at your lease agreement. My position here is that the Landlord may be in default for failure to perform his duties to you by not being current on his mortgage payments. In that situation, if the default would apply, you might be able to provide written notice in accordance with the lease notice period that you are terminating your lease. If you are able to do that, it is important that the written notice state that you are terminating based on the Landlord's failure to pay his mortgage payments.

    However, even if the bank is going to possibly foreclose, it will be several months before this can happen once the foreclosure actually begins in the court system. The mere threat of a possible foreclosure does not mean you will be needing to find another place to live in a few weeks. These proceedures take a little time. Plus, if the bank takes over, you may be answering to the bank as your new landlord.

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  • Renting

    what can be done about illegals moving so many people into there apartments? Manager does nothing. I have some that just moved in right next to me, started out with 5 people, now ther is somewhere between9 and11 there. This is a 2bedroom 2 bath ap...

    Ian’s Answer

    I'm a Florida attorney, so I don't know how the state of Washington handles these situations. I will answer based on my knowledge of Florida law and the general rules pertaining to excessive occupants. Most leases contain a provision stating that there can be no "unauthorized occupants" in an apartment. In Florida, this term refers to people living in an apartment who are not on the lease for a period exceeding 2 consecutive weeks. Typically, the manager serves what is known as a 7-day notice to remove the unauthorized occupant(s) or have them fill out an application to be potentially added to the lease should they qualify. If the manager is able to serve this type of notice in your state and the tenant fails to comply, the manager may be able to move for eviction if Washington's laws are similar to Florida's. You would need to consult an attorney in Washington about that.

    In the meantime, it sounds like the manager isn't willing to do anything regardless of what the law may afford them. Therefore, your complaint might be better directed to the local county ordinance department for violation of excessive people in possession of a 2 bedroom unit. Most city ordinances around the US limit the # of individuals that can reside in an apartment unit. This also holds true for some residential areas. It all depends on what the local ordinance says. If I were you, I'd first contact your city ordinance department and make them aware of the alleged violation. An inspector will then be called out to see if there is a violation or not. If so, that might be a way of getting these people removed. Plus, the tenants don't have to know it was you that complained.

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    How dose tenants clause work? My mother has it our morage with me on it but im mot sure as to what hapens now that she has passed on.

    Ian’s Answer

    I am not sure what you are referring to by the term "tenants clause". Are you referring to the fact that you and your mother were both on a mortgage together in the dwelling where you reside? this property being rented out to tenants and you have a question from a Landlord's perspective?

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