I am in the process of renting a condo in the state of Florida in which the owner (the person listed on the property appraiser website) is not directly involved. The owner is elderly and in a nursing home. The owner's son claims that he has power of attorney over his mother and has given me a lease agreement in which he listed himself as the landlord. The owner of the property is not mentioned anywhere in the lease. If the son shows me written proof of power of attorney over his mother, will the lease be a legal agreement? Shouldn't the owner be listed as the landlord and the son with power of attorney be listed as her authorized agent? I want to make sure my rights are protected before I enter into an agreement with someone that is not listed on the deed of the property.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I am not licensed in Florida, however generally you are correct that the landlord name would be the owner and that the son would be listed as an authorized agent. He can be an authorized agent even if he does not have an official POA. However, if he does have a POA he should sign the document NAME OF OWNER, by NAME OF SON, her attorney in fact.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents. My firm is All for the Family Legal Clinic, Inc. a nonprofit public benefit corporation that charges on a sliding scale based on income and family size. For a consultation contact us 510-999-7732 or at our website www.allforthefamilylegalclinic.org
Real Estate Attorney
The answer to your question depends on the wording of the power of attorney and whether it was properly executed. The law on powers of attorney in Florida has changed recently and there are more stringent requirements for use of a power of attorney. In addition, if the elderly mother has been declared incompetent by a court, the power of attorney is no longer valid. If you are unsure of your rights, you should consult an experienced lawyer in your area.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
Elder Law Attorney
This comes up quite frequently. A tenant should check the property records to see who is actually the owner of record. In your case the son has no authority to rent the unit unless the durable power of attorney or real estate power of attorney has specific language in it authorizing such act by the names attorney-in-fact (agent). You should ask several questions of son: 1) even though she is in nursing home ask if mother is competent to sign, if she is ask him if she knows he is renting the unit. She is entitled to know what is being done with the property. If mom is incompetent confirm there is no court proceeding for guardianship pending. if there is the agent's power to act is temporarily suspended pending outcome of guardianship proceeding. 3) ask for an affidavit of the agent (Fla has a form affidavit that the DPOA is effective and agent acting within scope of authority. Also ask for copy of DPOA. Make sure agent has specific authority to rent, lease and manage the property. Next all checks should be made payable to the owner of record.
power of attorney, make sure it is durable. By the way the Florida durable Power of Attorney law was recently overhauled and the law effective October 1, 2011. The new law requires specific execution requirements and other significant updates to the law. I suggest you seek advice of a lawyer in landlord tenant law before getting into this one.