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Sergio Cabanas
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Sergio Cabanas’s Answers

402 total


  • Pet deposits

    I moved into my complex for years ago my lease is up for Renewal in 10 days. When I moved into my complex 4 years ago I paid a pet deposit of $250 non-refundable. They put a piece of paper on my door today telling me I have to pay a pet deposit is...

    Sergio’s Answer

    I agree that the landlord has the right to increase the rent and/or other charges, including pet deposits, and otherwise impose other terms and conditions until there's written agreement that's signed by everyone. (If you already signed the agreement, that maybe another story). If the pet is maintained for health reasons, however, the landlord may be legally barred from charging such pet fees. Consult an attorney who is experienced in Landlord-Tenant law with any questions in this regard.

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  • After posting writ, how long before BSO execute the actual eviction?

    I'm a new property owner and filed an eviction against a tenant. It took BSO from 7/8 until today to post the actually writ. I called several times but always got a voicemail. Will the BSO actually return tomorrow morning so that we can rent the u...

    Sergio’s Answer

    It's hard to tell as much depends on their route and the availability of the officers. Although the notice allows them to return within 24 (business) hours, it's rare that they actually do. They usually call you (or your attorney if you have one) within 1 to 3 days after posting to set up an appointment for the eviction usually within another 1 to 3 days thereafter. Be sure to have keys or locksmith, and be ready to change the locks asap. Good luck!

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  • Vacation rental rent refund

    My tenants paid $900 rent and $150 cleaning fee for a (4) night stay at my vacation rental. Upon their arrival the AC failed. I had an AC company come out right away. It was Friday afternoon and they said that the AC needed the coil cleaned, bu...

    Sergio’s Answer

    Another approach you may consider is to wait to see if they do anything. They may not pursue it. We could argue that, although the A/C was out, you all reach a "settlement agreement" whereby you all agreed to continue with rental arrangement at the reduced rate. If they sue, you can make a business decision at that time as to whether to defend. You should have a rental agreement that may allow for recovery of attorney's fees in the event of litigation.

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  • Is my rental lease null and void if my landlord is still claiming homestead?

    We signed a one year lease and moved into the house on 11/15/2015 and in Jan 2016, I guess that the landlord did not notify the city/state of the rental status and therefore homestead exemption was extended. One day, an official from the City of ...

    Sergio’s Answer

    Correct, the Broward County Tax Appraiser's Office (not City) probably sent a representative to your home to verify whether the owner resides at the property, or not. They probably received some information indicating that the landlord does not live there, such as a different mailing address than the property (that's the usual trigger). In any event, as stated in other responses, his failed claim for homestead deduction for taxes, will put him in hot water for taxes plus penalties, but it has nothing to do with your lease. You can't use it as leverage to terminate your lease, for example. However, you can deliver a seven-day notice to him to make repairs, so long as he is the one responsible for the repairs under the lease. If he fails to make the repairs, you may be able to terminate the lease, depending on the circumstances. You should consider consulting with an attorney about this important notice, as it must be done properly in order to successfully terminate the lease.

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  • What can be done if a landlord doesn't fix problems?

    My husband and I are staying at my mother in-laws apartment and the septic tank is backed up. My mother in-law has called the landlord and my husband has called and texted him. When my mother in-law called him he said he would send someone out to ...

    Sergio’s Answer

    You can also contact the county health department, which will do an emergency inspection and require the owner to make repairs within 24 hours. Of course, I would also agree that you send a 7-day notice to the landlord.

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  • Moving out inspection

    My family and I made sure the unit was properly kept and was clean prior to vacating the complex. The days before, management was asked to do a walk through. Management stated they (only one person) was busy with the "end of the month" (whatever t...

    Sergio’s Answer

    I agree. The Landlord is required to send you a notice by certified mail of their intention to impose a claim on your security deposit within 30 days of your vacating the premises. If no notice was sent, you have the right to sue them for the return of your security deposit, and you are entitled to attorney's fees. When I take these cases, I start with a letter to the landlord, demanding they pay you, and usually they do. Assuming they did send such a notice, you can still sue them for wrongfully withholding the security deposit (and recover attorney's fees if you prevail). It appears that their withholding for a "smell" is really "wear and tear" for which they are not allowed to make a claim. You should an attorney who can review your case and provide you with the applicable legal options. Most attorneys offer s free initial consultation.

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  • What are the laws of a realtor coming into a home?

    I am renting a house currently and the house owner says he put the house on the market so the so the realtor will come over and show the house to clients... Well today, while my two teenage daughters are home alone, someone rang the doorbell. My d...

    Sergio’s Answer

    First, we would have to look to your lease with regard to the landlord's right to access. It's usually with advance notice to the tenant. Otherwise, there is a Florida statute which allows the landlord access under three circumstances. One is with proper notice, in writing, delivered at least 12 hours in advance, and for the entry to be done within certain time periods during business days. The other circumstance is when there's an emergency situation, such as smoke coming out of a window. Finally, the Landlord has right to access at any time with the tenant's permission. It could be argued that the Landlord is breaching your right to the "quiet enjoyment of the home" and employing illegal self-help eviction procedures. So, yes, you have a possible lawsuit, in my opinion. I would use these arguments as leverage to restrict their ability to enter the property at any time. Consider having an attorney help you with this process.

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  • How long does a judge have before she makes a ruling?

    My attorney filed a motion for disbursement 20 days ago against a tenant for eviction. Instead of ruling on the disbursement she refereed the case to a second mediation. Attorney filed a motion to not go to the second mediation due to the fact...

    Sergio’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues that you already have an attorney and you should be addressing these issues with him/her. That attorney is like the "surgeon" who is performing the operation, and most knowledgeable about your case and the strategy. Speak with that attorney about setting a hearing on your motion(s) and obtaining an order at such a hearing. If you are still unsure after speaking with your attorney, then seek a second opinion with another attorney who is experienced in this practice area (landlord-tenant law). Good luck!

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  • My land lord refuses to give me my deposit because family is still in house. I have nothing to do with new lease. Need help!

    So in May 2014 i moved into a one year lease with my cousin and brother. I put down frost and a major majority of last. After a year I moved out at the end of the lease and my cousin and brother renewed lease under they're name.

    Sergio’s Answer

    I would have to review all of the documentation relating to the lease to be absolutely certain. Based on my experience, the lease is probably silent as to who paid how much. The argument could be made that the landlord should have properly refunded at least half of the deposit when they took your name off after the first year. The better argument would be to look to your cousin and brother to pay back the amount of the security deposit you paid, as they are receiving the benefit (of not having paid the potion of the deposit you paid), and the landlord would likely return the deposit to them when they move out.

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  • Is it legal and/or convenient to request the bank not to accept a Tenant's rent payment after Lease NonRenewal Notice is given?

    We have a Tenant whose 12-month Lease Agreement expired back on January 2016. After the termination of such Lease, we allowed the Tenant to stay on a month-to-month basis. Last week we sent him Notice (via email and Certified USPS mail) of Lease N...

    Sergio’s Answer

    These lease termination notices have to be handled very carefully, from the way the notice of the lease termination is drafted and delivered, to the way the attempted payment is later rejected. I would recommend you have an attorney review your lease and the notice, to be sure. One mistake can doom your eviction and cost you dearly for many reasons. Basically, we start with the lease to see if it specifies any time period for the delivery of such a notice of non-renewal. Assuming the lease does not address it, then the law would require that the notice be sent at least 15 days prior to the end of the rent cycle for a month-to-month tenancy. For example, assuming the due date for payment is the first of the month, then the notice should be delivered before the 15th day of the month to terminate the lease as of the end of the month (more time to allow for the 5 day mail rule). So if you sent a proper notice last week (i.e., end of April), seeking to terminate the tenancy as of May 31, 2016, you're OK. Again assuming the actual notice was properly worded, even considering the 5 business-days mail rule. If you choose to send another letter, explaining you will not accept any rent after that date, you have to be careful such a letter is not interpreted as a new notice. (In my opinion, I don't think you should send such a letter as you may not need to, assuming your first notice was proper). If the payment is subsequently made by direct deposit or otherwise (for June), you can wait until after the payment clears, and send the payment back to the tenant by certified mail, again with a letter that's carefully worded, rejecting the payment, and proceeding with an eviction of a holdover tenant.

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