Thursday, September 18, 2014

The New Landlord: Maintenance Obligations

The New Landlord:  Maintenance Obligations under FL Law
We look further into a Landlord's Maintenance Obligations as outlined by FL Landlord Tenant Law.

While your lease agreement will outline specific instructions for tenant and landlord maintenance, landlords are ultimately subject to abiding by state and local laws.

It is critical for landlords to understand their obligations for maintaining their home under Florida Statutes governing Landlord and Tenant Law. If you are not aware of these laws, you expose yourself to unnecessary liability and a number of problem scenarios including a tenant withholding rent or terminating their lease agreement early.

To help you better understand these complex laws, we are going to break down current FL Statute 83.51 which defines landlord obligations to maintain the premises.
 
"Landlord must at all times during the tenancy shall
      1. Comply with requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes
      2. Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition."
"The landlord’s obligations under this subsection may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single-family home or duplex." (i.e. agreed upon by both parties in your written lease agreement)

(2)(a) "Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:
1.   The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs.
2. Locks and keys.
3.The clean and safe condition of common areas.
4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.
5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water. 
(b) 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. "

Extermination is usually considered landlord responsibility
 unless your lease agreement states otherwise!

Luckily, they also include the following clarifications in this chapter of FL Landlord Tenant law.
  • "When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.
  • Nothing contained in this subsection prohibits the landlord from providing in the rental agreement that the tenant is obligated to pay costs or charges for garbage removal, water, fuel, or utilities.
  • The landlord is not responsible to the tenant under this section for conditions created or caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent."
A few clarifications:
  • The laws require more strict maintenance obligations by landlord for multi-family properties and apartment communities.  Because pests can travel from unit to unit, pest control is considered the landlords responsibility for multi-family properties unless agreed upon in writing by both parties. Because multiple tenants can create unsafe situations in common areas and around trash receptacles, the landlord is required to maintain those areas under FL Landlord Tenant Laws. 
Did you know that smoke detectors expire!
Air conditioning repairs are beyond the scope of renters requirements!
  • Did you know that smoke detectors only have a shelf life of 10 years? Each smoke detector has a date on it. Make sure to check yours yearly to ensure your home is adequately protected! Items like these need to be replaced routinely while you are leasing your home and (most of the time) can not be charged back to the tenant.

  • The statute does not specifically require that air conditioning be maintained by the landlord, however, like any other major appliance in the home, if air conditioning is working when the tenants moved in, a judge would agree that the landlord must maintain the air conditioner during occupancy.  (Most lease agreements do require the tenants to change their air filters regularly and can asses fines and damages based upon improper care.)  Also, local building codes and/or the FL Building Codes may require landlords to maintain air conditioning.  Unless your lease agreement states otherwise, the landlord is required to maintain all appliances owned by landlord at the property. 

  •  This principle "if it was there when they moved in, it should be maintained" goes with most items in the home unless your lease agreement specifically says otherwise. For example, our lease agreement states that items like ceiling fans, garbage disposal, and ice makers can be removed instead of replaced in the event they malfunction.  If your lease agreement doesn't address these issues, the judge may rule that you would need to replace/ repair something if it was in working condition when the tenants moved in. 
Screens Florida Landlord Tenant Law
Missing or badly damaged screens are against FL Landlord Tenant
laws and should be replaced prior to tenants move in
  • The most recent updates to Landlord Tenant law require screens to be installed and in reasonable condition at move in. The law also requires the landlord to repair screens only once annually if necessary. 
In addition to complying with Landlord Tenant Law Statutes, you must be sure to comply with local building, housing, and health codes. The Florida Building Code outlines further codes to consider.  If you are unsure about your local laws or the obligations under your lease agreement, consult a real estate attorney.

To see Chapter 83.51 of the Florida Statutes in its entirety as well as to review the full Landlord Tenant laws, please visit The Florida Senate website.   

The Bottom Line
Components of your home tend to break down and deteriorate over time with just normal wear and tear. Be prepared as a landlord to routinely spend money updating and improving the components in your home. 

Under Florida law, most of these items can not be charged back to the tenant unless the burden of proof shows that the tenant was 100% responsible for damages caused by misuse or neglect.  Being a good landlord requires a continuous financial investment to maintain your home in accordance with the law and to keep your renters satisfied.
 
This is the ninth article of our blog series "The New Landlord: Tips & Tricks for the Profitable Landlord."  Make sure to follow our blog for more advice on how to be an effective landlord!   See our past articles including:
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Rental Homes 
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

*Disclaimer- I am not a real estate attorney and therefore not qualified to give real estate legal advice. Please consult an attorney for clarification of FL Landlord Tenant Laws.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

East Hill Edible Gardening Classes

East Hill Edible Gardening Classes
Local gardeners teach Pensacola residents to grow their own food!

Local gardeners Renee and Tom Perry are master gardeners who grow most of their own food in the East Hill community of Pensacola.  As veteran gardeners and members of the Pensacola Organic Gardening Club, Tom and Renee put their years of gardening experience to use helping local area residents grow their own bountiful garden.

East Hill Gardening Class in Pensacola, FL ~ Photo courtesy of East Hill Edible Gardening ~
East Hill Gardening Class in Pensacola, FL ~ Photo courtesy of East Hill Edible Gardening ~


Their fall series of "Easy, Weed Free, No-till Gardening" kicks off tonight this week, September 16th and 18th and continue once a week for four weeks through October 7th and 9th.

Winter Harvest~ Photo courtesy of East Hill Edible Gardening ~
- Tuesday morning series - 9:30am - 11:...00am - Sept 16, 23, 30, and Oct. 7
- Tuesday evening series - 6:30pm - 8:00pm - Sept 16, 23, 30, and Oct. 7
- Thursday evening series - 6:30pm - 8:00pm - Sept 18, 25, Oct. 2, and 9

In these lessons, Tom and Renee cover the basics from where to put your garden and how to prepare your soil, to more challenging aspects of gardening including planting for the season and how to prevent pests.  

They give recommendations for on what to grow, when to grow it, and where to pick up the best supplies. 

The cost for the 4 Easy Weed Free No-Til Organic Gardening class session is only $45. 
Classes are held at Bayview Park Resource Center located at 2000 E. Lloyd Street.

They are also offering "All about Vegetables:  Fall and Winter" next Wednesday, September 24, 2014 from 6-8 p.m. The cost for this one time class is $25. 

East Hill Edible Gardening classes
Myself and Carlin at the
East Hill Edible Gardening Classe
I recently attended the four week edible gardening class with a co-worker and can personally speak to the Perry's passion for gardening and sustainability. I have just started implementing some of their techniques and am impressed with the results in my own small backyard garden.

For more information about East Hill Edible Gardening, contact Renee and Tom Perry at 292-8155. Visit them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EastHillEdibleGardening
Pepper from my garden!

Let us know if you take a class or leave a gardening tip for our readers below.

Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Monday, September 15, 2014

Big Plans for Downtown Pensacola~

Big Plans for Downtown Pensacola~
New mixed-use developments in Downtown Pensacola excite local residents!

Downtown Pensacola FL Blue Wahoos
Fun at a Blue Wahoos Game at Community Maritime Park
With the recent success of Palafox Market, Gallery Night, and  al Fresco, local developers and entrepreneurs are continuing to push forward a movement to revitalize the Downtown Pensacola area! 

The latest announcement in a string of good news for Downtown Pensacola includes a proposed $50 million dollar, mix use building at the site of the old Pensacola News Journal building. 

The development, spanning the block beginning at the intersection of Jefferson and Romana, a mere block from Palafox St., is an optimal location for this type of development which is targeting young professionals and empty nesters.
Downtown Pensacola FL Palafox St.
Downtown Pensacola~ Palafox St.

Current plans for the building include:
  • Parking
  • High density apartments
  • Common areas
  • Office & Retail space
While the Studer's are still ironing out the apartment details, reports indicate there could be between 200 and 300 apartments, with 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms.  The average square foot of an apartment may be around 850 square feet.  Proposed rental rates are reported to be $1.50 a square foot, or about $1,275 for a 850 square foot unit.

To read more details about the proposed plan, visit Progress + Promise: http://www.progresspromise.com/blog/redeveloping-pensacolas-urban-core 

In an effort to see this development move forward, the Pensacola City Council voted this week to grant an Economic Development Ad valorem Tax Exemption.

New YMCA in Downtown Pensacola
The property owners, Quint and Rishy Studer, have also donated the adjacent vacant lot to the YMCA and are working to support the YMCA to build their new facility right next door to this development. This project alone is exciting news for Downtown Pensacola as we expand our efforts to bring Pensacolians outdoors together to enjoy our historic, waterfront downtown. 
 
Other new Downtown Pensacola Developments
Other new developments downtown include:
One51Main coming to Downtown Pensacola!
  • Three story mixed development located on Pensacola Bay at One51 Main St., just a few blocks from Community Maritime Park.  Beck Properties, a large commercial real estate agency, is constructing this for their new office and will also include additional include retail and office space including the developer, dining, parking, and four lofts. For more information, visit http://one51main.com/ or call John Fifer (850) 477-7044.  The project is expected to be completed by Spring 2015.

  • 70,000 square foot building coming to the West Florida Tech Park located adjacent from the Pensacola Bay Center

  • Possible sale of the city owned Hawkshaw property. The City Council has been reviewing bids on the Hawkshaw property, a 2 acre vacant parcel located at Ninth Ave. and Romana St.
Perhaps my favorite new proposed development is a project that would create a ferry system to transport between Downtown Pensacola near Palafox Pier to Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens.

This is all exciting news for Downtown Pensacola, don't you think?

Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at 
www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pensacola 2014 Parks & Recreation Guide

Pensacola 2014 Parks & Recreation Guide
Your guide to tennis lessons, belly dancing, community events and more! 

The City of Pensacola has just released their Fall 2014 Parks & Recreation Activity Guide. 



Jam packed with community events and information, the guide also includes:
  • After school programs and care 
  • Youth programs including athletics, self defense classes, dance, karate, band, cooking classes, tennis clubs, etc. 
  • Adult activities including basketball, softball, belly dancing, fencing, karate, zumba, sewing lessons, gardening classes, art lessons, meditation classes, NA, etc. 
  • Senior classes and fitness programs including kayaking, chair aerobics, square dancing, walking clubs, bingo, and even fly fishing
Because the City of Pensacola also runs Roger Scott Tennis Center and the Osceola Municipal Golf Course, they also teach lessons, have tournaments, and host events at both locations. 

The City of Pensacola has several facilities for rent to host your event including space to accommodate from 80 to 500 people with indoor and outdoor space available. 

Read the Pensacola Parks Guide here.  


Please contact the City of Pensacola Parks & Recreation department at (850) 436-5670 or visit them on the web at www.PlayPensacola.com

Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at 
www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cher comes to Pensacola Bay Center

Cher comes to Pensacola Bay Center 
Pensacola to host Cher's Dressed to Kill 2014 Tour.

Cher's Dressed to Kill Tour coming to Pensacola 
Gulf Coast Cher fans were excited to hear this week's announcement that Cher will be performing a Pensacola show at the Pensacola Bay Center.

The only artist to have a number 1 song for six decades, Cher is also known for her flashy costumes and over the top performances.

Cher's Pensacola concert will take place Monday, November 17, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket sales begin tomorrow at 9 am.

You can purchase tickets from the Pensacola Bay Center box office, Rodizio Grill Box Office, or on Ticketmaster.
Tickets are available between $23.50 and $500.00 with the majority of tickets available in the $80- $180 price range.

Other upcoming performances at the Pensacola Bay Center include:
  • September 11, 2014 ~ Miranda Lambert 
  • September 20, 2014~ Island Fights 30
  • October 4, 2014  ~ Disney Junior live on tour
  • October 25, 2014 ~ Ice Flyers Season Opening! 
  • November 8, 2014 ~ NPC Northwest Florida Flex Fest 
  • November 13, 2014~ Casting Crowns Thrive Tour 

Visit the Pensacola Bay Center's website for a complete listing of upcoming events or call them at (850) 432-0800.

If you go to the concert, make sure to post below and let us know what you thought of her show!

Thanks and have a great day,
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com