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Being a landlord in Fl.

Old 01-29-2013, 08:40 PM
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Default Being a landlord in Fl.

My wife and I are exploring once again the idea of moving to Fl. Sarasota north to Tampa seems to be the area we like best. If we did get into things it would be a multi family 8-14 units in a good neighborhood.

For the purpose of this thread what are the laws like when it comes to landlord tenants issues, do the courts boot out those that are behind in their rent or do they give them forever to try and pay up? I've never had issue with anything like this here in NJ, we've been lucky/good at our screenings so far but I'd like to know.

I don't think the Sarasota area is nearly as transient as Miami but if you could tell me hoe hard you think it might be to keep tenants in place for several 1 yr leases, I like long term tenants and will accept lower rents for good people.

Thanks!
Old 01-29-2013, 08:51 PM
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I have a lawyer who for 10 hours a week does evictions. I have almost 500 units throughout the south and will say Florida is not as easy to evict as let's say north Carolina. You will have to do a lot of paper work and wait 1-3months to evict. However if you get people in there with decent credit scores or section 8 you shouldn't have any problems. I evict only 4% of my tenants on average because I do background checks and must have proof of income. And the only reason it's that high is because of the number of units I own. Back when I had me 3 family houses I never evicted anyone
Old 01-30-2013, 05:05 AM
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We have a couple of rental units.

Do yourself a favor and google "Chapter 83, Florida Statutes".

Good baseline.
Old 01-30-2013, 05:23 AM
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Insurance has become a huge issue in Florida. some older properties are almost uninsurable.

Property taxes are "ad valorem" meaning they are based on the value of the property. Can be pretty high.
Old 01-30-2013, 06:31 AM
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I just bought 4 units in a great south florida location, but after figuring the taxes/insurance/water/sewer/garbage, not to mention the increased taxes since I remodeled it, I decided to flip it. It would have taken me about 4 years to recoup my profit I'm making in rent plus the headaches.
Old 01-31-2013, 12:18 PM
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Proper tenant screening is absolute key. If you don't plan on doing complete screenings ($50 per tenant) -- then go this route. Period. Your "gut" feelings mean NOTHING.

The real concern you need to understand is regarding taxes and insurance... the rest is pretty easy to deal with. Remember that taxes on non-homesteaded property are not capped... we're not talking about the insanity like in NJ... but still, they can, and do, go up.

Insurance is another issue.

It really comes down to where you're located... I can tell you that coming from NJ to here will seem like a walk in the part property tax-wise... however, the insurance can be a PITA.
Old 01-31-2013, 12:22 PM
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I rent out. Has been very good to me.

The credit thing is an art. Most renters now have bad credit--sometimes because of foreclosure/short sale but still have good income.

Make sure they have a stable employment history.
Old 01-31-2013, 12:34 PM
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Word of advise if you want to rent out homes in Florida. Keep the water and electric in your name. There are some stupid laws in effect that actually give the renter (or squatter) more rights than you as the owner.

There is a house across the street from me. I know the owner well, she is a real estate agent. Her son was living in the house for a while. Then when he moved out she rented it to a family while the house was on the market for sale. The renters seemed to be very nice and quiet.

Well it looks like their lease was up and the owner has an interested buyer but the renters won't seem to leave. Now they are living there beyond the lease and not paying rent. In the mean time the owner has someone that wants to buy the house. The renters have since moved the kids and wife out and only the guy is living there.

he is living there with no water because I saw the city shut the water off and put a lock on the meter. Unfortunate for the owner I don't think she has the electric in her name. If she did she could cut the power and water which would ultimately force the guy out.

With all the scumbags out there these days that seem to think it's OK to live in someones house without paying and refuse to leave when told by the owners. I would never rent out a property unless the power and water were in my name.
Old 01-31-2013, 12:41 PM
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Subscribed.

Good advice here.

Dumb question: How do you do a "proper" screening of tenants?
Old 01-31-2013, 01:32 PM
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1. good security deposit plus first and last
2. credit report
3. good lease
4. i have been able to get people out in just a few weeks when i've needed to.
Old 01-31-2013, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt.Willie View Post
I rent out. Has been very good to me.

The credit thing is an art. Most renters now have bad credit--sometimes because of foreclosure/short sale but still have good income.

Make sure they have a stable employment history.
Agree.....put more focus in the renters employment history and past rental history. These days you can have very good people with bad credit simply because they ended up in a bad mortgage and had to either walk away or got foreclosed on.

I would say past rental history is a good gauge. If the potential renter can provide a reference from their previous landlord and the landlord gives good feedback then it's probably safe to assume you don't have some scumbag intent on screwing you.

And like I said before. Keep the electric and water in your name and simply add their usage to their rent for the following month. Write it in the lease! If the renter has good intentions they will have no problem with this arrangement.

And if they do turn out to be scumbags, shut the power and water off the instant the lease is up or is breached. Getting stuck with a couple months of outstanding electric and water bills is much better than spending weeks or months evicting them.
Old 01-31-2013, 03:52 PM
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Some landlords will give a good review just to get rid of a so so or bad tenant so be careful there. I tend to look at their work history and how much they make over the credit report. Like stated above they could of lost their house or went bankrupt giving them bad credit. I like the idea of putting the utilities in your name never thought of that but I also never had a problem where they stayed and did not pay. Once I gave a tenant $500 to move at the end of the month and that worked out as they took the money when they handed me the keys. A person with bad credit will most likely be a good long term tenant as long as they have a good job.
Old 01-31-2013, 04:04 PM
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There are credit reports that also show criminal and eviction history.... Worth the $50
Old 01-31-2013, 04:13 PM
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Well, let me paint a target on my forehead, because I'm doing everything wrong and bass-ackwards...and I know it , but I want income every month instead of having a home or apartment vacant while I parse the applicants.

The tenant with the nicest young family, the most stable job (local utility company), a second job, wife getting her nurse degree.........is the deadbeat from hell. He and I will see each other in court and he just doesn't get it; he's facing credit fall and garnishment, and just didn't want to pay me rent anymore. Meth, sports bookies, horses, Barbie dolls? That's something that we don't find on credit reports.

The Latinos up here are the best payers and the ones that mostly never complain.

Whites in lower-tier apartments are 50-50. Again, it's drugs that they cave to.

Not one of my Blacks have never made it a full year with any of my apartments or homes. Many were government assistance up the wazoo and should have been paying like clockwork, but chose to do something else with Uncle Sam's generosity.

I like having almost 100% occupancy almost all the time. The cost I pay for that is my 3AM wonderings on the ones that don't look me in the eye anymore.

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