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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33784
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I had a property manager that recently lost their broker so

Customer Question

I had a property manager that recently lost their broker so we had to hire a new PM, when the new property manager inspected the home it was identified that many of the maintenance issues that we paid for and have emails saying they were complete were in fact not completed. Additionally the tenant had 6 dogs in the home where the contract states no pet. The home is in Florida and I live in California, I have a lot off E-mail traffic with the PM and invoices? Additionally before the quit we gave them $1300 for a repair, they gave that to the contractor they use and the work has not been done, we contacted the contractor and requested the money back but have not heard back? Can I do anything?
JA: Have you consulted an attorney yet regarding this matter?
Customer: no
JA: Because laws vary based on location, where is the property located?
Customer: Florida
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't believe so?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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At this point, your recourse is to sue the old property manager for breach of contract and fraud for taking your money and not doing what they were supposed to do with regard to repairs..

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The issue is that you will have to sue them in FL in order to get personal jurisdiction over them. So depending on how much you have paid them for work not done, you may need a local FL attorney to assist if the amount is over $5K, which is the small claims limit..

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But if you did get an attorney involved to send a letter to them threatening to sue, they may just agree to refund your money rather than have to hire their own attorney and defend in court..

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As for the tenant with the dogs, if your lease states no pets, then unless the tenant can come up with something in writing from the property manager stating they have permission to have them, you can give them a 7 day notice to either get rid of the dogs or move and then evict them afterwards.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We have spoke to the old PM many times since they quite trying to get everything resolved, to include getting the security deposit back which she finally gave to us but called it a back rent payment and we have already evicted the tenant for non-payment. The house is now vacant and has additional damage due to things such as plumbing that was supposed to be fixed but wasn't so now we have water damage. They were supposed to remove the chimney and seal up the house, it was torn down, the side of the house was left exposed and the debris was left in a pile. Pretty much the PM says there is nothing else they can do. The amount is probably over $5000, what exactly can I calculate to reach that number (repairs, fees, out of pocket costs to repair, eviction?) By the way, nice to meet you Barrister and thank you for your help.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Ok, then it may be worth your time to sue the old PM for their fraud and basically theft if they took the money and did nothing and lied about it..

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You would have to get estimates for the cost of the repairs that were supposed to be done and then could sue them for those costs. You could also sue them for any damages that the dogs caused because the PM was supposed to be managing the property, not just taking your money and lying about everything.

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So the new PM could get contractors to come and give you estimates for the costs of repairs and then you can pursue the old PM for those damages. The problem I see that may come up is if the old PM has gone under.... If they lost their broker, then they can't legally continue to operate so may have just folded. I would see if the new PM or a local attorney can do a little research into the old PM to see if they even still exist. If not, then you are unfortunately just stuck here..

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And you are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
If they are out of business, which I believe they are would their insurance that they had during that time still cover this because it was during coverage?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Yes, if they had insurance during the period that they were operating, then it could cover them for any claims that you might make against them for negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation and fraud..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Do you have any recommendation as to what kind of lawyer I should look for, what I should ask of them before hiring?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need foreign counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

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www.martindale.com

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www.lawyers.com

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They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

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But you would need to find a civil litigation attorney to assist you with filing any suit. Basically any attorney could file this type of suit, so it is more important to find an attorney that you are comfortable with and who isn't going to ask you for a huge retainer up front. Smaller solo practitioners or partnerships are going to be less expensive and easier to deal with than an attorney in a large firm..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Wonderful, thank you!
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 month ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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Thanks much

Barrister