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Aug 10

Civil Penalties and the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm by Dawn Corrigan

Effective June 29, 2017, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finalized a rule adjusting its civil monetary penalty (CMP) regulations, which cap the penalties that can be assessed against companies or people (whether developers, landlords, applicants, participants, or HUD employees) involved in HUD-funded programs. Activities that can result in monetary penalties include violations of the Fair Housing Act, of the False Claim Act, and of other rules defined in the Code of Federal Regulations.

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Jun 08

Rental Fundamentals: On Security Deposits

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm by Dawn Corrigan

By Demetrius Pettway, Customer Service Representative

When renting a residence, being well informed will often make the difference between a good rental experience and a bad one. Here at the Housing Office, we receive many questions asking for advice on a wide variety of landlord-tenant topics. One issue that frequently results in misunderstandings is the question of security deposits, and we get many calls from renters who—whether they have a housing choice voucher or not—want to report that their landlord will not return their security deposit.

One thing to keep in mind is that, under Florida landlord-tenant law, there are certain scenarios in which the landlord is allowed to keep the security deposit, assuming all legal procedures have been followed. The security deposit is a safeguard and somewhat of an incentive to make sure the property owner will have their property returned in the condition in which the tenant moved in--or at the very least, have the money to bring their property back to a livable condition for the next tenant, after the current tenant has moved out.

The regulations that govern how this is to be carried out vary from state to state. In, Florida, once the landlord accepts the tenant’s security deposit, the money has to be put in an account separate from rent money or the landlord’s own personal account. If the landlord decides to charge a tenant at the end of the lease, he or she has to give the tenant a statement of charges, going item by item to show what the tenant is being charged for and what percentage of the security deposit will be used for each damaged item listed. The landlord must make his or her intentions for withholding the deposit known no later than a month after the tenant has moved out; any longer than that and the deposit must be returned in full.

There are also restrictions on what items a landlord can count as damages. Deficiencies in a rental unit may be classified either as “normal wear and tear,” or damages. Normal wear and tear is the expected decline that occurs through regular, everyday living while inhabiting the space. Scuffed baseboards, worn down carpet, and worn out weather stripping may be categorized as normal wear and tear. The landlord cannot charge a tenant for items such as these. Examples of damages could include items such as burn marks in the carpet or on Formica counters, or large holes in the walls.

In most jurisdictions, “normal wear and tear” has not been precisely defined, so there’s a lot of debate over where the line is between ordinary use versus damages. The Internet is full of lists of what constitutes “normal wear and tear,” all of them different. Therefore, it’s always best to read over your own lease thoroughly to determine how the security deposit will be handled.

May 18

Housing Employee Reaches Milstone

Posted on May 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm by Dawn Corrigan

Edward and Eric Smaller
Pictured: City Administrator Eric Olson and Edward Milteer

On April 26, 2017, at City Hall’s monthly Employee Recognition event, Pensacola Housing employee Edward Milteer was recognized for five years of service with the city. Mr. Milteer serves as a Housing Quality Standards inspector for Pensacola’s Housing Choice Voucher program. His work involves the completion of more than 2,000 HQS inspections and inspection reports a year.

Mr. Milteer had this to say about his employment with the City of Pensacola:

On April 16, 2012, I joined the City of Pensacola Housing team. Before joining the team, I worked at the Naval Air Station as a Construction Manager and a Construction Regional Superintendent. I even worked as Security Manager for a short stint. I’m a 20-year Veteran of the U.S. Navy, and while in the Navy I worked in the construction industry for many years. When I found my current job as a Code Enforcement Housing Inspector, it was the perfect fit. Being a City employee gives you a sense that you’re part of a great organization and team. For the past five years, I haven’t looked back, and I look forward to many more years of service with the City.

Congratulations, Edward!