Photo of Michael Lehnert

Michael is an Associate in the firm’s Real Estate division. He handles real estate matters, including homeowners’ and condominium association governing documents, commercial and residential sales and leases, development, and survey matters. Michael is admitted to practice in all Florida state courts.

While in law school, Michael joined the UF Environmental Moot Court Team and the Pi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society. He also was enrolled in the Land Use and Environmental Law Certificate program, was a member of the Environmental and Land Use Law Society, a member of the John Marshall Bar Association, and served as Finance Chair of the 2015 annual Public Interest Environmental Conference.

Michael received book awards in Local Government Law and Finance, International Environmental Law, and the Environmental Law Capstone Colloquium. He made Dean’s list all six semesters and graduated with an Environmental and Land Use Law Certificate.

Michael graduated from Bishop Verot High School in 2008 and currently resides in his hometown of Cape Coral. When not working, he enjoys cross-training, reading, and relaxing outdoors.

For those of you who missed it, Thursday’s 2017 Commercial Real Estate Outlook Conference offered exciting sneak peeks into new, major downtown Fort Myers developments, insightful discussions on the impacts technology and millennials are having on the real estate industry, and a general feeling of optimism toward 2017’s real estate market.

While blogging etiquette won’t

hacker-1944688_1280January is the month of the fresh start. It brings in the New Year and the inevitable “I am going to be better about (insert your commitments here) this year” commitments everyone makes to themselves.

Building on our end of year recommendations, I’d like to offer another “I am going to be better about”

We all understand the value of preparing for hurricane season, but what about tourist season?

In the last post, we talked about the need for a license if you intend to rent your property out on short term intervals.

Now that you know whether you need a license to rent out your second home or condo, have you considered the benefits of using a written rental agreement?

Sure, it’s convenient and friendly to allow a stranger on VRBO to rent your property and only require that he or she pay a modest security deposit up front. In a perfect world, the renter would pay rent, not damage the property, follow all of the rules, and this arrangement would work out wonderfully every time.

Benefits of a Written Rental Agreement


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IMG_3202Relatively recently, sites like VRBO have revolutionized how people travel. They also have made it easier for the average person to rent out their home without the need for professional assistance.

Are you considering renting your second home or condo during this fast-approaching Southwest Florida tourism season? If so, have you considered that you might be fined if you don’t have a license?

What You Need To Know

Florida law requires anyone in Florida renting a home to guests more than three times a year for stays which are less than 30 days to have a license. This means most of the people listing their homes on VRBO or otherwise advertising their house as available for rent to the public need to get a license from the DBPR- Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
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In addition to providing legal services, Henderson Franklin attorneys are involved in numerous community organizations throughout Southwest Florida. A few weeks ago you heard about Shannon Puopolo and her significant involvement in the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation. Not long after that post, Shannon and Michael Lehnert served on a Lee County Bar Association Committee that organized and ran a charity golf tournament fundraiser for the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation.  Last week, we shared Molly Maggiano’s passion for the arts and for the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

Today, meet Michael Lehnert. Michael joined Henderson Franklin in September of 2015. Since he began, Michael has been handling residential transaction and association matters. Outside the office, he serves on the boards of two local organizations, namely Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast and Southwest Florida Real Estate Council:

Michael Lehnert and Leah Heinrich

In my capacity as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Michael helped organize and support the Big Brothers Big Sisters Chef’s Cooking For Kids Event. The event was a great success due to the immense support from the local community, including, in particular, fellow board member Ryan Love of Norman Love Confections, and due to the experienced leadership of the Board, especially the current chair, Bryan Blackwell.

Michael is excited to announce that last week he had the good fortune of being matched up with a Little Brother, Dominick. They have only met once thus far, but Michael is excited about the opportunity to be a positive influence in Dominick’s life for years to come.


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The Situation

A friend of mine just bought a vacant lot and plans to build a house on it someday. While telling me about the purchase, he mentioned that he thought it was great that he could pay so little for title insurance, yet still insure the full value of his future home against a title defect.

While trying not to deflate his bubble too much, I explained that the title insurance he purchased very likely would not cover the house, or any other improvements he might make to the property. The title insurance policy only insures him (the policy holder) up to the amount stated on the face of the policy.

The amount on the face of the policy is almost always limited to the market value of the property at the time of purchase. This means that his title policy covers the value of the vacant land at the time of purchase, but any additional value created by appreciation, construction of improvements, or by any other means would not be covered.

The Solution


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iStock_000015122897XSmall.jpgIncreasingly, paper is becoming a thing of the past, and although the law is notoriously slow to follow trends, it has been rather quick to latch onto the digital wave.

It is as if some black-robed man with a curly white wig slammed down the gavel and proclaimed, “All men witnesseth that heretofore law shall no longer move like a snail, but rather shall transpire at the speed of light!”

In 2000, Congress actually made such a proclamation; it passed a law making electronic documents and electronic signatures valid in almost every legal fact, except wills, certain trusts, and some relatively esoteric commercial transactions.


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