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 allow me to recount all of the intriguing insights offered by the expert presenters, here are a few takeaways:

  • On the heels of Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Inauguration, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, forecasted that over the next year there will be almost no reason to worry about another housing market bubble and opined there will be less than a 5% chance of another national recession (according to numerous economic indicators). In addition, Dr. Yun explained that he anticipates a slight rise to our Country’s GDP under the new administration, from a recently “sluggish” average of 2%, to approximately 2.2%.
  • The landscape of downtown Fort Myers is about to significantly change over the next few years as Mainsail Lodging and Development puts in a hotel and overhauls the Harborside Event Center, Dwell Florida erects The Place on First – a high-rise luxury condo and retail development on the corner of First Street and Jackson Street, and Fischler Property Company constructs First Street Village – a live, work, and play development on the corner of West First Street and Altamonte Avenue.
  • To meet the non-traditional demands of the up and coming millennial workforce, office environments are steadily deemphasizing large individual offices in favor of smaller individual spaces and more, larger collaborative work spaces.
  • While emerging technologies are certainly changing the way commercial real estate business is done, inventors haven’t found a way to replace the investor’s desire to make a personal connection with a live, local realtor before signing on the dotted line.

Thank you to all of this year’s speakers for their useful insights into the 2017 real estate market and to Bev Larson, CCIM for producing such a great event. We look forward to Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2018!

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” to your list.

In 2016, the real estate industry saw a big spike in the amount of attempts fraudsters made to hijack real estate transactions. While we have undertaken significant precautionary measures to make sure our clients and transactions are protected from these attempts, we would like to offer some advice to you to help you avoid any fraudsters’ attempts to detract from your ability to fulfill your New Year’s commitments.

To help protect your real property and your identity, go to your county clerk’s website and perform a public records search for your own name. If you see a transaction or document you don’t recognize, this could be an attempt by someone to steal your identity or assets.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where someone has made a fraudulent attempt on your identity or assets, please give us a call, and we will help you sort it out. Hopefully, you don’t find yourself in those shoes, and instead, you find plenty of time and energy to follow through with your personal “I’m going to be better about.” Good luck!

As we wind down to the end of 2016, I wanted to offer a few gifts to you and your family or business from our family at Henderson Franklin. Below, I have included a few things we have talked about this year that you may want to keep in mind as we move into 2017:

  1. When using VRBO or Airbnb to rent your home to another family this holiday season, be cognizant of the frequency and duration limitations to avoid having the state attorney’s office drop a misdemeanor sized lump of coal in your holiday stocking.
  1. Remember that the restrictive covenant imposed by the governmental zoning approval allowing Santa to park his sleigh on the roof won’t be extinguished by MRTA. You’ll have to find a different way to stop Santa from getting into your chimney and eating your cookies.
  1. If, during this holiday season, you realize the market has bestowed upon you the gift of significant home appreciation, consider updating your title insurance policy to help ensure the title defect Grinch doesn’t steal your gift in the future.
  1. Community Associations, in particular, be careful of who you characterize as naughty or nice when reviewing purchase or lease applications. You wouldn’t want HUD to leave a gift-wrapped discrimination suit under your tree this year.

From our family to yours, we hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! By the way, if you talk to Santa, please tell him to email me at michael.lehnert@henlaw.com. I am still waiting to hear if he received my wish list this year. Thank you.

iStock_000015122897XSmall.jpgAs a community association manager, I bet you often find yourself plagued by questions from Board members regarding what they need to do, what they are allowed to do, and what they can’t do.

As a good CAM, I bet you knock down many of the questions as soon as they pop up, but still there are those few that touch on legally uncertain areas which you might struggle to answer.

The Condo and HOA Law Team at Henderson Franklin is here to help.

On October 11, 2016, we will be hosting a free legal update seminar to tell you what you need to know about:

  • Electronic voting;
  • Service Member Rental Approvals;
  • Gate Security;
  • Screening with Criminal Background Checks;
  • Vacation Rentals;
  • Remedies for Owner Violations;
  • Bankruptcy issue; and,
  • Fire sprinkler Retrofit Issues.

We will be hosting the seminar at George and Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille starting at 11:30am, and lunch will be provided. Click here to download the seminar flyer.

As seating is limited, be sure to register here so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about these hot button issues.

We hope to see you there!

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

Continue Reading Vacation Rentals: Are You Prepared?

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. Continue Reading What You Need to Know if You Are Considering Signing Up with VBRO

Southwest Florida has been fortunate in the first month of this 2016 hurricane season, but if a hurricane crops up next week, is your association prepared?

Here are a few suggestions for protecting yourselves and your association members this hurricane season:

  1. Keep residents up to date on local shelters – how to contact them, where they are located, and what they provide.
  2. Review the building’s zoning and evacuation requirements.
  3. Post evacuation routes in conspicuous locations throughout the property, such as stairwells and hallways.
  4. Make sure to provide support for disabled or special needs residents.
  5. Ensure all insurance policies are up to date.
  6. Have current video or photographs of the property for insurance related damage assessment purposes.
  7. Be sure that computer data is being backed up regularly and that the backup storage component won’t be damaged by the same event that might harm the computer.
  8. Keep landscaping sufficiently trimmed to minimize hazards from flying plant debris.
  9. Consider coordinating probable recovery scenarios with staff and board members.

By putting these nine tips into action, you can feel confident that your association is adequately prepared should the eye of the next big storm set its sights on Southwest Florida.

 

Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
under Flickr Creative Commons License

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.

Continue Reading Meet Henderson Franklin’s Condo and HOA Team Members: Michael Lehnert

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

Continue Reading Title Insurance Tip #1: One-Size Coverage Does Not Fit All

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.

Continue Reading Florida Real Estate Law Meets The Digital Age: Are Electronic Documents Valid?