The new law is effective starting this week.  In addition to the prior change that landlords had to advise tenants 60 days prior to the end of their rental prior to the end of the tenancy of an intent to increase rent by more than 5%, landlords need to have this form signed by the tenants with every new lease (and renewal lease).  The form can be found here: notice-of-tenants-rights.pdf (miamidade.gov)

The form explains the process and clarifies how tenants can make necessary repairs when a landlord doesn’t address them.  Read the form carefully and remember, if you ever have a question you are one call away from getting the answer.  Call Matt Ladd, Miami’s Landlord/Tenant Attorney, 305-665-3978.

Many Evictions Delayed Until Aug. 23, 2020

On May 13, the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade issued an order that requires landlords looking to evict a tenant for non-payment to submit an affidavit that the property does not have a federally backed mortgage. If the mortgage is federally backed (like an FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac mortgage) then they aren’t allowed to evict until Aug. 23, 2020.  The extended time period was part of the Federal CARES Act that allowed for a moratorium for 120 days from March 27. 

If landlords find themselves in a pinch, it’s possible that they could get forbearance from their mortgage servicer.  It’s important to be proactive before late notices start piling up.

How do you know who owns your mortgage?  Here’s a handy lookup tool.

The local order and a sample affidavit that needs to be signed with the evictions after Aug. 23 can be viewed here:  

The date to resume evictions that don’t have a federally backed mortgage is June 2nd

Attorney Matthew Ladd is a criminal and civil litigation attorney who offers landlords assistance with eviction matters.  Call us today for your free phone consultation or send us a message.

LANDLORD RELIEF: Evictions Finally Starting Back Up

LANDLORD RELIEF- Now not until June 2!

Residential evictions have been stalled since the governor’s order on April 2.  The original order expired after 45 days, which meant May 18th.  But yesterday, the Governor extended the date so that June 2 will be the first opportunity to file evictions against non-paying residential tenants.

The Supreme Court took an additional step after the original governor’s order and ordered that writs of possession remain suspended.  The jury is still out on if the Supreme Court will be issuing a new order after May 18th so that its order is consistent with the governor’s extension.  As it stands right now, an eviction could be filed on June 2, but the sheriff won’t be assisting with the move-outs of the tenants.

Landlords are likely wise to get the ball rolling, because it’s only a matter of time before the process is up and running at full speed.  Tenants should be aggressively working on reaching agreements for a payment plan or make arraignments to move out.

There are still a few questions regarding if the local administrative order for Miami courts will toll response deadlines for tenants until July.  Like the everything pandemic, don’t be shocked if you are told to keep waiting.

Attorney Matthew Ladd is a criminal and civil litigation attorney who offers landlords assistance with eviction matters.  Call us today for your free phone consultation or send us a message.

Is Your Kid a Criminal?

Would you know if your kid was sexting child porn?

Sexting (by kids and between kids) is illegal in Florida.  If your son or daughter is under 18, add child pornography to the list of things they could be doing that you have no idea about.

A minor commits sexting if “he or she knowingly, uses a computer, or any other device capable of electronic data transmission or distribution, to transmit or distribute to another minor any photograph or video of any person which depicts nudity, as defined in s. 847.001(9), and is harmful to minors, as defined in s. 847.001(6).”

What does the statute mean by “nudity” that is “harmful to minors”?  The short answer is pretty much any picture involving underage nudity other than breastfeeding. Stated differently, pretty much any sext between minors is illegal.

For example, if two kids (under 18 years-old) engaged in a high school romance exchange explicit pictures of each other, they shouldn’t be charged as felons, at least not right away if they are caught.  The first “sext” is a noncriminal violation (like a speeding ticket).  The second one is a misdemeanor that could involve jail (or secured detention in juvenile court).  If they are found to have committed the same offense for a third time, they could be looking at a third-degree felony (up to five years of prison).  It is really easy to get hit with multiple charges because the pictures aren’t likely discovered or brought to the attention of police right away.  That means three separate instances over the course of three separate days could wind up as a felony.

Here’s where the law gets tricky.  It’s a defense to possession of a nude child photograph if the recipient child 1) did not solicit the photograph or video, 2) took “reasonable steps” to report the photograph or video to the minor’s legal guardian or to a school or law enforcement official, and 3) the minor did not transmit or distribute the photograph or video to a third party.

It makes sense that the law has an “out” for people that unwittingly receive something they never asked for, but the law places the additional burden of involving other people to “report” the receipt of the contraband.

Reports to police can come from anywhere, often the other kid’s parents, teachers, or other students.  As always, when the police come knocking, remember anyone (even kids) that are accused of a crime have the right to remain silent.   Confessing is usually the worst thing anyone can do.  Police can even question your kid without a parent present.  It’s best to get legal advice to assess the strength of the government’s case and determine the next step before waiving any rights or admitting to what could be a felony.

An ounce of prevention can help you avoid the whole ordeal.  There are a variety of companies that offer services to monitor your kids’ cyber-activity. Every service has its limitations.  I recommend that you do a little research and find the one that is right for you.  Keeping your children out of juvenile court and off the sex offender registry is worth every cent.

Here’s a link that I found that compares the different services.

Matthew E. Ladd, Esq. is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor licensed in Florida.  Nothing contained in this post should be considered formal legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship.  Call Attorney Matthew Ladd for more information on how you can protect your children accused of any crime at 305-665-3978.

Evicting tenants is harder during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Landlords have been calling in at a pretty steady rate asking what can be done about tenants who aren’t paying their rent during the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus.

On April 2, 2020, Florida’s governor issued an order (20-94) to: “[S]uspend and toll any statute providing for an eviction cause of action under Florida law solely as it relates to non-payment of rent by residential tenants due to the COVID-19 emergency for 45 days from the date of this Executive Order, including any extensions.”

That was great news for tenants, but very bad news for landlords.  Tenants should beware that the governor didn’t state that rent was waived.  Landlords are just stopped from filing the eviction lawsuit until the order expires.

The 45 days expire on May 17 assuming it isn’t extended by another order.  In Miami-Dade, we can expect the delay to cause a greater backlog to the already slow process.  However, tenants know that they still owe the rent due for every day they live or otherwise possess the rented property or as set forth in the lease.

It’s a good idea to work with the tenants to accept partial payments and spread any deficiencies out over the balance of the lease or next lease term.  It’s also a good idea to accept the deposit in lieu of further payments if the tenants agree to move-out.  (Remember to always give a receipt with the balance reflected when partial payments are made).  Tenants aren’t going to want to have an eviction on their records when they go to rent elsewhere, and landlords are likely going to have a tough time finding tenants with steady jobs for the rest of the year.

Tenants should be advised to move out before they incur more debt that they can’t afford and to move in with family or friends where possible.  Landlords should also consider allowing additional income earners to move-in and share the bill as co-tenants (and make them sign leases).

I generally advise that as soon as a tenant is late, send a three-day notice.  I still recommend sending the 3-day notice that rent is late, but the three days probably won’t start until May 17 or whenever the executive order expires.  Once the period set forth in the executive order expires and assuming it isn’t extended, the court is likely to accept new eviction cases absent some other order that specifies our courts remain closed.

We have a great track record on handling evictions and charge an initial fee of $300 (flat-fee plus costs) for the 3-day notice of late rent for residential evictions handled by myself, Matthew Ladd, a Florida Bar Licensed Attorney.  We need to review the lease if you have one, the payment history, confirm the amount due, and then we can send the notice. If the tenant doesn’t pay you after the notice is served, the amount paid will be applied to the future attorney services related to filing the eviction lawsuit (generally another $300 plus costs).  Our client meetings are being handled remotely via Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, or just over the phone.  Documents can be emailed to MattLadd@MLLawMiami.com.

Call Matthew E. Ladd today, 305-665-3978 to get started or to set up an appointment.

This blog is provided for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice or the formation of the attorney/ client relationship.        

Uber & Lyft Rideshare Accidents in Miami

Rideshare Accidents

Miami’s streets are some of the most hazardous in the United States and several automobile collisions happen every day.  Many of these car crashes involve rideshare applications like Lyft or Uber, their chauffeurs, and the commuters on their journey.  Not only do accidents cause bodily damage and psychological torment, but the anxiety of dealing with the individuals in a rideshare accident also adds a new layer of burden to already upsetting circumstances. Under these conditions, it’s imperative to know what to do if you or a loved one is hurt due to someone else’s negligence.  An experienced personal injury attorney can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your damages if your Lyft or Uber driver gets into an auto accident while you are a passenger on its way to your destination.

The Law Offices of Matthew Ladd, Coral Gables, handles personal injury cases involving rideshare accidents.

Uber and Lyft rideshare collisions can cause a variety of complications, from bodily pain to debt, regardless of the intensity of the impact.  You need to be certain that those responsible will be held accountable for any difficulties you face. Some injuries and other consequences may not be seen or felt instantly, so it’s important to make sure you get proper medical care and personal injury legal representation to circumvent any delays when pursuing your claim.

Florida law obligates rideshare companies to have insurance covering their drivers for up to $50,000 in injury liability, $100,000 for total liability, and $25,000 for property damage before they are even matched with a passenger.  Once paired, there is up to $1,000,000 in coverage per accident. This makes certain that anybody under- or uninsured is covered and the financial needs of those not at fault after the incident can be met.

Riders, as well as drivers of rideshare apps involved in car accidents, need solid and knowledgeable representation when in search of a personal injury claim.  A lawyer skilled with this procedure can ease the inquiry into liability, acquire the correct documentation to pursue a lawsuit, negotiate a settlement, all while dealing with insurance companies.  Chasing an adjuster without an attorney is a critical error that can affect you on various levels. Insurance and rideshare businesses are crafty, looking only after their best interests, not yours. Instead, they will try to lessen your claim and pay as little as possible for your injuries and losses.

Therefore, it is critical to have an experienced personal injury advocate who can pursue your claim, negotiate a settlement, file a lawsuit and go to trial.  The insurance companies know that The Law Offices of Matthew Ladd, Coral Gables, is a firm that loves to litigate and always seeks full recompense for their client’s claims.

Locating the correct attorney to take an Uber or Lyft personal injury case is critical to the process.  Confirm that your lawyer takes cases to court and ask how they settle claims prior to trial. All big insurance companies are aware of which advocates file proceedings, and which merely seek payments.  Those firms that don’t regularly file personal injury lawsuits receive lower offers for their clientele because the insurance companies know they don’t have to pay their claim’s full value.

For more information regarding Lyft or Uber accidents, The Law Offices of Matt E. Ladd, Coral Gables, is a full-service law firm assisting those in need of criminal or civil representation in both State and Federal Courts throughout Florida.

Call us at (305) 665-3978 or click here to send us a message and a delegate will be in contact for your free consultation.

Hate Crimes are Criminal Actions Intended to Harm or Intimidate People

Hate crimes are criminal actions intended to harm or intimidate people because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or other minority group status. They are also referred to as bias crimes. Last October, a gay couple went to Burger King located in South Beach, Fl. Raymond Ortega, a gay bartender, and Toni Llerena, a transgender woman, were eating when an employee ordered them to leave and called them “f—ing faggots.” When they protested, a security guard repeated the slur, sprayed Ortega with mace and beat him, busting his jaw and seriously injuring his knee, they say.

The two have now filed a lawsuit against Burger King over the October incident, which left Ortega walking with a limp and with more than $10,000 in dental bills. Their lawyers, Matthew Ladd and Robert Pelier, say once Burger King reveals the names of the employee and the security guard, they plan to report the attack to Miami-Dade prosecutors. Authorities do file charges under Florida’s hate-crime law. Ladd said the Miami-based restaurant chain has surveillance video of the attack. “These two are going to get justice,” Ladd said of his clients. “We are going to hold everyone accountable.”


According to the next of kin, “Grandma” was “found at the scene of the attack on Christmas morning. She had hoof-prints on her forehead, and incriminating Claus marks on her back”.

They seem certain that she was run over by a reindeer.  It is only a matter of time before detectives will want to speak to the only person who owns reindeer and uses them as his primary means of transportation.  “The Claus marks on her back” could well be something that is unique only to Mr. Kringle.

If the attack happened in Florida, Santa is facing a maximum 30 years in prison!  It seems he left the scene of an accident and will likely be accused of causing her death.

Traffic laws apply to animals being used as transportation just like if they are cars (316.073).  If Santa failed to leave his contact information he’s looking at a four-year minimum mandatory sentence and a three-year license suspension in addition to a maximum 30 years in prison.

Don’t lose the Christmas spirit yet.   The case hinges on the State being able to prove who was actually driving the reindeer that night.  Was it Santa?  Did they just get loose? Was it an elf or anyone else?   It doesn’t seem that anyone actually saw it happen, they just assumed.

If Santa is questioned and admits to driving- or the police think he was the driver- he will be arrested and may not be allowed to bail out since he is a foreign national of the North Pole (a country which the United States does not have any diplomatic relations or the ability to extradite).

Santa has nothing to gain from talking and should definitely take the Fifth.  He has the right to remain silent, let’s just hope he has the ability!

Assuming he was driving and did run over Grandma, there’s still hope with the right defense.  The State has to prove that he actually killed Grandma beyond a reasonable doubt.  With the cold temperature, a medical examiner is going to have a lot of trouble determining the time of death.

It’s not such a stretch to wonder if Grandma staggered outside side (apparently after too much spiked eggnog), collapsed, and froze to death.  If Grandma was already dead, Santa didn’t cause her death.  That reason to wonder is reason to doubt and a jury can’t find him guilty.

The lesson: with the right defense Christmas can be saved!

The Lyrics:

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
She’d been drinking too much eggnog
And we begged her not to go
But she forgot her medication
And she staggered out the door into the snow
When we found her Christmas morning
At the scene of the attack
She had hoof-prints on her forehead
And incriminating Claus marks on her back
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
Now we’re all so proud of grandpa
He’s been taking this so well
See him in there watching football
Drinking beer and playing cards with cousin Mel
It’s not Christmas without Grandma
All the family’s dressed in black
And we just can’t help but wonder
Should we open up her gifts
Or send them back (send them back)
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
Now the goose is on the table
And the pudding made of fig
And the blue and silver candles
That would just have matched the hair on grandma’s wig
I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors
Better watch out for yourselves
They should never give a license
To a man who drives a sleigh
And plays with elves
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
Singin’ grandpa
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
Merry Christmas
Songwriters: Randy Brooks

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Here’s What’s Wrong With a 9-Year-Old Bringing a Gun to School

It’s a crime in Florida to give a weapon to a someone under 18-years-old unless the child’s parents consent. (Fla. Stat. 790.17). It’s also a crime to leave a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of minor unless the gun is stored in a securely locked box or container or in a location which is reasonably secure or locked with a trigger lock. Taking a gun within 1,000 feet of a school or school sponsored activity is also a crime.

In Florida, a 9-year-old is generally considered too young to be responsible for his or actions and will likely avoid prosecution for bringing the gun to school or hiding it in his backpack. However, if the parents let the boy have “easy access” to the gun, they could be looking at up to sixty days in jail. Had someone died, the parents would certainly be faced with a lawsuit and possibly even criminal negligence.

Florida law prohibits the carrying of a firearm if it’s concealed without a special permit. Carrying a firearm or weapon in plain view- therefore not concealed and in “the ordinary sight of another person” is not a crime until it is improperly exhibited in front of at least one person, and if the person carrying it is of-age or has the minor’s parents permission. However, no matter how hold you are, it’s illegal to improperly exhibit the weapon or even bring it to school. The law defines “improper exhibition” as displaying the gun in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening way. Pointing the gun at someone, unless you’re acting in reasonable self-defense, will probably earn you a night in the slammer at the very least. Unfortunately, the nine-year-old learned that too. The law allows the State to hold him in “secure detention” for up to 21 days and requires a psych evaluation.

The offense, if committed by an adult or a minor charged as an adult would be looking at a five year maximum felony prison sentence.

The take away- don’t let your kids take your guns to school because it could wind you both behind bars.

Source – Miami Herald

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Elderly Abuse is defined as financial or material exploitation and the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Financial exploitation of the elderly has become so rampant throughout the years that it has been referred to as “the crime of the 21st century”.  As we age, we change physically, emotionally and mentally and this can make it easier for people to take advantage of us. According to a 2011 Study of Financial Elder Abuse by Metlife, it was found that women are more likely to be victims of elderly abuse at the ages of 80 and 89.

Who commits elderly financial abuse?

It can be anyone, strangers, your closest family member, and friends.

Who is most likely to get financially exploited?

Elderly people who live in social isolation, or are experiencing declining mental or physical health are usually the ones most vulnerable to financial abuse.

What are the warning signs of elderly abuse?

There are multiple signs of financial elder abuse but because they are so subtle, most people overlook them. Even though elderly abuse has become the most common type of crime, it is also massively under reported. One of the reasons elderly abuse is under reported is that well-meaning onlookers are afraid to act unless they’re certain that abuse is occurring. These are some signs you can look out for when you suspect someone you know might be getting taken advantage of.

  1. Unexpected changes in bank account balances. Such as unauthorized or unexplained financial account withdrawals
  2. Disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
  3. Unanticipated transfer of assets to a family member or friend
  4. Forging or forcing an elderly person’s signature
  5. Getting an elder person to sign a deed, will, contract, or power of attorney through deception, coercion, or undue influence
  6. Promising long-term or lifelong care in exchange for money or property and not following through on the promise
  7. Overcharging for or not delivering caregiving services
  8. Denying elder persons access to their money or preventing them from controlling their assets
  9. Sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents

Financial exploitation of the elderly isn’t just a legal issue, it can also cause mental trauma. Losing assets that they have accumulated over a lifetime of hard work and sometimes deprivation can cause great stress and devastation. Looking out for these signs will make it easier to protect your loved ones and to also report it if it is happening.      

If you know someone who is being exploited, we can help them recover their stolen property. Call ML Law now at: 305.665.3978