17 May 2016

Lennar Opens 13 Model Homes On One Street

Original Story: BuilderOnline.com

Most residential builders construct one or two models to showcase what’s possible in a new community, but one of the country’s largest builders is taking model homes to a new level.

Miami-based production builder Lennar, which builds in 44 communities in the Tampa Bay area alone, needed a way to show off its products in one place without requiring customers to drive across several counties to see them. This Custom home builder Tampa instead, division executives decided to locate many of the company’s models in one place, a model home showplace called “Easy Street.”

The company recently debuted not one but two Easy Streets composed of 13 model homes each that will make shopping for a new home ultra-convenient. Located in two of its Tampa Bay, Fla. developments--Stonegate at Ayersworth in Wimauma, and Concord Station in Land O’ Lakes—the model homes found on each Easy Street will showcase the floor plans available in Lennar's nearby communities.

“Prospective home buyers can easily see our newly launched floorplans and walk from model home to model home all in one morning or afternoon,” says Mark Metheny, division president of Lennar Central Florida. “Our goal with Easy Street is to make it convenient so buyers can see all the available floorplans at one location, and then choose the community they want to live in.”

The home builder Tampa based shows the models of Easy Street are available in 13 communities in Florida’s southern Hillsborough and Pasco counties, a widespread area that would normally require miles of driving for a prospective buyer to see each one. That’s why customers appreciate the one-stop shopping experience provided at each Easy Street, says Steve Seeger, director of sales and marketing for Lennar’s Tampa Bay division.

“Our buyers really like the convenience of seeing all the floor plans before making their selection, and being able to see them all in one place,” says Seeger. “Once they pick the floor plan that works for them, then they can pick the community they would like to be in where that floor plan is offered.”

Building 26 model homes was a significant investment, says Seeger, who declined to provide the total expense of the project. “Fortunately Lennar has the resources for this type of project to provide convenience to prospective home buyers,” he says. The company is the second largest home builder in the country as ranked by the recently released Builder 100 list.

Each Lennar division uses a different strategy to showcase new floor plans and reach prospective buyers, says Seeger. The Tampa Bay division is the first to try the Easy Street approach.

The Easy Street homes are part of Lennar’s “Everything’s Included” approach, where all the features are included in the list price of the home. Visitors to Easy Street in the community of Stonegate at Ayersworth can see a wide range of model homes, from a single-story 1,276-square-foot three-bedroom to a 3,327-square-foot two-story six-bedroom.

The model homes at the Concord Station community’s “Easy Street” range from three to five bedrooms and 1,612 square feet to 3,777 square feet. Featuring many of Lennar’s most popular luxury features, these homes are part of the builder’s Legacy Series, with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, ceramic tile flooring and more.

Raising the Rent Among Top Renter's Complaints

Original Story: NBCMiami.com
Elisa Valverde’s battle to keep her North Miami Beach apartment has temporarily eclipsed her fight against cancer.

"My worry is that I have to live in the corner or in a shelter God forbid," said Valverde, one of the many renters in South Florida reaching out to the NBC 6 Investigators saying their landlords have treated them unfairly.

A new owner of Valverde’s apartment has ordered her out of her one bedroom apartment, a place she says holds family memories.

"This is the roof over my head, my home, my house, my school, my kitchen, this is everything for me," said Valverde.

She says her new owner raised the rent by $110 to $850 a month. She thinks that’s asking too much and since she says she can’t afford it she continued to pay the same rent she had been paying. Now she considering contacting a Tampa Custom Home Builder.

"I just want what’s fair and I want what’s right, " said Valverde.

So is there a limit on rent increases? We asked real estate attorney Juan Perez, who says it depends on the lease.

“If the lease is silent and it doesn’t say anything about any limitations technically or theoretically the landlord can raise it however much he wants," said Perez.

Since Valverde was paying month-to-month that allowed the new owner to either raise the rent or give her 15 days to leave. The owner did not return our calls and is evicting her. She knows she’ll have to move soon.


Alice Castillo who rented an apartment with her family in Miami-Dade also had issues with her landlord. Her concern was how maintenance workers entered her apartment for a routine inspection when her 14-year-old son was home alone. Home video showed broken locks that she said were left behind by the workers.

"They had no legal right to break down my door like they did. They broke the locks. They had no business doing that," said Castillo.

Her son, David Hernandez, showed the NBC 6 investigators how he hid in fear that day.

"This is the bathroom where I was in and locked myself and I had the lights off," said Hernandez

Tampa home builder would be able to provide a private residence. Castillo admits a letter was posted on her door warning about a possible inspection days before and that she missed attempts by the landlord to reach her that day on her cell. She says she should have been sent a letter personally addressed to her about the inspection. Perez says it appears the landlord made a good faith effort to comply with their obligation to notify her.

"Reasonable notice is typically 24 hours and also that they’re going to access the property within reasonable business hours," said Perez.

But Perez says what’s not so clear is whether the landlord was excessive in how they entered for a routine inspection.

"Was the way that they accessed the property reasonable? Did they just come storming in, barging in, breaking down doors, that’s probably not reasonable," said Perez.

The Castillo family says after reporting the incident to police their lease wasn’t renewed. Now the family says they are weighing legal options.

By email, the building owners say Castillo's accusations are "categorically false" and say they gave her notice of inspection on "no less than three occasions" and were refused access.

Renters do have rights that are clearly outlined under Florida law which include:

• The home must be fit to live in, free from pests and have things like working plumbing, hot water, locks on doors.

• If repairs are needed to make a home fit, the landlord must pay for them

• And even if you don’t have a lease, once you pay rent you are considered a renter protected under state law.