Toccoa, GA asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida

Q: How can you prove a person to be an attorney?

My daughter is looking to rent a house in FL. During a chat with the person, the story changed a little. He indicated that the security deposit was going to be held by his attorney, then changed his mind when pressed for the attorney name. He has now provided a number and a name of a person claiming to be his attorney. I have not called the number, but a quick google search indicated the number was a California number. Odd, since the property is in FL , and the guy shared a TX drivers license. How could I determine if the person is a real attorney?

4 Lawyer Answers

A: The story is suspicious because Florida law requires landlords to keep deposits in a separate interest bearing account. As a lawyer I would not be willing to hold a client's security deposit in my trust account, which does not accrue interest.

You can do two things:

1. Look up the lawyer on floridabar.org and

2. Call the number and see if a law firm answers (if the person merely says "hello" or "this is..." be suspicious).

It is not uncommon for Floridians to have out-of-state telephone numbers, even lawyers. Lawyers use their cell phone numbers as their office numbers too. I am still suspicious though.

Bruce Alexander Minnick and Terrence H Thorgaard agree with this answer

Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: To look up a Florida-licensed lawyer- https://www.floridabar.org/directories/find-mbr/

The lawyer can be licensed in another state.

In Florida, landlord does not need a lawyer to deposit a security deposit with.

He can simply deposit it in either interest or non-interest bearing account.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman
Answered
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: you can look up a Florida lawyer at floridabar.org. If the person has, or had a license to practice law in Florida, the person will show in the results. A person who is not eligible to practice law in Florida is not an attorney in Florida. California has a similar system, I believe. You can always call the number and ask for the lawyer's name and bar number of the state in which he or she is licensed to practice. (A person can have an active law license in more than one state). If they refuse to give it to you, that should be a major red flag. Any reputable attorney will provide you his name and bar number, as that information is public knowledge.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The lawyer holding the deposits does NOT have to be a Florida lawyer.

Solution: CALL THEM AND ASK SOME QUESTIONS.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.