Patrick and Howard take a look at the 7 most likely headaches people may face in 2020

(WSVN) - Thousands of people have called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser in the past year to get help with problems. With that in mind, they want you to be prepared for the seven most likely headaches you may face in the new year.

Patrick Fraser: “Happy new year, everybody. I’m Patrick Fraser with a look at seven most common problems you had to deal with in the past year.”

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “And I’m Howard Finkelstein. As we try to give you some ways to handle the inevitable issues you will face in 2020.”

Patrick Fraser: “Let’s begin with your neighbors. We heard from Charlotte and Rene, battling over who owned a small slice of property between their homes. We saw the neighbors who collect junk in their yard, and the homeowners who can’t enjoy their backyard because of their pot-smoking neighbors.”

William Johnson: “I am fed up with it.”

Howard Finkelstein: “At number six: Scams. The internet is a gold mine for crooks as we heard from so many people after their bank accounts were accessed by scammers and their money stolen. So many variations of the, ‘Send you a check for too much money and ask you to wire the balance back to them.’ A crook that was stealing money by creating accounts in the name of Vivian’s late husband.”

Patrick Fraser: “Howard, I don’t think that crooks mama raised him well.”

Patrick Fraser: “At number five: Landlord-tenant disputes. We heard from so many people who could not get their security deposit back, and so many people in muggy South Florida that have dangerous mold in their apartment. Howard, if you are renter, what do you do?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Read your lease before you sign it. Take pictures when you begin and end the lease. If you have mold, notify the landlord immediately and let them know you are moving out if seven days if its not corrected. The key is documenting as much as you can.”

Patrick Fraser: “At number four, Howard, a new category: People in need and you generously wanting to help them. Kathleen came to us to help her find women to give her late mothers clothes to, and many of you stepped forward to help Colette after a string of bad luck left her in a really bad spot.”

Colette Burton: “I’m just really grateful.”

Patrick Fraser: “From wow to ow — number three: Battling the government. There were the kids who had to pay to play at a park. That got straightened out. A $1,800 dollar fine for a garbage can in the wrong place in a yard. We got that resolved and took care of a child who had to walk eight blocks down A1A to catch the school bus. Howard, so many different kind of problems with the government, is there a key to fighting city hall?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Be polite and be persistent, and go up the chain of command until you reach the person willing to listen and with the power to solve the problem, and don’t forget to contact your elected officials as well.”

Patrick Fraser: “And at number one — no, I didn’t forget number two. We just had a dead heat in the battle for the biggest headache. Let’s start with businesses. So many people told us about contractors they hired who they gave a chunk of money to, who took off and wouldn’t come back. We also saw bad movers, bad car repair places, bad shipping companies. Howard, I know there is no magic wand, but what do you do?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Go online, do some research and read reviews. Talk to family and friends, read your contract. If it’s a contractor, make sure they have a license and only pay part up front, and then pay as the work is completed, and if your gut tells you something is wrong, find someone else.”

Patrick Fraser: “And the other number one headache for South Floridians: Homeowner and condo associations and their property management companies. From the condo association who refused to allow a soldier transferred out of state to rent out his condo to the association who tried to tell Gloria her van was an RV and had to go. There were problems with pickleball and dogs and cigarette smoke. Howard, I can go on and on for an hour.”+

Howard Finkelstein: “Go to meetings, keep up with what’s going on because it’s easier to prevent something from happening than to change it once it has. Also, try to reason with the board and their management company. And don’t forget the best solution: just get on the board.”

Patrick Fraser: “We have been doing Help Me Howard for 21 years. We can’t wait to see what year 22 will bring us.”

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
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