Nine times out of ten, renting a property from a landlord is a smooth process. The tenant signs the lease for the agreed upon length of time, paying an agreed upon amount of rent, and placing an agreed upon amount of funds on deposit as a security that the home will be in good condition when the tenant moves out. In some cases, however, things don't go as planned. When it comes to potential disputes, there are many Florida laws that govern the tenant's rights and the landlord's responsibilities. While an attorney experienced in landlord/tenant laws can provide invaluable advice, her ewe attempt to break down a few of the more common pitfalls you may run into.
Responsibilities of the Landlord
Under Florida law, the landlord is required to rent a property that is up to living standards. This includes functional plumbing, hot water, heating without structural issues. The rental property also must be secure with locking doors and windows and should not have any rodents or other vermin. There's various other specific requirements, but suffice it to say, the building should be habitable.
Landlord's Right to Inspect the Premises
Few tenants know that a landlord has the right to inspect the premises, even while the tenant is in residence. However, this right is not absolute and there are many limitations. First, the landlord may only enter to inspect the property and make repairs. They must also give the tenant reasonable notice that they intend to enter, except in the case of an emergency.
Return of Deposit
Most times when you rent a property from a landlord you'll be required to give a security deposit to the landlord. The landlord keeps these funds so that they have security, or a financial guarantee, if the tenant damages the property during the lease. There are specific reasons that a landlord may keep all or a portion of the deposit. The landlord must return the deposit to the tenant within 15 days of the tenant leaving, or otherwise give the tenant notice that they intent to keep the deposit, and the reasons why.
Duties of the Tenant
Under Florida law, the tenant has the duty to pay rent on time. The tenant should also remain in compliance with any local building, house or other health codes. As we mentioned, the tenant must also not damage the property and keep the property clean and not disturb the peace during their occupation. If the tenant breaches any of these duties, they could potentially face eviction.
If the tenant doesn't comply with certain provisions of the lease, they may face an eviction. Evictions also have particular timelines and procedures that must be complied with. If you are facing eviction, or believe your landlord may have breached some portion of your lease, you may wish to consult with a Florida landlord/tenant attorney in order to discuss your rights and obligations. Contact us at the Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss your concerns today.