Have you ever thought about renting a home? Maybe you wanted to, but you were too scared of the various rules, laws, and obligations you will have as either a landlord or a tenant. Florida has it’s own Landlord/Tenant Law, and if you are planning a Florida relocation, you should inform yourself about it. It is part of Chapter 83 of The 2017 Florida Statutes. In today’s article, we take a look at some of its most important tenant and landlord rights in Florida. However, keep in mind that this article should not be used as a legal advice. It is here to give you some basic information, but you will need to look into the law itself for further use.
Landlord rights in Florida before the move-in day
Before the moving day comes, you might want to arrange for a tour of the apartment. You will want to do this in order to spot any problems with the place. These need to be fixed before the signing of the rental agreement. If there are any questionable conditions, you can even take photos, videos, or simply make notes of these. Ask to include provisions for repairs in the rental agreement, or in another document. These both need to have the signatures of both the tenant and the landlord.
As a tenant, you are equal with the landlord. Keep in mind that you do not have to sign anything you do not agree with (just like when moving with Miami Movers). You need to be especially aware of this when working with the rental agreement. Make sure you understand everything in it. If something is unclear, don’t sign the paper – take it to your lawyer. Since there is no grace period for canceling a rental agreement, the moment you sign it, you and the landlord have a legal duty towards one another.
Landlords, on the other hand, can collect various deposits and even ask for some advance deposit on rent. However, if you are unsure about an apartment, don’t pay the rent in advance. You should only pay once you know you are moving here. If you change your mind down the road, or if you come across a better apartment, you might not get a refund. This all depends on the rental agreement you have with the landlord, of course.
What is a rental agreement?
Now, you may be asking yourself what a rental agreement actually is. Simply put, this is an agreement to rent a property, and it can be either in writing or an oral agreement. You might also call this document a lease. This document is closely tied to tenant and landlord rights in Florida.
When renting an apartment, try to ask for a written agreement. The oral ones might be easier to deal with, but you can come into misunderstandings easily. Also, if there appears to be a problem, you cannot go to court with an oral agreement – they are difficult to prove. A written agreement, on the other hand, can be either a formal contract or just a copy of a letter. In the agreement, you need to have the duties and the rights of both parties, and it is legally binding.
Florida law also requires that your landlord must give you notices in written form. The landlord can give these to you or send them through the mail, but they need to be in writing even if the agreement was oral. Because of their importance, if there ever is a problem, you should keep all correspondence to and from your landlord.
Deposits, rents and landlord rights in Florida
What most people want to know when discussing landlord rights in Florida is what their obligations about deposit and rents are. First, one of the most common deposits the landlords will ask for is the damage deposit. This is why it’s important for you to look around the premises and take note (and photos) or every damage you can find. The landlord cannot take money from you to fix these – it’s their duty. You should keep a copy of all the notes to yourself, as well as give a copy to the landlord. This will help stop any disputes about the damages that may come up in the future.
When you are leaving the apartment, after the termination of the lease, two things can happen. First, the landlord might not want to impose a claim on the security deposit. If this is the case, they need to return it to you within 15 days. On the other hand, they have 30 days to give you a written notice of how much of the money they will keep, and what the reasons behind this are. If they do not send it to you, by certified mail to your last mailing address, then they forfeit the right to impose a claim. You have 15 days to object to their claim, and you need to do it in writing. File a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), or you can even go to court with the claim.
Access to the premises
Finally, one of the many things people ask interstate moving companies in Florida about landlord rights is whether they can access their apartments, and when. The laws on this are pretty clear in Florida. Asa tenant, you cannot unreasonably withhold entrance to the landlord. They need to inspect the rental unit from time to time. However, they can enter the premises at any time for the protection or preservation of the unit. In order to make repairs, the landlord also may enter the rental unit on reasonable notice to the tenant, and at a reasonable time. The reasonable notice is 12 hours prior to the entry, and the reasonable time is between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The landlord can enter the rental unit under some special conditions too:
- With the tenant’s consent.
- When the tenant unreasonably withholds permission to enter.
- Landlord rights in Florida also dictate the landlord can enter the apartment in case of an emergency.
- When the tenant is absent for a certain period of time. This time period is equal to one-half the time for periodic rental payments.
However, the landlord cannot use these rights to harass the tenants, and cannot abuse them.