Unless you owned your residential property, you possibly have signing residential lease at least once a year. However, as like most people, you probably do not know certain rights and protections guaranteed under Florida Law. Below are five legal facts you should know when signing a residential lease agreement.
- The landlord must inform you within 30 days where your security deposit is placed.
No residential lease agreement goes without security deposit nowadays. Be it first, last month payment amount and security deposit, or just last month and security deposit, or any other variation, the landlord is obliged by law to send you “a disclosure notice” with the information where the security money is deposited.
This rule applies ONLY to the landlords that rent more than five (5) apartments. So it is always helpful to know how many more units your landlord is renting to other tenants.
- The landlord cannot show up in your apartment without advance notice.
We face a lot of situations where landlord may just knock at the door and proceed with whatever is on his or her mind. Note, that this is illegal unless a landlord gives you advance notice. Usually at least 24 hours. However that can be changed within the terms of the residential lease agreement itself.
If the landlord is trying to enter the apartment without reasonable notice and your permission, she is trespassing and subject to civil and criminal actions.
Be aware that this rule does not apply in cases of emergency such as fire, flood or like.
- The landlord cannot kick you out of the apartment for a good reason without taking legal steps.
In case you failed to make a payment when due for whatever reason, the landlord cannot use self-help and try to evict you without proper legal procedure. If he or she tries to do so, it is illegal and the police should be called immediately.
However, if you received the 3 or 7 days notice (depending on the reason), you will have that many days to fix the problem. If yet you failed to do so, a lawsuit must be filed before the landlord can proceed with eviction. This can take from 2 weeks up to many months to get a so called a writ of possession before the landlord can legally evict tenants for non-payment or other noncompliance.
These legal protections however do not relieve the non-complying tenants from payments under the residential lease agreement. Hence, the money owed will have to be paid.
- Pay attention to the provision of your residential lease that provides who will fix what.
Often times the lease agreement fail to provide for responsibility to fix things like dripping fossil or broken AC and such. In this case, the landlord will have to resolve problems that would cost over $100 to fix. Anything below that number is on the tenants.
However, if the lease agreement provides that landlord is responsible to fix certain things, and he or she fails to do so, you may stop paying the rent until the problem is solved. You shall notify the landlord in writing that you will stop paying the rent unless the problem is taken care of. Note, that once the problem is fixed, you are obliged to pay the rent payments that you withheld.
Another option for a tenant is to hire a third-party, pay the invoice, and then deduct that amount from the rent payment. Make sure you mail the invoice to the landlord.
- Renewal of the Residential Lease agreement
Usually, the landlord contacts the tenants some time before the end of the lease term and inquires whether the tenants will be renewing the lease agreement. If that is the case, there is no problem. The problem may arise if that did not happen and no renewal lease was signed.
In that case, the landlord gets more protections, because the lease agreement turns into a month-to-month lease agreement if the rent payments were made monthly (which is usually the case). That in turn means that if the landlord decides to rent the apartment to someone else, all she needs to do is to give you a month notice to move out. For example, lets say you had a year lease for an apartment starting January 1, 2016. If no new agreement was signed, the landlord may give you a notice on January 5, 2017. You will have to move out by March. If she gives you the notice in April of 2017, you will have to move out by June.
Always renew your lease agreement if you intend to stay in the apartment for another year.
Contact our law firm with any questions concerning landlord/tenant disputes.
Our address is: 2410 Hollywood Blvd,
Hollywood, FL 33020