Tenants’ Rights in Florida
A tenant is someone who pays to rent a house, apartment, mobile home, or other dwelling from a landlord. It is irrelevant whether rent is paid monthly, weekly, or any other interval. Florida law gives tenants rights and responsibilities regarding the property they lease. The language in a lease may also affect the rights of a tenant. For example, a lease may require a certain period of time that a tenant has to give a landlord notice by before vacating. Crucially, a written lease is not necessary to create a landlord and tenant relationship. If there is no lease, then the statutory rules apply.
Tenants have the right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property. Quiet enjoyment is a term often used in landlord and tenant law that means that a renter should be able to have access to property that is reasonably safe, clean, and peaceful. The landlord should not enter the premises unless they have good reason to, such as for repairs, and even then landlords should give reasonable notice to tenants that they are going to enter unless there is an emergency.
Landlords are also required by law to only rent property that is fit for human habitation. The property should not be unreasonably dangerous, dirty, or infested. The space should have reasonable security measures provided by the landlord, such as working door and window locks. Also, basic services like hot water and heat need to be available.
Security deposits are an amount of money that a landlord requires from a tenant up front that the landlord holds to pay for any damages to the dwelling. If there is no damage beyond regular wear and tear, then the landlord must return the money to the tenant. A few years ago Florida passed a new law that increased protections for tenants who have paid security deposits. Now, under Florida law, the landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit within 15 days of the tenant moving out, or provide written notice that the tenant will not be getting his or her security deposit back within 30 days.
Eviction is a legal process where a landlord petitions the court and asks them to remove the tenant. A landlord cannot evict a tenant without going through the court and also following other rules. To evict a tenant, a landlord must allege that the tenant violated the rental agreement or didn’t fulfill a tenant responsibility. If a landlord thinks that a tenant violated these agreements, the landlord first needs to give the tenant written notice of the violations and a reasonable time to fix those violations, including nonpayment of rent. Without this notice the landlord does not have the right to evict a tenant, except if the tenant has severely endangered the property. Even in extreme circumstances, the landlord must still go to court before he or she can complete the eviction. If you are threatened with an eviction, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Clearwater Landlord and Tenant Attorneys
If you are a tenant trying to exercise your rights or if you are a landlord looking to evict a problematic tenant, an attorney experienced in landlord tenant law can help you get the outcome you want. Contact our experienced Clearwater landlord and tenant attorneys at Roman & Roman, PA today for assistance.