If you are a landlord in Florida, you likely spend most of your days filling vacancies, engaging in tenant screening, and collecting rent. What you might not realize is that the law is on your side in the Sunshine State, according to a recent survey. The survey had respondents answer questions related to rent increases, eviction notices, security deposits, and more, and it’s clear that it’s easier to rent property out in Florida than in many other states in the union.
Get the details along with information about how you can protect your interests when renting property in Florida.
The survey compiled a list of “States Ranked by the Best Legislation for Renters,” and Florida came in at number 40. This was due to a variety of factors, including a lack of statutes related to rent increases on month-to-month leases. Landlords have the ability to increase rent as much as they want, which is good news for them, but not so good for tenants. While you can increase rent as much as you want, be mindful of how that will impact renters. You don’t want to end up with vacancies due to large rent increases.
Also, Florida renters only have three days to fix the situation if they fall behind on rent. Fortunately, services like online rent collection make it easier for tenants to remedy a situation in a timely manner. This type of service also makes it easier for landlords to keep up with the rent collection process.
Renters who violate the terms of their lease can also get in hot water quickly in the state of Florida. If a lease violation occurs, landlords can send out a seven-day termination notice. Then, the tenants need to move out. It’s important to use the proper eviction notice when terminating a lease so you don’t run into red tape along the way.
These are just some of the ways that Florida law favors landlords. The law is also on the landlord’s side when it comes to repairs.
What Happens When a Home Needs Repairs?
Rachel Molina, her husband, and the couple’s son moved into a rental home in Clearwater in May of last year. The renters had several complaints, including a stove fire, problems with the heat, and windows that wouldn’t open. They said the patio ceiling even fell down.
The couple claimed they contacted the landlord, but he didn’t respond very quickly. They ended up hiring an engineer who said the home was unsafe.
They were surprised that the landlord didn’t come right out and fix the property, but he was well within the law. Florida law states that a landlord doesn’t have to make repairs until after he or she receives written notice. An email doesn’t count as written notice, either, so tenants actually have to write and mail a letter to the landlord.
The family did finally make a request in writing to terminate the lease six weeks early. In the letter, they stated they were withholding rent because of the delay in making the repairs.
Then, the landlord sued the couple for rent owed, along with the security deposit. It remains to be seen how this case will turn out. There is a law in place that states tenants can withhold rent if the landlord fails to provide essential services, but tenants cannot make repairs and deduct the cost from the rent. Keep an eye on this lawsuit to get a better idea of what to expect if you find yourself in this situation.
Don’t Just Count on the Law
Since the law favors landlords in Florida, many think they can expect it to cover all their needs. However, landlords must also protect their interests with the help of free tenant screening services, background checks for tenants, and more. Protect yourself to ensure you get the best tenants around.