Key Items Every Landlord in Florida Should Know
Becoming a legitimate landlord requires more than planting an empty R.V. in your yard and putting out a vacancy ad in the local classifieds. Landlords in Florida are required to comply with various rules and standards. These laws are in place to protect the renter, as well as the landlord, should the situation arise. But while the law has been developed to protect all of the players involved, it is important that you understand various facets of landlord/tenant law so you do not inadvertently run afoul of certain rules.
With that in mind, here are some essential tips for hopeful landlords to consider/prepare for before they enter into this endeavor.
Importance of a Clear and Comprehensive Lease
The lease agreement is an official contract between the landlord and the tenant. While constructing a legal document is likely not in your everyday wheelhouse – it is imperative that you do not treat the lease construction lackadaisically. The lease should be clear and comprehensively cover all aspects of the tenancy. Remember to ensure that your lease addresses the rent payments, the security deposits, any pet policy, the maintenance responsibilities, how and when late fees will accrue, etc.
Ensuring that the contract is clear and that both parties agree to the landlord/tenant relationships dynamic moving forward will help mitigate potential problems in the future that could come from misunderstandings.
Habitability of the Property
Landlords need to understand that it is THEIR responsibility to maintain the rental property and ensure that it stays in a safe and habitable condition.
This maintenance will likely require you to make repairs and address safety hazards. Avoiding tenant complaints and dealing with disputes promptly will likely help to avoid escalation of issues and the requirement for any official, legal action.
Remember the Importance of Insurance
The Titanic was hailed as the ship that could not sink. If history has taught us anything, it is that anything is possible. Protecting your investment with insurance coverage is generally a good idea. Remember that key items of insurance might include liability insurance and flood insurance.
Know that there are Florida-Specific Laws
The laws of various states have evolved differently. Before becoming a Florida landlord, it is wise to discuss the issues and process with a Florida landlord/tenant attorney. For example, Florida requires landlords to follow a specific process for collecting and managing their tenant’s security deposit. Florida Landlords also have special requirements for providing tenants notice about increasing rent or terminating their lease.
Evictions, as well, are handled in alignment with Florida laws developed to protect both renters and Landlords. Speaking with an experienced landlord/tenant attorney can help you ensure that you understand the important nuances involved in acting as a Florida landlord.
Contact Suncoast Civil Law
Landlord/tenant law is complex because when disputes arise, two parties with two valid interests are involved. Florida law provides protections to both parties, and engaging with a seasoned landlord/tenant attorney can help you to understand what issues you may be dealing with in your own case, and help you understand the best course of action for you moving forward. Whether you are just starting down the path to potentially becoming a landlord, or you have a prospective landlord/tenant suit on the horizon, contact the esteemed Sarasota civil litigation lawyers at Suncoast Civil Law.