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Three Fundamentals for Florida Landlords

Florida Landlords LawIf you are a Florida landlord, you should know Florida law governs how you may or may not deal with tenant issues.  Florida law addresses a variety of landlord issues and includes strict requirements that landlords must comply with or risk liability.  Portuondo Law Firm understands you may face challenges as a landlord. We offer assistance in landlord-tenant disputes – as well as the tools to help keep these disputes from occurring.  When our landlord clients bring us in early in the process, it very often results in a quicker, less costly resolution.  Below are some of the most common problems we see landlords face.

When a Landlord Doesn’t Truly Understand the Lease

Contrary to common belief, using a form leasing agreement is rarely a good idea. A lease is a written contract, detailing the nature and extent of the agreement between you and your tenant. You cannot amend the agreement by simply declaring something. Instead, it must be reduced to writing and incorporated into the written document.  Landlords commonly ignore this basic rule and do so at their own peril. A customized lease is an inexpensive way to protect yourself and your property.

When a Landlord Fails to Use a Written Lease Agreement

The lease agreement includes essential information, including when the tenant can move in, when the lease expires, the amount of the rent, each party’s responsibilities, and the circumstances under which the lease can be terminated or renewed.  When landlords don’t reduce these details to writing, they create an unnecessary disadvantage for themselves.  A lease is an investment that pays off in the long run, as both parties have clarity about expectations and obligations.

When a Landlord Engages in Prohibited Practices

Florida law prohibits certain conduct by landlords.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following behavior:

  • Terminating utility service, including electricity, elevator, garbage collection, gas, heat, light, refrigeration, or water as a way to encourage tenants to leave the property
  • Preventing access to the dwelling by changing the locks
  • Discriminating against service members, either in the offering of the unit, or in terminating the rental agreement
  • Improperly removing a tenant’s personal property from the premises

When landlords engage in prohibited conduct, they open themselves up to potential lawsuits and financial penalties.  For example, landlords may be ordered to pay for repairs or lose a certain amount of rental income.  Furthermore, the court may order a landlord to pay the tenant’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

By hiring an attorney to assist with tenant issues, a landlord minimizes risk and increases the chances of obtaining a positive outcome.  Where litigation is required, a skilled attorney can help ensure a win in court.  Because the court commonly awards attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party in a landlord-tenant dispute, it is possible for a landlord to get the outcome desired and get reimbursed for expenses.

When this occurs, landlords can hire an attorney to help write nuisance letters, or to properly evict a tenant.  If the landlord prevails in a court proceeding, the tenant may be responsible for paying the landlord’s attorney’s fees and costs.

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Landlord!

Florida law generally favors residential tenants and places strict obligations on landlords. For this reason, it is critical for landlords to understand their rights as well as their responsibilities. Portuondo Law Firm offers services including lease creation and review, advice about Florida landlord-tenant law, nuisance letters, eviction notices, eviction proceedings, and landlord-tenant dispute resolution. Contact the Portuondo Law Firm to discuss your landlord-tenant needs today.




The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send us any documents to review or confidential information until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Marisa Portuondo

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