As Broward County and Palm Beach County Eviction Attorneys, it happens all too often that we see Florida Residential Landlords make mistakes that cost them to waste unnecessary time and money as well as annoyance. With that in mind, please see our Top 3 Landlord Mistakes in Florida.
- Not Following the Rules governing Security Deposits. A major issue that Residential Florida Landlords run into is not timely returning a Tenant’s security deposit or imposing a claim on the Tenant’s Security Deposit. Florida Statute 83.49(3)(a) states that upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the landlord shall have 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant’s last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. Therefore, it is very important that the Florida Residential Landlord follow the rules governing Security Deposits in the State of Florida in order to protect their rights and most important their money. 954 Eviction Attorneys are here to assist and help you comply.
- Not responding to a Tenant’s Notice to Withhold Rent. Florida Statue 83.51(1)(a) and 83.51(1)(b) allows a Tenant to withhold rent from the Florida Landlord if the Landlord fails to comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes or where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition. The Landlord, at commencement of the tenancy, must ensure that screens are installed in a reasonable condition. If the Florida Landlord fails to respond and cure the violations that the Tenant addressed in a Notice of Withholding Rent, the Tenant can either withhold rent or terminate the lease. Therefore, it is extremely important the Florida Landlord respond immediately to the Tenant’s concerns. This mistake can be avoided by the Landlord handing over to their Tenant a habitable premises and properly respond to their Tenant’s maintenance issues if they are required to do so pursuant to the Lease.
- Retaliating against the Tenant. The unfortunate reality for all Landlords is that many Tenants will complain to the County if there are existing violations in the property. Although the Tenant may be incorrect or looking to find a way to withhold rent, the Landlord cannot retaliate against the Tenant by commencing eviction proceedings against the Tenant. Florida Statute 83.64 states in part that:
(1) It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminatorily increase a tenant’s rent or decrease services to a tenant, or to bring or threaten to bring an action for possession or other civil action, primarily because the landlord is retaliating against the tenant. In order for the tenant to raise the defense of retaliatory conduct, the tenant must have acted in good faith. Examples of conduct for which the landlord may not retaliate include, but are not limited to, situations where:
(a) The tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, or health code of a suspected violation applicable to the premises;
(b) The tenant has organized, encouraged, or participated in a tenant organization;
(c) The tenant has complained to the landlord pursuant to s. 83.56(1);
If the Landlord has failed respond to the Tenant’s demands and the Tenant subsequently contacts Code Compliance, a Landlord cannot raise the Tenant’s rent or attempt to evict the Tenant in retaliation to the Tenant’s actions. Retaliatory actions can be disastrous for a Landlord as most courts will find in favor of the Tenant if good cause exists.
If you’re a Florida Landlord or Property Manager and have Landlord Tenant issues, call your experienced Eviction Attorneys of 954 Evictions Attorneys, PLLC today @ 954.323.2529 to see how we can assist. We have offices in Broward and Palm Beach in order to better assist our clients.