FL Landlord-Tenant Law

This post is intended as a public service and not as legal advice.  You may read the landlord-tenant law of Florida in its entirety as set forth in the Florida statutes below:

Florida Landlord Tenant Law is set forth in Florida Statutes at Part II, Chapter 83, Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. It governs the rights of both landlords and tenants. Even with a signed lease, the Laws “prevail over what the lease says,” according to The Florida Bar Foundation. While it is strongly recommended that all parties to a tenancy sign a written lease, even with just an oral lease, the rights and responsibilities of all the parties are still bound by Florida Landlord Tenant Law.

Here’s what you need to  know about it.

The Rules of the Lease

A lease is an agreement between you, the landlord, and your tenant. Leases are usually written (and should be!), but oral lease agreements can also be legally binding, according to the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act.

Essentially, a lease dictates the terms and conditions promised by both parties. Written leases may have specific terms and conditions, but they can’t be unreasonable compared to the rules established in the act. The Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act prevails over lease terms and conditions when clauses are called into question.

Tenant Rights According to Florida Rental Laws

At the very core, the Florida landlord tenant law is meant to ensure that landlords provide a private, safe, and secure place for tenants to live in exchange for rent. This means that the dwelling needs to have proper door locks and latches and be free from building code safety violations.

Under this law, Florida tenants:

Have a right to a private, peaceful dwelling.

Can use the property in a lawful way once the lease is signed and rent is paid.

Must be notified in writing of a lease violation and given adequate time to remedy the problem.

May withhold rent if the residence has become untenantable because a landlord has failed to meet their obligations so long as the tenant gives seven days’ written notice.

Have the right to move out with proper written notice, which may be up to 60 days before the end of the lease.

If a tenant takes a landlord to court, the losing party may be responsible for the legal fees of the winning party

Landlord Responsibilities According to the Florida Landlord Tenant Law

Landlords have certain responsibilities to ensure that the tenants’ rights are respected. Those responsibilities are:

To provide at least 12 hours of notice before entering the property to make agreed upon repairs; notice can be shortened or waived in emergency situations.

To provide a dwelling that has working plumbing, hot water, and heating.

To ensure the dwelling is structurally sound with working (and locking) doors and windows.

To ensure the property is free of  pests. To provide written notice of lease violations with adequate time to fix the problem if it is curable.

To preserve the security deposit and return it within 15 days after the tenant leaves or provide written notice within 30 days if the deposit won’t be returned.

Landlords in Florida are not responsible for upkeep on mobile homes or other structures owned by the tenant.

Terminating a Lease in Florida

Landlords and tenants may terminate a lease in Florida, but only in certain circumstances and with notice. If a rental agreement does state the duration of the lease, then the duration is set by how often the rent is paid (i.e., if rent is due every week, then the tenancy is week to week). This also determines how much notice either party must give before terminating the lease. Rental laws in Florida law require:

7 days for a week-to-week lease.

15 days for a month-to-month lease.

30 days for a quarter-to-quarter lease.

60 days for a year-to-year lease.

Terminating lease with a set duration (e.g., one year) also requires notice. In that case, the landlord can include a notification provision that spells out how much notice the tenant must give if it:

Requires the landlord to give the tenant notice if the lease won’t be renewed.

Does not require either party to give more than 60 days’ notice.

Landlords can also include a provision where the tenant owes a predetermined amount of money for failing to give the required notice before vacating the residence. To do this, the landlord must alert the tenant within 15 days before the start of the notification period, explaining in writing:

The tenant’s obligations under the notification provision.

The date the rental agreement is terminated.

All the fees, charges, and penalties the tenant is responsible for.

Florida Tenants Have the Right to Terminate a Lease.

 

Tenants can get out of a fixed-term rental agreement before its end date in a few situations. Most of these are caused by the landlord failing to meet their obligations under Florida landlord tenant law. For example, a tenant may have the right to terminate their lease if the landlord harasses them or creates an unsafe situation by violating health or safety codes. In these situations, the tenant can break the lease seven days after giving their landlord written notice.

According to rental laws in Florida, members of the military can also break their leases in several situations, including:

Receiving change of station orders that move them 35 miles or more away from the rental premises.

Being prematurely or involuntarily discharged from duty.

Being released from active duty or state active duty.

Receiving orders that require them to move into government quarters.

Service members in these and similar situations must give a written notice to their landlords with an effective date that is at least 30 days past the date the landlord receives it.

 

When Can a Florida Landlord Terminate a Lease?

 

Florida landlords can also terminate a lease if a tenant fails to meet their obligations, such as:

Keeping the portion of the residence they occupy clean.

Using all electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating, sanitary, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances in a reasonable manner.

Refraining from removing, damaging, destroying, defacing, or impairing any part of the property without permission.

Paying rent when it is due.

How a landlord goes about terminating a lease depends on the type of violation. Florida landlord tenant law identifies two kinds:

Curable lease violations: These are violations a tenant should be allowed to fix, such as failing to keep the yard clean or having a pet when the lease forbids it. The landlord needs to notify the tenant of their violations in writing and give them seven days to rectify the situation. If the tenant doesn’t fix the violation, then the landlord may terminate the lease.

Incurable lease violations: These are violations that tenants shouldn’t be allowed to fix, either because they are serious in nature or they have happened several times within 12 months of a written warning. Illegal activity, continual excessive noise complaints, and intentionally damaging property are all examples of incurable violations that allow landlords to serve a seven-day notice of eviction. An example of an incurable lease violation might be a tenant conducting illegal activity on the property.

Failure to pay rent is another situation. Rental laws in Florida do not provide a grace period for rent so landlords can demand money in writing as soon as a tenant fails to pay. Once three days have passed, excluding weekends and legal holidays, they can terminate the lease.

The Eviction Process Under Florida Landlord Tenant Law

At some point, you may need to evict a tenant though the right screening process may help prevent that. Terminating the lease, with all of its notification requirements, is just the first step in the eviction process.

The next step is to file a complaint with the court, which involves a filing fee plus an extra fee for each summons that will be issued – one for every tenant. After filing, you’ll be given a court date, and the tenant will be served. This gives the tenant an opportunity to respond.

If the tenant decides not to contest the eviction or the judge rules against them, then the judge grants a court order with the day and time of eviction. This order goes to the sheriff who takes it to the tenant. The tenant has 24 hours to pack their stuff and go before the sheriff returns to padlock the door.

If the tenant fights the eviction successfully, then they get to stay in the rental property for the remainder of the lease.

Landlords must follow the Florida eviction process to regain control of their property. They can shut off utilities, take down doors, or prevent access until the eviction is complete. Additionally, landlords can’t evict tenants who report legitimate complaints about the safety and security of the property or who have exercised their rights under fair housing laws. Retaliatory conduct on the part of the landlord can be used as a defense in the eviction process.

Information to Include in an Eviction Notice

Florida has three types of termination for cause notices that start the eviction process. They are:

A tenant may receive this notice even if they’re only a day late with the rent. This notice should include the amount owed, the rental property’s address, and date when rent must be paid before eviction proceedings.

Seven-day notice to cure: This notice is used when a tenant commits a curable lease violation. It should list the violation, explain they have seven days to remedy it or face eviction, and note that a second violation may result in lease termination without further warning.

Seven-day unconditional notice to quit: When a tenant commits an incurable violation, they get this notice to tell them their lease has been immediately terminated and that they have seven days to vacate the premises.

According to Florida landlord tenant law, all of these must be in writing and either mailed or delivered to the tenant. Landlords may leave a copy at the premises if the tenant is absent.

 

Adhering to the Florida landlord tenant law not only legally necessary – it also protects you and  your property.

 

Memories

Memories:

I went on a trip down my life’s memory lane
to visit my old friends and see my home again
It did not take too long for it wasn’t far away
I could see their faces but could not make them stay
I saw fields we ran thru and made the birds take wing
laid resting on our backs while meadow winds did sing.

We were young and carefree life’s road lay far ahead
we were friends forever we knew not how to dread
All the endless summers were spent loving each other
playing, fighting, growing sister and her brother,
A noise did awake me from my glad reverie
and I saw what time had done to our camaraderie.

Life’s road has been so long, the hair has turned to grey
steps are taken slow now and loved ones passed away
Still there is no regret from dwindling sands of time
for I have these memories stored safe within my mind.

Young and Old. (updated)

YOUNG AND OLD  (updated)

When all the whole world is young, boy,`

And all the trees are green,

And every goose a swan, boy,

And every girl a queen,

Then take to saddle and horse then,

And round the world go way.

Young blood must run its course, boy,

And every dog his day.

 

When all the world is old, boy,

And all the trees are brown,

And every sport grown cold, boy,

And all the clocks run down,

Creep home, and take your place there,

The old and frail among,

God grant you find one face there,

You loved when all was young.

 

 

THINGS TO REMEMBER THAT MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE.

THINGS TO REMEMBER THAT MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE.

  1. When sizing up a suspect, remember that clothes can be removed, hair can be changed, but birthmarks and tattoos are always permanent.”
  2. When confronted do not go to your own car which would allow the perp to track you down by your license plate. Raise a ruckus instead to alert people around you.
  3. Never sit with or turn your back to the door. (Even gamblers know this one.)
  4. When things get dicey, mace is meant to be in your hand, not in your purse where it would be totally useless if not reached quickly enough.
  5. Order drinks that come in bottles because they are harder to drug.
  6. Nothing good comes after 11pm.
  7. Never jog before 8am.
  8. If you suspect a car is following you, take four right turns. When you take four right turns you essentially just drove in a complete circle, so if someone is actually going to somewhere and not following you, they wouldn’t be making circles.
  9. Know where you are at all times, and know your surroundings.

 

My Christmas Wish for you!

santa
MY CHRISTMAS WISH FOR YOU
May you find love this Christmas
May it fill your heart with cheer
May it overwhelm you completely
And last throughout the year.
May you find love this Christmas
May it put a smile upon your face.
May the sad and lonely times
Disappear without a trace.
May you find love this Christmas
May you be surrounded by friends
May this season bring you joy
Of the kind that never ends.
May you find love this Christmas
May you share it with everyone
And may God bless and keep you
Until your days on earth are done.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS.
And also from Andy Roberts, Realtor, NextHome Bayside Realty in Freeport, Florida.

Coming to Florida

beach time

They are coming to Florida or haven’t you noticed  the people fleeing the major cities for the suburbs and beyond?  Not all cities have the same problems as New York, Seattle, Atlanta, etc. however there are those concerned enough about the current situation they may be looking elsewhere and they are coming to Florida.

If you  a friend or a relative are  considering coming to Florida in the panhandle please give me a call.  I live in a small town of Freeport which is about 15 miles above the white sandy beaches and when you leave your driveway anyway you go leads to town. Niceville is 24 miles west, Defuniak Springs is 16 miles north, Panama City is 30 miles southeast, Destin is 28 miles south and west, and finally Ft. Walton is 40 miles south and west.  Pensacola is about 80   miles south and west of here but you only go there when in dire need for something you cannot get locally.

Freeport (so called because the port in this small town was once free) is in Walton County the fastest growing county in Florida.  Freeport is experiencing phenomenal growth with whole new subdivisions starting almost daily it seems. We are located near Eglin Air force Base which contributes to a stable economy and those military personnel who retire like to remain in the area.  Plus every day cars are seen from Texas, MS, LA, NY, NJ, GA and  MS among others from faraway places like WA and  OR.  They are of course on vacation on the surface but many are looking for an escape from big  city life.

If you or someone you know is looking to escape from the crazy life to a place that is stable, secure and run by conservative government officials, Freeport may be the place to run to.  I would love to tell you more about this place and what it has to offer.  Just call me!

ANDY ROBERTS, REALTOR

NextHome Bayside Realty

66 Highway 20 E

Freeport, FL 32439

(256) 508-3087

andyroberts1379@gmail.com

andyrobertsrealtor.com

 

 

 

Home sale in DeFuniak Springs, FL

This is a recent home sale in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, made by me earlier this year.  Should you live in this area or should you be looking either to buy or sell property there,  please call Andy Roberts with NextHome Bayside Realty at 256-508-3087.  I would be delighted to assist you.

DeFuniak Springs is approximately 20 miles from the Gulf  in Walton County with its white sandy beaches, upscale shopping and laidback life style. Drive time to the beach is about 30 minutes now depending on traffic.  But  Walton County is widening and improving the corridor along Highway 331 which should decrease the time to the beach.

DeFuniak has published its vision for the future and the core values for how life should be lived in the city principally to grow to attract business and provide good jobs while remaining family oriented, small town quality of life.

NextHome Bayside Realty serves all of Walton County and Okaloosa County in the Florida panhandle. We can handle a home sale or a home purchase for you throughout these areas  and will do so in a courteous and professional manner.  Give us a call and allow us to earn your trust.

255 ruckel dr

Andy at work-crop

Song of the Panhandle

Riding around in our automobile

eating a blizzard while holding the wheel

The rain has now gone the sky has turned blue

Got no worries and nothing to do.

Waiting for the morrow, a brand new day,

working and living in the same old way.

Eviction Writs Halted

Eviction Writs of Possession Stopped by Fla. Courts until April 17.

Attached is an article about eviction writs which appeared in Florida Realtors that should be of concern to landlords in Florida:

A landlord may win an eviction case, but an order that suspends many court operations until April 17 means the necessary confirmation documents won’t be issued.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Because the novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an administrative order extending the suspension of jury trials and other in-person court proceedings through April 17. That order includes the issuance of a writ of possession that property owners need to have in hand before a sheriff will evict a tenant.

If a county or city bans evictions, it applies to the actions by the sheriff’s office only. However, even in areas where evictions have not been banned, a local sheriff needs a writ of possession from a court for authorization to evict. This current delay temporarily ends the issuance of any writ of possession, effectively ending new evictions if a writ has not already been issued.

“This order suspends the issuing of writs of possession by the clerks of courts,” says Florida Realtors Associate General Counsel Meredith Caruso. “A judgment may be issued in the landlord’s favor; however, the landlord won’t be able to get the writ needed.”

Canady’s order Tuesday extends deadlines in previous administrative orders aimed at complying with health officials’ recommendations to curb COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

“We are all facing an unprecedented challenge,” Canady said in a video message released Tuesday. “The pandemic is now affecting everyone. We are living our lives in a way that none of us would have contemplated a few short weeks ago. … (The pandemic) “presents an extraordinary challenge for the legal system.” he added.

The chief justice’s order extends an earlier suspension of a variety of court procedures, including speedy trial rules. The order directs state courts to “cancel or postpone court proceedings other than essential and critical proceedings,” unless chief circuit judges determine that they can be conducted remotely. The order also includes other measures designed to minimize face-to-face contact in court proceedings, including suspending some notarization requirements.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

photo cutout 2 (2) for email

Hints on Disinfecting

Hints on Disinfecting

The familiar household products of bleach and alcohol are among the best disinfectants.  Simply use rubbing alcohol that contains a 70%  solution or make your own bleach solution by the following recipe:  5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water and plan to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes to assure its effectiveness.

Be sure to work in a properly ventilated area when mixing bleach and remember that it will discolor clothing.  Be sure and check these and other bottles for their own instructions.

A Gray Day

A Gray Day

The sun has not come out this livelong day,
Instead clouds have hidden it’s face away.
The soaking rain drops tho have been few
But imminent damp has hampered the view.

Living in paradise what you want to do
Is go outside and wander for a block or two.
To live in the sunshine, breathe the air that’s pure,
To see all creation and feel your life’s secure.

Gray days interfere with the lives of men
Bringing regret for deeds they cannot mend.
Thoughts of loved ones never to see again
And longing for touch from a vanished hand.

Tomorrow the cloudy shroud will be gone.
Life will leave each to bear burdens alone.
Unless they are few then he will dance
Celebrating the sun and giving thanks.

Retired in paradise

I am retired in paradise just sitting on my screened-in back porch watching the sun slowly going down between the pines. The air is calm with a hint of chill signaling the night that is to come. The day has been a busy one filled with tasks only retired people do except for three hours devoted to learning to sell real estate. Life is good when you live in Florida and have bid good-by to cold weather, snow and the stress of having to make a living. Given my extremely humble beginning there is no way I could have imagined being retired in a paradise like this. I have to thank all those who helped me along the way,  and my wonderful wife of 48 years for this outcome and also the Lord who has allowed me the longevity to enjoy it all.

FYI, Freeport, Florida, is beginning to show signs of expansive growth. Here in Hammock Bay there are many new apartment buildings that should be ready for occupancy by spring break and ground has been broken for new homes in a gated subdivision called Vineyards situated right smack in the middle of the total Hammock Bay development. The year 2020 may prove to be the best year for the panhandle since 2008. To be a part of this success story contact me at 256-508-3087 or andyroberts1379@gmail.com at NextHome Bayside Realty about homes or land available in the immediate area. You, too, could be living in paradise and enjoying the saltlife.

IMG-0293

vineyards