Landlord and Tenant Representation
Florida landlord and tenant laws are complex because they must cover a variety of landlord-tenant issues related to commercial, investment, vacation, and residential rental properties. In most cases, landlord-tenant relations do not need to be confrontational. However, landlord-tenant matters have a natural adversarial component that can create issues between the parties. In cases of disputes, our Daytona landlord-tenant attorneys help our clients negotiate a settlement or file a court action to protect the client's legal rights and best interests.
Florida Landlord-Tenant Matters
Our Daytona real estate attorneys handle a variety of landlord-tenant matters for our clients. We represent both landlords and tenants in matters related to:
• Negotiation and drafting of residential and commercial lease agreements
• Commercial and residential evictions
• Bankruptcy matters
• Dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration
• Landlord-tenant litigation
• Contract disputes
• Deposits and lease payments
• Property damage and repairs
Our real estate lawyers negotiate, draft, and execute lease agreements and contracts with the goal of avoiding disputes and conflicts for our clients. However, if disputes arise, we work diligently to resolve the issues in the best interests of our clients while protecting their legal rights.
Protecting Tenants and Landlords from Prohibited Acts
Landlords and tenants have certain responsibilities under Florida's landlord-tenant laws. Our attorneys help tenants when a landlord takes actions that are prohibited by law. For instance, landlords are not allowed to attempt to force a tenant to leave by shutting off utilities, such as the water, heat, lights, and electricity. Landlords are also not permitted to change the locks to deny access to a tenant without court approval. If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the landlord must go through the legal process to obtain a court order for eviction. In addition, a landlord may not remove a tenant's personal property from the rental unit without an eviction order.
Tenants are also prohibited from certain actions regarding the rental property. A tenant is not permitted to use the property in any manner that is contrary to the terms of the lease agreement. The law states that a tenant must give the landlord an opportunity to remedy a situation instead of simply withholding rent. For instance, a tenant should not pay to replace a door and deduct the amount from the rent without notifying the landlord.
Florida's landlord-tenant laws provide a legal process for a tenant to terminate a rental agreement. However, it is not legal to abandon the property or withhold rent. If the tenant does not follow the procedure for terminating a lease agreement, the landlord can proceed with an eviction proceeding to hold the tenant liable for unpaid rent and damages.
Handling Security Deposits for Rental Property
Florida's landlord-tenant laws are very specific regarding how security deposits are collected, held, and released. Landlords must be very careful to adhere to the strict requirements and deadlines regarding a tenant's security deposit. Many disputes arise because of the mishandling of security deposits. If a tenant moves out or the lease ends, the landlord must return the security deposit within 15 days or submit a claim against the security deposit.
The claim must be mailed to the tenant within 30 days by certified mail explaining why the landlord alleges he or she should be entitled to retain the security deposit or a portion of the security deposit. The landlord forfeits the right to the security deposit if he fails to send the required notice of claim within 30 days.
The tenant has only 15 days to object to the landlord's claim against the security deposit. The objection must also be in writing and sent by certified mail. If the tenant does not object to the landlord's claim, the landlord can deduct the amount of the claim and forward any remaining deposit to the tenant within 30 days. However, if the tenant objects to the claim of the landlord and the landlord does not return the security deposit, the tenant can file a court action for the return of the deposit.
Eviction Actions in Florida
As with security deposits, there are very specific laws in Florida regarding evicting a tenant. Landlords must follow the timelines and procedures for an eviction of the case may be dismissed by the court. Eviction proceedings are usually straightforward when the tenants have already vacated the property. However, in some cases, tenants dispute the eviction proceeding or refuse to leave after an eviction is granted.
Our Daytona real estate attorney can help ensure that all steps in the eviction process follow the correct timeline and the steps are in accordance with the requirements set forth by Florida eviction laws. It is important to complete the process the first time, so that a landlord can remove the tenants and make the property profitable again.
Call a Daytona Landlord-Tenant Attorney for Help
If you have questions about Florida's landlord-tenant laws, our law firm can help. Contact our office by calling (888) 316-2131.