Being a landlord in Florida comes with certain rights and responsibilities. While landlords have the authority to manage their properties, it is crucial to understand and respect the statutes in place to protect tenants’ rights. Florida statutes have been designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of tenants and landlords. In this blog, we will discuss some actions that landlords should never do as they conflict with Florida statute and can cause major problems for landlords.
Self-help evictions, also known as “do-it-yourself” evictions, involve landlords taking matters into their own hands to forcibly remove tenants without going through the property legal proceedings. Engaging in this kind of eviction can lead to severe legal consequences for landlords.
Landlords in Florida should never engage in retaliatory evictions. Retaliatory evictions involve terminating a tenancy or increasing rent as a response to a tenant’s legitimate complaint or exercise of their legal rights. Florida statute prohibits landlords from retaliating against tenants who have reported housing code violations, requested necessary repairs, or participated in tenants’ associations. Engaging in such behavior can lead to legal consequences and potential liability for the landlord.
Illegal Entry or Lockouts:
Landlords must respect the privacy and security of their tenants. Unauthorized entry into a tenant’s rental unit, changing the locks without notice, or shutting off the utilities is strictly prohibited in Florida. Landlords must provide reasonable notice before entering a rental property, typically 12 to 24 hours, except in cases of emergency. Unlawful entry or lockouts can disrupt a tenant’s peace and quiet enjoyment of the property, potentially leading to legal action against the landlord.
Failure to Maintain Safe and Habitable Conditions:
Florida statute requires residential landlords to maintain their rental properties in safe and habitable conditions. This includes providing basic utilities (water, electricity, and heating), keeping the premises free from hazards, and conducting necessary repairs promptly. Landlords should never ignore repair requests or fail to address issues that affect a tenant’s health and safety. Failure to meet these obligations can result in legal liabilities and even rental abatement, where tenants are entitled to withhold rent until the issues are resolved.
Discrimination and Fair Housing Violations:
Discrimination against tenants based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status is strictly prohibited by both federal and Florida fair housing laws. Landlords should never refuse to rent, deny housing benefits, or impose different rental terms based on these protected characteristics. It is important for landlords to have a comprehensive understanding of fair housing laws to ensure they comply with all applicable regulations.
Retention of Personal Belongings:
When a tenant vacates the rental property, landlords must follow Florida’s laws regarding the disposal of personal belongings left behind. Landlords should never discard or sell a tenant’s belongings without following the proper legal procedures. Instead, landlords must allow tenants a reasonable time to reclaim their belongings. If the tenant fails to collect their belongings, landlords should follow the appropriate steps to legally dispose of the items.
As a landlord in Florida, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the state’s landlord-tenant laws and regulations. By understanding and adhering to these laws, landlords can maintain positive relationships with their tenants while avoiding legal disputes and potential liabilities. This article highlighted some actions that landlords should never engage in, as they conflict with Florida statute and can harm tenants. To speak to an attorney, click here.