LegalYou: Tenant Rights

As a tenant you realize you have rights. After all, this isn’t medieval Europe last I checked. But, you might not know what those rights actually are, which means you can potentially be exploited by a landlord. Not a good thing.

First a tenant is an equal party with the landlord, which means that no rental agreement can be forced on you.

You should walk through and examine the premises fully before signing any type of agreement. Once that agreement is signed, there is no grace period for a cancellation, you are bound immediately and all monies given in advance to the landlord will most likely be non-refundable even if you don’t end up moving into the place.

With that being said, once a tenant has signed a lease, a landlord-tenant relationship is formed which is governed by that lease and Florida’s landlord-tenant laws. Generally if the lease says something that conflicts with the law the law wins. So it’s important to know what rights the law provides even if your lease doesn’t.

For example, as a tenant you have the right to privacy and peace in your rented home or apartment. Your landlord may enter only to inspect the premises or make repairs and even then must there is an emergency only if the landlord gives you reasonable notice and comes at a convenient time. The property must also have working plumbing, hot water and heating. It also must be pest free, reasonably secure and structurally sound. You know for those sticklers who don’t like their home falling apart.

If a landlord has an issue with you, for example, non-payment of rent or property damage, the landlord must inform you in writing. If you do not correct it after being told in writing, then and only then, can a landlord take you to court. The same is required if you want to take legal action against your landlord and if the landlord neglects some of their basic responsibilities then you can withhold rent, depending on the severity of the situation and a landlord cannot force you out by shutting off utilities, changing the locks and the like and if you have a deposit with the landlord it must be returned within 15 days from your leaving. If not, they have 30 days to state in writing why they are not returning it.

If no notice is given within that time, the landlord must return the deposit in full, immediately.

If there are any other complications with the Landlord or Property LegalYou is there for you.

Leaving you independent, but never alone. LegalYou, you can do this.