Tenant rights include having the peaceful and private possession of the dwelling while allowing for entry from the landlord in the above-described circumstances. Depending on the type of dwelling, tenants have the right to certain conditions as detailed in landlord responsibilities.
Tenants also have the right to withhold rent — under very aggravated circumstances. This would be due to landlord neglect, such as noncompliance with health or building codes. However, the tenant must give the landlord seven days to fix the issue before withholding their rent payment.
Additionally, tenants have the right to move out. Per the lease agreement’s conditions, proper notice must be given to avoid penalty or voiding of the contract. If there is no written agreement, the tenant can give notice of intent to leave no fewer than seven days (weekly rent payments) or 15 days (monthly rent payments).
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Responsibilities as a Tenant
Florida law also requires specific responsibilities as a tenant.
Tenants must remove garbage and keep the dwelling clean and sanitary while following all building, housing, and health codes. They must operate plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances, and other facilities safely and reasonably.
Tenants are not allowed to deface, damage, or otherwise impair any part of the property and reasonably conduct themselves not to disturb the peace. This includes any guests of the tenants.
Examples of Agreement Violations
- The tenant permanently moves out before the end of the agreement terms.
- The tenant fails to pay rent under the agreement terms.
- The tenant fails to move out at the end of the lease agreement.
- The tenant significantly damages the property of the landlord.
- The landlord does not repair a damaged appliance or fixture that voids Florida’s warranty of habitability.
- The landlord does not give a Three Day Notice for nonpayment of rent before eviction.
Security Deposit Refunds and Disputes
When a tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit within 15 days if no damages or outstanding rent are owed. If the landlord intends to keep some or all of the deposit, they must send a written notice to the tenant within 30 days detailing the amount withheld and the reasons for the withholding.
If the tenant disputes the amount withheld, they can send a demand letter to the landlord requesting the return of the disputed amount. If the landlord does not respond or refuses to return the disputed amount, the tenant can file a lawsuit in small claims court. The court will determine if the landlord’s deposit withholding was reasonable or if the tenant is entitled to its return.
It’s important to note that landlords can only withhold the deposit for actual damages, unpaid rent, or breach of the lease agreement. They cannot withhold the deposit for normal wear and tear or to cover the costs of preparing the unit for a new tenant.
In the case of disputes over security deposit refunds, it’s a good idea for both parties to keep detailed records, including move-in and move-out inspection reports, photographs, and receipts for repairs and cleaning expenses. This documentation can help resolve disputes and provide evidence if a court case is necessary.
Retaliation and Discrimination Protections for Tenants
Under Florida law, tenants are protected from retaliation and discrimination by landlords. This means a landlord cannot retaliate against a tenant for exercising their legal rights, such as reporting a code violation or requesting repairs. Similarly, a landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant based on race, national origin, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics.
If tenants believe they have been the victim of retaliation or discrimination, they may have legal options. A knowledgeable attorney can help tenants understand their rights and determine the best action.
Tenants must know that retaliation or discrimination can take many forms, including eviction notices, refusal to renew a lease, and threats or harassment. If a tenant suspects they have been the victim of such actions, they should consult an attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.
When Legal Action Is Appropriate
Knowing your rights and obligations in a lease agreement is essential as a tenant. If there are any lease agreement violations, such as unpaid rent or property damage, it may be necessary to take legal action to protect your rights. It is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney knowledgeable about tenant laws in Florida to determine the appropriate legal action to take.
How Golden Key Law Group Can Help You With Your Situation
Our Golden Key Law Group landlord and tenant law attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in reviewing and analyzing tenant law in Florida. We can provide in-depth assistance with tenant rights and obligations.
We can review your lease agreement and applicable statutes to help you determine the best course of action. Additionally, if your case has to go to court, we can provide representation to protect your interests.
Contact us today to set up a consultation.
*Disclaimer: There is a fee associated with real estate-related consultations.