When you rent a house or apartment, you enter into a legal contract known as a rental agreement. This agreement does not have to be in writing, but if it is, it’s called a lease. As a landlord you have certain rights; you also have certain duties. Your obvious right as a landlord is to receive rent for the use of the property. Another important right is to have your property returned to you undamaged at the end of the agreement. It should be returned in the same condition in which it was received, except for ordinary wear and tear.
As a landlord, it is your duty to provide a home that is safe, that meets housing code requirements, and to come out, or hire someone to come out and make repair on the home hen necessary. It is also your duty to respect the tenant’s rights, just as they are required to respect yours. One of the most important of these is the right of peaceful possession. By renting to the tenant, you give them the possession and use of your property free from interference. That means that you may not enter the home frequently, at odd hours, or without notice. Rights relating to reasonable inspection are often set forth in a written rental agreement, as well as in Florida law. You have a right to protect your property through inspection, but you must give the renter reasonable notice. You don’t have the right to show the property to possible buyers without coming to an agreement with the tenants first.
To end the tenancy, if the unit has no written rental agreement or if the lease does not state otherwise and is rented on a month to month basis, you must give at least 15 days notice in writing prior to the end of any monthly period to terminate the tenancy; a week to week rental period requires seven days notice prior to the end of any weekly period. This notice must be in writing and should be delivered personally to the tenant, but may be posted at the door. If the written rental agreement requires that the tenant give notice of up to 30 days before leaving the unit, the landlord is also required to give the tenant the same notice period that the landlord does not intend to renew the lease.
If the tenant permanently moves out before the end of the rental term and leaves your property vacant, this is usually considered as an abandonment of his or her rights. The law presumes an abandonment if the tenant is absent for at least 15 days without previously notifying you of his or her intent to be absent. After abandonment, the landlord may then re-enter the dwelling unit. The situation is more complicated if the tenant seems to have gone away but has left some of his or her personal property on the premises or there is a considerable amount of unpaid rent. You should consult an attorney before trying to dispose of the tenant’s possessions or re-renting the property.
If a tenant fails to pay the rent or refuses to move out at the end of the rental term, as the landlord you have the right to evict them. You have taken the proper legal steps to commence an action for possession according to specific timetable. You must serve proper notice or notices on the tenant to terminate this rental agreement. If you decide to file the claim yourself in county court, you should have an attorney review the notices you have given and the ways you have served them to make sure you have properly observed all of the necessary requirements of the timetable. Mistakes can result in serious delay in your regaining possession of your property.