Property Management – An 8 Part Series
Part 3-Landlord Tenant Laws
It is important for both landlords and tenants to have knowledge of the Landlord-Tennant Laws. This information references the state of Florida. It is imperative that property managers and homeowners be up to date on the State of Florida landlord-tenant laws as they apply to property management. These laws include but not limited to the lawful conducting of background checks, anti-discrimination laws, eviction and inspection law, property inspections, and service animal laws. Knowledge of the Florida Landlord/Tenant (FLT) laws is essential to avoid legal actions against the landlord/homeowner.
Property owners and/or property managers will conduct backgrounds checks on perspective tenants. These checks will include a search for past felony convictions, past evictions, verification of employment/income, and credit checks. Tenants, on average will need a base score of at least 600.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is the federal law that prohibits housing providers (including condominiums and homeowner’s associations) from enforcing rules and covenants that discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or familial status.
An eviction is when a landlord forces a tenant to move out. To evict a tenant in Florida, a landlord must follow the procedure governed by Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. Failure to follow the proper procedure could lead to an eviction suit being dismissed, or result in the tenant being awarded. The eviction process is generally a 7-step process that includes: tenant notice to evict, termination with cause, termination without cause, filing of the eviction complaint, 5-day response from tenant, eviction hearing, and finally, removal of the tenant.
It is better to avoid an eviction process from the beginning. This is why it is prudent for property owners/property managers to screen perspective tenants from the start. It is best practices to consider litigation to resolve the dispute through mediation versus hiring an attorney. Additional details of the evictions process can be found on the following link: https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/the-eviction-process-in-florida-a-step-by-step-guide
Landlord, property managers, and tenants should be knowledgeable as to the specific rules regarding property inspections. The landlord or their representative have the right to enter the property to carry out inspections, however there are certain rules and regulations that apply. In order for the landlord or agent to enter the property, reasonable notice to the tenant must be given clearly stating why and when they intend to enter the property. Unless it is an emergency, or adequate notice is given unannounced visits by the owner, agent or anyone acting under their instructions (for example, tradesmen) are not permitted to enter the property.
Service Animal Laws
Service animal laws covers a broad range of legal topics. July 1, 2020, Florida passed new laws governing emotional support animals (ESA). These new laws clarify how residents of Florida can properly qualify for an emotional support animal and affirm the special rights ESA owners have. The new rules in Florida are similar in many ways to Federal Fair Housing rules for emotional support animals and borrow many of the same concepts. An emotional support animal in Florida is an animal that provides assistance or therapeutic emotional support to its owner by its mere presence. An ESA does not need any special training to work or perform tasks for its owner.
Additional Florida Landlord/Tenant Laws Information
Additional information regarding the Florida Landlord/Tenant laws in be found in the following link. Valuable information for landlords and tenants including before you rent, oral and written rental agreements, deposit, fees and rent requirements, and failure to meet obligations.
Best practices indicate the use of open communication, use of written leases, and a meeting of the minds between landlord/property manager and tenants. Additional information can be found at the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. www.800helpfla.com 1-800-help-fla. 850-410-3800.
Professional property management requires knowledge, experience, and a commitment to best practices. This 8-part series is an outline of what to expect and require from a property manager, whether you are a property owner or perspective tenant. The responsibilities to both tenant and property owner require exceptional communication skills, professional marketing and technology tools, accounting abilities, knowledge of the landlord laws, and public relation proficiencies. The First Coast Realty Property Management Division offers all of this and more. Reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter and we would be happy to walk you through our two great programs or speak to our property manager by calling/texting today 904-494-8408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Authors: The video "Property Management-An 8 Part Series" was provided by Broker and Broker-Associate Gene and Libby Johnson with First Coast Realty Inc. We have built a top notch Rental Division, sure to meet everyone's need. We service St Augustine, Palm Coast, Palatka, and Jacksonville areas.