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|TENANT AND LANDLORD RIGHTS
Landlord's Rights & Responsibilities:
A landlord may enter a residence to periodically make inspections, repairs, alterations, improvements, provide service, or show the residence to prospective buyers, mortgage companies, tenants, workmen, or contractors. A landlord must give reasonable notice (12 hours). Reasonable time for repairs is between 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
A landlord cannot enter a residence without permission (except in emergency) during a tenant’s extended absence as long as the tenant told the landlord he would be gone and the rent is current.
A landlord may enter a residence at any time in an emergency to protect or preserve the rental unit. The landlord shall not abuse this right or use it to harass the tenant.
A landlord cannot cut off or interrupt a tenant’s utility services such as water, heat, electricity, gas, garbage, or refrigeration even if the utility is paid by the landloard.
A landlord cannot keep a tenant out of the residence by changing locks.
Furthermore, the landlord cannot remove outside doors, locks, roofs, walls, or windows except for maintenance or replacement.
A landlord cannot remove personal property until the lawful eviction or the property has been legally abandoned.
A landlord can give a seven-day notice to terminate the rental agreement, if the tenant is damaging, destroying, or misusing the landlord’s property or is a continued unreasonable disturbance. A landlord must then file for legal eviction.
A landlord can give a seven-day notice that the rental agreement may be terminated if a tenant is violating the agreement.
The notice must explain the exact problem and give the tenant seven days from the date of delivery to correct the problem. If not corrected, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement.
Rental Agreements can be:
Written or verbal – If there is no written lease agreement with a specific termination date, a tenant’s stay is based on how that tenant pays the rent per F.S. 83.42.
Paid week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, or year-to-year basis; and in accordance with the originally agreement.
Based on employment – A landlord/employer who furnishes a residence as part of employment but does not have a written agreement with the tenant/employee can start collecting rent the day after employment ends until the tenant moves out. The rent shall be comparable to the rates in the area for similar property. If the rent is not paid, the landlord may begin eviction by giving a three-day notice to pay rent or move out. If rent is not paid and tenant does not move, the landlord may file for eviction per F.S. 83.46(3).
Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities:
A tenant is required to: keep residence and plumbing fixtures clean and sanitary, and use electrical, plumbing, heating, air, and appliances in a reasonable manner.
A tenant cannot destroy, deface, damage or remove any part of the landlord’s premises or property, or allow anyone else to do so.
A tenant and their guests shall not unreasonably disturb neighbors or cause any breach of peace per F.S 83.52.
A tenant may give a seven-day notice to terminate the rental agreement if the landlord does not make needed repairs to comply with building, housing, and health codes.
A tenant who moves out prior to the end of the lease agreement must give a seven-day written notice by certified mail or personal delivery that includes an address where the tenant can be reached. If the tenant does not give notice, the landlord is not required to notify the tenant that the security deposit will not be returned. If the landlord chooses not to return the security deposit for any other reason, they must send a written notice to the tenant through certified mail within 15 days explaining why the deposit is being kept. The landlord forfeits the right to keep the deposit if they do not notify the tenant within 15 days per F.S. 83.49.
A tenant cannot be discriminated against by increasing the rent, decreasing the service, or threatening to evict the tenant, because the tenant complained to a governmental agency about landlord’s compliance to building, housing, or health codes.
Eviction Process: NOTE: Eviction Packets
A tenant can be evicted when the tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, and/or when the landlord wants possession of the property for other reasons.
If a tenant does not pay rent when due, the landlord must give a three-day written notice (excluding Saturday, Sunday and holidays). The notice must provide the tenant with the option of paying in full or moving out. The notice can be delivered in person, by certified mail, or posted at the rental unit. If the tenant does not pay or move, the landlord can file for legal eviction at the County Court Civil Division per F.S. 83.56(3). If the landlord accepts any rent or money after the three-day notice of filing of eviction complaint, they cannot proceed with the eviction and must start the process again.
An eviction for reasons other than non-payment of rent; a notice must be given explaining the reason for eviction. If the reason is a violation of the rental agreement and the problem can be fixed, the notice must list the violation and tell the tenant that if the problem is not corrected in seven days.
The agreement will be terminated and the tenant must move out [F.S. 83.56(2)(b)].
Once the written notice has been given and the tenant has not moved out, the landlord may file a tenant eviction complaint at the Clerk of Court’s Office.
There is a court filing fee plus another $20.00 fee for the Sheriff’s Office to serve the five-day Eviction Summons and Complaint. The Sheriff will make at least two attempts to serve this summons, at least six hours apart, prior to posting the summons on the third attempt.
The tenant has five days (not including date of delivery, Saturday, Sunday or holidays) to move out or file a written answer to the summons with the court as to why they should not have to move. If filed within five days, a hearing with a judge will be scheduled.
If the tenant answers to a non-payment eviction lists a defense other than payment, the tenant must pay the County Civil Court the rent owed and rent that will be due while the case is pending.
If the tenant does not respond, a default will be entered and the judge will sign a Final Judgment and issue a Writ of Possession. The Sheriff’s Office will post the Writ of Possession ($70 fee) and the landlord will take possession of the premises within 24 hours per F.S. 83.62(2). Enforcement of the Writ of Possession is in accordance with Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.090: date of service is not counted; full 24 hours is given; and writ is enforced the following day.
After the 24-hour period and a deputy is there to enforce the writ, the landlord may remove the tenant’s property and place it on the property line. Should this require a Deputy Sheriff for more than one hour, there is a stand-by fee of $25 per hour per Deputy. Neither the Sheriff nor the landlord can be held liable for the loss or damage to property that is removed. The tenant can be arrested for trespassing, if they enter the residence after the final eviction.