Featured News 2013 Changed Law in Florida Affects Evictions, Security Deposits, and One-Sided Leases

Changed Law in Florida Affects Evictions, Security Deposits, and One-Sided Leases

Under this revision to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, tenants in Florida can be evicted faster. The law also makes new provisions for tenants to get their security deposits back and to defend against some one-sided leases. One realtor called these changes some of the most meaningful changes in this area of law for at least the past two decades. These changes started July 1 of this year.

Each revision does something for both landlords and tenants alike, so it is vital for Floridians to be familiar with these changes. One revision is in how a landlord must handle the security deposit. If he or she wants to retain this deposit, he or she has to give the tenant written notice within 30 days of the tenant's move. Otherwise, the landlord must give the full deposit back to the tenant. As of this coming January 1, landlords will have to put the regulations about security deposit issues into their leases.

Another new aspect of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act is one that significantly speeds up the eviction process. If a tenant fails to meet an agreement on the lease, whether it is missing the rent or keeping a pet that is not allowed, the landlord can send them a notice to fix the violation within 7 days. If the tenant does not remedy matters within that time, then the landlord can terminate the lease immediately. A landlord used to have to first send a subsequent notice before starting the eviction process. In this manner, landlords would not lose out on necessary income for too long, and the issue of nightmare tenants would be fixed sooner. Tenants now have a heightened responsibility to comply with their lease.

There are also new provisions that allow a landlord to evict a tenant after getting only a partial rent payment. To do this, a landlord must provide a receipt to the tenant of the incomplete payment. Then a landlord has to put this partial payment in a court registry to then go on to file for eviction, and to provide notice to the tenants that they have three days to pay full rent or leave the premises. Before this, a landlord would not always be able to evict a tenant in the same month that they had received payment in part for the rent. For some tenants, this means that they might not be able to push the remainder of their balance onto next month's bill.

The final significant change means that one-sided leases cannot exist in the same manner that they used to. Specifically, if a tenant's lease says that he or she must give a landlord notice of up to 60 days before moving out, the landlord must likewise give the tenant up to 60 days' notice that a lease will not be continued. Unlike before, landlords now have the same deadline for notifying tenants as tenants have for notifying landlords, a revision that is in favor of tenants' rights.

Across the nation, most states have their own particular rules governing leases and evictions. If you are a tenant whose rights have been violated, such as through inadequate notice or a landlord not honoring your lease, then you have legal recourse. Likewise, if you are a landlord who needs to take legal action against tenants, if they are breaking their lease, or if need to know what your state says about evicting tenants, it would be wise to act with legal counsel on your side. If you have any questions about your rights and what you can do to protect them, consult someone with expertise in the field. Call a real estate attorney today!

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