Central Florida rental property owners must understand the Florida real estate law on evictions when you have a tenant who breaks the lease or damages property. Owning a rental property can be pleasant when renters pay on time, care for the property and renew the lease. This is easier said than done.
Many times the property value diminishes because of damage caused by a renter or because of the unthinkable activities that take place in the home.Renters may try to bring in additional housemates, break expensive appliances, repaint or decorate in horrendous colors, put dings in doors, scratches in the walls, and leave behind filthy bathrooms.
The Florida Real Estate Law on Evictions
Many renters pay late, don’t pay their utility bills, damage property, and get behind in rental payments.
In fact, you can expect any or all of those things to occur at some point. But these items should be covered in the amount of the security deposit held. These are manageable problems and each landlord has a deposit that covers these cursory issues.
But what does a landlord do when the renter brings in pets that tear out carpet, rip holes in the walls, doors or floors. What does a landlord do when the rent is late again or the rent hasn’t been paid for two months?
What is the liability when someone is seriously injured on the property but the renters haven’t maintained renters insurance? What if there’s a shooting or drugs sold or found on the property?
Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan are Orlando and Central Florida real estate attorneys with 35 years and four years of experience respectively of working with rental property and real estate owner issues. The number of challenges that a renter can impose upon a landlord range from destruction of property, to late rent to illegal activities taking place in the rental property.
No matter the problem or lease infraction, at no time may a landlord forcibly remove a tenant from rental property. Instead, a landlord has to bring an action for possession in court.
The Landlord Has the Rights
A landlord has the right to bring a possession action if:
- The tenant holds over
- Fails to pay rent
- Is in material breach of the lease agreement
And only IF the landlord has given the required notice to the renter.In the event of a holdover, the landlord is entitled to double the rent.
After having been served with notice of the lawsuit, a tenant has five days to answer. Failure to answer in five days means a default judgment in favor of the landlord.
If the tenant answers, he or she may argue the landlord was not in compliance with the lease.
Landlord/tenant disputes are a summary procedure under Florida law and should receive an early trial date. In the meantime, the tenant is required to pay rent into the court registry.
There are so many things that can go horribly wrong with rental property that one of the first things a landlord should do after turning the property into a rental is to hire an attorney to handle the documents, the legal notices and proceedings that will take place over the life of the rental property.
Don’t wait until a renter is six months behind to do something. When you purchase a rental property find out what it is that you have to do as a property owner to protect your asset.