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Florida Real Estate Law

Florida Real Estate Law

Changes to Residential Rental…Landlords and Tenants Beware!

If you own rental property in the state of Florida, you need to be aware of recent changes to Florida’s Landlord Tenant Law.  Residential Tenancies in Florida are governed by Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes.  The Residential Tenancy Statute as a whole has gone largely unchanged for the past 20 years.  However, the Florida Legislature took aim at the Residential Tenancy Statute this past year and passed into law several substantial changes.  Accordingly, if you plan to renew an existing Lease, or begin renting a property you own, you should take heed of the following changes in the law.

One of the changes to the law that will require almost all standard Leases be re-written involves the language concerning the security deposit.  Previously, express language regarding the security deposit was not required within the Lease itself, but rather only in separate notices mailed to the Tenant.  Starting January 1, 2014, all new Leases will have to contain specific terms related to the retention and disposition of the security deposit.

Another change to the law involves Tenant violations of the Lease.  Previously, a Landlord was required to provide a Tenant with a seven day notice to cure a violation of the Lease.  If the Tenant did not cure the violation in that time the Landlord was required to provide another seven day notice prior to initiating the eviction process.  Now, the Landlord need only post one seven day notice to cure the violation.  If the violation is not cured within that initial seven day time frame, the Landlord may move forward immediately with the eviction process on the seventh day.

Another favorable change to the law for Landlords is that they may now accept partial rental payments while simultaneously pursuing an eviction process.  There are of course conditions the Landlord must meet, including providing the Tenant a receipt for the partial payment, and placing the partial payment in the court registry if the eviction is already proceeding.  If the eviction has not yet started, the Landlord is still tasked with providing notice to the Tenant that the remaining amount is due and owing.  Prior to the recent change, if a Landlord accepted partial rent from a Tenant, it was treated as acceptance of the rent and the Landlord could not then evict the Tenant until the following month.

The final change in the law relates to notices to vacate the premises.  In Leases that contain a 60 day notice for cancellation, the Landlord is now required to also provide 60 days notice of non-renewal of the lease to the Tenant.  Prior to this amendment to the statute, the burden was placed entirely upon the Tenant.  Now, the law requires action from both the Tenant and the Landlord regarding non-renewals.

With all these changes taking effect January 1, 2013, it is important to have a real estate attorney review your Lease to ensure compliance.  Please contact us today if you have questions or would like us to review your standard Lease.

Mr. Hoek is also a licensed real estate agent with Smith and Associates in Tampa, Florida, and is a principal of Florida Property Title Services, LLC.  Mr. Hoek is actively involved in both the Tampa Bay community and real estate market.  He can be reached by phone at (813) 251-2701 or via email at Andrewhoek@dewittlaw.com.

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