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Prospective Landlords: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

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Rental income seems like easy money, but what you don’t know can hurt you. Often landlords are not familiar with their rights and responsibilities under the law. Any potential landlord should familiarize himself with Florida Statutes Chapter 83 to ensure compliance with Florida’s Landlord Tenant statutes prior to renting any properties. Below, you will find additional tips for prospective landlords.

Screening your tenant is important. Have your tenants fill out a rental application and check their credit and criminal background. There are inexpensive tools online that can help you screen prospective tenants. Have the tenants cover these charges with an application fee.

Ensure your lease is well drafted. The more specific you are in your lease, the less there is to argue about down the road. If you do not allow any pets, visiting or otherwise, be sure to say so in the lease. You can include terms such as requiring the tenant to change the air conditioning filter monthly to extend the life of the unit. You can specify the number of visitors or vehicles you will allow, whether there is a grace period for rent, and whether any portion of the deposit is non-refundable. You may want to include cleaning requirements that must be met at the end of the least term. These terms are wonderful items to include, and there are many others you might like to include. An attorney can help you identify ways to improve the terms of your lease.

Don’t waive your rights by ignoring a breach. Say you headed my advice and stated in your lease that no pets of any kind are allowed and one day you learn your tenants have a pet. How would you proceed? Often people will wait months or years until the lease expires and attempt to make a claim against the security deposit for pet damages potentially waiving their rights to seek these damages. If you learn of a potential breach of your lease, monetary or otherwise, speak with an attorney about your rights to ensure that you are not waiving your right to damages under the lease. If you believe your tenants have breached your lease, contact our office for a free consultation.

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