At Carpenter Gandhi, we represent both tenants and landlords. Whether it be a lease review, lease draft, or litigation over the lease, we’re here to help. Florida Landlord-Tenant Law is very detailed and not always in line with common sense. Oftentimes, tenants and landlords make crucial mistakes simply by not knowing their rights under the law. When we encounter a landlord-tenant dispute, we first fully inform our client of the law and their rights. Only then can we counsel them as to what options they have and the various consequences involved.
How do I object to my Landlord taking my security deposit?
This is probably the most common landlord-tenant dispute. Here’s how it goes – when a tenant moves out, the landlord has to decide whether or not he intends to charge anything against the deposit. If not, he has 15 days to return the deposit. If he does, then he has 30 days to provide the tenant written notice of the intention by certified mail. Upon receipt, the tenant has 15 days to object. From there, often times, it’s off to small claims court we go. Generally, these settle in mediation. It is important for tenants to know that they have a timeline within which to object. And the same for the landlord – if they don’t provide notice within 30 days by certified mail, then they’re out of luck.
My tenant stopped paying rent because the A/C went out, what do I do?
Rent withholding is another major issue that rears its head quite often. And the Florida Statutes have answer for these issues as well. So, say your tenant calls you and says his A/C isn’t working properly. You, of course, call the A/C company to come check it out. They give you an option to replace it or a cheaper one to just tinker with it. You go with the cheaper option and it goes out again in a week. The tenant then doesn’t pay rent and when you come calling, they say fix it and I’ll pay. OK, well you could try to evict, and technically you’d be right, BUT, the Judge could rule against you. Answer – fix it! It will be cheaper most likely. Technically, the tenant is to provide you a 7-day notice and only withhold if proper notice has been given and fixes haven’t been made. Then, once made, back-due rent is paid. These situations can get ugly very quickly. If this comes up, try to work everything amicably. While you’re doing that, document everything…and I mean everything. If you’ve done right and they withhold, you want to have proof in hand for the Judge.