Tenants in Florida are legally entitled to a rental property that meets a set of health, structural and safety standards as required by the state. If your landlord fails to meet and maintain these standards, whether it involves not repairing a broken air conditioner or a leaky roof, you have important legal rights to consider. One of these is the right to withhold rent until the landlord makes the necessary repairs.

When Can a Tenant Withhold Rent in Florida?

Before withholding rent, tenants should ensure the circumstances justify their actions and that you comply with Florida’s legal requirements. One of these requirements involves notifying your landlord of the issue.

Research Florida’s state laws, or Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.60, on the following to learn more about your right to withhold rent and what legal recourse you can take.

  • What types of repairs and habitability issues qualify for withholding rent
  • What type of notice does a tenant have to provide the landlord, and how much time does that landlord have to respond to the problem and fix it
  • What’s the limit on how much rent you can withhold and how often
  • What are the other applicable conditions before you’re able to withhold rent

It’s also important to check your city or county’s local housing ordinances to see if any of them cover a tenant’s rights as it pertains to repairs.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

Every tenant in Florida should be aware of his or her landlord’s rent rules, which should be outlined in the rental or lease agreement. Here are the important ones.

Standard Rent Rules in Florida

Florida’s state laws cover some of the following rent-related concerns, including the amount of time a landlord has to issue a notice when he or she increases the rent and how much time the tenant has to either pay it or move to avoid eviction. Here’s what every rental or lease agreement should include as a standard set of rent rules.

  • The amount of rent owed each month
  • Where the rent is due
  • When the rent is due
  • How the tenant should pay the rent
  • The amount of notice a landlord must provide to increase the rent
  • The extra fee applied if a tenant’s rent check bounces
  • The consequences of paying the rent late

Late Fees for Rent Past Due in Florida

In most rental or lease agreements, rent is legally due on the first of the month. If you don’t pay the rent, your landlord can start charging you a late fee. Florida’s state laws don’t cover extra fees associated with late rent. If your agreement doesn’t include information about late fees, your landlord can’t impose one.

Amount of Notice Landlords Must Provide to Increase the Rent

There isn’t a state statute in Florida that covers the amount of notice landlords must provide to increase the rent in a month-to-month rental or lease agreement. Unless specified otherwise in your agreement, your landlord must provide the same amount of notice as state laws require when he or she terminates the tenancy, which is 15 days. If you have a long-term lease, your landlord cannot increase the rent until the current one ends and a new tenancy starts.

Termination For Nonpayment of Rent in Florida

All states set certain rules and procedures for terminating a tenancy when a tenant has failed to pay the rent. In Florida, the landlord must give the tenant three days to pay the rent or move before he or she can legally file for eviction.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

The state of Florida requires landlords to provide the following disclosures to tenants, which you can usually find in either the rental or lease agreement.

Owner/Agent Identity (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.50)

Every landlord in Florida, or someone who is authorized to enter a rental agreement on his or her behalf, must disclose the name and the address where he or she will receive demands and notices. The landlord should do this in writing and provide it to the tenant either at or before the start of the tenancy.

Security Deposit (Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 83.49, 83.43 (12))

Every landlord in Florida must disclose whether he or she will hold the security deposit in an interest- or non-interest-bearing account within 30 days of receiving it. He or she must also disclose the name of the account depository as well as provide the time and the rate of interest payments. Landlords who collect deposits must include a copy of Florida Statutes § 83.49(3) in the rental or lease agreement.

Fire Protection (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.50)

Every landlord in Florida must notify new tenants of the available fire protections in buildings that are higher than three stories.

Radon (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 404.056)

Every landlord in Florida must include this warning in all of his or her leases: “RADON GAS: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, when it has accumulated in a building in sufficient quantities, may present health risks to persons who are exposed to it over time. Levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in buildings in Florida. Additional information regarding radon and radon testing may be obtained from your county health department.”

Landlord Identity (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.50)

Every landlord in Florida, or someone who is authorized to enter a rental agreement on his or her behalf, must disclose the name and the address where he or she will receive demands and notices. The landlord should do this in writing and provide it to the tenant either at or before the start of the tenancy.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

While the real estate market is rebounding from the worst housing crisis to hit the United States since the Great Depression, hitting homeowners the hardest from 2007 to 2009, many people are still struggling to stay afloat financially and pay their mortgages. As unfortunate as it is, short sales continue to account for a larger-than- desired part of the nation’s home sales.

A Short Sale is a Better Option Than a Foreclosure

For homeowners who aren’t able to make their mortgage payments, a short sale can seem like an attractive option. But there are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering to opt for a short sale instead of a foreclosure. While a short sale can have a major impact on your credit rating – even as much as a foreclosure – it only impacts it by a few points in most cases. Before short selling your property, though, you need to carefully assess your specific situation.

What to Consider When Debating Whether to Short Sell Your Property

There are a few considerations you have to take into account before finally deciding to short sell your property. For instance, how many mortgage payments have you already missed? Also, how will your lender report the short sale? If you haven’t missed any mortgage payments and have a good credit history, you might be able to negotiate to have the short sale listed as paid as opposed to settled. In this case, your credit score might not be negatively impacted at all.

If you are considering a short sale, talk to the Law Offices of Stephen K. Hachey. We examine all the details of your case and be with you every step of the way.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

According to Florida state law, landlords are prohibited from retaliating against tenants. If you’re a tenant in a rental unit and feel your landlord is retaliating against you, read on to know your rights.

What Rights Protect Tenants From Retaliating Landlords in Florida?

In Florida, it’s illegal for landlords to retaliate against tenants who’ve exercised these legal rights:

  • Notified the landlord about the rental unit’s unsafe or illegal living conditions
  • Notified a government agency about the rental unit’s unsafe or illegal living conditions
  • Joined or organized a tenant union to express your thoughts collectively

What Types of Retaliation Are Against Florida State Law?

Florida law states that landlords cannot take part in any one of the following retaliatory acts:

  • Terminating your lease without appropriate reason
  • Refusing to renew your lease without appropriate reason
  • Filing an eviction lawsuit without appropriate reason
  • Increasing your rent without proper notification and reason
  • Decreasing the services your rent covers, like locking the laundry room, removing cable access, draining the swimming pool or getting rid of the property’s security guards

How Should a Tenant Respond to a Landlord Who Performs a Retaliatory Act?

If you’ve been a victim of your landlord’s retaliatory actions, there are two possible responses:

  • You should stay and fight if the retaliatory act involves a terminated lease or an eviction, proving to a judge in court that either the termination or the eviction was illegal.
  • You should file a lawsuit in small claims court if the retaliatory act involves a rent hike or a reduction in services, asking a judge to prohibit the increase or reinstate the services.

How Can a Tenant Prove That His or Her Landlord Performed a Retaliatory Act?

Landlords are rarely foolish enough to hand you hard evidence proving that they’ve performed a retaliatory act. In fact, many of them will try to cover it up. Here are some common examples:

  • The landlord terminates a lease following a tenant’s legitimate decision to withhold rent
  • The landlord refuses to renegotiate a lease following a tenant’s complaint to an agency
  • The landlord sends a termination notice, alleging that the tenant has misused the facilities

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

If you live in an apartment, you have just as much of a right to privacy as any homeowner. Here’s a brief look at Florida’s laws concerning when and how your landlord may enter your rental unit.

When Are Landlords Allowed to Enter Your Rental Property?

Although your landlord doesn’t always need an invitation to enter your apartment, all tenants have a right to privacy in their rental units. According to Florida law, a landlord can enter an apartment:

  • If he or she believes there is an emergency, like a fire or a water leak.
  • If he or she needs to inspect the rental unit or perform repairs in it.
  • If he or she has a reason to believe that the rental unit has been abandoned.
  • If he or she needs to show the rental unit to potential new tenants.
  • If he or she has a court order to do so.

How Much Notice Must Landlords Provide Before Entering the Rental Property?

Besides emergencies, your landlord must notify you at least 12 hours in advance before entering your apartment for the aforementioned reasons. Of course, if you agree that your landlord can enter your rental unit earlier than the 12-hour notice, he or she may do so. A landlord must also enter during a suitable timeframe, which Florida law states is between 7:30 A.M. and 8 P.M.

What Rights Do You Have as a Tenant if Your Landlord Violates?

The first thing you should do is discuss your concerns directly with your landlord, following it with a letter politely asking him or her to stop the intrusive behavior. If your landlord continues to violate your right to privacy, you could sue him or her in small claims court for infliction of emotional distress or trespassing.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***