As a new landlord, you may be faced with new challenges. It’s important to go into this role headstrong and with a determined attitude. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips to keep in mind as you begin your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep reading to learn more.

Get a Home Warranty Plan

A home warranty plan can be a great asset for your properties, especially if you don’t want to do repairs yourself. Whenever a tenant needs a repair, you can simply submit a request to the home warranty company. Doing this saves you time on repairs and finding a reputable contractor as well as give quality repairs if you aren’t an experienced handyman.

Having a home warranty company can also help if you don’t live near your rental properties. To learn more about what home warranty plan may be best for your properties, check out reviews of Florida home warranties.

Don’t Become Too Personal With Your Tenants

As a new landlord, getting your first tenants can be an exciting experience. Your first tenants may make you feel successful, but you may feel more connected to them. It’s important to not have a personal relationship with your tenants as a landlord. If you become too close to your tenants, it may be tough to make important decisions, and can cause serious conflict if problems like late rent payments or evictions arise.

With that being said, you may want to seriously consider whether or not you want to rent your properties to family or friends. While you may want to help them out, it is possible that they can take advantage of their relationship with you.

Treat Your Properties Like Your Own Business

You need to be serious about the properties you are renting out. Being a landlord isn’t just renting out your property to another person. It’s about staying updated with laws, regulations, payments, maintenance, management, and more. Unless you hire a property management company to manage your rentals, you’ll be doing the work yourself.

The more you take your rental properties seriously, the more successful you will be. This includes properties you stay in as well, such as vacation homes.

Don’t Be Too Intrusive

Yes, you are the owner of the properties you rent out. However, you should not be intruding in the lives of your tenants. While you should play an active role in maintaining your properties, no tenant wants their landlord to make frequent visits. Additionally, never enter the property unless there is an emergency. Certain states require landlords to give notice before entering a property, but even if there is no such law in your state, you should respect your tenant’s privacy.

Keep Up to Date

As mentioned above, you should treat your property like a business. Part of this means keeping up to date with any laws and regulations on both the national and local levels. New laws can be put into effect at any time, and can potentially change the way you manage your property. Without keeping up to date, you may find yourself breaking rules and regulations without knowing it. As long as you pay attention to real estate news, you should be okay.

Once you are up to date, make sure you keep your properties in accordance with the regulations. Don’t ignore any needed updates just to save money.

By following these tips, you’ll find yourself in a good position as a new landlord. Becoming a successful landlord takes time and dedication. Whether you only want to rent out one property or you want to acquire multiple properties, you should treat the job all the same.

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 post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

As a landlord, one of the best ways to protect yourself is to require tenants to sign a rental agreement or lease. This document should outline all obligations and rights of both parties–the landlord and the renter. Regardless of the agreed upon terms, however, state law under the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act always trumps policies in the lease. For this reason, it is highly recommended that all state laws be reviewed to ensure the Florida Landlord Tenant Laws and your lease align. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a losing legal battle you didn’t bargain for. As a landlord, here is a brief overview of the laws you should follow.

Rental Payments and Lease Termination

All rental payments should be made on time with a reasonable window for late payments. Unless a tenant has obtained court approval, it is unlawful for he or she to withhold payment due to a landlord’s failure to keep the premises in a safe and clean condition. Should a landlord choose to evict a renter due to late or missed payments, the only action a landlord may take in attempting to force a tenant out is through filing a complaint with the courts.

Background Checks

Before leasing your property to a tenant, you should always perform a background check on all renters who will be signing the lease. This is of utmost importance to ensure the security of your property and ultimately protect yourself. Not to mention, this provides additional security for neighbors, especially if your rental property is in an apartment or condo building.

Deposits

Deposits should be collected prior to or at the signing of the rental agreement and the amount should be included in the written terms of the lease. The money collected should be deposited into a separate account where it will not be intermixed with any other of the landlord’s income or money. The landlord is required to disclose to the tenant this location where the deposit will be held and if it is an interest-bearing account. At the end of the lease, the landlord must return to the deposit to the tenant unless written notice including specifics of why the deposit will not be returned is given to the tenant within 30 days of the end of lease.

If you are writing your first lease or you are unsure if your agreement complies with Florida Landlord Tenant Laws, it is highly recommended that you consult with a knowledgeable, licensed real estate attorney. He or she will be able to guide you through the state legislation and requirements necessary for both renter and landlord to enter into a legal lease agreement.

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 post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

Nothing is more of a kick in the gut than faithfully paying rent on time for years just to get a notice stating that your rent is about to climb. You’ve budgeting your money intently with the purpose of having a rent check handy for your landlord on the first of the month. You may not necessarily have the means to absorb a rent increase, but now you have one. And you have a decision to make. Pay the increased rent or look for a new home. It’s a frustrating and often, unanticipated decision that many of us have faced throughout our lives. What’s worse is that Florida is not a rent-controlled state. This means that your landlord can increase rent as much as he or she wants and, in more desirable parts of the state, rent increases can be extreme from year to year. While it may appear that you are powerless to constant rent increases, there is a way to fight back.

People may become squeamish at thought of negotiating for the things they need in life, but they really shouldn’t. Negotiation is no longer the domain of corporate power players and people trying to win back hostages. It’s a simply of method for ensuring that your interests are protected. We all earn a certain amount of money and it’s up to each one of us to make the best decisions in regard to it. While saving your money and making proper investments is a part of that, so to is getting the best prices possible for goods and services. The rent you pay for your home is no different. To protect your interest in this area sometimes requires asking the right questions and seeking the best price possible.

Negotiating a better rent doesn’t have to be intimidating. Follow these basic steps and you may earn a rental price that works best for your budget.

Put in the Homework

First and foremost, you have to do some research. What are your neighbors paying for their places? What are the rent prices for comparable places in your area? Not just places on your block, but places of similar size, quality and age. This will be done in the hopes that you find a pattern of locations like yours with lower rent prices. Armed with this information, you can approach your landlord with the confidence to negotiate.

Build a Plan

Part of building a plan is determining what outcome are you looking to achieve. Do you want to keep the same rent? Gain more amenities? Upgrade certain items? Once you’ve determined what you want, it’s time to gather your research of similar places and the positive attributes you bring to the table and build a sound argument. If you’ve paid your rent on time each month, not hosted all-night foam parties, and been an all-around model citizen, you have more leverage than you realize. Your landlord is not going to be as willing to roll the dice on finding a tenant of your ilk. Use that to your advantage.

Put Yourself in Your Landlord’s Shoes

To that point, empathy is a critical part of any successful negotiation. While your landlord wants more income on a monthly basis, they also don’t want to risk losing a good and stable tenant. This doesn’t mean that you tell your landlord “my way or the highway”, however it does help you determine what you can offer to get what you need. Perhaps you offer to pay a couple of months rent in order to keep your rent at the same price. Or you may offer to sign a longer lease. Oftentimes, consistent income is better than more income.

Negotiate in Person

In our digital age, it’s become all too easy to hide behind and a screen and push people around. It’s much harder to be aggressive in person. When negotiating your rent, do so in a formal meeting. It’s likely that your landlord will not have prepared thoroughly for the discussion. If you come in polite, prepared and persuasive, you’ll have a great advantage in negotiation.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be a master negotiator, just confident and motivated to get what you want out of a situation. That and preparation will go a long 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 post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.***

According to Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes – specifically article 67 – a landlord cannot remove locks from a property unless it’s for the purpose of maintaining, repairing or replacing them. The same chapter also covers whether a tenant can change the property’s locks without the landlord’s content. Let’s take a look.

Landlord’s Access to the Property

According to Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes – specifically article 53 – a tenant can’t unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the property from time to time to inspect it, complete maintenance or repairs, and these other reasons.

  • To supply agreed services
  • To show the property to prospective or actual purchasers and other persons

The same article also specifies that a landlord can enter the property at any time to protect or preserve it. A landlord can also enter the property at any time if he or she has given the tenant a reasonable notice with a reasonable time, which is at least 12 hours before entry. The landlord should only enter between 7:30 A.M, and 8 P.M. Additionally, a landlord may have access to the property if:

  • The tenant has provided the landlord consent.
  • There is an emergency.
  • The tenant has unreasonably withheld consent.
  • The tenant has been absent from the property for a lengthy period of time.

A landlord can’t abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant.

Read the Lease Carefully to Determine if You Can Change the Lock

Unless it’s stated in your lease that you can change the lock provided you supply your landlord with a copy of the key, you can’t do so without his or her consent. Otherwise, you could subject yourself to an eviction. If you’re having issue with a landlord entering the property without your consent, or if he or she isn’t following the aforementioned guidelines for doing so, it’s best you contact an attorney.

For more information about this all-too-common problem for renters, contact an experienced real estate attorney who can investigate your complaint and deal with it properly. The last thing you want to do is risk eviction for protecting your privacy.

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 own a property and are thinking about selling it with a tenant still occupying it, you might ask yourself if you’re legally able to. Simply put, you can sell your property if you buy the tenant out of his or her lease. Otherwise, the person who purchases the property would have to honor the terms of the withstanding lease.

Let’s take a closer look at this often-asked question.

How to Handle a Month-to-Month Lease When Selling a Property

If you’ve rented your property on a month-to-month basis, you’ll only need to notify the tenant before you’d like him or her to move out. You must notify the tenant with a letter, either by mailing it (ensure that he or she has received it with a signature) or delivering it in person. In Florida, when terminating a month-to-month lease, you must notify the tenant not less than 15 days before the end of any monthly period.

Remember, you don’t need a reason to terminate a month-to-month lease, which is one of the benefits of having one. When writing the letter, ensure you include:

  • The current date.
  • How many days the tenant has before you terminate the lease.
  • A statement to remove all possessions and return the keys by that date.
  • A statement informing the tenant you’ll start the eviction process otherwise.

How to Handle a Fixed-Term Lease When Selling a Property

If you’ve rented your property on a fixed-term basis, it’ll take a little more effort – or money – to ensure your tenant moves on. Here are the five options you have.

  • Wait until the fixed-term lease has expired
  • Sell the property with the lease still active
  • Negotiate and pay the tenant to vacate
  • Sell the property to the tenant
  • Execute an early termination clause in the fixed-term lease

While a month-to-month lease is relatively easy to work around, a fixed-term lease is another story. Although you have options, it’s best to talk with an experienced real estate attorney to sort through them.

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.***

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.***

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.***