Landlords have legal rights and responsibilities. Florida law requires that these should be contained in a written lease for the rental real estate. But these rights and responsibilities may be enforced even when there is no lease.

Rights

Receiving rent for the property’s use is the most obvious right. The property must also be returned to the landlord when the agreement is over in the same condition, except for normal wear and tear.

A written lease can also set forth additional landlord rights. These include the right to restrict pets, limit the number of people who occupy the property and provide for a term exceeding one-year that is enforceable.

Responsibilities

While the lease may limit some of these responsibilities, such as certain repairs, landlords must always perform certain duties. First, the rental must be safe and meet housing codes.  Both parties must comply with laws governing the property’s condition and use.

Landlords should also respect the tenant’s rights of peaceful possession free from interference. This prohibits the landlord from entering the property frequently, at unusual hours or without notice. While the property may be protected through inspection, landlords must give at least 12 hours-notice. Notice to the tenants and their agreement is required, before the rental may be shown to prospective tenants.

Rents may not be increased, or services reduced in a discriminatory manner. Landlords may not retaliate against tenants by bringing a legal action against them, locking the tenants out, shutting off utilities or removing appliances or the tenant’s property if the tenant complained about conditions.

Landlords must give 15-days written notice to end the tenancy rented on a monthly basis before the end of the month if there is no written lease or it does not cover this notice.  Seven-days’ notice is required before the end of a weekly period. If the lease requires 60-days’ notice from the tenant before leaving the rental, the landlord must also provide notice if the lease will not be renewed.

Landlords can re-enter property that was abandoned by the tenants and where the tenant left property. Landlords may evict tenants for unpaid rent. These actions, however, must comply with rigid legal procedures.

An attorney can help landlords meet legal requirements and draft leases. They may also help assure that their rights are protected.