Friday, February 21, 2014

What are the rights and duties of Tenants in Florida, USA

what are tenants rights in Florida


When a person pays to live in a house, apartment or mobile home, the renter becomes a tenant governed by Florida law. It doesn’t matter whether payment is made weekly, monthly, or at other regular periods. Also, it doesn’t matter whether the apartment, house, or mobile home is rented from a private person, a corporation, or most governmental units. These facts are true even when this is no written “lease” agreement.

A tenant has certain basic rights protected by Florida law, which the landlord must observe. Of course, the tenant also has certain responsibilities
The tenant's rights are specified in the Florida Statutes at chapter 83 part 2.

A tenant in public housing has rights under federal law, as well. If there is no written lease, these laws regulate the tenant's rights. There may also be a written lease which could affect a tenant's rights. If there is a written lease, it should be carefully reviewed. The Landlord-Tenant Law prevails over what the lease says.

A tenant is entitled to the right of 

  • private, 
  • peaceful possession of the dwelling. 
  • Once rented, the dwelling is the tenant's to lawfully use. 
  • The landlord may only enter the dwelling in order to inspect the premises or to make necessary or agreed repairs, but then only if he or she first gives the tenant reasonable notice and comes at a convenient time. 
  • If an emergency exists, the requirement for notice may be shortened or waived.
  • The landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in.
  • It must have working plumbing, hot water and heating, 
  • structurally sound and have reasonable security, including working and locking doors and windows, 
  • and it must be free of pests. 
  • The landlord must also comply with local health, building, and safety codes.
  •  If the landlord has to make repairs to make the dwelling fit to live in, the landlord must pay.


If the landlord claims the tenant has violated the rental agreement, he or she must inform the tenant in writing of the specific problem and give the tenant time to correct the problem--even if the problem is non-payment of rent--before the landlord can go to court to have the tenant removed.

If the tenant commits a serious act endangering the property (such as committing a crime on the premises) or the tenant fails to correct a problem after written notice from the landlord, the landlord must still go to court to be permitted to evict the tenant.
In any court proceeding, the tenant has the absolute right to be present, argue his or her case, and be represented by an attorney.


  • If the landlord requires the tenant to pay a security deposit, the landlord must preserve the deposit during the tenancy. 
  • The landlord must return the full amount of the deposit within (15) days after the tenant leaves the dwelling
  • or give the tenant written notice of why some or all of it won't be returned within thirty (30) days after the tenant leaves the dwelling. 
  • The tenant then has the right to object in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the notice.
  • Under some circumstances, the tenant may receive the security deposit plus interest. 
  • Before moving out the tenant must provide the landlord with an address for receipt of the security deposit, or else the tenant may lose the right to object if the landlord claims the right to keep the deposit money.


  • The tenant has the right, under certain very aggravated circumstances caused by the landlord's neglect, to withhold rent.
  •  This can only be done when the landlord fails to comply with an important responsibility, such as providing a safe and habitable home in compliance with local housing codes.
  • Before rent is withheld, the tenant must give the landlord seven (7) days written notice of the problem so the landlord can fix it.
  • Even after withholding rent, the tenant should preserve the money and seek court permission to spend part of it to do what the landlord should have done.
  •  If the tenant does not preserve the money and seek court assistance, the tenant may be evicted for nonpayment.

Move Out 

  • Finally, the tenant has the right to move out.
  •  If there is a written lease, the tenant can move out when a written lease is up.
  •  If there is no written lease, the tenant may move out for no reason by giving written notice of his or her intent to leave no less than seven (7) days before the next rent payment is due if the rent is paid weekly or fifteen (15) days if the rent is paid monthly.
  •  The tenant may terminate the rental agreement if the landlord has failed to live up to one of his or her major obligations, provided the tenant has sent written notice to the landlord, seven (7) days before the rent is due (there are some exceptions to the right to move out).


If a landlord loses in court, the landlord may be held liable for any costs and attorney's fees incurred by the tenant.
If the tenant loses in court, the tenant may be liable for the landlord's costs and attorney's fees.


  • A tenant also has responsibilities, which if not observed can lead to eviction.
  • The tenant must pay the agreed upon rent and do so on time.
  • The tenant must comply with building, housing, and health codes.
  •  The tenant must maintain the dwelling without damage, keep the dwelling clean, and maintain the plumbing. The tenant must not violate the law or disturb the peace, nor allow guests to do so.


  • In trying to evict a tenant, a landlord will try to prove the tenant violated a tenant responsibility. 
  • However, the landlord may not seek to evict a tenant in retaliation for legitimate complaints about housing conditions to proper authorities. 
  • No eviction can occur, though, until the landlord first gives the tenant notice of the problem, and then gets a court order.
  • Without the court order, the landlord has no power to interfere with the tenant.
  •  The landlord cannot, for instance, lock a tenant out or cutoff tenant's utilities. 
  • A landlord engaging in this type of prohibited practice may be liable to the tenant for damages in the amount of three months' rent or actual damages whichever is higher. 
  • The landlord must get a court order of eviction before he or she can interfere with the tenant's occupancy. If a tenant is served with papers seeking eviction, the tenant should immediately seek legal assistance. 
  • The tenant may have legal defenses.
  •  For instance, the landlord cannot try to get even with a tenant by evicting him or her when the tenant has not violated tenant responsibilities. 
  • To raise defenses in an eviction proceeding, a tenant normally must pay into the court registry past due rent if any is owed and rent which comes due during the proceeding. 
  • If the tenant disputes the amount of rent claimed to be due, he or she may ask the court to determine the correct amount, but the tenant must show why he or she believes the amount is wrong. In an eviction proceeding, a tenant has very little time to respond, so quick action is extremely important.


The landlord can never remove the tenant's property or lock the tenant out.
Only the sheriff's office may do this after a Court Order and Writ of Possession.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How Landlords Can Sustain Rent Growth Levels

Landlords using Tenant Screening Report

The key to sustained rent growth levels is stability, and the single most important element for rent stability is the tenant. Each time a tenant moves, the landlord has usual and customary expenses associated with renting the unit to someone new. The unit must be inspected and cleaned. The vacancy must be advertised. The landlord must spend time reviewing new rental applications, verifying rental histories, verifying employment, and contacting references.

All of those expenses are normal, but they also all reduce the profit a landlord makes from a unit in a given year. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that renters are four times more likely to move from a dwelling than a homeowner. To maximize profit and minimize the expenses associated with finding new tenants, landlords have to minimize renter turnover.

Renters move for a variety of reasons, and many of these reasons are beyond a landlord’s control. It’s important, therefore, to control the factors that can be mitigated. For example, a landlord cannot do much about adjoining properties where residents routinely cause disturbances, and it is understandable that a good tenant wouldn’t want to live next to that situation. Landlords can, however, eliminate residential disturbances from properties that they also control. If a landlord doesn’t rent to problems, then there are automatically fewer problems in the landlord’s units.

It’s the same with finances. A prospective tenant credit check gives a landlord confidence that tenants have met financial obligations in the past. Banks use credit checks to decide whether or not to make a loan. Car lots run credit checks before financing a car. Landlords should always run a tenant credit check to gage the likelihood that a person will pay rent on time. Good renters are stable renters. They don’t move away in a few months when they can’t cover the rent. Neighborhoods where tenants stay long term becomes known as stable neighborhoods. Residents get to know one another and take better care of rental property. Good tenants want to live in neighborhoods like that. Nearly 13.6 percent of renters are over 64 years of age. Renters in this age group are far more likely to remain with a unit than younger tenants who may move because of employment or relationship changes. On the other side of that coin, 12.7 percent of renters are under the age of 25. This is a highly mobile age group with a tendency to mismanage finances.

Landlords cannot discriminate against younger tenants based on age, but it is perfectly reasonable to base renting decisions on a credit history. This is why a landlord needs to know a potential renter’s background. A history of bounced checks or missed utility payments is a strong indication that the person has trouble meeting financial obligations. Listed references are always going to check out – because who would list a reference who will say that their friend is unreliable? A solid credit check for tenants is a far more credible reference. If a person pays his or her bills on time, then that person is likely to pay rent on time.

Landlords should always minimize problems by proactively looking for problems before they occur. This is true with plumbing and roofs, and it is equally true with tenants. A credit check for all renters prior to signing any lease is simply good business.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It Is Never Too Soon To Boost Your Tenant IQ

landlord tenant screening report

It Is Never Too Soon To Boost Your Tenant IQ

Though foreclosures have slowed, getting approved for a mortgage is certainly more difficult than it was before the Great Recession. Furthermore, many people who could purchase homes are choosing to rent while they weigh their options. According to a recent survey conducted by, there is a growing trend of former homeowners choosing to rent for the indefinite future. More than 35% of surveyed renters previously owned a home, which represents a new high. With so many tenants entering the rental market, it is important to understand the type of background check USA companies provide.

Property managers have always used background checks. The question is if managers are using the most sensible tenant check procedures. The property management industry has long relied on critical thinking. According to market researcher IBISWorld, firms in this sector spend a mere $0.04 on capital investment for every dollar spent on human resources. This reflects a focus on thoughtful outsourcing and strategic planning. With the massive influx of long-term renters, it may serve for managers to rethink their long-established practices. Even experienced managers may need to take to steps to improve their tenant IQs. Casual, incomplete tenant screening doesn't provide much more security than no screening at all. Sensible managers make sure screening providers live up to their promises when it comes to thoroughness in background checks.

In any industry, certain companies stand out above the rest. It is no different in the world of tenant screening services. In this industry, the most worthwhile firms do not stand out due to hyperactive ads or marketing campaigns. The most reputable tenant services build impressive reputations by simply providing indispensable help. Networking with other property managers is a good way to enhance one's tenant IQ. Many seasoned managers tell instructive stories about meeting terrible tenants who initially seemed perfect in every way. Well-dressed, articulate, dignified--these are just a few of the qualities that prospective tenants can misleadingly portray. The tenant credit check is a critical tool for backing up our intuitions with real facts. Fortunately, property managers are well-served by the thorough type of background check USA based companies offer.

Although the average property manager feels good will towards others, experienced managers learn the inescapable need for the tenant credit check. CNN reports that the number of property managers will ultimately grow by 15% between 2006 and 2016. Though this is good news for members of the industry, growth can lead to greater competition. Managers with more thorough tenant check procedures should experience greater security. It would be nice if we didn't have to vet tenants with the obligatory credit check and criminal record check. In the imperfect world we live in, a well-timed criminal record check can save money, headaches and professional reputations

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tenant Screening Report: 2013 Rental Market Update

Tenant Screening Report: 2013 Rental Market Update

Las Vegas

With demand for apartments remaining strong and new supply levels minimal, occupancy jumped to 92.6%. While not great, it is a jump of 160 basis points in 2013.
Annual rent growth FINALLY showed a little momentum as same store rents climbed 1.9% in 2013, the largest increase seen in Las Vegas since 2007.

North East

Northeast region’s apartment markets ranked among the nation’s rent growth laggards during 2013
Connecticut. Effective rents for new leases in the state proved basically flat, inching up a minor 0.2% on average. Only the New Haven/Waterbury area, where rents jumped 2.6%, registered any real pricing power.
Connecticut realized apartment rent growth of 3% to 4% annually in 2010-2011, basically recovering the losses incurred during the downturn of 2008-2009. Then growth of about 2% in 2012 took rates slightly above pre-recession levels.
Connecticut’s apartment occupancy rate now stands at 95.0%


Apartment demand in Boston fell short of rapidly rising supply levels in 2013
With supply outpacing demand, occupancy is understandably down in Q4 2013. That said, the 96.3% occupancy rate is still healthy for the metro as a whole and across submarkets and product groups.
The bigger issue for Boston is pricing. Same store rents for new leases climbed only 1.4% in 2013, the weakest year over year increase in 14 quarters.

San Diego
San Diego’s apartment market has historically been reliably steady, but rarely a top performer in terms of rent growth. But in 2013, rent growth in San Diego topped the levels seen for the U.S. overall and for most other Southern California markets.
at the end of 2013, San Diego is starting to see some pretty good momentum just as the U.S. average rent growth change has started to cool. As of Q4 2013, San Diego registered 3.6% rent growth while the U.S. apartment market as a whole registered 2.9%.
One of the driving factors for this growth has been a strong economy. In 2012, employment hit a decade high in the metro and while job numbers cooled slightly in 2013, the market experienced a 1.8% job expansion rate, good enough for second best in Southern California. San Diego is also the first Southern California market to return to pre-recession employment levels

Economy: The good news for Orlando is that the economy is growing at a solid pace. In fact, job growth hit a post-recession high in Q4 with 29,000 jobs added annually, an expansion rate of 2.7% and good enough to be 10th best in the country among the core 100 metros.
Rent Growth: Despite the growing economy and occupancy levels, there still isn’t much rent growth in Orlando. Overall, for 2013, rents were up only 1.7%, an 11 quarter low.
If not for a significant amount of supply scheduled for 2014 (6,133 units scheduled), Orlando could have been positioned for a pretty nice bump given the strong demand tailwinds. But with all that new supply, MPF Research expects occupancy to trend down about 100 basis points and for rent growth to remain limited.

Dallas Forth Worth

Apartment demand in Dallas/Fort Worth was stronger than anywhere else in country in 2012 and then again in 2013. The high demand reflects back to back years of strong job growth.
Occupancy: D/FW has had more demand that it has supply in each of the last four years, and that means occupancy is in good shape: At 94.4%, the occupancy rate in the metro remains at a 14-year high.
Outlook: With nearly 17,000 new units expected to complete in the region, rent growth in the middle and lower end products will have to remain strong for D/FW to continue its momentum of strong occupancy and rent performance. MPF Research expects momentum to slow slightly with rents climbing around 3.0%

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Las Vegas Performance Apartment Statistics Q4 2013

Tenant Screening Report Las Vegas

Las Vegas remains light years behind every other apartment market nationally in the recovery process, but the Sin City is now at least moving in the right direction – finally. Las Vegas showed solid momentum in both occupancy and rent in 2013, thanks to gradually improving job growth levels.

The best number MPF Research can report out of the Las Vegas apartment market is annual revenue change. The metro posted revenue growth of 3.6% in 2013, the best performance since Q2 2006. Good news aside, Las Vegas is still very much in the hole. Compared to prerecession peaks, revenues are still down about 16%, a number unmatched by any other market in the U.S.

One reason for Las Vegas finally moving in the right direction is that job levels are gradually improving. In fact, job growth numbers in 2013 were actually pretty good with more than 20,000 jobs being added. However, that number is still 7% below prerecession peaks.

With demand for apartments remaining strong and new supply levels minimal, occupancy jumped to 92.6%. While not great, it is a jump of 160 basis points in 2013.

Annual rent growth FINALLY showed a little momentum as same store rents climbed 1.9% in 2013, the largest increase seen in Las Vegas since 2007.

What’s in store for Las Vegas in 2014? The road ahead for the metro is expected to remain quite bumpy with revenues cooling to just below 2.0%. But hey, at least the Vegas apartment market is moving in the right direction.

Blackstone’s Big Bet on Rental Homes

Blackstone’s Big Bet on Rental Homes

The Blackstone Group LP, the world's largest private equity firm, became the largest owner of rental homes in the U.S. , acquiring 41,000 homes in the past two years. In October, Blackstone offered the first-ever "rental-home-backed" security on Wall Street. The bond is backed by just a fraction — 3,207 — of the rental properties owned by Blackstone. Monthly rent checks from the properties will be used to service the $479.1 million security.