Landlord-Tenant Tips

Landlord-Tenant Tips

 

Tenant Responsibilities:

  • Pay the rent and security deposit.
  • Keep your dwelling/unit clean and sanitary.
  • Remove all garbage in a sanitary manner.
  • Keep all plumbing fixtures clean and sanitary.
  • Be mindful of noise and behavior so as not to disturb your neighbors and breach the peace.
  • Not destroy or deface the property.
  • Comply with all housing codes.

 

Landlord Responsibilities:

  • Comply with housing, building, health codes.
    • If none exist, the landlord must maintain:
      • roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations
      • keep all other structural components in good repair
      • plumbing in reasonable working condition
    • Exterminate rodents and wood destroying organisms (like termites).
    • Provide locks and keys.
    • Provide clean, safe common area.
    • Provide garbage removal.
    • Ensure functioning heat, running water, and hot water.
    • Install screens and repair once a year as needed.

 

What if my landlord refuses or fails to meet these obligations?

  • Report them. If you live in a city, call the city.
    • If you live outside a city, call the county.
  • If it is a big issue, such as a plumbing issue that keeps you from showering, you may have the option to withhold rent.
    • You must let your landlord know about this in writing 7 days before your rent is due.
    • A sample version of this letter is here.

 

What if my landlord retaliates against me for doing this?

  • They can’t if you have done so because:
    • They have failed to maintain the premises.
    • You are exercising your rights under housing laws.

 

What are landlords not allowed to do?

  • Landlords can’t shut off or interrupt utility services:
    • This includes water, heat, light, electricity, garbage collection, etc.
  • Landlords can’t prevent you from accessing your apartment by changing the locks on you.
  • Landlords can’t remove your locks, roof, walls, or window unless they are repairing.
  • Landlords can’t remove your things from the space unless the unit has been abandoned or you have been lawfully evicted.
  • Check FL. Stat 83.67 for reference.

 

What if they do one of the things listed above?

  • They may be liable for damages caused by these actions or three months’ rent, whichever is more.

 

When can my landlord enter my apartment/dwelling?

  • For repairs, a landlord must give 12 hours’ notice and enter between 7:30am and 8pm.
  • A landlord can enter anytime if:
    • It is an emergency,
    • You allow them in,
    • You are gone for an extended period of time,
    • You don’t allow them in for an unreasonable period of time.

 

What steps do I take if I think or know I will receive an eviction notice?

Check out our guide here.

 

After moving out, when do I get my security deposit back?

  • Generally, the landlord has 15 days to return the security deposit or;
  • They must send a certified letter within 30 days to inform you they will be keeping some or all of your security deposit.
    • If you receive this letter, you have 15 days to object in writing.

 

For more information, check out the GLS Landlord-Tenant Guidebook in English and in Spanish

 

Please note:

These questions and answers are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice cannot be given without information about your specific situation. 

ALTHOUGH SOME EXCEPTIONS APPLY, IT IS ILLEGAL TO REFUSE SOMEONE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RENT A DWELLING UNIT BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, RELIGION, SEX, HANDICAP, OR FAMILIAL STATUS AND IN PINELLAS COUNTY SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND GENDER IDENTITY. IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST FOR ONE OF THESE REASONS, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE.
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