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Florida tenants: Don't be too quick to sign a lease agreement

Renting property is something people all across Florida do. Whether it's their primary residence, commercial space or a vacation home near the beach, people who can't or don't want to buy can easily rent space to live, relax and/or work.

However, because renting seems so routine, people often make the mistake of assuming signing a lease is nothing to be worried about. This might be especially true for people who regularly rent and are used to the process of having and signing a lease. Unfortunately, the failure to take seriously the act of reviewing, signing and enforcing a legal document can lead to serious complications and disputes.

Reading your lease before you sign it allows you to review all the terms that may or may not be included. Leases will generally dictate responsibilities of the landlord and permissions of the tenants, as well as defining certain terms that may be unclear or unusual.

As discussed in this FindLaw article, there are many common terms you can expect to find in a lease. Your lease might:

  • Restrict certain activities
  • Set rules for dispute resolution methods
  • Define landlord obligations
  • Establish security deposit amount
  • Detail eviction and/or move-out requirements
  • Define the length of the lease
  • Set specifications regarding a landlord's right to enter a home
  • Limit subletting options, occupancy and pets

Before you sign any lease, you will want to pay close attention to these types of terms, as they will dictate what options, if any, you will have in the event of a tenant-landlord dispute. If you agree to something you didn't read, you could find yourself paying the price for a violation or learning a hard lesson about what you and your landlord can and cannot do.

If you are about to sign a lease, or if you have concerns about enforcing terms in a lease you have already signed, it can be crucial that you have legal support. Discussing the case with an attorney can help you assess your options and make a decision on how to go about resolving the matter in a legally effective manner.

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