Tenants have many rights, and it is vital for landlords to understand those rights. That includes knowing the reasons you cannot evict a tenant for. Some landlords in Florida landed in trouble after illegally evicting tenants after the last hurricane season.
Landlords and tenants have disagreements all the time. However, that does not mean a landlord can evict a tenant just because the relationship turns sour. It is critical for landlords to never threaten eviction for the following reasons. Otherwise, they could end up in hot water.
Withholding rent for a health or safety issue
Landlords can absolutely evict tenants for failure to pay rent. There are times when tenants have a valid reason for failure to pay. For example, there may be a leak in the unit that requires repair and the landlord has done nothing to fix it for weeks. The leak poses a safety hazard because it could result in mold growth. Tenants have a right to withhold rent until the landlord rectifies the problem. Additionally, if the tenant has to pay for repairs out-of-pocket, then the tenant could take that money out of the rent.
The Federal Fair Housing Act protects people on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religion and other distinctions. Landlords cannot evict tenants for any reason that someone could construe as discriminatory. For example, if a couple rents a unit and then has a baby, you could not evict the couple because you do not want crying babies potentially disturbing your tenants.
Landlords also cannot evict tenants for any reason someone could construe as retaliatory. For example, a tenant could bring a problem to the attention of a local housing board. You may be angry at the tenant for not giving you an opportunity to fix the problem on your own, but you cannot evict the person.