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When can landlords legally enter units unannounced?

Landlords in Florida need to remain on the right side of the law. Lawmakers in the state recently moved forward with legislation to require landlords to give tenants at least three months of notice before raising the rent. Additional provisions are on the table to prevent discrimination on certain grounds. 

Tenants have rights, and one of the most important rights is that the landlord cannot enter the property unannounced. In Florida, landlords must give tenants a minimum of 12 hours' notice before walking in. Additionally, landlords can only enter at reasonable times unless the tenant has given consent to meet later or earlier. There may be circumstances when a landlord can enter unannounced, but they are few and far between. 

When there is a genuine emergency

If some of the paint starts to chip off the walls, then that is not an emergency. A landlord would be able to coordinate with the tenants for someone to fix the problem at a later date. However, a passing storm could blow a tree branch through an apartment's window. This would be an immediate cause for concern, and the landlord would need to act immediately. Further damage could occur to the apartment if the landlord were to wait, so he or she may need to enter the apartment without the 12 hours' notice to start remedying the situation. 

When the landlord reasonably believes the tenant abandoned the property

Tenants may leave for the weekend to go on a small vacation. A lot of people do it, so a landlord cannot enter when tenants only leave for a few days. However, when they have left for a significant amount of time, and the apartment looks abandoned, a landlord can enter. The standard guideline is that if tenants have abandoned the apartment for one-half the time of the rental payment, then the landlord can enter. For most people, this is 15 days. If tenants need to leave the apartment for longer than 15 days, then they should communicate that fact to the landlord ahead of time. 

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