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Florida residential real estate and the law for rent and repairs

| Jul 20, 2020 | Residential Real Estate |

For Floridians who are involved in a landlord-tenant agreement, there are issues that might be taken for granted, but can cause problems in the legal relationship between the parties. One that frequently arises is the residence needs repairs or there is a difference of opinion regarding maintenance. The tenant might demand that the repairs be made and the property be maintained in a specific way with the threat of withholding rent as a strategy for the landlord to complete them. The landlord might disagree that the repairs are part of the contract and say that the tenant must continue paying the rent.

Understanding the law in this common situation is key to a satisfactory resolution. In some instances, the lease specifies procedures for making repairs and maintaining the property related to rent being paid. Still, there is a clear obligation that the landlord must make sure the property has been fixed according to the law and is adequately maintained. If the landlord simply chooses not to adhere to these requirements and the property cannot be lived in safely, the tenant can subsequently inform that landlord that the rent will not be paid.

The landlord must be given written notice that this is the tack the tenant plans to take. The landlord will be given 20 days to do what is required for the residence to be livable and safe. The tenant can then withhold the rent for the next rental period until the work is completed. There may be a stipulation in the lease in which more time to make the repairs and maintain the property is granted.

After the repairs and maintenance have been done, tenants are not free from the obligation of paying what was owed during the dispute. The rent that was withheld must then be paid. In some cases, the work is not completed in the allotted time. This can be extended via written agreement. If not, the tenant can leave, keep the rent, end the lease, and no longer be obligated for any outstanding payments that would have been in place based on the lease agreement.

Landlord-tenant disputes happen regularly. Both sides will have their perspective and every situation is different. If, for example, the tenant has caused problems in the residence and they did the damage, the landlord might have the right to protest making the repairs. Or the landlord may be unwilling to adhere to the contract stipulations or basics to ensure the property is safe and habitable.

Many times, the disagreement is somewhere in the middle with room for discussion. The simple act of completing the repairs and maintaining the property will smooth over any challenges that come up. Whether it is a contentious circumstance or the sides can agree, it is imperative for both sides to know the importance of legal advice and how the law protects them. A firm that handles real estate cases might be helpful.

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