Tenant Law in Florida

The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Niceville, Florida can occasionally be a touchy one. Landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and obligations.

Landlords and tenants have to navigate a web of legal rights and commitments. It's essential that the parties to a landlord/tenant relationship know what obligations they have to one another.

Landlord's Rights in Niceville, FL

The most important and most obvious right that a landlord has is the right to timely payment of rent from the tenant. This, of course, means that the tenant has a duty to pay rent.

Additionally, landlords can bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't accountable for normal wear and tear, over which they have little control.

Tenant's Rights in Niceville, FL

Tenants, most essentially, have a right to a habitable apartment. After all, this is what they're paying for. Niceville, Florida landlords are obligated to see that the units they rent to tenants are fit to be lived in by people. Many various defects might render an apartment uninhabitable, such as serious infestations and other problems with sanitation, lack of running water or electricity, or failure to provide adequate protection from the outside elements.

In addition to habitable living spaces, tenants also have a right to reasonably safe common areas. Common areas contain lobbies, hallways, and stairwells - essentially anything that everyone living in an apartment complex has access to. These common areas must fulfill the building standards of Niceville, Florida, and must not contain any unnecessary safety hazards.

Under federal and Florida law, tenants are also entitled to protection against discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, marital status, or gender. Such discrimination can lead to grave civil penalties against the landlord. Landlords further cannot discriminate against tenants based on physical disability, and have to make reasonable accommodations for physically disabled tenants. For instance, they have to allow disabled tenants to make minor physical alterations to the unit (at the tenant's expense) to make it more accessible. Now, they don't need to allow the tenants to have the building remodeled. We're just talking about things like installing handrails in the bathroom, and similar things. The landlord can, however, require tenants to restore the apartment to its original condition, at the tenant's expense, once the tenant leaves.

Lastly, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords typically must have a very good reason to evict a tenant before the lease agreement reaches the end of its term (at this point, they are of course allowed to decline to renew the lease). Of course, if the tenant breaches the lease agreement (such as by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or violating other reasonable rules the landlord has put in the lease), the landlord, like a party to any other contract, is free to terminate the agreement and evict the breaching tenant.

Can a Niceville, Florida Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, chances are that you want to prevent conflict. But if you do end up in a seemingly irresolvable conflict with the other party, a Niceville, Florida attorney can help you protect your rights.