The Tenant and Landlord Handbook

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Find out key laws every California landlord and tenant needs to know.

When a person pays rent to live in a house, apartment, condominium or mobile home, the renter becomes a tenant governed by Florida law. A tenant has certain rights and responsibilities under Florida law.

A tenant in federally subsidized rental housing has rights under federal law, as well. If there is a written lease, it should be carefully reviewed.

Required Landlord Disclosures in California

A tenant is entitled to the right of private, peaceful possession of the dwelling. The landlord may enter the dwelling only in order to inspect the premises or to make necessary or agreed upon repairs, but then only if the landlord gives the tenant reasonable notice and comes at a convenient time. If an emergency exists, the requirement for notice may be shortened or waived. The landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in.

It must have working plumbing, hot water and heating, be structurally sound and have reasonable security, including working and locking doors and windows, and it must be free of pests. The landlord also must comply with local health, building and safety codes. If the landlord has to make repairs to make the dwelling fit to live in, the landlord must pay. If the landlord contends that the tenant has violated the rental agreement, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the specific problem and give the tenant time to correct the problem — even if the problem is nonpayment of rent — before the landlord can go to court to have the tenant removed.

Tenants receiving a nonpayment-of-rent notice should be aware that a landlord may accept part of the rent owed and still evict the tenant. Tenants renting condominiums should be aware that, in certain circumstances, the condominium association may demand that the tenant pay the rent to the association instead of the landlord. Tenants should consult an attorney in this case. If the tenant commits a serious act endangering the property such as committing a crime on the premises or fails to correct a problem after written notice from the landlord, the landlord still must go to court to be permitted to evict the tenant.

In any court proceeding, tenants have the absolute right to be present, argue their case and be represented by an attorney. If the landlord requires the tenant to pay a security deposit, the landlord must preserve the deposit during the tenancy. The tenant then has the right to object in writing within 15 days of receipt of the notice.

Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in California |

Under some circumstances, the tenant may receive the security deposit plus interest. Before moving out, the tenant must provide the landlord with an address for receipt of the security deposit, or else the tenant may lose the right to object if the landlord claims the right to keep the deposit money.

This can be done only when the landlord fails to comply with an important responsibility, such as providing a safe and habitable home in compliance with local housing codes. Even after withholding rent, the tenant should save the money and seek court permission to spend part of it to do what the landlord should have done. If the tenant does not preserve the money and seek court assistance, the tenant may be evicted for nonpayment. Finally, the tenant has the right to move out. If there is no written lease, the tenant may move out for no reason by giving written notice of the intent to leave no fewer than seven days before the next rent payment is due, if the rent is paid weekly, or 15 days, if the rent is paid monthly.

The tenant may terminate the rental agreement if the landlord has failed to live up to a major obligation, provided the tenant has sent written notice to the landlord seven days before the rent is due there are some exceptions to the right to move out. A tenant also has responsibilities that, if not observed, can lead to eviction. The tenant must pay the agreed-upon rent and do so on time. The tenant must comply with building, housing and health codes.

Landlord/Tenant Guide

The tenant must maintain the dwelling without damage, other than ordinary wear and tear, keep the dwelling clean and maintain the plumbing. The tenant must not violate the law or disturb the peace, nor allow guests to do so. In trying to evict a tenant, a landlord will try to prove that the tenant violated a tenant responsibility. However, the landlord may not seek to evict a tenant in retaliation for legitimate complaints about housing conditions to proper authorities.

No eviction can occur until the landlord first gives the tenant notice of the problem and then gets a court order. Without the court order, the landlord has no power to interfere with the tenant. If a tenant is served with papers seeking eviction, the tenant should immediately seek legal assistance.

Tenant-Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

The tenant may have legal defenses. For instance, the landlord cannot try to get even with a tenant through eviction when the tenant has not violated tenant responsibilities. To raise defenses in an eviction proceeding, a tenant normally must pay into the court registry past-due rent if any is owed and rent that comes due during the proceeding.

A tenant who disputes the amount of rent claimed to be due may ask the court to determine the correct amount, but the tenant must show why the amount is wrong. In an eviction proceeding, a tenant has very little time to respond, so quick action is important. If you believe you need legal advice, call your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, call The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at , or contact a local lawyer referral service or legal aid office.

If you rent a house, apartment, condominium or mobile home to another person, you enter into a legal contract known as a rental agreement. This rental agreement need not be in writing. As a landlord, you have certain rights; you also have certain duties. Even in the absence of a written lease, the law imposes duties and gives rights to the parties. If you require a prospective tenant to complete a rental application, and the applicant is a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty or a member of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces, you must notify the applicant of application approval or denial within seven days of when the application is submitted.

If you have an issues, first make complains in writing to the landlord and keep a copy of the requests. If issues relate to the structure of the building you may call the Code Enforcement Office at There is no heat or hot water, and, despite many messages, the landlord has not responded. What can be done? Put the request in writing, stating the problem, and requesting prompt correction.

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Can I be evicted like this? Eviction is a court judgment resulting from a legal process in court. Only a judge can issue an eviction notice. Also, the lease agreement is as binding on the landlord as it is on the tenant; if there is no breach of lease, there is no justification for eviction. If the landlord files for an eviction, the tenant must attend the court hearing to defend their right to remain in the premises. See link for more information about a court eviction. I gave my day notice that I am vacating, but the landlord says I have to pay until the end of the month.

Notices of termination of lease are effective on the day the rent is due, generally the first of the month based on the law of Virginia. Otherwise it has to be specifically stated in the lease agreement. Rent cannot be prorated at the end of the lease. What can I do? In Virginia, you can only break the lease legally using the military clause or in cases of abuse; otherwise, it is an agreement reached between tenant and landlord.

Read your lease agreement, as there may be a clause that relates to this, or approach the landlord to explore other options, such as finding another tenant to occupy the unit. Useful Documents Application Process: There are three laws that govern tenant-landlord relationships: Can I withhold my rent if the landlord fails to provide maintenance or violates the lease? I have a lease agreement to rent a room in a private house, but the landlord is asking that I move immediately.

The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook
The Tenant and Landlord Handbook The Tenant and Landlord Handbook

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