Tampa Landlord Attorney
Serving You and The State of Florida
Whether you already own an investment property or are just considering making an investment, you probably already know that being a landlord can be a great way to have a passive income stream. However, being a landlord can also be a hassle, from dealing with tenant complaints to figuring out what to do if your tenants don’t pay rent. Both commercial and residential landlords must often deal with legal issues that require legal representation.
An experienced Tampa landlord attorney can help you minimize or avoid problems with your rental properties. They can draft a lease that complies with Florida law and protects your interests, and help you respond to any issues that may arise. In this way, your investment will be protected – and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have a strong advocate by your side.
Based in St. Petersburg, the Lopez Law Group represents landlords throughout the Tampa Bay area. We provide effective legal advice and representation to clients throughout Hillsborough County. To learn more about our services for Florida landlords, reach out to our law firm today.
What Rights Do Landlords Have Under Florida Law?
As with any other state, landlords in Florida have both rights and obligations. The first right that landlords have is to be paid rent by tenants in accordance with the terms of the lease. This rent is paid in exchange for the use of a residential or commercial property.
In addition to being paid rent, landlords have the right to have their property returned to them in the same condition in which it was received by the tenant, other than ordinary wear and tear (such as nail holes in the wall for hanging pictures). If a tenant damages the property or its fixtures in some way, then landlords have the right to keep the tenant’s security deposit to cover the costs of fixing or replacing the damage. If the security deposit isn’t enough to cover all of the damage, then the landlord may even file a legal action to recover the full cost of repair and/or replacement.
Landlords – and in particular, landlords of residential properties – have duties under Florida’s
- Provide a safe, habitable home;
- Make reasonable repairs when necessary;
- Give the tenant possession and use of the property free from interference (also known as the right of quiet enjoyment);
- Not increase rent or decrease services in a discriminatory or retaliatory way;
- Not discriminate against tenants or prospective tenants;
- Not engage in self-help eviction (such as changing the locks);
- No turn off the utilities;
- Provide written notice to end the rental if the lease does not specify a termination date; and
- File an eviction action to remove a tenant for non-payment of rent or other lease violations.
Landlords and tenants alike are required to comply with federal and state laws. For example, if a landlord discovers that a tenant is using or selling illegal drugs from the property, they may be able to evict them.
A comprehensive lease can help to minimize the number of issues that occur. Of course, even with a great lease, disputes between landlords and tenants can arise, such as:
- Late payment of rent
- Nonpayment of rent
- Lease violations, such as noise violations or unauthorized guests
- Maintenance issues or failure to make reasonable repairs
- Property damage
- Tenants making improvements to the property without permission
- Unpaid utilities
Landlord-tenant disputes can be incredibly frustrating – and can cost landlords a lot of money. Whether a tenant has brought a pet into a pet-free unit or they’re turning off other tenants because of noise violations or failure to maintain the property, landlords may see a loss in the value of their investment because of bad tenants. A Tampa landlord-tenant attorney can help you understand your rights in this situation, and help you with the next steps.
Why Should You Hire a Tampa Landlord Lawyer?
If you own rental properties in Hillsborough County, then you should consult with a Tampa landlord lawyer as early in the process as possible. Ideally, you would seek legal representation before you rent out your property for the first time. An attorney can provide you with strategic advice and help you understand your rights under Florida law.
They can also help you draft a lease that protects your interests. At the same time, they can advise you on issues like local regulations on renting out a property and proper tenant screening questions. These issues are critical, as failure to comply with local law or asking discriminatory questions can land you in legal hot water.
Florida law favors tenants. Even if your tenant has violated the lease in some way, it can take some time – and money – to remove them from your property. It can be incredibly frustrating for landlords to deal with these issues, particularly when it seems like the deck is stacked against them.
A Tampa landlord attorney can handle these issues for you to ensure that you aren’t making things worse or opening yourself up to legal troubles. For example, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) handles issues related to housing discrimination, such as discrimination against people with disabilities if they refuse to allow a tenant to have a service animal or emotional support animal. If you are found to have discriminated against a current or prospective tenant, you could be facing penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. A skilled lawyer can advise you of your rights and obligations to avoid these types of issues.
There are other situations where legal advice is crucial. For example, if you improperly evict a tenant, they could sue you for damages. Alternatively, if a tenant or one of their guests is hurt on your property, they could file a personal injury lawsuit against you. A Tampa landlord attorney can advise you on these and related matters that may arise.
Tampa Eviction Attorneys
One of the most challenging issues that many landlords face is how to handle a tenant that is in violation of their lease. Both residential and commercial landlords are required to follow a legal process in order to evict a tenant. If you fail to follow these steps and comply with the law, then you could be facing steep fines and other costs.
In Florida, it is illegal to evict a tenant without first going to the court. For example, if your tenant hasn’t been paying rent, then you will need to go through the formal eviction process to remove them from your property. Self-help eviction – evicting a tenant outside of the court process – is illegal in Florida.
A Tampa eviction attorney can help you evict a tenant legally, starting by providing appropriate written notice. This notice may need to give your tenant an opportunity to cure (fix) the issue, depending on the situation.
If the tenant does not leave the property after receiving written notice, then the next step is to file an action for possession against them in a Hillsborough County court. The tenant may choose to fight the eviction, and may even seek damages against you. Even if the tenant does not respond to the eviction action, you will still have to obtain an order of possession from the judge. With this document, a law enforcement officer can legally evict your tenant if they have not vacated the premises.
How The Lopez Law Firm Can Help
Being a landlord can help you achieve financial stability while building equity in one or more properties. At the same time, there are a lot of challenges associated with being a landlord, from tenants who don’t pay rent to lease violations to property damage. Our landlord-tenant lawyers will advise you of your rights and obligations and help to protect your interests.
The Lopez Law Group is highly experienced in all types of Florida landlord-tenant matters. We will work with you to help find a cost-effective solution to legal issues that arise. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a team member, call us at 866-289-1555 or fill out our online contact form.
Am I Allowed to Inspect My Rental Properties When They Are Occupied?
Yes, but there are some limitations on this right. Tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment of their premises. Landlords have a right to reasonable inspection of the premises. This means that you can enter to inspect the premises or make necessary repairs, but only after giving reasonable notice.
There may be emergency situations where notice isn’t practical. However, as a general rule, you should be careful about giving your tenants notice and picking a convenient time to come into the unit for inspections or repairs. If you have questions about your obligations regarding reasonable notice, give our law offices a call to talk to a Tampa landlord lawyer.
My Tenants Caused a Lot of Damage. Can I Sue Them?
If your tenants caused damage beyond ordinary wear and tear, the first step is to document the damage. You can then retain all or part of the security deposit to pay to replace or repair the damage.
Of course, there are situations where the security deposit won’t even come close to paying for the damage. You may be able to file a lawsuit against your tenants for the outstanding amount. However, it is important to keep in mind that some tenants may be “judgment-proof,” or have no assets to pay for the damages. A Tampa landlord attorney can help you make a strategic decision about whether to pursue legal action against your former tenant.
- Legal Services in Florida
- Business Lawyers in Florida
- Residential Real Estate Lawyers
- Commercial Real Estate Lawyers in Florida
- Creditor Harassment
- Criminal Law
- Drug Crimes
- DUI Lawyers in Florida
- Expunction and Sealing Law Services in Florida
- Florida Clemency
- Injunction Lawyers in Florida
- Internet Crime Lawyers in Florida
- Land Trust Lawyers in Florida
- Landlord / Tenant Dispute Lawyers in Florida
- Maritime Law
- Moving Company Dispute Lawyers
- Probate Lawyers in Florida
What Our Clients Say
Mr. Lopez was a Godsend and really helped me with my situation. Him and the entire firm were very diligent and helped speed the early stages of the process along due to a pressing situation. Throughout my experience working with the firm, they were always responsive and available any time I had a question or wanted to check on the state of affairs. Hopefully I won’t have to recommend Lopez Law Group to my friends or family, but if those unfortunate circumstances arise then there’s only one name I would trust. Thank you again for all your help!
Schedule a Case Review
Book a Consultation