Central Florida, including the city of Orlando, is a real estate hotbed. Condos, townhouses, single-family homes, and everything in between abound in this booming housing market. While some Florida residents own their homes, many enjoy the comfort and flexibility of renting.
In most rental situations, tenants work hard to pay rent on time, maintain the property, and abide by the agreements in their lease. Unfortunately, not every rental situation is perfect. When tenants cause problems, landlords are often left with the burden of picking up the pieces.
If you’re a landlord involved in a dispute with your tenant, the law is on your side. Our Orlando real estate attorneys know how to resolve disputes and will fight to hold your tenants accountable for any losses or damages. Get in touch with Patriot Legal Group today for a free consultation.
Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes
In most rental situations, both parties sign a lease agreement. A lease is a legally binding contract that outlines the duties and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant. Most leases in Florida provide detailed information regarding the following:
- Length of the rental agreement
- Amount of rent to be paid
- Privileges that tenants are entitled to
- Maintenance and repairs
- Insurance requirements
- Notice periods
- Rule and responsibilities
A dispute may arise whenever someone fails to abide by the terms of a lease. Sometimes, you can resolve these disputes amicably through mediation, but other times the courts may be the only solution.
Ways to Resolve Landlord-Tenant Disputes
In many landlord-tenant disputes, the situation may arise due to poor communication, bad judgment, or misinterpretation of the terms of a lease.
When your tenant’s actions lead to a dispute, it’s always best to try to resolve the matter on your own first. Landlords can take the following steps to improve the situation:
- Become familiar with real estate laws
- Consult with a real estate attorney about their rights and obligations
- Meet face-to-face with tenants and engage in good-faith negotiation
- Hire a professional real estate mediator
- Remain calm and keep a cool head
Though negative experiences with tenants may be particularly upsetting, you must maintain your composure as you attempt to resolve the dispute; otherwise, you risk breaking the law yourself.
What Landlords Should Always Avoid in a Dispute
Florida real estate law protects your tenants as much as it protects you as a landlord. As such, you should avoid the following illegal behaviors:
- Changing locks without notice
- Physically removing the tenant or their property
- Shutting off utilities like water or gas
- Intimidating or otherwise threatening the tenant
- Harassing the tenant in any way
Should you engage in illegal behavior, the law may no longer side with you if you decide to file a claim in court. Additionally, the tenant could seek civil and even criminal charges against you.
Eviction Process in Florida
Ultimately, eviction may be the only solution when you’ve exhausted all other options. In Florida, the only way you can force a tenant to leave your property is through the courts. Termination of a lease can result from breach of contract, failure to pay rent, or other violations of your agreement.
Because an eviction is a type of lawsuit, you’ll have to file the appropriate paperwork in your local courthouse to start the process. This may take some time, depending on the exact circumstances of your dispute.
At an eviction hearing, you’ll be expected to present the following:
- A copy of the lease agreement
- Record of payment or nonpayment
- Evidence of lease violations
- A copy of the eviction notice
- Evidence that the tenant received the eviction notice
In many cases, tenants won’t dispute the eviction, and Florida courts may finalize the process in as little as 15 days. However, if the tenant presents a defense or files a countersuit, it may take weeks or months to resolve the eviction.
Contact Our Experienced Landlord-Tenant Dispute Attorney Today
The best way to avoid delays is to consult an experienced real estate attorney who can guide you through the process. At Patriot Legal Group, we’ve helped countless Orlando landlords resolve disputes with tenants. Contact us today to learn more.