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Landlord and Tenant Laws in Florida

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Landlord and tenant law in the State of Florida is governed primarily by Florida Statutes. Many remedies for Landlords and for Tenants are available only when they strictly comply with the statutory requirements.


These requirements may differ depending on whether the property is commercial or residential. The DeWitt Law Firm handles both residential and commercial landlord/tenant disputes and represents both landlords and tenants.


Often, renters and landlords do not know what rights they have when they get into disputes. The following is a link to some of the statutory provisions that govern the legal rights of landlords and tenants for residential real property: Landlord Tenant Statutes


Of course, there are other applicable statutes and each situation is different so you should not rely on this list to analyze your particular situation. Rather, you should consult with one of our attorneys who can go over the specifics of your case with you.


Whether you are a Landlord or a Tenant, there are two basic things you should know before you rent real property. First, you should have a written rental agreement. A rental agreement is an agreement to rent property. A rental agreement is often referred to as a lease. While some people may enter into oral rental agreements, these are not advisable because oral agreements are difficult to prove and are often subject to misunderstandings. Therefore, you should always put your understandings in writing in the form of a written lease agreement.


Second, Florida law requires that notices to and from a landlord must be in writing, even if the rental agreement is not. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you should always retain a copy of any correspondence related to rental issues. Again, this will make it easier to prove your case. Also, it may make negotiations more fruitful.

How does the foreclosure process work?

Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that all foreclosures must be processed through the court system.

Notice of Default – This is a written notice from the lender to the mortgage holder. It must contain specific information in order for the lender to proceed with the foreclosure lawsuit. If the lender fails to include the required default language, the foreclosure lawsuit, once it is filed, may be dismissed. If a borrower receives a Notice of Default and does not cure the default; the lender may accelerate the loan and file a lawsuit to foreclose on the mortgage.

Foreclosure ComplaintOnce a borrower receives a Complaint, they only have 20 days to respond or a default may be entered against him or her. The Foreclosure Complaint must plead standing, jurisdiction, that the proper notice requirement have been met, and the amount owed. Additionally, the Foreclosure complaint must include a verification clause that is signed by an individual who has actual knowledge regarding your loan.

If you have received a foreclosure Complaint, it is imperative that you respond within 20 days. Failure to do so may result in a default judgment and the bank may be allowed to foreclose on the property.

How long is the average foreclosure process?

The timeframe for a foreclosure action varies dramatically and is difficult to estimate.

Am I required to have an attorney during a foreclosure?

You are not required to hire an attorney to defend a foreclosure action. However, it is advised that once you are served with a foreclosure complaint, you have an experienced foreclosure attorney review your paperwork within 20 days. An attorney’s role in the foreclosure process is a vital one. They will appear on your behalf and defend you throughout the Court proceedings. Additionally, an attorney may be able to work with your lender to determine if there are other options besides foreclosure.

What should I expect from an experienced foreclosure attorney?

From an experienced foreclosure attorney, you can expect:

  • An understanding of the available defenses available and experience in handling real estate litigation. Many attorneys treat foreclosure cases as if they are not litigation. This is improper. A foreclosure case is litigation and any attorney handling these types of cases should have extensive experience in handling real estate litigation.
  • A detailed examination of the terms and conditions in your purchase agreement, mortgage, and other documents from your lender.
  • An understanding of your side of the story: your financial situation, your objectives and your current and future interests in the property.
  • A detailed analysis of your failure to make the payments. This can include if you recently lost your job, substantial loss of income or serious illness or injury..
  • A list of viable options to foreclosure that might be in your best interests.
  • An experience negotiator that is on your side. There is a possibility that an alternative to foreclosure can be found and worked out. There are possible defenses and counterclaims that can be filed on your behalf as well.
What's the biggest mistake made in the foreclosure process?

Many clients come to our office days before their property is to be sold. This not only makes our job as your attorney more difficult, but it limits the defenses available to you. If the Court has already entered a default judgment against the borrower, we must show both a meritorious defense and excusable neglect to have the default set aside. Although this is possible in many instances, it is always better to consult an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. The longer you wait to get an experienced foreclosure attorney on your side, the fewer opportunities your attorney has to help you.