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More Property Management Matters/Users/adamp/Desktop/APR08/Optimized/KnowLaw

There’s more to residential property management than finding tenants, collecting rent or serving as a liaison between the landlord and the tenant. Here’s part two of our series highlighting facts that every residential property manager needs to know.

Handling Evictions Based on Nonpayment of Rent
If a tenant hasn’t paid rent, you must deliver or post a three-day notice to pay or vacate on the tenant’s door before filing an action to evict. The notice must contain language that substantially follows Section 83.56(3), Florida Statutes, and must give the tenant an opportunity to pay the rent in the three-day window. The notice must exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and court-observed legal holidays from the three-day calculation. (For a list of court-observed legal holidays, contact the county court.) The notice must also contain the landlord’s name, address and phone number. You can download a three-day notice form via www.floridarealtors.org.
 
If the tenant still doesn’t pay or vacate after the three-day notice period has passed, Florida law permits either the landlord or the landlord’s agent to file for eviction.

Pursuant to Section 83.59, Florida Statutes, the landlord’s agent isn’t permitted to take any action other than the filing of the complaint for possession unless he or she is an attorney. However, the Florida Supreme Court expanded the scope of the landlord agent’s authority in both a 1992 and a 1993 decision. In those cases, the Court ruled that “property managers” (defined by the Court as one who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the residential property as evidenced by: 1.) responsibility of renting units; 2.) maintenance of the rental property; and 3.) collection of rent) may complete, sign and file complaints for evictions and obtain final judgments and writs of possession on behalf of landlords in uncontested residential evictions for nonpayment of rent, provided the property manager has written authorization from the owner to complete, sign and file eviction for nonpayment of rent. The authorization applies only in cases of uncontested residential evictions for nonpayment of rent and the Florida Supreme Court has indicated that an eviction would be “contested” if a hearing is required.

Terminating Month-to-Months
If there’s a month-to-month tenancy and either the landlord or the tenant wants to terminate it, either party may do so by providing the other with written notice at least 15 days prior to the end of a rental period.  
For termination of tenancies without a specific duration, see Section 83.57, Florida Statutes.  

Lease Violations
While a tenant who hasn’t paid rent receives a three-day notice to pay or vacate, one who violates the terms of the lease other than nonpayment of rent (i.e., keeping pets, guests, parking in undesignated areas, etc.) is given a seven-day notice pursuant to Section 83.56(2)(b), Florida Statutes. This notice shall inform the tenant that if he or she cures the offense but repeats it within a 12-month period, the right to cure will be denied.

Some offenses are deemed to be of a nature that the tenant shouldn’t be offered a right to cure. These include but aren’t limited to: destruction, damage or misuse of the landlord’s or another tenant’s property, or continued or subsequent unreasonable disturbance after notice with right to cure was provided. In those instances, the notice shall contain the language outlined in Section 83.56(2)(a), Florida Statutes.

Landlords who believe the rental property is being destroyed should notify the tenant of their intention to enter the unit to inspect the premises. Section 83.53(1), Florida Statutes, states that the tenant cannot unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to enter the premises for this purpose. However, the landlord must provide reasonable notice to the tenant before entering the premises and must plan to enter during a reasonable time. According to Section 83.53(2), Florida Statutes, reasonable notice is defined as notice given at least 12 hours prior to entry and reasonable time for entry as being between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.