Before you get your driver’s license, you learn the rules of the road. But what about before you sign a lease? Did you learn tenant-landlord laws? Knowing your Tallahassee tenant rights can save you time and potentially money.
1. Your property manager should schedule visits.
In Tallahassee, your property manager is required to give you 12 hours’ notice before entering your apartment for repairs or showings — unless they say otherwise in the lease.
2. Watch for rent raises.
Read your rental agreement carefully, as it is legal for Florida property managers to increase rent or utilities payments during the lease term, as long as they’ve put the provision in the lease.
3. Subletting isn’t your only option.
Need to leave your lease early? Before subletting, try for a novation. In this scenario, a new lease is created between the property manager and fill-in tenant that lasts for the duration of the term.
4. Putting it in the lease doesn’t make it legal.
Leases can override a few state laws, such as prohibiting subletting. But you have some guaranteed rights. For example, your property manager can’t ban waterbeds or get you to agree to automatically forfeit your deposit.
5. Evictions aren’t sudden or simple.
Only a judge can issue an eviction. Your property manager is not allowed to force you out by changing your locks or turning off your utilities, even they’re in your property manager’s name.
6. Your property manager is on the hook for maintenance and repairs.
You can deduct money from your rent payments if your property manager fails to keep your unit up to building, housing, and health codes — but you’ll want to consult a lawyer first. It’s the property managers responsibility to contract with facility and maintenance companies to ensure your place is up to code.
7. If you’re on the lease, you’re responsible for rent.
Make sure all of your roommates sign the lease with you. Sometimes tenants who didn’t sign the lease can still be held legally responsible for unpaid rent. But it’s better to be safe than broke.
Worried About Your Security Deposit?
8. The sky’s the limit.
Although a month’s rent is typical, there is no legal limit to how much property managers can charge for a security deposit.
9. Your property manager has limited time to return your deposit.
If your property manager is making no deductions, they have 15 days after move-out to return your security deposit.
10. And to detail deductions.
If they are making deductions, they must send a letter via certified mail within 30 days outlining the deductions, and then return your deposit within 30 days.
*This information does not constitute legal advice, and many of these laws carry exceptions.