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Rent disputes with tenants

Rent disputes are not uncommon for property owners to encounter. When your tenant stops paying rent, there are certain actions you can take to receive payment. However, there are also strict laws that protect tenants. It is important that when trying to either receive rent money or evict your tenant, you follow standard and legal protocol.

Standard lease or rental agreements

Terms in a lease or rental agreements can vary by contract. Some contracts are lengthy and have many requirements. Others are more simple or basic and don't have as many agreement terms.

Most contracts will commonly have these standard terms:

  • Tenants right to occupy the property
  • Rent amount
  • Tenants right to use the property with respectfulness to landlord and neighbors
  • Landlord's obligations, such as maintenance repairs
  • Utilities included, or not included, in rent

Legitimate and written contracts are essential if you are renting out your property. State the terms and conditions to your renter and make sure they understand everything in your agreement, this is key to having a successful relationship with your renter. It is always good practice to have an experienced real estate lawyer look over or help draft your lease agreement to avoid any disputes or discrepancies.

What to do if they stop paying

If your tenant stops paying, you want to address the matter quickly and politely. It is very important that you remain professional and don't take matters into your own hands. Tenants do have legal rights, which include a "grace period" to pay rent.

Typically, in Florida, tenants have three days to pay rent from the time you gave them an official written notice. If you still have not received a rent payment, you and your attorney can file for an eviction claim. Once your eviction claim is approved, an officer will assist and take possession of the property and formally escort the tenant and their belongings out.

Do keep in mind that tenants can withhold rent if you violate state landlord-tenant laws or your lease agreement. Before filing for an eviction, make sure all requested repairs have been made or any other rent-related disputes between you and your tenant have been resolved.

If you do find yourself having issues with a tenant, it is always best to get an attorney involved. Taking the law into your own hands can have severe consequences. A real estate attorney can guide you through the process and evaluate your case. They will also advise you on what your next steps should and should not be while resolving a dispute with your tenant.

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Heekin Litigation Group
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