Renters' Rights Included in Every Lease
Both landlords and tenants have rights under federal and Florida tenant and landlord laws. Landlords need to protect their real estate investments and are permitted under law to collect rent. On the other hand, tenants have two basic renters’ entitlements: “Habitability” and “Quiet Enjoyment.”
Both these rights are part of every South Florida residential lease agreement. These are implied covenants and warranties, meaning not everything encompassed by those rights has to be explicitly stated in the lease, they are merely understood.
If landlords repeatedly violate these renters’ rights, renters can break their lease or file a tenant lawsuit. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable West Palm Beach real estate lawyer help draft a solid South Florida residential lease agreement to ensure the rights of both landlords and tenants are protected.
Implied Warranty of Habitability
Tenants are entitled to live a unit that is safe, secure, sanitary, and overall habitable. Landlords must ensure their rental properties remain safe and reasonably comfortable to live in. Habitability can encompass a variety of things and the specifics are defined by state laws like Florida tenant and landlord laws. Generally, habitability is provided if the following are maintained.
- Access to Essential Utilities: water, plumbing and sewage, electricity, air conditioning, heat, etc.
- Safety: fire and emergency exits, functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, etc.
- Lack of Safety Hazards: lead paint, exposed wires, etc.
- Security: door locks, window locks, effective weather protection, etc.
- Cleanliness: lack of filth, garbage, rodents, vermin, mold, etc.
- Repairs: landlord regularly repairs issues that could undermine habitability
Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
Under this covenant, tenants have an exclusive right of use of the unit they are paying rent for. Tenants are entitled to privacy as well as reasonable peace and quiet. Quiet does not mean silence; it means to be free of legitimate nuisances. This includes but is not limited to landlords or neighbors creating disturbances or frequently engaging in disruptive behaviors. Additionally, when landlords repeatedly enter occupied units without giving proper notice or handle personal property without consent, that also qualifies as a legitimate nuisance.
If you are a landlord, a knowledgeable West Palm Beach real estate lawyer can help you draft a South Florida residential agreement in accordance with Florida tenant and landlord laws. If a dispute or tenant lawsuit arises, call the Law Offices of Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan for a free consultation.