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RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF TENANTS RENTING UNDER AGREEMENT WITH WENDY MORRIS REALTY 


When a person pays to live in a house, apartment or mobile home—whether payment is made weekly, monthly, or at other regular periods and whether the apartment or house or mobile home is rented from a private person, a corporation, or most governmental units – even when this is no written “lease” agreement- the renter becomes a tenant governed by Florida law.


 

A tenant has certain basic rights protected by Florida law, which the landlord must observe. Of course, the tenant also has certain responsibilities.

The tenant's rights are specified in the Florida Statutes at chapter 83 part 2. A tenant in public housing has rights under federal law, as well. If there is no written lease, these laws regulate the tenant's rights. There may also be a written lease which could affect a tenant's rights. If there is a written lease, it should be carefully reviewed. The Landlord-Tenant Law prevails over what the lease says.

A tenant is entitled to the right of private, peaceful possession of the dwelling. Once rented, the dwelling is the tenant's to lawfully use. The landlord may only enter the dwelling in order to inspect the premises or to make necessary or agreed repairs, but only if he or she first gives the tenant reasonable notice and comes at a convenient time. If an emergency exists, the requirement for notice may be shortened or waived.

The landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in. It must have working plumbing, hot water and heating, be structurally sound and have reasonable security, including working and locking doors and windows, and it must be free of pests. The landlord must also comply with local health, building and safety codes. If the landlord has to make repairs to comply, the landlord must pay.

If the landlord claims the tenant has violated the rental agreement, he or she must inform the tenant in writing of the specific problem and give the tenant time to correct the problem--even if the problem is non-payment of rent--before the landlord can go to court to have the tenant removed. If the tenant commits a serious act endangering the property (such as committing a crime on the premises) or the tenant fails to correct a problem after written notice from the landlord, the landlord must still go to court to be permitted to evict the tenant. In any court proceeding, the tenant has the absolute right to be present, argue his or her case and be represented by an attorney.

If the landlord requires the tenant to pay a security deposit, the landlord must preserve the deposit during the tenancy. In addition, the landlord must return the full amount of the deposit within (15) days after the tenant leaves the dwelling or give the tenant written notice of why some or all of it won't be returned within thirty (30) days after the tenant leaves the dwelling. The tenant then has the right to object in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the notice. Under some circumstances, the tenant may receive the security deposit plus interest. Before moving out the tenant must provide the landlord with an address for receipt of the security deposit, or else the tenant may lose the right to object if the landlord claims the right to keep the deposit money.

The tenant has the right, under certain very aggravated circumstances caused by the landlord's neglect, to withhold rent. This can only be done when the landlord fails to comply with an important responsibility, such as providing a safe and habitable home in compliance with local housing codes. Before rent is withheld, the tenant must give the landlord seven (7) days written notice of the problem so the landlord can fix it. Even after withholding rent, the tenant should preserve the money and seek court permission to spend part of it to do what the landlord should have done. If the tenant does not preserve the money and seek court assistance, the tenant may be evicted for nonpayment.

Finally, the tenant has the right to move out. If there is a written lease, the tenant can move out when a written lease is up. If there is no written lease, the tenant may move out for no reason by giving written notice of his or her intent to leave no less than seven (7) days before the next rent payment is due if the rent is paid weekly or fifteen (15) days if the rent is paid monthly. The tenant may terminate the rental agreement if the landlord has failed to live up to one of his or her major obligations, provided the tenant has sent written notice to the landlord, seven (7) days before the rent is due (there are some exceptions to the right to move out).

If a landlord loses in court, the landlord may be held liable for any costs and attorney's fees incurred by the tenant. If the tenant loses in court, the tenant may be liable for the landlord's costs and attorney's fees.

A tenant also has responsibilities, which if not observed can lead to eviction. The tenant must pay the agreed upon rent and do so on time. The tenant must comply with building, housing and health codes. The tenant must maintain the dwelling without damage, keep the dwelling clean, and maintain the plumbing. The tenant must not violate the law or disturb the peace, nor allow guests to do so.

In trying to evict a tenant, a landlord will try to prove the tenant violated a tenant responsibility. However, the landlord may not seek to evict a tenant in retaliation for legitimate complaints about housing conditions to proper authorities. No eviction can occur, though, until the landlord first gives the tenant notice of the problem, and then gets a court order. Without the court order, the landlord has no power to interfere with the tenant. The landlord cannot, for instance, lock a tenant out or cutoff tenant's utilities. A landlord engaging in this type of prohibited practice may be liable to the tenant for damages in the amount of three months rent or actual damages whichever is higher. The landlord must get a court order of eviction before he or she can interfere with the tenant's occupancy. If a tenant is served with papers seeking eviction, the tenant should immediately seek legal assistance. The tenant may have legal defenses. For instance, the landlord cannot try to get even with a tenant by evicting him or her when the tenant has not violated tenant responsibilities. To raise defenses in an eviction proceeding, a tenant normally must pay into the court registry past due rent if any is owed and rent which comes due during the proceeding. If the tenant disputes the amount of rent claimed to be due, he or she may ask the court to determine the correct amount, but the tenant must show why he or she believes the amount is wrong. In an eviction proceeding, a tenant has very little time to respond, so quick action is extremely important.

The landlord can never remove the tenant's property or lock the tenant out. Only the sheriff's office may do this after a Court Order and Writ of Possession.


If you believe you need legal advice, call your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, call The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 342-8011, or the local lawyer referral service or legal aid office listed in the yellow pages of your telephone book.


  

Local Information

Public Schools 

Orange County Public Schools 407-317-3200
Seminole County Public Schools 407-320-0000
Osceola Public Schools 407-870-4600

 

Colleges

University of Central Florida 407-823-2000
Rollins College Winter Park 407-646-2000
Valencia Community College 407-582-3150
Seminole Community College 407-708-4722
Florida Metropolitan University(Everest) 888-741-4270
Herzing College Orlando Campus 407-478-0500
Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences 407-303-9798
Full Sail Real World Education 407-678-0700
DeVry University Orlando 407-370-3131

 

Utilities 

Progress Energy Florida 407-629-1010
Orlando Utilities Commission 407-423-9018
Orange County Utilities 407-836-5515
Seminole County Utilities 407-665-2110
Kissimmee Utility Authority 407-933-7777
Bright House Networks 407-291-2500
Adelphia Cable – Time Warner 888-683-1000
Direct T.V. 888-777-2454
Dish Network 888-347-4881
BellSouth Telephone Service – AT&T 800-757-6500
CenturyLink (formerly: Embarq) 888-723-8010
AT&T Long Distance 800-222-0300
Orlando Sentinel Newspaper Delivery 407-420-5353
Expressway Authority E-Pass Service 407-316-3800

 

Medical Facilities

Florida Hospital 407-419-3700
Orlando Regional Medical Center 407-841-5111
Winter Park Memorial Hospital 407-646-7000
Florida Hospital Altamonte 407-303-2200
Orange County Health Department 407-836-2600
Seminole County Health Department 407-665-3200
Osceola County Health Department 407-343-2000
Poison Control Center 800-222-1222

 

County Phone Directories 

Orange County Phone Directory 407-836-0000
Seminole County Phone Directory 407-665-0411
Osceola County Phone Directory 407-343-2ASK

 

Law Enforcement & Fire

 

Law Enforcement & Fire EMERGENCY

911

Florida Highway Patrol 407-737-2300
Orange County Sheriffs Department 407-737-2400
Orange County Fire Rescue 407-836-9000
Seminole County Sheriffs Department 407-665-6600
Seminole County Fire Rescue 407-665-5002
Osceola County Sheriffs Department 407-348-2222
Orlando Police Department 321-235-5300
Orlando Fire Department 321-235-5200

 

Local Government 

Government & Information Services 311
Federal Information Center 800-333-4636
State of Florida Information Operator 407-245-1700
Orange County Public Information 407-836-3111
Seminole County Public Information 407-665-0311
Osceola County Public Information 407-343-2380
Social Security Administration 407-648-6673
Orange County Voter Registration 407-836-2070
Seminole County Voter Registration 407-708-7700
Osceola County Voter Registration 407-343-3900
Orange County Property Appraiser 407-836-5044
Seminole County Property Appraiser 407-665-7506
Osceola County Property Appraiser 407-343-3700

 

License & Auto Transfers 

Orange County Clerk of the Court Office 407-836-6000
Orange County Drivers License Offices 407-275-4059
Orange County Motor Vehicle Services 407-836-4145
Seminole County Clerk of the Court Office 407-665-4450
Seminole County Drivers License Offices 407-327-4760
Seminole County Motor Vehicle Services 407-665-1000
Osceola County Clerk of the Court Office 407-343-3500
Osceola County Drivers License Offices 407-846-5230
Osceola County Motor Vehicle Services 407-742-4000

 

Local News & Weather Resources 

Bright House Central Florida News 13 407-513-1300
WKMG Local Channel 6 407-521-1323
WFTV Eyewitness News Channel 9 407-841-9000
Orlando Sentinel Local News 407-420-5000
WDBO AM 580 News Radio

321-281-2000

 

Shopping & Leisure 

The Mall at Millenia 407-363-3555
Waterford Lakes Town Center 407-737-2866
Florida Mall 407-851-6255
Oviedo Marketplace 407-977-2400
Fashion Square Mall 407-896-1131
Seminole Town Center 407-323-2262
West Oaks Mall 407-294-2775
Winter Springs Town Center 800-281-6947
Altamonte Mall 407-830-4422
Belz Festival Bay Mall 407-351-7718
Prime Outlet Mall 407-352-9611
 



All listing information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified through personal inspection by appropriate professionals. Listings displayed on this website may be subject to prior sale or removal from sale; availability of any listing should always be independent verified. Listing information is provided for consumer personal, non-commercial use, solely to identify potential properties for potential purchase; all other use is strictly prohibited and may violate relevant federal and state law. The source of the listing data is as follows: My Florida Regional MLS (updated 10/22/17)

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407-575-5392

Wendy Morris LLC
DBA Wendy Morris Realty
Licensed in the State of Florida
BK 3146762
14832 Speer Lake Drive
Winter Garden, FL 34787

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