If you own residential rental property, then you likely already know that you must wear many “hats.” For instance, you need to advertise vacancies, screen potential tenants, and collect rent (and security deposits).

There is also the day-to-day maintenance items, such as making sure that the property is habitable (which can include things like no leaks in the roof, properly functioning HVAC and other systems, and response to emergencies).

But while you are ensuring that your renters are safe, how can you keep yourself protected from situations like potentially costly lawsuits?

In the state of Florida, there are several important tips to follow in order to better ensure that you avoid legal issues. These include:

  • Compliance with anti-discrimination laws.
  • Meeting the state’s security deposit limits.
  • Respecting your tenants’ privacy.
  • Making legally required disclosures.

Although you are allowed to reject potential tenants based on poor credit history and/or negative references from previous landlords, it is essential that you comply with anti-discrimination laws. This means that you may not discriminate or refuse to rent to someone based on their race, religion, gender, national origin, or physical / mental disability.

Security deposits can also be a big source of dispute between landlords and tenants. Pending no major damages when a renter moves out, some or all of these funds must be returned within 15 and 60 days. Landlords must also not impede on tenants’ privacy by showing up unannounced, and you must keep written records of your request(s) to enter the home or unit.

Further, under Florida law, a landlord is required to disclose certain information such as how the security deposit will be held (i.e., in or not in an interest-bearing account), and whether or not there is lead-based paint on the property.

If you own residential rental property in Orlando and/or the surrounding Central Florida area, it may be time to consider working with a professional property manager. So, contact us and we’ll provide you with more information on how we can make you life easier.