Landlord Tenant Disputes

Whether you are a landlord or tenant in these uncertain times, you face the likelihood of a dispute over rent, repair or some other aspect of your short term lease.

These disputes are often exacerbated by mistakes or missteps made on both sides.  If you find yourself in a dispute with your tenant or landlord here are four points to take into consideration.

1. Time is of the essence 

It is often “too late” when landlord tenant disputes have escalated to a level where at least one side feels they need to take action. One common error is made by landlords in the case of tenants failing to pay rent. The landlord often erroneously waits until the total value of missed rent payments exceeds the tenant’s deposit. This means that landlords lose their leverage over the tenant and will almost certainly never have that money paid back to them.  Often, tenants make the same mistake in delaying action until it is almost too late. The key is to prepare a defensive action as soon as possible before the landlord begins eviction proceedings. Once the eviction process has begun, stopping or delaying it becomes more costly and difficult.

2. Know your documentation

Too often, tenants and even landlords fail to read the short term lease agreement that governs the tenancy.  In the case of dispute however, the agreement is the defining document that explains your specific rights and obligations as a landlord or a tenant.  Understanding starts with awareness: read your lease agreement before you sign it. Then read it again if any landlord tenant dispute arises during the course of the lease.  If any area is difficult to understand, or if you believe your rights and obligations are not clearly laid out, then contact an experienced attorney to interpret the agreement.

“It is often ‘too late’ when a landlord tenant dispute has escalated to a level where at least one side feels they need to take action.”

3. Be proactive

Take action to resolve potential disputes before they begin.  It is often better to inform the other party of actions that may cause a dispute before they are taken.  For example when any of the following issues are about to occur, talk to the other party to secure their cooperation in resolving the matter before it becomes a dispute:

Change in access to amenities (eg: gym usage)
Increases in rent
New addendum to agreement
Non-payment of rent
Peer-to-peer rentals (eg: AirBnB or Vrbo
Property damage
Property repairs
Sale/Transfer of property
Subletting or new roomate
Underpayment of rent

4. Seek legal advice

Too often, landlords and tenants attempt to “go it alone” instead of hiring an experienced real estate lawyer.  Having an experienced real estate attorney to represent your interests in a landlord tenant dispute allows you to know the rights and obligations of both tenant and landlord.  Knowing your options as well the options available to the other party is an advantage well worth any costs associated with retaining a lawyer. At the end of the day, the party with retained counsel is likely to act more professionally because they will know if the goals they set out to achieve are attainable.

Are you involved or may potentially be involved with a dispute with your tenant or landlord?  Call South Florida Law today and speak to an experienced Real Estate lawyer. We can be reached on (954) 900-8885 or click here to connect via our contact form.

Nima Ajabshir, Esq. is the Managing Partner at South Florida Law, with an emphasis in Real Estate Law. Mr. Ajabshir received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Florida State University, where he graduated Cum Laude.  Mr. Ajabshir, Esq. attended and received his Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas University School of Law.  In addition to being an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Florida, Mr. Ajabshir, Esq. has his real estate license, so he has experience in both the legal and transactional facets of Florida real estate.

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