The Honest Broker: Renting
According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), there are over 4500+ properties in Martin and St. Lucie counties currently available for rent which demonstrates that leasing is a very significant part of the real estate market. There are 3 laws that regulate residential leasing which include fair housing laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act. Fair housing laws are designed to protect a citizen’s right to live where he or she chooses without “arbitrary rejection based on race, color, religion, or any other legally protected status.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits a property manager or landlord from refusing to: * show, rent or negotiate with a person for housing
*discriminate in a lease’s terms or conditions
*engage in discriminatory advertising
*falsely tell potential renters that a property is not available
*steer members of protected classes into buildings or areas that are occupied primarily by members of the same class
Most people are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act which makes it unlawful to discriminate against persons with physical or mental impairments. A part of the law, Title III, addresses disabled persons’ accessibility to public accommodations, commercial buildings, and multi-family dwellings. This is important for landlords, in that they cannot deny a tenant due to a person’s’ need for a service animal.
Lastly, there is the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act which lays out the “duties” of both landlord and tenant.
Landlord’s Duties: The landlord must comply with building, housing and health codes, and keep the structure and plumbing in good repair. The landlord of a multifamily dwelling must provide pest control, locks and keys, clean and safe common areas, garbage removal and receptacles, and facilities for heat, running water, and hot water. Landlords of a single family home or duplex must provide working smoke detectors.
Tenant Duties: The tenant must comply with all building, housing and health codes, keep the premises clean and sanitary, remove garbage and refrain from disturbing neighbors unreasonably.
Landlord Entry to Property: The tenant can’t prevent a landlord from inspecting the property, making repairs, give agreed upon services, or show the apartment. However, the landlord can’t abuse the right to enter for sole purpose of harassment of the tenant. The landlord must give 12 hours’ notice and enter between the hours of 7:30am-8:00 pm.
Diane Lott, Broker
Paradise Found Realty, Inc. of Palm City
Stay on top of the local news and sign up for alerts or daily digests at http://www.treasurecoast.com/