As southwest Florida’s premier property management company, Douglas Realty Property Management understands the challenges tenants can face when paying rent. While it’s important to remember that paying rent on time is a tenant’s responsibility, we also understand that unexpected financial difficulties can arise. If you find yourself unable to pay your rent, it’s important to take the right steps to work with your landlord and protect your rights under Florida law.
Communicate With Your Landlord
The first step when you can’t pay your rent is to communicate with your landlord as soon as possible. The earlier you do this, the better. Explain your situation and try to come to an agreement that works for both parties. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan or even a temporary reduction in rent. But remember, any agreement you make should be in writing and signed by both parties.
Florida’s law requires that tenants be given written notice of a landlord’s intention to terminate the lease and demand payment of rent before the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. However, communication is key. If you don’t communicate with your landlord, they may assume that you won’t pay and move forward with an eviction lawsuit.
Know Your Rights
As a tenant in Florida, you have rights that protect you from unfair eviction practices. For example, landlords cannot evict tenants in retaliation for complaining to a government agency or for exercising their legal rights. Landlords also cannot evict tenants without a court order.
Additionally, Florida law allows tenants to withhold rent if the landlord fails to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition. However, this should only be done after giving the landlord written notice of the problem and allowing them a reasonable amount of time to fix it. If the problem is not fixed, tenants may be able to withhold rent until it is.
Seek Legal Advice
If you are facing eviction, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. There are several organizations in Florida that provide free or low-cost legal services to tenants facing eviction, including Legal Services of Greater Miami and Florida Rural Legal Services. These organizations can help you understand your rights and options, and may even be able to represent you in court.
Douglas Works With Tenants in Times of Need
At Douglas Realty Property Management, we understand that life happens. That’s why we work with tenants living in the properties we manage when a financial crisis strikes. For more information about our tenant/payment policies, call us at 239-542-6906 today.