Are you a real estate investor looking to expand your portfolio by investing in Florida's real estate market?
With an estimated 1,000 people migrating to Florida on a daily basis, the Florida rental market is expected to remain strong for many years to come. It’s for this reason that the state has become the go-to destination for individuals looking to invest in real estate.
If you are considering investing in the First Coast rental market or have already done so, then learning how to structure a lease or rental agreement is the next big step to becoming a succesful real estate investor.
This important legal document can make the difference between a successful and a struggling business.
To make a solid agreement, there are key items that must be included:
A) The length of the lease term
B) The pet policy
C) Landlord entry
D) Rent rules
Making these rules as clear as possible will help you avoid the common conflicts that landlords encounter with their First Coast tenants.
An aspect in the lease agreement that is sometimes forgotten by Florida landlords is specifying when the term will come to an end.
They assume that the tenant already knows but this often results in dealing with a “holdover” tenant. A holdover tenant is a tenant who refuses to move out once their term has ended.
To avoid cases like this, always include the length of the lease in your lease or rental agreement. Leases can be short-term or long-term. Short-term leases usually run anywhere from a few days (in cases of vacation rentals) to a few months (in cases of single-family homes). Long-term leases run for more than 1 year.
A survey done by the National Pet Owners Association estimates that approximately 68% of American households own a pet.
Much like subletting, there are landlords who allow it and there are those who prohibit it. If you allow it, then make sure that your tenant knows of any restrictions that you may have.
Let your tenant, for instance, know that you only allow pets of certain breeds. You can have restrictions on the size and weight of the pet as well.
Another important term that your lease or rental agreement should include is if you allow subletting.
If you permit subletting, make sure that your Florida tenant knows your rules. Let them know, for example, that they can’t sublet your property without your permission. Or that the prospective tenant must go through your screening procedures. This helps prevent renting to the wrong type of tenants.
If you prohibit subletting, make sure your tenant knows. Ensure that they acknowledge the fact that it would be a serious violation of the lease if they subletted the property to any individual.
Make sure to mention both you and your tenant’s responsibilities on the lease agreement concerning repairs and maintenance.
Generally speaking, as a landlord, you are responsible for:
• Making sure that all vital services are working.
• Making reasonable repairs to keep the property in habitable condition.
• Maintaining common areas of the property.
• Providing safe and healthy environment for their tenants.
• Supplying proper trash receptacles.
On the part of the tenant, let them know that they themselves, too, have legal maintenance responsibilities as well. Although they vary by state, the following are common tenant responsibilities:
• Not to disturb potential lead paid hazards. This could include drilling into a wall to hang a television or repainting the property.
• Prevent mold growth. This could include opening the window when showering or always turning on the fan in the bathroom.
• Follow building and housing codes.
• Keep their unit free from safety hazards.
• Keep their unit free from sanitary hazards.
Most disputes between landlords and tenants in small claims courts usually involves security deposits. As such, avoid potential issues by being clear on the use and return of security deposits.
You also want to be clear on the following when it comes to rent:
• The dollar amount of rent
• When and where rent is due
• How you expect tenants to pay it to you
• The amount of late fee, if applicable
• The amount of grace period, if applicable
• What happens in case of a bounced check
All tenants, including those living in Florida, have the right to a quiet and safe home. Once you rent out your property to a tenant, you have to notify them before entering. Failing to give tenants adequate notification of entry could violate the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Whatever the reason, adequate notice must be given. In Florida, the statewide landlord-tenant law stipulates that this notice period must be at least 12 hours except in cases of emergency.
The entry must also be made during reasonable times, between 7.30am and 8.00pm.
There you have it. 6 key lease terms that you should include in your Florida lease agreement. If you have more questions or need help drafting a lease, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Suncastle Property Management! You can give us a call at (904) 664-4354.