Safety expectations for Florida landlords

Landlords renting property in Florida should be aware that there are State laws which dictate the extent to which the premises must be maintained.

Those who provide living space to tenants in the State of Florida have to follow State law in order to avoid being liable for injuries sustained or crimes committed on the property being rented. In addition to renting a place that is repaired and reasonably well-maintained, there are also specific protocols within the state housing code that apply to premises safety. Understanding some of these specific rules is important for both landlords and tenants to protect their rights, especially in a situation where an unexpected injury has occurred.

Rights and Duties

It is the responsibility of both the tenant and the landlord to maintain the property in a way that keeps it free of damage. Maintaining plumbing and electricity are important parts of this. Normal wear and tear is allowed, but nothing that could pose a danger to anyone living or spending time at the dwelling. While it is rare, there are certain cases in which a property's being neglected by the landlord can justify a tenant's withholding of rent. If the home does not meet local housing code requirements, that may reason enough for a tenant to be able to avoid paying rent.

Florida State building code

In addition to needing to honor the rights guaranteed by the State, there are also some specific requirements that need to be honored in order for a property to be considered safe and well-maintained. Landlords should keep in mind that they are not responsible for any damage caused by tenants that causes the premises to be in violation of regulations. The following specifications for premises safety are provided by the Florida State Legislature:

· Smoke detectors must be in working order and installed in any place that will be used by tenants as residence. Fires can happen without warning, and a good smoke detector can make the difference between someone getting burned or escaping unharmed.

· If a tenant is asked to vacate a premise for extermination of pests, the notice must be given at least 7 days in advance, and the period of time away must be no greater than 4 days.

· In lieu of any local applicable building codes, State law still requires landlords to keep the entire premises under good repair, including making sure walls and floors can bear the loads they are intended to.

· Screens must be repaired by the landlord once per year as long as someone is renting a property, and should be in a reasonable condition upon installation.

Another thing tenants and landlords should both keep in mind is that the above State laws do not apply to structures owned by the tenant, such as mobile homes.

Anyone in Florida who is concerned about the safety of a premise, whether he or she is a tenant renting, or he or she is a landlord attempting to make sure the space is ready to rent, may find that a local attorney who practices personal injury law is able to provide reliable consultation.