Landlord Tenant Basics
I receive dozens of calls each month from individuals who want to know the landlord tenant basics when they are about to get evicted from a home. The most usual scenario involves the tenant’s failure to pay rent, or receipt of an eviction notice. Individuals are often surprised that even though they don’t own the home, they can be evicted or given a notice of tenancy termination which forces them to move. I am surprised that people don’t understand this concept, but in an effort to clear up these issues for inquiring minds, here are the landlord tenant basics.
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First, when you sign a lease, you are only entitled to the rights set out in that lease. It is a contract, and even though you get to live in a home or apartment, your rights are what you agreed to in writing.
Second, when that lease ends (assuming you paid monthly rent), your right to stay in the property continues on a month to month basis. The good part of this scenario is that you still have the rights of a tenant each month so long as you pay rent. The bad part is, your right to live in the property can terminate by the landlord giving you as little as 15 days notice that he is not renewing your tenancy.
Third, if you don’t pay rent, you can be evicted with 3 Days Notice (to pay or move out) in writing. You can’t decide to not pay rent because something is damaged or not working right, unless you have given the landlord a 7 Day Notice in writing prior to the time the rent is due. This notice informs him that he has seven days to fix the problem that is his responsibility in the written lease, or you will withhold rent in the amount necessary to fix it yourself. If it is a massive problem that cannot be fixed, you may have the right to use this 7 day notice to terminate your lease. Always be sure to first look at your lease to determine if the damage that needs fixing is your responsibility or the responsibility of the landlord.
Here’s the bottom line. If you don’t own the property you only have the rights that are in your lease. Further, if you don’t pay rent and have not given a seven day notice, the landlord can give a you a 3 Day Notice and seek to evict you. Finally, if your lease ends and if you don’t sign a new one, your right to live there can be terminated with proper notice that might be as little as 15 days. If you would like to consult with an experienced Pasco County eviction lawyer, contact us today.