Issues in existing leases

Lease Agreement file with a pencil on topThere are many instances where landlords ask us at Hoffman Realty to take over the management of a property, and when we do, we are surprised to see problems in their leases. We would like to share what we have learned about the rental agreement, so you can be sure you don’t make the same mistakes. Every lease has standard terms. You have to make sure you mention the parties, the property, the amount of rent and the security deposit. Make sure when you reference the security deposit, you also name where the deposit will be held. In addition to these standard things, you have to watch for other elements in your rental agreement. Please make sure you do not make these following four errors that we have seen in so many of the leases we take over.

Make sure it’s a Florida lease:

We had one particular landlord using a California lease. None of the referenced laws that were mentioned would be legal in Florida. Your lease has to be applicable to the state your property is in.

Legally Enforceable:

Make sure the clauses are legally enforceable. You can write anything you want into your lease, but if there is no law to enforce that clause, it isn’t going to do you much good. We have seen landlords try to use terms such as “liquidated damages,” which means that if a tenant does a particular thing, he forfeits his deposit. You might be surprised to learn that not only is that unenforceable, you can also get sued for trying to enforce it in Florida.

All adult occupants must be named as tenants:

Anyone who is 18 years old or older must be listed as a tenant in the rental agreement. We have taken over leases for landlords who have had trouble evicting people from the property because those individuals are living there, but not listed on the lease. Make sure every adult is on the lease and signs it.

Abandoned Property:

Make sure there is an abandoned property clause. When your tenant moves out, you do not want to be stuck storing, at your expense, the abandoned property they leave behind.

Please remember that our advice comes from our experience as professional property managers. If you need legal advice, you should talk to a qualified attorney. If you have any questions about this blog, or how to make sure everything in your rental agreement is included, contact us or give us a call if we can answer any questions at (813) 875-7474.