Call Us Today! 561-666-3443
Legal Advocates, PLLC
2424 N. Federal Highway, Suite 411
Boca Raton, FL 33431

Tenant Legal Representation – Eviction Defense

We represent both residential and commercial tenants who believe their rights are not being respected. Florida landlord-tenant law can appear both broad and complex. Most renters are aware that there are laws dealing with landlord-tenant relationships and that they have certain rights when they are involved in a dispute; however, they often don’t know those rights, how to apply them, or the proper procedures to follow during such a dispute.

If you are threatened or have been served with an eviction action, we can help ensure that your landlord follows the requisite legal procedures and meets the burden of proof required for an eviction. It may be possible to extend the time constraints, work out a settlement agreement, or even fight the validity of the eviction action. If your landlord has not provided you with a safe and habitable premise, ensured you that you have quiet enjoyment of the property, or made reasonable repairs; there are processes which can be utilized to correct these deficiencies. We will help you get the remedy you need!

Landlord-Tenant Law in Florida

The law imposes certain rights and responsibilities for both parties, and a breach by either may give rise to a legal cause of action or a valid defense thereof. When a party to a lease fails to live up to their obligations or violates the others’ rights, the aggrieved party may be able to bring a lawsuit to rectify the situation. The law that governs the relationship between landlords and tenants can be extremely complicated, and anyone having a dispute with a landlord should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.  The attorneys of Legal Advocates, PLLC are dedicated to representing people involved in landlord-tenant disputes, and pride themselves on providing superior legal representation at a reasonable cost, as everything we do is always in your interest.

The attorneys at Legal Advocates, PLLC are knowledgeable and experienced in both the transactional aspects of this area of practice, and the litigation aspects, should disputes arise. Disputes may sometimes be resolved with a simple letter written by a knowledgeable attorney, and sometimes they require litigation.  In either situation, it is always best to resolve disputes with the help and guidance of an experienced landlord-tenant attorney.

Some of the matters we handle on behalf of tenants include the following:

  • Defending Evictions
  • Compelling landlords to make necessary repairs
  • Implied warranty of habitability issues
  • Quiet enjoyment claims
  • Security deposit claims
  • Drafting and serving notices, demand letters, amongst other correspondences
  • Seeking damages

Disputes between tenants and landlords can involve a wide range of issues. For example, a tenant may wish to terminate a lease or withhold rent due to a landlord’s noncompliance with the rental agreement or the law.

Prohibited Acts By A Landlord

In Florida, landlords are prohibited from certain actions. For instance, a landlord cannot just throw out a tenant, or order a tenant to leave the rented premises, only a judge can order a tenant evicted from the rented premise. Moreover, Florida law does not allow a landlord to force a tenant out through particular actions, such as: shutting off the utilities or interrupting service of water, heat, light, electricity, gas, elevator, garbage collection, or refrigeration (even if that service is under the control of the landlord or the landlord makes payment); changing the locks or using a device that denies the tenant access; removing the outside doors, locks, roof, walls or windows (except for purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement); and removing the tenant’s personal property from the rented residence.

The Landlord's Responsibilities

The landlord’s responsibilities will depend on the type of rental unit.
Florida Statutes 83.51 – Landlord’s obligations to maintain premises

  1. The landlord of a dwelling unit at all times during the tenancy shall:
    1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing and health codes; or
    2. Where there is no applicable building, housing or health codes; maintain the roof, windows, screens, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads; keep the plumbing in reasonably good working condition. The landlord at commencement of the tenancy, must ensure that screens are installed in a reasonable condition. Thereafter, the landlord must repair damage to screens once annually, when necessary, until termination of the rental agreement.

In addition to providing the above requirements, the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times of the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for: Extermination of rats, mice, ants and wood destroying organisms and bed bugs; locks and keys; clean and safe conditions of common areas; garbage removal and outside receptacles; functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water and hot water.

If the dwelling is a single-family home or duplex, a working smoke detection device. This does not mean that the landlord is obligated to pay for utilities, water, fuel or garbage removal, although he/she may choose to. Other provisions relevant to a rental agreement may also be altered in writing.

Security Deposits

We also represent tenants in security deposit disputes. In disputes involving a security deposit, Florida law dictates the procedures and timelines regarding the return of a security deposit or a landlord’s intent to keep part or all of a security deposit. After the lease terminates and the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the deposit within 15 days if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit. If the landlord intends to impose a claim on the deposit, the landlord must state in writing by certified mail to the tenant’s last known mailing address within 30 days explaining why the landlord is keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the deposit.

Unless the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim on the deposit within 15 days after receipt of the landlord’s notice of intention to impose a claim, the landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days. If the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim, the tenant should first notify the landlord in writing by certified mail that the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim on the security deposit. The tenant may then file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or institute an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to determine the landlord’s right to the security deposit.

Evictions

When a landlord is attempting to evict a tenant, Florida law dictates specific steps and procedures, as well as exact timelines, which the landlord must follow. If the landlord fails to correctly follow the steps and procedures, the eviction may be dismissed by the court.

If you are served with an eviction complaint or if one is posted on your door, it is essential that you act quickly and seek the advice of counsel. Florida law requires that all defenses in law or fact shall be contained in the defendant’s answer which shall be filed within 5 days after service of process. Failure to file an answer and the necessary motions could result in the Court immediately entering a default against you, entering judgment in favor of the landlord, and issuing a writ to the Sheriff to remove any tenants along with their possessions from the property. Thus, time is of the essence.

If you are involved in a landlord-tenant matter you should contact an experienced landlord-tenant attorney as soon as possible.  The landlord-tenant lawyers of Legal Advocates, PLLC are dedicated to helping people with landlord-tenant issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

We are local South Florida attorneys that practice exclusively in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Areas we serve include:

Boca Raton

Boynton Beach

Coral Springs

Dania Beach

Davie

Deerfield Beach

Delray Beach

Fort Lauderdale

Greenacres

Hollywood

Jupiter

Lake Worth

              Loxahatchee             

Margate

Miramar

Palm Beach Gardens

Plantation

Pompano Beach

Rivera Beach

Royal Palm Beach

Sunrise

Wellington

 

 

When you call Legal Advocates, PLLC we will immediately schedule a consultation to personally meet with one of our attorneys to review your case and discuss the options you may have.

At Legal Advocates, PLLC we keep our clients abreast of every step of the foreclosure process.

If you are involved in a landlord-tenant dispute, contact Legal Advocates, PLLC today at (561) 666-3443 for a free consultation to find out how we can help. You can also email us at info@inyourinterest.net and a member of our staff will contact you promptly. Our office is conveniently located just minutes from I-95 on Federal Highway between Spanish River Road and Glades Road in Boca Raton. Upon request, we also have alternative satellite office locations throughout Palm Beach and Broward County where our attorneys can arrange to meet you and discuss your case.