Recently, we've had investors and property owners contact us to review lease agreements prepared either: (1) by some company that produces forms that can be bought off the shelf at a office supply store, (2) from another state, (3) from another landlord-tenant situation, or (4) from the Internet. Sometimes, these lease agreements are fine, but most times these lease agreements can cause more trouble than good because they fail to comply with Florida laws or because they fall short of containing the agreement of the parties.
Thus the title of this blog - lease agreements are not "one size fits all." A few helpful tips for getting the right lease agreement:
- Make sure the lease agreement contains the basics: term, rent, due date, security deposit.
- Make sure the lease agreement contains anything specifically negotiated by the parties.
- Make sure the lease agreement complies with Florida law.
- If the lease is silent as to any term, Florida law will fill in that gap.
Finally, have the lease reviewed by a professional. For a few dollars, we can review your lease agreement and avoid potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars in penalties later. For example, we recently reviewed a lease agreement that said that after the tenants vacated, the landlord would inspect the property within 30 days and return the security deposit or make a claim against the security deposit within 60 days. Florida law cuts those time periods in half - 15 days to return the deposit, or 30 days to make a claim against the deposit. If I had not caught that in the lease agreement and the landlord waited 60 days to return the deposit, a Court could hold the landlord liable to return the security deposit (even if the tenant caused damage to the property).
The thing to remember, as with any contract, the lease can provide anything so long as the landlord and tenant are in agreement and as long as what they've agreed is not illegal. In addition, there is no perfect form lease agreement and each agreement must be reviewed to ensure it covers the agreement of the parties.
For more information on crafting a lease agreement, please subscribe to the Yesner Law Podcast, on iTunes and Stitcher. If you prefer, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options at 813-774-5737 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shawn M. Yesner, Esq., is the founder of Yesner Law, P.L., a Tampa-based boutique real estate and consumer law firm that helps clients eliminate debt by providing options, so they can live the lifestyle of their dreams. We assist clients with landlord/tenant issues, the sale and purchase of real property, asset protection, Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 13 reorganization, bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, debt settlement, short sales, and loan modifications in Tampa, Westchase, Odessa, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Largo, St. Petersburg, and throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.