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Tenant Damage to Rentals in Florida

As a landlord in Florida, you expect your tenants to take care of your rental property. Unfortunately, accidents and damages do happen. When a tenant damages your property, it can be a frustrating and expensive experience. However, you need to follow Florida law as you protect your property. To make sure you always stay compliant, contact Flaxman Law Group for a no obligation case consultation with a landlord-tenant dispute attorney in our Miami, Homestead, or Hollywood offices.

Understanding Tenant Damage

Damage caused by tenants to your rental property can be intentional or accidental. It can range from minor issues to significant destruction. Some common types of tenant damage include:

  • Broken windows doors
  • Holes in walls
  • Stains
  • Burn marks
  • Pet damage
  • Water damage
  • Broken appliances
  • Odors
Ways to Prevent Tenant Damage to Rental Property

While there is no way to guarantee your property won’t get damaged, there are a few ways to reduce the risk:

  • Document the state of the property before and after a renter moves in. Take photos or videos of the property and conduct a thorough move-in and move-out inspection with the tenant.
  • Have a good lease agreement in place. A good lease agreement should outline expectations and responsibilities for both the landlord and the tenant. It should include provisions for security deposits, repairs, and tenant damage.
  • Screen tenants carefully. Look for renters with good references and good credit scores. Vet tenants to make sure they haven’t caused property damage in the past.
  • Consider a property management company. A good property management company can vet tenants, handle repairs and tenant damage, and take care of other issues for you, saving you time.
What Can I Do If a Tenant Has Damaged My Property?

According to Florida law, a landlord can withhold a security deposit to pay for any unpaid rent, late fees, or damage caused by the tenant beyond normal wear and tear. The landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized list of any deductions made from their security deposit within 30 days of the lease's termination.

However, Florida law also sets limits on the amount of security deposit a landlord can require. Make sure you understand the current laws and abide by them.

If a tenant does damage your property, here are the steps you will want to follow to stay compliant:

  • Assess and document the damage. Assess the damage to your property and determine the cost of repairs. Get multiple repair estimates to get an accurate sense of the cost. Also take photos and videos of the damage, in case there is any dispute about how the damage happened.
  • Notify the tenant. Notify the tenant of the damage and the estimate of the repair costs. Inform the tenant of your intention to deduct the repair costs from their security deposit.
  • Conduct the repairs and pay for them. Deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit and provide them with an itemized list of the deductions. Communicate with the tenant about when repairs will happen, what access to the rental property will be needed (if the renter still lives there), and how long repairs will last.
  • Seek legal help if a disagreement arises. If the tenant disputes the deductions, you may need to go through a mediation process or take legal action. Consult with a Florida landlord-tenant dispute attorney to help you through this process.

If you need a Florida landlord-tenant claims attorney, contact the Miami, Homestead, or Hollywood offices of Flaxman Law Group by calling at 866-352-9626 to schedule a no obligation consultation with an attorney. Or contact us online or email attorney Charles Flaxman directly at cflaxman@flaxmanlaw.com

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