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Florida Statutes - Landlord Can Not Be Held Responsible for Tenant's Unpaid Utility Bill

The 2015 Florida Statutes
Title XII
MUNICIPALITIES
    
Chapter 180
MUNICIPAL PUBLIC WORKS
    
180.135 Utility services; refusal or discontinuance of services for nonpayment of service charges by former occupant of rental unit prohibited; unpaid service charges of former occupant not to be basis for lien against rental property, exception.—

(1)(a) Any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, no municipality may refuse services or discontinue utility, water, or sewer services to the owner of any rental unit or to a tenant or prospective tenant of such rental unit for nonpayment of service charges incurred by a former occupant of the rental unit; any such unpaid service charges incurred by a former occupant will not be the basis for any lien against the rental property or legal action against the present tenant or owner to recover such charges except to the extent that the present tenant or owner has benefited directly from the service provided to the former occupant.

(b) This section applies only if the former occupant of the rental unit contracted for such services with the municipality or if the municipality provided services with knowledge of the former occupant’s name and the period the occupant was provided the services.

(2) The provisions of this section may not be waived through any contractual arrangement between a municipality and a landlord whereby the landlord agrees to be responsible for a tenant’s or future tenant’s payment of service charges.

(3) Any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, any municipality may adopt an ordinance authorizing the municipality to withdraw and expend any security deposit collected by the municipality from any occupant or tenant for the provision of utility, water, or sewer services for the nonpayment of service charges by the occupant or tenant.

(4) In any case where a tenant subject to part II of chapter 83 does not make payment for service charges to a municipality for the provision of utility, water, or sewer services, the landlord may thereupon commence eviction proceedings. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a municipality from discontinuing service to a tenant who is in arrears 30 days or more, or as required by bond covenant.
 

New Florida Law Pertaining to Rental Applications from Service Members

A new new Florida Statute Section 83.683 becomes effective July 1, 2016. This new law, in part, addresses the rental of property to “servicemembers,” and applies to condominiums, cooperatives, homeowner associations, and landlords.

The pertinent section of the law requires a landlord, condominium, cooperative, homeowner association, or landlord to complete the processing of a rental application submitted by a servicemen within a specified timeframe.  It says that a landlord is required to process a rental application from a military servicemen within seven days of submission. Within that seven day period, the landlord must provide a written response of the approval or denial of the application, and if denied, the reason for the denial.

If they do not provide a timely denial of the rental application, the landlord must lease the rental unit to the servicemen if all other terms of the application and lease are met.   Read More

New Smoke Alarm Rules for All Florida Landlords

In an effort to reduce residential fire fatalities, new smoke alarm regulations will go into effect Jan. 1 2015 for Florida families whose homes have battery-powered smoke alarms. As outlined in the Florida Building Code, starting in 2015 homeowners and landlords must install 10-year, sealed-battery smoke alarms when replacing outdated or non-working alarms or installing new ones.

While we don't endorse any particular brand or supplier, a quick check of the big-box stores Home Depot and Lowes offer these new smoke alarms for around $20.00.

Remember, the new rule does not appear to require immediate replacement of existing smoke alarms, only those powered by replaceable batteries and then only when replacement is necessary.

‘Standards’ proposed for Flagler vacation rental law, challenge promised

The three-story custom house with an ocean view built on the wrong lot in the gated Ocean Hammock community is just one of many mostly coastal properties that could feel the impact of proposed new regulations covering short-term rentals being hashed out by Flagler County officials.  An attorney representing a local vacation rentals management company already has vowed to challenge the amendment if it is approved.

The draft ordinance amendment, which would cap the number of people who can stay in a short-term rental property at one time among other things, will be reviewed at 6 p.m. Wednesday during a meeting of the county’s Planning and Development Board.

The proposed amendment would affect only unincorporated areas of the county, like The Hammock. While the new ordinance wouldn’t provide any assurances that the builder gets the lot right, it would limit the number of people to eight who can stay in a house if it is in an area zoned for single- and two-family (duplex) homes, County Administrator Craig Coffey said. As many as 16 people will be permitted to rent in areas of multi-family homes, while occupancy by 17 or more in a rental unit would establish it as “lodging,” the administrator said.
 

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2013 Florida Foreclosure Law

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - FINAL BILL ANALYSIS

CS/CS/HB 87 passed the House on April 29, 2013, and subsequently passed the Senate on May 3, 2013. The bill provides several changes relating to the state’s foreclosure laws.

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2013 Florida Land Trust Law

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - FINAL BILL ANALYSIS

CS/CS/HP 220 passed the House on April 26, 2013. The bill codifies certain provisions already in use by practitioners regarding land trusts, and distinguishes a land trust by the limited nature of the powers of the land trustee.

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2013 Florida Landlord-Tenant Law

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - FINAL BILL ANALYSIS

The bill was amended by the Senate on April 26, 2013, and subsequently passed the House on May 2, 2013. The bill changes residential landlord-tenantlaw. The “Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act” governs the relationship between landlords and tenants under a residential rental agreement. This bill modifies the Act to:

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