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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Monday September 27th, 2010 :: 11:26 a.m. EDT


Florida's Landlord/Tenant Law Shocks Homeowners! See email for full story.

Among the top ten most shocking news a police officer can deliver to a citizen comes from the Landlord Tenant Law. Here’s the scenario – SpongeBob forgets his lease is up on his Pineapple house under the sea and is forced to move out unexpectedly. With no where to turn SpongeBob convinces his neighbor Squidward to allow him to move in for a few days. SpongeBob seems to be enjoying his extended stay with Squidward and has taken the liberty to clean out the refrigerator by eating all of his food, learning a musical instrument using Squidward’s clarinet, and running up the cable bill by watching pay per view movies of The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. But perhaps the last straw was when SpongeBob subleased half of his room to Patrick Star whose favorite pastime is ordering take out calamari and enjoying his feast in front of Squidward!

With steam pouring out of his tentacles Squidward has had enough and dials the police who respond directly out. Squidward informs the police of his annoying roommates’ offensive behavior and requests the police officers to commence throwing them and their belongings out into the street. Are you sitting down? Here comes the shocking news…..The police inform Squidward that since he allowed SpongeBob to move in SpongeBob has established residency according to Florida Law and therefore can only be legally removed through the eviction process.

Unfortunately police officers have to deliver this shocking news to homeowners each and every day. In most cases, at least the homeowner knows the person he/she allowed to move in. However, occasionally we come across a very unfortunate situation in which a person allows a stranger to move in for a few days out of the kindness of their heart only to learn the stranger has established residency under Florida law and therefore has legal rights to remain inside the residence. Some homeowners threaten to change the locks which is a bad idea as the person is legally allowed to use whatever force necessary to enter the residence until legally evicted.

The Landord/Tenant law is packed full of valuable information which outlines not only the rights of a tenant but also the rights of a landlord. Did you know a member serving in the United States military may legally terminate a lease early under certain circumstances? Did you know a tenant may legally withhold the rent if the landlord does not comply with the requirements under Florida law or stipulated in the lease agreement? Did you know a landlord has the right to enter the premises to conduct periodic inspections with prior notice to the renter? And except for the failure to pay rent, a landlord must notify you in writing of any shortcomings and give you seven days in which to correct the situation. If you still have not complied after seven days, the landlord can begin the eviction process based on non-compliance.

Florida’s Landlord/Tenant law can be found under Chapter 83 of Florida Statutes.

For assistance or clarification on any part of the law you may call the Division of Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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