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5 Statements a Miami Landlord Should Never Make

     Image: Hebi65 | Pixabay



Misael Chacon, Lic. Real Estate Broker, Real Property Management Dade – Miami, FL

Being a Miami landlord could be an interesting endeavor.  You may have heard the horror stories prior to deciding to become a landlord.  It’s true that in some instances, despite ones best efforts, there are issues between Miami landlords and their tenants.  But the majority of problems could be mitigated through education, experience, empathy and open communication.  To avoid potential issues and even legal trouble, never make any of the following statements:

“Take my word for it.”

In residential real estate, it’s been said to “not wait to get it in writing, but instead give it in writing.”  When meeting with potential tenants there will inevitably be some verbal agreements made.  As a Miami landlord, you’ll always want to incorporate any verbal agreements into the lease.  Not only will it help ensure there are no misunderstandings between you and the tenant, a signed agreement is much easier to refer to and much more difficult to dispute if mediation is ever required.

To your real estate agent: “Don’t rent my home to [enter any discriminatory statement here].”

Florida Statutes make it unlawful to refuse to rent to any person because of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status or religion.  Simply put, it’s wrong, illegal and if you’re working with a real estate professional such as a property manager, he or she will probably ignore your request, or decline to work with you.

                Image: Time2org | Pixabay

“You can’t go in there yet.”

It makes sense!  You can decrease the vacancy time by showing the unit ahead of making it show-worthy.  It may not be ready yet but people can probably see through the dirty kitchen and tacky 70’s wall paper, right?  Sometimes this does work out, but it’s the exception not the rule.  Chances are the cluttered room you couldn’t show them or the 15 year old carpet you haven’t replaced yet will leave a lasting impression leading to a longer vacancy time and less qualified interested tenants.

“My last tenant never complained about that.”

This may be true but just because your previous tenant avoided stepping on the loose floor board in the upstairs hallway has no bearing on how your new tenant feels especially if it creates a safety hazard.  You may have thoroughly checked everything, but it’s hard to duplicate living in the home.   And it often takes a few days after a tenant moves in to discover something isn’t working correctly.  Plan for this possibility and even consider adding a clause to the lease stating that the tenant is responsible for notifying the landlord of any defects within 14 days of moving in.

Image: Jarmoluk | Pixabay

“Yes, you can use your security deposit for the last month’s rent.”

A tenant who’s planning on moving out may ask, but you already did your research and know that it’s not in your best interest.  The security deposit belongs to the tenant, this is true.  Therefore it’s the landlords’ responsibility to maintain those funds in escrow.  In Florida a landlord can even keep any interest accrued as long as it is mutually agreed upon (in writing please).  But allowing a tenant to use up those funds prior to moving out and the final inspection, defeats the purpose of the security deposit.  If there are any damages the Miami landlord would lose the ability to place a claim on the security deposit.  Pay close attention to laws regarding security deposits.  They should be followed to the letter to avoid any issues.

Tenants and even landlords sometimes rationalize what should happen based on past experience, what they feel is right, or based on their own priorities.  I would encourage every Miami landlord to read their states’ landlord/tenant laws, create policies based on those laws and remain fair and consistent throughout the entire tenancy. RPM_Favicon

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