Farrell Files: Florida Renters Beware

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 10 Connect

By Lindsay Ubinas / Scott Farrell

Published August 11, 2010

 Watch VIDEO

If you rent a home or condo in  Florida - the question you should ask yourself - how well do I know my landlord's finances?  Why? Because as of July 1, 2010, Florida law now allows condo and homeowners associations the right to come after a tenant for unpaid condo/homeowners' fees.  Letters are already flying out from law firms throughout the Sunshine State threatening thousands of renters with eviction if they don't start paying their landlord's fees.  There are over 300,000 households who rent in the Tampa Bay area, so it is likely you, or someone you know may be affected by this new law.

If you receive one of these letters demanding you pay your landlord's fees - don't, I repeat, don't put the letter in your drawer and expect it to go away.  The homeowners association has the ability to evict you for non-payment.  Your first call should be to your landlord to demand that he/she/it pay the fees within 48 hours.  Make sure to tell the landlord you will be verifying that they have paid up the delinquent fees in full with the homeowner's association.


Remember if your landlord is not paying their homeowner's fees on time - there is a good chance

the landlord is also not paying their mortgage on time.  The problem there - you have no way to verify whether the mortgage on your rental property is current.  In short, you could pay the delinquent homeowner's fees and still be evicted by the bank if the landlord fails to pay the mortgage.


If you decide to pay the delinquent homeowner's fees, Florida law allows you to deduct the amount of fees paid directly to the homeowner's association from your rent.  For example, if the delinquent fee is $500 and your monthly rent is $1000.  You would pay the association $500 and the balance of your rent ($500) would be paid to the landlord as rent.


The long and short  -- a landlord who fails to pay their homeowner's fees after repeated warnings from the homeowners association is probably a landlord you want to cut ties with when you can.