Assuming is the most common mistake tenants will make when renting. Making sure that everything pertaining to the rental experience is in writing will remove the guess work.
Tenants not being honest when filling out their rental application by falsifying information will jeopardize the lease and subject themselves to eviction. Not including all those who will be living with them or not disclosing pets will almost always result in an eviction if it is later discovered by the landlord. Not disclosing criminal convictions or falsifying employment and rental history can be reasons for an application to be rejected when screened by landlords. Always be upfront and honest when completing the rental application. There is usually a fee required with the application and it will not be returned if false information is given.
Read the lease and be aware of special clauses or restrictive covenants for the property you are planning to rent. If it is a no smoking unit assuming you can smoke on the porch can cause problems. If you have an RV or boat that you assume can be parked in the driveway or on the grass, think again and read the covenants of the neighborhood you are moving into. Finding out after the move can cause problems and extra expense if you have to rent additional storage space.
Always document the conditions and damages of a rental property at the time of move in. A huge mistake is assuming the landlord knows about repairs and issues with your leased unit. Not taking pictures and documenting in writing conditions at move in will result in deposit disputes when you move out. Always notify your landlord of needed repairs. Using E-mail will establish a documented trail of communication. Any damages caused by the tenant, not initially documented, will be the responsibility of the tenant.
Sometimes tenants think because a rent due date falls on a weekend or a holiday that the rent can be paid late. Rents are due as stated in the lease and late fees are enforceable leading to eviction if not paid. Many tenants hear stories of the eviction process taking months. The truth is, if done properly, only 20 days before a sheriff will show up with the landlord and physically move the tenant out.
As a tenant with a legal lease, you have legal possession of the property subject to the rules and conditions of the lease. The Florida Statutes protect your rights as a tenant and restrict certain actions of the landlord. Questions regarding these statues can be found on the internet or by consulting an attorney. Tenants often question an owner’s right to enter their home resulting in conflict. The law, with the exception of an emergency, requires the landlord to notify the tenant prior to coming to the property. A tenant is obligated to give a landlord reasonable access, however, reasonable is not interpreted as being a pest.
Don’t assume, be honest, keep communications open between tenant and landlord, document and read your lease to ensure a pleasurable rental experience.