The current rental market in Miami, and South Florida in general, is unusually treacherous for renters. A local Miami news outlet, CBS 4 Miami, reported on February 23, 2022, that the average cost of rent in Miami skyrocketed a shocking 52.4% from January 2021 to January 2022. Not only does this mean that renters are struggling to make rent each month, but it also means that there is an ever-dwindling pool of affordable rental properties available in the Miami area, leading to increased competition, and unfortunately sometimes illegal and unfair practices. Renters can expect increases in the rent they are paying and difficulty finding affordable housing. In such a tough rental market, renters should be on the lookout for unfair and illegal practices, and otherwise be aware of their rights. With such fierce rental competition and lots of money to be made by landlords, some landlords may be looking for ways to increase rent or get a tenant to move out early, so as to charge higher rent to the next tenant. Depending on the situation, such practices may be improper. If you are renting property, you should be aware that:
- Landlords cannot raise rent for periods already covered by a valid lease
- Landlords are bound by the language of the lease, just as tenants are. If the lease locks a tenant into a certain rental rate for a specified period of time (known as the term of the lease), then the landlord cannot force the tenant to pay higher rent during the term of that lease. The landlord, however, can increase rent under a new, updated or extended lease, once the term of the lease original lease expires.
- Landlords cannot terminate a lease without a valid reason as set forth in the lease
- Landlords seeking to charge the next renter higher rent cannot terminate a lease without a valid justification. The lease agreement sets forth the circumstances in which a landlord can terminate a lease, if none of these circumstances have occurred then the lease is valid and generally cannot be terminated early.
- Make sure landlords comply with all notice provisions of your lease
- Most leases specify specific requirements that landlords and tenants must follow to give full and valid notice to the other. For example, most leases will require landlords to give tenants specific notice of any alleged default and time to cure. Any such notice, must be given in the manner described in the lease, otherwise it may not be valid.
- Landlords cannot fail to fix or maintain the property in an attempt to drive a tenant out
- A tenant is entitled to live in a property that is habitable. This means that you have working utilities, air conditioning, and that no unreasonably unsafe conditions exist, such as dangerous mold infestations. Landlords are not allowed to refuse to fix any unlivable conditions in the property in order to drive a tenant to move out or abandon the lease.
Today, more than ever it is crucial for renters to know their rights. An experienced attorney can help explain your rights under the law and under any lease. The Law Office of Robert N. Pelier, P.A. has decades of experience in civil law in South Florida and will work tirelessly on your behalf to fight for what is right.