You have probably heard the saying, “A man’s home is his castle.” Generally, our homes are private places that are separate and apart from the public. When you’re at home, you can relax and let your guard down. Even if you’re a renter, there are tenant rights Florida enforces that give you some peace of mind.
Just because you rent an apartment or a single family home doesn’t mean this right to privacy goes away. You may not own the property, but you still have a right to be private in your own dwelling.
On the other hand, your landlord will undoubtedly need access to your rental unit from time to time, whether to make repairs, take care of emergencies, or conduct routine maintenance.
Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, knowing your rights and responsibilities under Florida landlord-tenant law is incredibly important. If you have questions about a landlord’s right of entry, speak to a Miami landlord-tenant lawyer about your case.
Landlords Must Give Proper Notice
Under Florida law, a landlord who wishes to enter a rental unit must give the tenant at least 12 hours’ notice that he or she intends to access the unit.
If the tenant receives the notice and agrees to an earlier timeframe, it’s okay for the landlord to enter at this time. Otherwise, the landlord can only enter at a “reasonable time,” which Florida law defines in the statute as between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Although most landlords are respectful and law-abiding, not everyone follows the law. One South Florida man was shocked to discover his landlord entering his apartment repeatedly without notice or permission.
The tenant noticed odd things such as the lights being left on and items inexplicably changing location. So, he set up a video camera in an attempt to solve the mystery.
He was disturbed when the video footage showed his landlord walking through his apartment without notice, looking in the tenant’s refrigerator, opening the tenant’s closet, and touching his personal property.
Tenants Can’t Unreasonably Deny Entry
Although a tenant’s right to privacy is important, the law must balance it against the landlord’s right to access his or her property.
To this end, the law prohibits the tenant from denying the landlord reasonable access to the rental unit. For example, a tenant can’t pretend he or she didn’t see the notice, nor can a tenant unreasonably withhold consent after receiving the landlord’s notice of his or her intent to enter.
Right of Entry in Emergencies
In some situations, it’s not practical for a landlord to notify a tenant prior to entering a rental unit. Under certain circumstances, the law permits a landlord to enter a rental unit without giving statutory notice. The following circumstances may make it necessary for a landlord to enter the property without notice:
- During an emergency, such as a fire or a flood
- When the tenant has unreasonably withheld consent
- In cases where the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned the rental unit. To trigger right of entry in this case, the tenant must have been absent for a period of time equal to one-half the time of periodic rental payments.
Your Options When Your Landlord Entered Without Giving Notice
If you believe your landlord violated your privacy by entering your apartment or rental unit without giving you proper notice, you have options.
Florida landlord-tenant law protects you regardless of whether you rent from a private individual, the government, or a property management company. Both a written lease and an oral agreement protect you from unreasonable landlord entry.
Your Miami landlord-tenant lawyer can help you determine the next steps in your case. You can easily resolve these types of disputes with a letter to your landlord, in some situations. In cases where the landlord’s behavior is harassing it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against them.
Call a Miami Landlord-Tenant Lawyer about Your Case
Tenant rights Florida enforces are there for your protection. Your landlord has a right to inspect his or her property. However, this right isn’t a blank check to invade your privacy. If you believe your landlord is taking advantage of you or violating the law, don’t hesitate to contact a Miami landlord-tenant lawyer.