Are you a landlord who lives in Brevard County? If so, you should know that you and your property manager are responsible for ensuring that your rental unit is habitable. “Habitable” means that your rental unit is safe and provides basic comfort for those who have rented the space. Failing to do so can lead to costly and potentially legal consequences. In order to determine whether a rental property is habitable, you must first understand some of the laws as they relate to residential landlord/tenant law. In this article, we’re discussing what state and federal laws say about the standards for keeping a rental unit in good condition.
Lead-Based Paint In Rental Unit
The U.S. government banned lead paint in 1978, but lead-based paint is still found in many pre-1978 homes. It’s especially common in rental properties built before 1978. This is because landlords often don’t know whether the property they’re renting contained lead-based paint at some point; however, the law states that new owners are legally obligated to disclose it to their tenants.
Many U.S. states require landlords to provide disclosures on lead-based paint. In Florida, landlords or their property managers must provide an EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards and disclose any known information about the presence of lead-based paint hazards in the home.
Ground Fault Interrupting (GFI) Outlets In Rental Property
GFI outlets are a type of circuit breaker that automatically shut off power at the outlet if it detects an electrical fault. They are often found in areas of the home such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Many older homes don’t have GFI outlets installed, which can be problematic for landlords. This is because there is an increased risk of fires and electrocution. In addition, if a non-GFI outlet catches fire in an area where the law requires one, your landlord’s insurance policy may not cover the damage.
Your property manager can help you determine if your rental unit requires updated GFI outlets, as well as provide a list of trusted contractors who can provide an estimated cost.
Smoke Detectors in Rental Unit
According to Florida’s landlord-tenant law, smoke detectors are required in single-family dwellings and duplexes. As a landlord in Brevard County, your rental property must comply with all applicable state and county housing and building codes. It’s important to ensure all smoke detectors are in good working order. You can do this by testing them before a tenant moves in and periodically during inspections.
Although not specifically required by Florida landlord-tenant law, installing a carbon monoxide detector in your rental unit can also be a good idea.
Pest Infestation in Rental Unit
Pest infestations are no fun for anyone, especially a Florida landlord. Common pests found in Brevard County include cockroaches, ants, and termites. If your rental property is a single-family unit and pests are discovered, it is up to the landlord and tenant to make arrangements or potential changes to the rental agreement to treat.
For example, if your tenant creates conditions that lead to pests in your rental property, such as lack of cleanliness, the tenant is responsible for arranging pest removal. If you’re unsure of where your responsibility lies, reach out to your trusted property manager for advice.
Doors & Windows
As a Brevard County landlord, you must provide windows and doors in good repair; this also includes screens if the property has any. As an essential safety precaution, it’s also a good idea to change all locks in your rental property whenever you have experience tenant turnover. In addition, some landlords choose to include a clause in their rental agreements that prevent tenants from duplicating their keys.
Property Management Support In Brevard County
If you have a rental property in Brevard County, it must meet all safety standards mandated by state and local laws. Regular rental inspections can help protect your investment and ensure that your unit adheres to all relevant landlord-tenant laws.
To learn more about safety standards in Brevard County rental properties, speak to one of our experienced property managers today.