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More Law Regarding Your Property

ChristineOn July 1, 2013 new laws regarding landlord/tenants, renting your homestead property and as to squatters rights became effective in Florida.  

As to rights effecting landlords and tenants, Fla.Stat.§83.64 was amended to provide that residential landlords may not retaliate against their tenant if the tenant has paid rent to a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association after demand is made by the association in order to pay the landlord’s obligation to the association.  Other provisions of Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes were also amended to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants. For example, the law was amended to provide that if the eviction is for noncompliance with the terms of the lease, and such noncompliance requires the landlord to give the tenant an opportunity to cure the violation, the landlord may begin eviction proceedings without having to give another warning if the violation reoccurs within twelve months. 

As to your homestead property rights, Fla.Stat.§196.061 was amended to provide that the rental of a dwelling/home previously claimed to be homestead property for tax purposes shall be considered an abandonment of homestead status until the dwelling is again physically occupied by the owner. However, abandonment of the homestead after January 1 in any given year does not affect the homestead exemption for that particular year, unless the property is rented for more than thirty (30) days per calendar year for two consecutive years.  

Finally, as to squatters rights, Fla. Stat.§95.18 was amended to address “adverse possession,” which is also sometimes called “squatter’s rights.” The intent of the new law is to address the problem of individuals “squatting” illegally on property, especially abandoned properties in foreclosure, while still preserving legitimate adverse possession claims under the long-established Florida law. The new law requires the adverse possessor to “possess” the real property for seven (7) years, rather than simply “occupy” it.  In order to adversely “possess” property, one must meet certain criteria, including but not limited to paying all outstanding taxes within one year after entering into possession the property one intends to adversely possess.