This week, RENTCafé, a nationwide apartment search website, released a new study looking at the complex (and sometimes complicated) relationship between tenants and landlords. Its goal was to find the most renter-friendly and landlord-friendly states in the U.S.
To do accomplish this task, RENTCafé compared the laws of each state that related to the 10 most common aspects of landlord and tenant relationship, including security deposits, rent increases, the warranty of habitability, and eviction notices. Then, ranked the states based on whether its laws actually favored renters or actually favored landlords.
How did Florida rank?
Florida ranked #40 since Florida's legislation seems to favor landlords more than it favors tenants.
Renters who fall behind on rent get just 3 days to remedy the situation according to Florida Statutes. Failure to comply can get them evicted after just another 7 short days.
Also, the fact that there are no statutes regulating rent increases or if a tenant is allowed to repair and deduct costs from rent shows that a tenant's life is not always sunny in Florida. However, Florida renters at least get the option to withhold rent for habitability issues.
Which states have the best and worst laws for renters? Vermont ranked 1st on RENTCafé's “renter-friendliness” scale. According to RENTCafé, a landlord in Vermont cannot increase the rent without a 60-day notice. DC was also found to be a renter friendly jurisdiction. According to RENTCafé, while in the District of Columbia, renters get a whole month to come up with the money if they can't pay the rent on time. On the other side of the spectrum, RENTCafé reported that tenants in Arkansas have to pay for their rental even if it has habitability issues and just 5 short days late on rent can get them evicted.
What's the bottom line? It appears as if the Northern states developed more laws that regulated renting in favor of tenants, while the Southern states shaped their laws to protect landlords and their properties. Therefore, both landlords and tenants migrating between the North to the South may be in for a little shock when navigating the landlord and tenant relationship.
Therefore, tenants in the South may need quicker, more affordable and more effective assistance to overcome the fact that the laws do not provide them with the added protections that Northern tenants receive.
An experienced real estate lawyer created tenantsclinic.com specifically for this purpose.