New website launched to help Broward tenants understand their rights

Broward County has launched a new website to help tenants understand their rights under Florida law as rents continue to rise in South Florida. The website provides a one-stop-shop with resources for tenants, including access to the new Tenant Bill of Rights that landlords are required to distribute to all new tenants. The website also responds to concerns about tenant/landlord issues, termination notices, lease renewals, and evictions.

Under a new order passed by the County Commission earlier this month, landlords are required to provide the Tenant’s Bill of Rights when the tenant signs the lease. The Commission approved a law that requires landlords to give at least 60 days notice before terminating leases for tenants facing rent increases of more than 5%. It applies to all tenants, whether they have monthly or annual rental contracts. It also requires landlords of rental residential units to provide written notice to tenants regarding late fees under their tenancy agreements.

A rental unit must generally include plumbing and heating that meets all applicable codes, be reasonably free of pests, and have fully functional and lockable doors and windows, among other requirements. Broward County structures must also meet all applicable building, housing, and health codes.

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The county will enforce both orders in the Municipal Services District of Broward. In addition, it encourages local enforcement of ordinances by municipal code enforcement officers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an influx of people moved to Florida with higher salaries. As a result, there is an increase in rental rates in Florida. Worse still, many residents have been forced out of their homes due to costly rent increases on short notice.

The South Florida area has seen the highest rent increases in the nation over the past year. Statistics from Realtor.com indicate that the median rent in the tri-county area which includes Broward, Palm Beach and Miami counties increased 57% from March 2021 to March 2022.

Edwin S. Wolfe