Landlord – Tenant 2

The dynamics of the landlord tenant relationship are quite different in the modern era versus in medieval times. Modern day courts understand the need to view the landlord tenant relationship as being something different from a traditional conveyance of property. In fact, modern law views the leasing of a property as a contract rather than a conveyance. [1] Because of the contractual landlord-tenant relationship, each party enjoys both legally enforceable rights and duties under the contract in that they must perform or refrain from performing certain acts. [2] For example, the rights and duties of the landlord are:

  1. The landlord retains control of the stairways, passages, roadways, and other common facilities. This is both a right and a duty since the landlord retains the right of possession, but owes a duty to the tenant and anyone who can access these areas to keep these areas safe and in good repair. [3] The landlord is liable for injuries sustained due to defects or unsafe conditions on the property which the landlord knew about, or should have known about. [4] For instance, if a landlord instructs Jane to visit the vacant property he has listed for rent and after arriving on the property she is assaulted by squatters, the landlord might be held liable for her injuries if he knew or should have known there was a propensity for dangerous squatters to reside on the property and he failed to inspect the property prior to inviting Jane on to it.
  2. Another duty of the landlord to the tenant is to ensure that the premises are delivered to the tenant in habitable condition and bears the burden of the warranty of habitability. The warranty burdens the landlord with a duty to keep the premises in habitable condition as he must repair defects and remedy conditions which are adverse to the health and safety of the tenant. [5] This warranty does not concern itself with comfort. Rather, this warranty is only concerned with the remediation of hazardous conditions which render the premises uninhabitable.
  • In addition, the Landlord cannot discriminate based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, family status, and handicap. [6]

With respect to the tenant, the tenant enjoys the protections afforded pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, [7] as well as protections under the Americans With Disabilities Act. [8]. Other common rights enjoyed by the tenant are to have guests, so long as the guests act within the bounds of the landlord/tenant agreement. The tenant can also have guests “stay with him or her as long as the tenant is abiding by the rules.” [9] The tenant also has a right to receive cable television from any company of his or her choice. Tenants also have a duty to not damage the property and to keep guests from doing the same. [10]

In discussing the landlord tenant relationship in Palm Bay, Florida, I researched the Florida Statutes. [11] My research revealed that the statutes place reasonable and well balanced burdens upon both the tenant and landlord. Yet, it is inherent that the landlord has the upper hand in that the landlord can add, or remove rental units from the market. He/she can also set the amount of rent to be paid. Within the law, the landlord can establish strict or lenient criteria for approving rental applications. While the Palm Bay landlord has a duty to provide heat during the winter. [12] The statutes do not show him obligated to provide air conditioning. Yet, market conditions dictate that for the property to be marketable, air conditioning is a standard amenity. Lastly, pertaining to habitability, the Florida Statutes places an obligation on the landlord to “maintain the premises up to code, or if there is no applicable building code, to maintain the structure (including doors, windows and screens) and the plumbing in good working order.” [13]



[1] John G. Sprankling, Understanding property law 215 (2000).

[2] U.C.C. § 1-201(b)(12) (2001).

[3] Landlord-Tenant Law, 19 (2008), (last visited Feb 21, 2018).

[4] Id. at 20.

[5] Sprankling, supra note 1, at 247.

[6] Landlord-Tenant, supra note 3, at 5.

[7] Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pub. L. No. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241 (codified as amended in scattered sections of 2 U.S.C., 28 U.S.C., and 42 U.S.C.).

[8] Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 (2013) (amended 2008).

[9] Landlord-Tenant, supra note 3, at 23.

[10] Id.

[11] § 83.51 – § 83.53, Fla. Stat. (2006).

[12] Id. at § 83.51(2)(a)(5).

[13] Id. at § 83.51.

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