By: Gary M. Kaleita
Many investors who own and rent out single-family homes struggle with the selection of a form of residential lease to use, especially when starting their investment portfolio. If they go to attorneys to have a residential lease prepared, it is possible (if not probable) that they will get a different recommended form from each attorney, the suitability of which will differ based on the knowledge and experience of the attorney.
In an effort to simplify this process, the Florida Supreme Court approved two different forms of residential lease that are intended to be completed by checking boxes and filling in blanks, making them relatively easy to use.
One form is intended for use with either a detached single-family home or an attached duplex (a building with two attached homes). This form can be found on The Florida Bar’s website at the following link:
The other form is intended for a larger building containing more than two units, which could include a small condominium or cooperative. This form can be found on The Florida Bar’s website at the following link:
These forms address the material terms that are likely to be presented in most residential leasing scenarios, and make a great starting point for any landlord, whether managing a portfolio of residential units, or merely renting out their prior home after buying a new one.
If you are thinking about using one of these forms, it is still important to consult an experienced real estate attorney, but the legal fees involved in doing so should be less than if you ask an attorney to prepare a lease form from scratch. As The Florida Bar warns on its website (see https://www.floridabar.org/public/consumer/consumer004/), “because the law is continually changing, there is no guarantee that these forms comport with current law. These forms are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.”