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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7415
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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We are leasing a house in Florida and the Landlord just

Customer Question

Hi there - We are leasing a house in Florida and the Landlord just listed the house for sale without any word to us. The Realtor has been calling, emailing, texting (harassing really with up to 18 text messages a day). Am I obligated to allow him to show the home? He
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: I've tried, but I cannot get anyone to get back to me or to look at my Lease without trying to charge me $2,500
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I just want to know my rights as a tenant. The Realtor is really a bully and is harassing. I told him I wanted no one in the house unless I was home as we have two small dogs and all my personal belongings are in the home. Sometimes my 12 year old daughter is home alone. He told me I needed to make other arrangements then for my daughter and that I needed to cage my dogs. I DO NOT cage my dogs. We are paying top dollar for this home (2,800) and feel we should not have to deal with this. So far I have put him off but he tells me I am in breach of my Lease. Well, actually, I did give him two prior times to show the house, but he did not come so I don't see how I am in breach. Also, the Landlord has been virtually unresponsive to any issues we have had with the house...i.e. plumbing, electrical, house has NO screens on it, etc. My husband hired a plumber and electrician and paid out of pocket to have a few necessary things fixed. Can we deduct? Also, it looks like our Lease says we have the right to renew it for a 2nd term? I'm wondering if this would hold up if there were a sale. Bot***** *****ne is I just don't want to be inconvenienced by showings and harassed multiple times a day by a realtor wanting to sell this house.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon. I am sorry to hear that you are having such problems. Most intelligent landlords would have a clause in the lease that requires the tenant to cooperate with a listing broker. You did not mention any such clause in your lease, so ask the broker just how he feels you are in breach of the lease. Also, most standard leases contain what is called a "quiet enjoyment" provision, which prohibits the landlord from interfering with the tenants use and enjoyment of the leased property. I am guessing that your lease has such a clause. If the landlord or the broker cannot show you how you are in breach of the lease by refusing to cooperate in the sale, you may in fact Claim the breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment against the landlord. I don't know if you want to go that far, but that door may be open.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you. There is not specific clause in my Lease that I see regarding us having to cooperate with a listing broker, however it does state that the landlord or her representatives must give 24 hour notice before entering the property. Would this apply to a listing broker? I did find in the Lease a clause that says "no for sale or for lease sign may be placed until 30 days prior to lease end" so I took the sign down.We do have the quiet enjoyment provision yes. He's asking me to schedule 2 hours during the week and 2 hours on weekends. This does interfere of course. My husband and I work full time and as I mentioned, at times my 12 year old daughter is home alone. I do not want anyone coming into the house when she is here alone. I also do not want anyone coming into the house if my husband or I are not here as everything in this house is ours. Also, we have two small dogs that we do not lock up or cage and I've already had one incident with the Landlord where she came over and let my dog out, who was later found (thank god) wandering in the street.We pay top dollar to live in this house, which quite frankly is not worth what we pay. We do not want to be inconvenienced by this.The realtor says he is coming today at 5:30. Are we obligated to allow him to show the house? If we must comply, what is reasonable, where does the quiet enjoyment clause factor in? We may want to go this far and use it. Things are really getting out of hand. My husband and I are trying to work and this Realtor is blowing up our phones.Please advise. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He believes I am in breach of my Lease because he says I have not allowed him to show the home, which is really not true. I have given him two prior dates, both of which he could not pull off. But again, there is no specific clause. Would I be able to send you a copy of our lease so you can further advise?
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.

In your situation, and from what you describe, I believe that you can set limits upon the showings, and perhaps even deny them entirely. But in that case, you will need a lawyer shortly, and I doubt that this issue is worth a court battle from the standpoint of either side. The landlord has apparently decided to sell the property subject to your lease, which she is legally entitled to do. She may be in a financial position of having to sell it. Most realtors do not want the tenants present during the visit because the tenants invariably tell the prospective buyer what's wrong with the house. You might offer to have the showings in the evening or on weekends when you can be there but agree to stay out of the way and not communicate with the prospective buyers.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you able to look at my Lease to see if there is anything that protects us from this? How would I pursue the quiet enjoyment clause? I just really don't want to have to deal with showings period. Do I have to? Is there any means in getting this broker to back off?
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 1 year ago.

I am not trying to duck out of doing more work on this, but I've seen enough leases to know that there is nothing in there that deals with this exact issue.

Florida has no statutes on quiet enjoyment. The standard is "peaceable use and enjoyment of the premises" which is what the landlord should grant to the tenant in conjunction with a lease. "Peaceable" has been defined through thousands of Florida court cases. Basically, it means the tenant can use the rented property, without interference, as long as they do not cause damage to the property in any way or violate the lease terms. You might consider hiring a local attorney to research Florida case law with some authority on this specific subject. Then the lawyer would be in a position to send your landlady and the Realtor a strongly worded "cease and desist" letter. That's when things get serious and perhaps a satisfactory agreement can be reached.

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