Window Screens, Florida Landlord Tenant Act Revisions

Let’s discuss another change recently made to the Florida Landlord Tenant Act  namely, the Landlord’s obligation to maintain the premises in regards to window screens. 

Under the language of the prior statute, window screens have always been a nuisance to the landlord and/or its management company as they are constantly being ripped and torn for a myriad of reasons requiring the landlord and/or management company to repair or replace them.

However, under the new 2013 statutory revisions, it seems this burden has now been lessened.

The revised Statute now provides that at the start of the lease, the landlord must ensure that screens are initially installed and are in a reasonable condition. Afterwards, the landlord’s and/or its management company’s obligation are to repair them annually as needed.

Section 83.51 (b) of the Statute states: “The landlord, at commencement of the tenancy, must ensure that screens are installed in a reasonable condition. Thereafter, the landlord must repair damage to screens once annually, when necessary, until termination of the rental agreement.”

The question is if this statutory revision has any real benefit. If the landlord and/or its management company have ripped screens – regardless of what the statute says, if they don’t repair it, it may lead to a code violation under applicable building, housing, or health codes.  On the other hand, if the tenant keeps on damaging the screens, you now can insist they repair the screen at their expense or face a “notice”.

It will be interesting to see how this change really plays out amongst the tenants, attorneys and judges.  

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Posted by: marvinkatz on October 7, 2013