I've found a house to rent and was reviewing the lease and found a couple of clauses that give me some concern. The primary is a provision that we, the tenant, are responsible for the first $75 of any repair. I've never seen anything like this and I'm a bit put off by it, but I don't know if my issues with it are simply my own hangups or if there is a questionable legality to it. Is this an enforceable and legitimate clause that doesn't conflict with their legal responsibilities to maintain the property?
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney nor someone who is skilled in contract law.
2019 Florida Statutes > Title VI - CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE > Chapter 83 LANDLORD AND TENANT
§83.51 Landlord’s obligation to maintain premises.
(1) ... The landlord’s obligations under this subsection may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single-family home or duplex.
Given this statement it seems to me that section "25 REPAIRS" in the rental agreement is allowed under Florida's statutes.
I would ask to have a written description of the required reporting procedure(s), and a written description of your liability should you make a good-faith effort to report a needed repair or damage within the two day window, but for circumstances that are beyond your control you are unable to report (think of Finagle's Law). For example:
- A water pipe fails on the first day of a three-day holiday weekend
- You immediately turn off the water main to prevent excessive damage to the property.
- During the two-day reporting window you make multiple good-faith attempts at reporting the needed repair, but because of the three-day holiday the landlord or their representative is unavailable to accept your report until after the third day.
What is your liability in this situation?
Finally, I assume the rental agreement requires you to get renter's insurance. Before you sign the rental agreement, be sure to discuss with your insurance agent the insurance policy's coverage limits, deductibles, etc. vis-à-vis property repair costs. It may be that the insurance policy will pay the $75 fees after you exceed the policy's annual deductible amount. Furthermore, your insurance agent might be willing to offer their "professional opinion" regarding clause "25 REPAIRS" in the rental agreement—i.e., is this clause common or uncommon; does this clause seem reasonable or unreasonable, etc.