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FL landlord tenant laws, tenant's rights to negotiate lease provisions, attorney fees and late payment fees

Orlando, FL |

Can a landlord stipulate to a tenant they must sign a document stating the tenant will pay rent and attorney fees for the next four months in order to accept a late rent payment? An eviction process has begun but I have not been asked to appear in court. Am I responsible for attorney fees if the case has not reach the courts? The landlord will stop the process if I agree to sign the document and pay my rent and attorney fees for the next four months. Should I agree to the terms or move out and risk losing my deposit?

Attorney Answers 2


The parties can stipulate to those terms if they choose. I recommend that you consult a landlord/tenant attorney before agreeing to anything. You may be able to obtain a much better result by fighting the landlord. In many evictions where I represent the tenant, I have been able to get the entire eviction dismissed and have the landlord pay my fees. See an attorney ASAP. You don't get much time to respond to an eviction Summons.

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My answer might be viewed as more pro-landlord since these are the typical landlord/tenant clients I represent. It is standard practice of mine to draft up a settlement agreement where an eviction has been filed, but the landlord/management company wishes to keep the tenant. Normally, this is a result of failing to pay rent on time and then after the service of the 3-day notice, you fail to pay all of the rent. The only thing you would want to check is to make sure the 3-day notice was sufficient. I see many times where management goes at this alone and issues a 3-day notice that ends up being defective. Calculation of time periods on that notice are very important as well as the language that is required by statute.

Also keep in mind that your lease probably states you are responsible for fees and costs incurred to bring an eviction action before the courts. Most leases have that provision in there. If you settle in order to avoid the eviction, this is the best possible scenario assuming the reason for the eviction was valid. Because, if you take this to court and lose, you not only pay additional costs incurred to take it to a final hearing, but you have an eviction on your record. A judgment for eviction makes it hard to obtain a rental/lease somewhere else.

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