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It’s That Time of the Year: Reviewing Your Rental Agreements to Ensure a Smooth Spring Break


By: Jesse Fulton, Attorney

As spring break approaches, many rental owners are busy preparing for the annual influx of snowbirds and spring breakers for the season. Aside from readying the actual property to be occupied, it is critical for landlords to meticulously review their rental agreements to ensure they are compliant and appropriately mitigate potential risks and liabilities that are inherent with short term rentals.

At Pike and Lustig, we advise our clients to fortify their rental agreements ahead of the bustling spring break season. Specifically, we advise landlords to review their respective rental agreements to ensure:

Legal Compliance

With the proliferation of short-term rentals, and the frequently changing and varying ordinances and laws governing these rentals, it is imperative that landlords are compliant. By regularly reviewing and updating your rental agreements, landlords can reduce the risk of legal issues or penalties that could arise. Stay informed about any changes or updates that may affect your property management practices during the spring break season, such as the recent local parking ordinances the City of Miami Beach is implementing during the spring break period, which will restrict the availability of public parking in certain areas, and significantly increase the cost of parking.

Clarity and Transparency as to Specific Lease Terms

Review and refine your lease terms to ensure they are specific and leave no room for misinterpretation. Clearly outlining rules and regulations, including but not limited to occupancy limits and noise restrictions, make it easier for both the landlord and their guests to understand their respective obligations and expectations. Ensuring your rental agreement specifically delineates the terms and conditions of the parties can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes, which sometimes lead to costly litigation.

Risk Mitigation to Protect Landlord Interests

By reviewing and revising lease agreements, landlords can identify potential risks and liabilities associated with the rental property and take the appropriate steps to mitigate them. This could include adding specific language shifting certain liability to the tenant for any damage they or their guests may cause, or to limit liability in the event a third party is injured on the property.

As a property owner/landlord, one of the primary goals is to protect your interests. Although it may not be possible to eliminate all potential risks and liabilities, regularly reviewing and updating the rental agreement enables the landlord to incorporate changes into the policies, fees, or procedures to better serve its interests. This could include making changes to your security deposit policy to protect against potential damage that may occur during a tenant’s stay or including addendums to your standard lease agreement specifically for the spring break period to include additional rules addressing party sizes, guest policies, and any other concerns that may arise during this time.

Property and Liability Insurace Coverage

As a landlord, it is imperative that you carry the appropriate type of insurance to protect your interests and that you are covered during the requisite time period. In addition to the landlord’s insurance, the landlord may consider implementing requirements for the tenants to obtain renter’s insurance during their stay. By requiring tenants to obtain additional coverage, the landlord may be able to further protect its’ financial interests.

Communication Protocols

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay for both parties, it may be prudent to establish clear communication protocols during the rental period. Landlords should be sure to provide tenants with the appropriate emergency contact information in the event any issue arises. Furthermore, landlords should set expectations and establish a procedure for reporting any issues promptly. This can help address problems swiftly, minimizing any potential risks and damage.

As a rental property owner or manager, it’s imperative to approach the upcoming spring break season with a proactive mindset. A well-crafted lease agreement not only protects you legally and financially, but is also essential to a positive tenant-landlord relationship. Strengthening your rental agreements with an experienced attorney, like the team at Pike and Lustig, can help safeguard your property and business interests during spring break and year-round.

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