Q: I am currently renting, and our lease is up at the end of the month. Our landlord is looking for the next tenant and wants to show the home to potential renters. Unfortunately, he often gives us very little notice and does not come with the prospects, so I must show them around the house to ensure security. We asked that he either go with them or send his real estate agent, but he said he could not. We are worried about our deposit if we do not comply. What are our rights? — Anna
A: A tenant must consent to reasonable requests from the landlord to enter the home to inspect the property or show it to potential renters. Your landlord is allowed to take care of his property and to find new people to live there.
At the same time, your landlord is required to fulfill your lease and let you enjoy your rental with minimal hassle or disruption.
Your landlord or his agent must accompany the prospective tenants, and you would be justified to send away an unaccompanied prospect who shows up at your door unannounced.
The law requires reasonable cooperation, not unfailing compliance. This means that if you have to be somewhere else, you can ask the landlord to reschedule at a better time. You should also be reasonable and let your landlord find his next tenant.
Like with most relationships, the key to exiting your lease without issues is good communication and a willingness to cooperate.
Either way, your landlord cannot keep your security deposit due to this situation. The deposit is to cover damage to the property.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show “Legal News and Review.” He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.