What are the legal rights of a tenant and landlord when there is no lease?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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What are the legal rights of a tenant and landlord when there is no lease?

We have live in a house for 4 years with no lease. Now we are moving out and landlord is making claims to adhere too and we don’t feel they are valid. Basically, the owner is asking us to re-sod his yard. For 4 years we have told him repeatedly that bugs are eating away the yard. He has already said that if we do not do the things he is asking he will not give back security deposit. So my husband is saying that if he is not going to give back our deposit we are not going to spend $1000 to re-paint back to original color as we can not afford that if he is not going to give back security.

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When there is no written lease, you are a month to month tenant on an oral lease.

You would not have to re-sod unless 1) you had specifically agreed to do so or 2) you caused damage to the lawn which exceeded normal wear and tear; similarly, you would not have to re-paint, unless you either 1) agreed or 2) caused damage beyond normal wear and tear. If you do not have to pay these expenses, the landlord may not withhold your security deposit or otherwise take those amounts out of it, and if he does, you could sue the landlord (including potentially in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney) for its return.

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