what to do in tampa florida

10 Fun Things To Do in Tampa, Florida

As a property management company in Tampa for fourteen years, Cavalier Estates LLC has developed extensive knowledge about the local area. This is not limited to just our knowledge of which Tampa neighborhoods you should invest in. We also know all about the best attractions and activities in the city.

As the third biggest city in the state of Florida, Tampa always has a wide variety of entertainment, dining options, and outdoor activities. While the city was hit hard by the Great Recession, it has turned itself around into a highly desirable place to live. 

One of the biggest recent projects that went on in the city was the reinvention of Tampa Waterfront and Downtown. These developments resulted in job growth and an influx of people moving to this city from around the country. 

In this post, you will find an overview of the top 10 activities you can do while in Tampa, whether you live here or are just visiting. 

#1: Tampa Riverwalk

The Tampa Riverwalk is a stretch of promenade that cuts through the city downtown. It’s one of the liveliest spots in Tampa. 

The northern part of Tampa Riverwalk features Water Works Park, a waterpark with fountains and play pools for families to enjoy. On the southern side of the riverwalk, there is a park full of food trucks serving a delicious variety of snacks and street food.

#2: Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium is a go-to place when you want to learn more about the ocean and sea while seeing wondrous underwater creatures. Keeping true to its name, Florida Aquarium focuses on the state’s wetland habitats.

what to do in tampa

Image Source: adobemac / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

This aquarium is a great place for a family day trip. There are shark dives you can go on here that allow you to get up close and personal with the aquarium’s sharks. 

#3: Ybor City

You can find Ybor City in downtown Tampa. It is part of the city’s historic district. It was founded back in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers. This turned the neighborhood into a large cigar factory. 

You can pay a visit to the Cigar Museum here, which showcases the area’s fascinating history. You can also check out the old cigar mills that have been turned into microbreweries, restaurants, and hip bars. 

#4: ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is well-known as one of the best family attractions in Tampa. This zoo has been open since the 1950s but has seen significant development in the last 10-20 years. 

You can now visit the Asian Gardens for an exotic host of Komodo dragons and white tigers. You can also visit Primate World, where you can see great apes like chimpanzees and Bornean orangutans. 

#5: Bayshore Boulevard

The 4.5-mile stretch of Bayshore Boulevard is great for outdoor activities, including cycling, jogging, skating, or just strolling around. Its sidewalk is wedged between a neighborhood of elegant historic homes and some of the best views of the Hillsborough Bay.

#6: Hyde Park Village

For some serious retail therapy, Hyde Park is a great place for shopping in Tampa. This commercial retail area may not be as big as a mall, but it packs many popular stores in a few blocks. This includes Brooks Brothers, Lululemon, Anthropologie, Salt Pines, and more. 

fun things to do in tampa

Image Source: hyku / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

#7: Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue is not a zoo. Instead, it’s a sanctuary that serves as a new home to big cats that have been orphaned or abused. Today there are about 80 majestic cats on the premises, including tigers, cougars, and lions.

#8: Tampa Food Halls

The biggest food hall in Tampa is Armature Works. It’s a 22,000 sq ft space with an extensive variety of food vendors and communal seating. You can enjoy sweeping views of Hillsborough River and Downtown Tampa while enjoying a delicious meal.

Another notable food hall in Tampa is the Hall on Franklin. This is a European inspired specialty food hall. It has a lot of dining options, including places like Poke Rose, Fork & Hen, and Xilo.

#9: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens is a legendary American theme park. Since 1959, this attraction has expanded to over 130 hectares in the northern part of Tampa. It is known for its great mix of animal experiences and adrenaline-fueled rollercoasters.

Here you can find Florida’s tallest launch coaster, a huge zoo, and America’s first dual tailspin waterslide. Additionally, there are many live entertainment shows by talented performers.

#10: Hillsborough River State Park

This State Park is located only minutes from Downtown Tampa. It has 7 miles of nature trails that you can explore with your friends or family. You can even kayak or canoe river rapids (class II), which is rare in Florida.

tampa florida attractions

Image Source: User:Wknight94 / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

You can also go mountain biking, horseback riding, geo-seeking, and camping in Hillsborough River State Park. The park offers tours and wildlife viewing as well. It’s even possible to arrange your big wedding day in a unique natural setting.

Top 10 Tampa Attractions

Tampa is a city that pushed itself up from depths of the Great Recession, reinventing its key areas and creating a highly desirable place to live in. As an experienced property management company in Tampa, Cavalier Estates LLC knows the city’s top hotspots and activities:

  • Ybor City
  • Tampa Riverwalk
  • Florida Aquarium
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • Food Halls: Armature Works and Hall on Franklin
  • Bayshore Boulevard
  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park
  • Hillsborough River State Park
  • Big Cat Rescue
  • Hyde Park Village
tampa florida neighborhoods

Neighborhoods in Tampa to Live or Invest In

As a major city of the Sunshine State, Tampa is a popular place to live or invest in real estate in. The city’s waterfront area and urban center have a new look and feel, receiving renovations after the city made its comeback from the Great Recession in the mid-2010s. 

The combination of the warm, sunny climate and low-income taxes makes Tampa even more attractive for homebuyers and property investors. If you’re looking into investing in Tampa real estate, check out the following list of neighborhoods in the city. They’re great areas for real estate investments or for settling into your new home. 

#1: Spanishtown

The community of this neighborhood has grown rapidly due to an influx of young professionals. This neighborhood used to go by the name South Tampa. Today, it’s known as Spanishtown.

The population of Spanishtown hovers around 3,000. The neighborhood is known for having great schools, low crime rates, and a host of outdoor activities for residents to enjoy. 

The cost of living in Spanishtown is higher than in other Tampa neighborhoods. However, the possibility of leading an active lifestyle in an attractive area of the city evens out the price difference for many. 

#2: Bayshore Gardens

Bayshore Gardens is a waterfront community located next to Hillsborough Bay. This neighborhood offers an enticing mix of beautiful scenery and comfortable suburban homes. For those who want a calm residence with scenic views, Bayshore Gardens is the perfect pick.

best neighborhoods in tampa

Image Source: Richard Mc Neil / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

However, this neighborhood does provide some urban entertainment options despite its overall serenity. There are restaurants, coffee shops, and bars located in close proximity to most of the homes in this neighborhood. 

Note that there is another neighborhood called Bayshore Gardens located in Manatee County next to the Sarasota Bay. This often gets mixed up with its namesake in Tampa.

#3: Harbour Island

Harbour Island’s central location in Tampa raises its appeal for many investors and homebuyers. This neighborhood is also gated, so you’ll get the benefits of living close to the city center while still residing in a safe community. 

The lifestyle of Harbour Island residents is unique. You can jet ski, dock your boat, and go fishing along the shore near your house. This neighborhood has been described as a close-knit island village.

#4: Courier City/Oscawana

Courier City/Oscawana is a great neighborhood for both working professionals and retirees. The area has a low crime rate and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

However, the cost of living here is a bit higher than the average of a Tampa area. This increased cost is offset by the neighborhood’s affordable housing. The median home value in this neighborhood is around $298,000 and average rental prices are about $1,550.

#5: Hyde Park

Living in Hyde Park provides you with close access to the scenic Bayshore. Many residents of Hyde Park value the neighborhood’s historic architectural look. 

Image Source: Ebyabe / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

This neighborhood is both family and dog-friendly. It provides residents access to plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. The public schools in the area provide children with a great education. 

#6: Beach Park

Beach Park neighborhood is lodged between West Shore Palms and Stoney Point. The waterfront area of this neighborhood has many peaceful spots with a view of the bay. Housing in Beach Park is most expensive on the western end of the neighborhood. 

Beach Park is a great neighborhood for families. The area is close to downtown Tampa. Residents are only 15 minutes away from Tampa’s attractions, shopping, and work opportunities. At the same time, it’s a safe suburban area that has top-quality educational facilities for families to raise their kids in.

#7: Channel District

Channel District is a vibrant neighborhood in the downtown area with many apartment buildings and condominiums. Residents of Channel District are within walking distance to Amalie Arena, the best sports venue in the city. 

Residents of Channel District love its location and easy walking access to the city. Living here provides easy access to the top attractions in Tampa, including the Florida Aquarium and the Riverwalk. 

#8: Davis Islands

Davis Islands is the perfect neighborhood for those who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. The neighborhood has beautiful, modern homes. 

Residents here often use golf carts to get around. The neighborhood has a mix of residents who are retirees, young professionals, and families. 

Image Source: Robert Neff / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Davis Islands provides close proximity to downtown Tampa, including the Bayshore Boulevard, Amalie Arena to see the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Tampa Riverwalk. The neighborhood provides many running trails, marinas, and even a sailing club for residents.

#9: West Meadows

West Meadows is a beautiful neighborhood in Tampa with a population of 4,115 people. This area has many great amenities and activities for residents to fill their spare time. Living in West Meadows provides close access to numerous dining and shopping options for residents. 

West Meadows is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Tampa. Much of its expansion and development began in the 1990s and continues today. Overall, the area is desirable for property investors. 

Conclusion 

Tampa is a great Floridian city to live or to invest in real estate. This city has a number of great neighborhoods that provide excellent quality of life to its residents. Some are up-and-coming areas and others are already well-established communities. Some of the neighborhoods with the best features include: 

  • Harbour Island
  • Channel District
  • Spanishtown
  • Davis Islands
  • Hyde Park
  • Bayshore Gardens
  • West Meadows
  • Beach Park
  • Courier City/Oscawana

If you’re looking to move or purchase an investment property and you would like professional help, check out Cavalier Estates LLC property management.

Cavalier Estates

How to Handle Maintenance during COVID-19

As a self-managing property owner, you may find that property maintenance is one of your biggest duties. Now, with COVID-19, property upkeep is more important than ever. Due to this global pandemic, it is extremely crucial that additional safety protocols are enforced as you practice property maintenance.

This virus is highly contagious. That’s why, it’s your duty to perform high quality property maintenance while ensuring you follow all the guidelines and protocols to ensure safety for all.

In this article, you will learn how to handle property maintenance during these challenging times. These guidelines will help you and your tenants stay safe. Not to mention, they will show your tenants that their health and well-being is your number one priority. As a result, it will strengthen your tenant-landlord relationship.

 

Find a variety of ways to communicate with your tenants

In these uncertain times, clearly communicating with your renters is greatly valued. Your tenants are likely feeling very anxious. You may consider sending them the following messages to alleviate their worries.

  1. Explain that your objective is to create a calm atmosphere for them. Emphasize that your responsibilities as a property owner will not be remiss. You will stand by your duties and maintain the properties in a safe way. If there’s an emergency, they can still depend on you to offer excellent and quick services.
  2. Tell them that safety protocols are enforced to provide them even more protection against the virus. Talking about the safety guidelines you have set will reassure them further that you’re on top of things and have prioritized their safety above all.
  3. Share useful information from valid sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This will be a huge help for tenants who want to learn more about how they can stay safe. Your tenants will appreciate your extra effort in this critical period.

video chat with mask

Be sure to reach out to your renters and let them know that you will always be available to chat with by phone call and email. Always answer their questions as soon as you can.

 

Implement preventative precautions when performing property maintenance

When you’re visiting a tenant’s unit, make sure to take precautions.

Here are measures you can implement to reduce your tenants’ anxieties and limit the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Wash your hands: Frequently wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This is crucial. Don’t just rely on hand sanitizers. If, for whatever reason, there is no water available, then resort to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If you’re sending a maintenance staff to a unit, remind them to maintain cleanliness in their working area. Tell them to pack disinfectant and soap in their tool box, too.
  2. Wear gloves: Always put on a new fresh pair of gloves upon entering a new rental unit. You may want to put them on in front of your tenants so that they feel more at ease. You must also disregard used gloves properly in order to prevent any contamination.
  3. Wear safety and protective gear: Wear safety gear such as masks, PPE and shoe covers.
  4. Stay home if you’re sick: If you have a runny nose, sore throat, fever or cough, stay home. Do not visit your tenant’s unit. If an emergency occurs, only fully healthy repairmen should attend to the urgent matter.

 

Have extra supplies on hand

Stock up on ready supplies such as masks, sanitizers and gloves. You never know when your presence is required in your tenant’s unit, so you must always be prepared with extra stock. That said, be mindful of others who also need essential supplies. Don’t go overboard. Be reasonable.

disinfectant, mask and gloves

 

Factors to consider when responding to service requests during COVID-19

It’s normal that your typical way of conducting maintenance and repairs will change.

Here are a few factors to consider.

1. A phone call versus an in-person visit

Is a repair job simple enough for your tenant to fix on their own? Sometimes, you may be able to guide your tenants through easy instruction for simple repairs. This offers more protection and encourages healthy social distancing.

2. Essential versus non-essential repair

What constitutes an urgent case? You must be able to identify an essential repair from a non-essential one. It’s best to prioritize the essential repairs and schedule the minor ones for a later date.

3. Presence of children at home

Since schools are closed, all children are at home. When your maintenance staff or contractor is conducting repairs, remind them to be extra careful. Some kids may be curious and touch the tools. This can lead to unforeseen accidents.

4. Working quietly

Many employees are working remotely from home. This means that the tenants will require peace and quiet to concentrate. Remind the repairman to be extra sensitive and to strive for minimal intrusion.

repair man in property

5. Reassuring your tenants

In this crisis, maintenance work can cause a lot of anxiety for your tenants. Let them know that you’re implementing safety measures while performing the maintenance and repairs. This will reassure them that their safety is prioritized.

 

Bottom Line

All of these safety precautions can seem overwhelming for a self-managing property owner, but they are absolutely necessary.

If self-managing during this pandemic is too challenging, we would love to help. Cavalier Property Management offers excellent services that will provide you with peace of mind. Our professional expertise and well-implemented safety protocols will ensure you and your tenants stay protected during this difficult time.

Contact us today for more information.

Squatting Laws in Florida

Squatting Laws in Florida

What are Squatter’s Rights?

Squatter’s Rights is an informal name for Adverse Possession. If a squatter occupies your property for a period of time and meets a set of squatting laws in Florida, then your property may legally become the squatter’s with no exchange of payment.

It is essential to familiarize yourself with landlord-tenant laws in Florida to prevent this from happening. Usually, squatting in Florida begins as trespassing. If you fail to contact the police or file an eviction toward the trespasser, the squatter may soon gain several rights. This might eventually lead them to file a claim on your property. 

As a property owner, you might feel tempted to perform self-eviction procedures in Tampa, Florida. However, it’s important to refrain from this conduct. Let the law take its due course.

File the eviction lawsuit, and when you win the case, ask assistance from the sheriff or constable to help you remove a tenant/squatter who still refuses to leave your premises.

squatting in florida

A Brief Guide to Squatter’s Laws in Tampa, Florida

A squatter must possess your property for a certain amount of time in Florida in order for them to gain Squatter’s Rights. According to Florida squatting laws, a period of seven years is considered sufficient for a squatter to claim property ownership.

The squatter also needs to be paying property taxes during this 7-year timeframe. 

Under Florida Law, there are specific factors that determine a squatter’s right to make an adverse possession claim. Other states have five conditions, but Florida has six conditions that must be met:

  • The squatter must have hostile possession of the land. This means they have no prior agreement with the property owner to stay on the property.
  • They must satisfy the Florida squatter laws of giving great efforts to the upkeep and renovation of the property.
  • Only one squatter has a single claim to the property, not a group of people. This is the exclusivity condition. The squatter cannot be sharing the property with other tenants.
  • The squatter must have stayed in the property continuously for a period of seven years, as mentioned above.
  • They must openly occupy the property in public view, as if they own it. They can’t be in hiding, and it should be obvious that they are residing in the property.
  • The squatter needs “color of title”, meaning you, the property owner, have incomplete documents, or have not properly registered the land. 

adverse possession florida

 

How to Prevent Squatters from Entering Your Property

Luckily, there are steps you can take to discourage squatters from living in your property.

As the owner, you must protect and safeguard your land to avoid the stresses of an eviction and physical removal of a squatter. Knowing the squatting laws in Florida will save you a lot of resources – specifically time, money and energy, so be vigilant. 

Here are some ways to prevent squatters from taking residence in your unit:

  • Secure your vacant property and install fences or gates to keep away trespassers. 
  • Hire the services of a property management company that can track unwanted intruders in your property.
  • Don’t miss out on paying your own property taxes.
  • Put up “No Trespassing” or “Private Property” signs around your premises. This is especially vital in a vacant area, where trespassers may be tempted to set up a temporary home.
  • If you have a reason to believe that squatters are living in your property, issue them a written notice to move out.
  • It might also be a good idea to welcome the squatters in your property by asking them to pay rent. The decision is yours.
  • Always regularly inspect your vacant property to be aware if there are any trespassers or squatters setting up their home on your lot.
  • Ask for assistance from local police to remove the squatters from your premises if they’re too stubborn to leave on their own.
  • Hire legal services to arrange an eviction lawsuit when confronted by squatter issues.

florida adverse possession law

How to Remove Squatters

It is vital that you remove squatters from your property before they gain squatter’s rights. Squatting laws in Florida are not as specific in terms of eviction, compared to other states. To get rid of squatters, make sure you follow this process:

  • Contact the police as soon as you find out a squatter is residing in your vacant lot.
  • File a trespassing lawsuit immediately at the court to effectively remove them from your premises.
  • Provide the squatter with an eviction notice right away. 

There are three types of eviction notices you can serve in Tampa, Florida:

1. 3-Day Notice to Quit or Pay

This notice demands that the tenant make immediate rent payment for all past due rent and fees within three days. If they are unable to pay, then they must leave. If they won’t move out, they’ll be facing an eviction lawsuit.

2. 7-Day Notice to Cure

You can serve this notice to a tenant if they commit a violation of the lease agreement. This 7-day period is provided to cure the violation, at the threat of an eviction lawsuit.

3. 7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice

This notice is more final, and given to a tenant who intentionally caused destruction to your property. The tenant is not given an opportunity for correction of the violation, and must leave immediately before the 7-day period is over. 

If you discovered that a squatter has left some of their belongings, you are responsible for them. You’ll need to give the squatter a ten to fifteen day period to reclaim their possessions.

After this period has passed, you can choose whether to sell the items or discard them. 

The Bottom Line

Having a squatter in your home can be a long, frustrating process. It feels like a violation of what is rightfully yours.

At Cavalier Estates LLC, we are highly knowledgeable of squatting laws in Florida. We make sure to keep your property in excellent condition, and only allow occupation by quality tenants.

We make sure that there are no squatters or trespassers living in your unit, shielding you from adverse possession of your rightful property.

how long to get security deposit back

Florida Landlord Tenant Law: Security Deposit

Collecting a security deposit when you’re a landlord is a common practice. Sometimes this can result in conflicts between you and a tenant. It’s essential to learn the Florida Security Deposit laws and the rights of both parties. That way you’ll know what to do should you find yourself in such a situation.

 

Definition of Security Deposit

A security deposit is a fixed amount that you can ask a tenant to pay aside from the advanced rental payment. It is refundable once the tenant vacates the rental property. It is also given to cover damages of the property while the tenant is living there.

 

Reasons for Security Deposit Collection in Florida

There are several reasons why you will require a security deposit from a tenant. Here are some of the common reasons:

  • As coverage/protection against damages of the property

While staying in your rental property, a tenant may cause damage to the property. The security deposit is a safety net for you to cover expenses to replace/repair these damages. This does not include coverage of normal wear-and-tear.

florida statute security deposit

  • Coverage of loss in case tenant fails to pay the rent

If a tenant vacates the property without paying their rent, a security deposit will cover this loss.

  • Early termination of the lease

If a tenant breaches the lease early, a security deposit will help cover the costs of finding a new tenant.

  • As coverage against unpaid utility bills when a tenant moves out
  • As coverage for cleaning fees

You can use the security deposit to pay for the cleaning expenses in his property once a tenant moves out. This will ensure you can market your property well to fill the vacancy. You can also a professional property management company like Cavalier Estates LLC to help you repair damages and fill vacancies. Give us a call at (813)344-0034 for more information.

 

Security Deposit Limit in Florida

Under Florida law, there’s no set limit for the security deposit you can collect from a tenant. Most landlords opt to ask for 1-2 months deposit as a maximum amount for a security deposit. If you ask for more than that, prospective tenants might find it too steep and opt to rent somewhere else.

 

Storing a Security Deposit in Florida

There are 3 ways Florida you can store a tenant’s security deposit:

1.     Non-Interest-Bearing Account

You can store a tenant’s security deposit in a non-interest-bearing account. This means that the fund cannot be combined with other funds. It also means you can’t touch the funds. You can also use them if the tenant breaks the lease and you need it to pay for damage or other expenses.

2.     Interest Bearing Account

You can store a tenant’s security deposit in an interest-bearing account. You are bound to pay the tenant around 75% of the annual average earned interest rate. Alternatively, it’s 5% of the simple annual interest.  The fund cannot be combined with other funds nor touched before the amount is due. If the tenant terminated the lease early, they forfeit their earned interest.

3.     Surety Bond

You must post a surety bond equivalent to the security deposit, or $50,000, whichever is lesser. When posting the surety bond, it must be done in your property’s county. You must also pay the tenant 5% annual interest from the bond.

 

Written Notice Requirement After Receipt of Security Deposit

Once you receive the security deposit from a tenant, you need to notify the client in writing.  The notice must contain the following:

  • The bank’s name and address where the tenant’s security deposit is kept
  • Whether the security deposit is kept separate or mixed with other funds for the tenant’s advantage
  • The interest rate of the tenant’s security deposit if it’s kept in an interest-bearing account

You have the choice of delivering the notice in person or by mail. Notify your tenant if you change the terms of the deposit or move it to a new location. You should do this within 30 days of receiving the security deposit.

florida statute 83.49

 

Walk-Through Inspection

The state of Florida does not require walk-through inspections. These involve you and the tenant assessing the condition of the rental property. Other states may require this, but not Florida.

 

Rental Security Deposit Refund Florida

  • Full Refund of the Security Deposit

In Florida, you have 15 days to return the security deposit to the tenant once the lease expires. If the deposit was in an interest-bearing account, the interest earned is included in the refund amount.

  • Partial Refund of the Security Deposit Due to Deductions

You have 30 days from the lease termination to inform the tenant in writing of any deductions that will be made from the security deposit.

The notice must contain the following:

  • An explanation of the intent to retain a portion of or the entire security deposit. This must include an outline of your justification for this.
  • Notification to the tenant that they have 15 days to challenge the claim upon receiving the letter. If they choose to do this, it must also be done in writing.

You must send the notice by certified mail to the tenant. The tenant must take care to leave a forwarding address for you to mail it to. If they don’t, you’re not required to produce a written notice to the tenant.

If the tenant doesn’t object to the claim on the security deposit, you can subtract the amount claimed. You must return any remainder of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the initial notice.

Should a tenant object, the situation could proceed to the court. The party that wins the case will receive the court awarded sum. The party that loses will have to pay the legal costs and fees.

florida landlord tenant security deposit dispute

 

This overview of the Florida security deposit laws is only informational. If you need more help, please seek professional services from a qualified Florida attorney.