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Florida Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

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Florida Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs

Security Deposit Laws in Florida

Tenant’s Rights in Florida

Florida Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs

Does Florida have rent control or stabilization policies?

According to Florida landlord-tenant law, the state of Florida has not established rent control or stabilization practices.

What fees may I charge?

Landlords may assess late fees when specified within the lease. If a payment is returned by a financial institution as unpaid, landlords may impose a fee of $25, if the face value does not exceed $50, $30, if the face value exceeds $50 but does not exceed $300, $40, if the face value exceeds $300, or 5% of the face amount of the check, whichever is greater. Fla. Stat. § 68.065

What is the limit I can charge for a security deposit?

There is no limit on the security deposit charged to the tenant, so long as it is reasonable.

Do I need a separate bank account for the security deposit?

According to Florida landlord-tenant law, landlords must place the security deposit into either a post bond or an interest bearing or non interest bearing account that does not commingle with any personal funds. Additionally, landlords must provide tenants with written notice within 30 days stating where the security deposit is being held. This notice must also include the name, address, how the security deposit is being held, and interest it is bearing, if any.

After my tenant has moved, how long do I have to send their security deposit back?

According to Florida landlord-tenant law, after lease termination, a landlord has 15 days to return the security deposit with interest OR give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant’s last known address of their intention to impose a claim on the deposit, and the reason for imposing the claim. If there is a claim, landlords must return the balance, if any within 30 days of the written notice.

What are some common issues concerning security deposits?

A fairly common issue regarding the return of a security deposit is obtaining a forwarding address for the tenant. To circumvent this problem a landlord should insist upon a mailing address that is separate from the rental location, such as a post-office box.

How can I end a Florida lease agreement?

The lease agreement would supply the language to end a fixed term lease; a fixed term lease is when a lease has a beginning date and an end date. The lease agreement may specify whether a notice is needed or whether the lease would simply end at the end of the agreement. For a non-specific term lease or periodic lease, notice depends on how often the rent is paid. If rent is paid weekly, then 7 days would be needed to end the agreement; if rent is paid on a monthly basis, than 15 days notice would be needed. Quarterly requires thirty days notice and yearly requires sixty days notice. The same is true for a verbal agreement.

My tenant has not paid rent; how much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them?

According to landlord-tenant laws in Florida, if a tenant does not pay rent, a 3 day “Notice to Quit” shall be issued before the landlord may file for formal eviction proceedings.

Are there special requirements for the delivery or service of notices, for example, constable, sheriff or a registered process server, taped to entrance, certified mail, etc.?

Lease termination notices must be hand-delivered, and can be received by any adult person. In the event the tenant cannot be found at the property, the termination notice may be posted on the door.

When may a landlord release a tenant from the lease agreement?

In the case of a fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, considering the property unlivable, may a landlord be forced to release the tenant from the agreement. If the resident is called to active military duty, the landlord must release him/her from the lease contract.

My tenant wants to pay only part of the rent he owes? I have already started eviction proceedings; should I accept the partial payment?

Landlords may now accept partial payment and still proceed with an eviction that same month if he/she does one of the following:

1. Gives tenant a receipt of the partial rent payment.

2. Post a new 3 day notice with the new balance owed.

3. Place the amount of partial rent into the court registry, if the eviction is filed.

What are signs that my tenant has abandoned the rental unit?

Normally, if the unit is abandoned, the tenant has not paid the rent, so the landlord may file for eviction. Another clue to realizing your unit is abandoned is noticing that the tenant’s personal property is no longer in the unit. If it is plausible, check to see if your tenant has returned to the premises at any time during a period of one week. All “proof” should be documented and gathered to determine abandonment.

Are “No Smoking” policies legal in Florida?

Yes, a landlord may include a “No Smoking” policy in the Lease.

What is the required amount of notice before entering the rental unit?

As per Florida landlord-tenant law, the landlord shall give the tenant at least 12 hours’ notice of intent to enter the premises, except in case of emergency or if it’s impracticable to do so.

May I require my tenants to get renters insurance?

Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance.

What a landlord Cannot do Florida?

Under Florida landlord-tenant law, there are several things that a landlord cannot do. Here are some examples:

  • Discriminate against tenants: As a landlord, you cannot discriminate against tenants based on their race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status.
  • Retaliate against tenants: You cannot retaliate against tenants who exercise their legal rights, such as reporting code violations or filing complaints.
  • Enter the rental property without proper notice: You must provide reasonable notice before entering the rental property, except in cases of emergency.
  • Shut off utilities or change locks: You cannot shut off utilities or change locks to force a tenant out of the rental property.
  • Withhold security deposit for improper reasons: You cannot withhold a tenant’s security deposit for reasons that are not legally allowed, such as normal wear and tear.
  • Evict a tenant without a court order: You cannot evict a tenant without going through the legal eviction process and obtaining a court order.
Do tenants have any rights in Florida?

Yes, tenants in Florida have rights that are protected by Florida landlord-tenant law. Here are some examples of tenant rights in Florida:

  • Right to a habitable dwelling: Landlords are required to provide tenants with a habitable dwelling, which means that the rental property must be safe, clean, and free from hazards that could cause injury or illness.
  • Right to privacy: Tenants have the right to privacy in their rental unit, and landlords must provide reasonable notice before entering the property, except in cases of emergency.
  • Right to a written lease: A landlord must provide a written lease agreement to a tenant, which should include important terms such as rent, security deposit, and the length of the lease.
  • Right to security deposit return: When a tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit within 15-60 days, depending on the circumstances.
  • Right to a fair eviction process: Landlords must follow a legal process to evict a tenant, which involves providing notice, filing an eviction lawsuit, and obtaining a court order.
  • Right to complain: Tenants have the right to complain to local authorities about unsafe or unhealthy living conditions, and landlords are prohibited from retaliating against tenants who exercise their legal rights.
Can a landlord in Florida simply evict you?

No, a landlord cannot simply kick a tenant out of a rental property in Florida without going through the legal eviction process. The eviction process in Florida involves several steps, and a landlord must follow specific legal procedures to remove a tenant from the rental property.

In Florida, how long must a landlord give a renter to vacate?

The amount of notice a landlord must give a tenant to move out in Florida will depend on the reason for the notice. Here are the different types of notices and the amount of notice required:

  • Non-payment of rent: If the reason for the notice is non-payment of rent, the landlord must provide the tenant with a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate.
  • Lease violation: If the reason for the notice is a lease violation, The tenant has seven days to correct the violation or vacate after receiving a notice to cure or depart from the landlord.
  • Month-to-month tenancy termination: If the tenancy is month-to-month and the landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy without cause, they must provide the tenant with a 15-day written notice before the end of the rental period.
  • Year-long lease termination: If the tenant is on a lease for a specific term, such as one year, the landlord cannot terminate the lease before the end of the term unless the tenant violates the lease. At the end of the lease term, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written notice of non-renewal at least 30 days before the end of the lease.
What are the grounds for suing a landlord in Florida?

According to Florida landlord-tenant law, a tenant can sue a landlord for various reasons. Some common reasons a tenant may sue a landlord in Florida include:

  • Failure to maintain the rental property: Landlords in Florida have a legal obligation to maintain their rental properties to ensure they are safe and habitable. A tenant may sue a landlord if they fail to fulfill this obligation, such as failing to fix a broken water heater or failing to address a mold infestation.
  • Illegal evictions: Landlords in Florida must follow specific legal procedures when evicting a tenant. If a landlord violates these procedures or attempts to evict a tenant without a legal reason, the tenant may be able to sue the landlord.
  • Violations of the lease agreement: If a landlord violates the terms of the lease agreement, such as entering the property without permission or failing to provide agreed-upon services, a tenant may be able to sue for damages.
  • Security deposit disputes: Florida law requires landlords to return a tenant’s security deposit within a specific timeframe and to provide a written explanation of any deductions. If a landlord fails to return the security deposit or makes unauthorized deductions, a tenant may be able to sue.
  • Discrimination: Landlords in Florida are prohibited from discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. If a tenant believes they have been discriminated against, they may be able to sue the landlord.
How long can you go without paying rent in Florida?

When a tenant fails to pay the rent, certain laws and processes must be followed in all states in order to end the tenancy. Under Florida landlord-tenant law, the tenant must be given three days to pay the rent or vacate the property before the landlord can formally file for eviction.

What can you do in Florida if your landlord won’t make repairs?

If the landlord does not perform the repair or maintenance within the allocated period, the parties may agree to an extension in writing, or the tenant may vacate the property, keep the rent withheld, and dissolve the lease in order to avoid further need to pay rent or other fees.

What Must Be in a Lease Agreement in Florida?

Although some provisions of lease agreements may vary somewhat, certain factors should always be taken into account when drafting the document and communicating with the renter.

In order to prevent problems in the future, a lease agreement in Florida should always include the following:

  • A listing of the parties to the lease.
  • A thorough explanation of the house’s location, furnishings, and appliances.
  • Conditions for renting.
  • Rights and restrictions for entry.
  • Policies for property changes, repairs, and damages.
  • Justification for the security deposit.
  • Policies relating to pets, smoking, and other matters.

Lease dates, late fees, fees, and early termination terms should always be stated in any agreement. It’s critical to fully clarify these issues since they frequently lead to misconceptions and uncertainty between renters and landlords.

Security Deposit Laws in Florida

One of the most frequent conditions in all leasing agreements is a security deposit. The security deposit money cannot be used by the landlord in any way until it is due to them, according to Florida’s residential landlord-tenant laws (Chapter 83, section 49).

There are three ways for landlords to keep the security deposit money they receive from tenants:

  • Investing in a surety bond.
  • Putting the cash in an account that pays interest.
  • Storing the funds in an account without interest.

There is no cap on the amount of money landlords can request as security deposits, according to Florida’s landlord-tenant laws. If the tenant vacates the property, the landlord has 15 days to repay the security deposit in full.

Within those 15 days, if the landlord does not refund the security deposit, the tenant may file a lawsuit.

Tenant’s Rights in Florida


A tenant has the right to enjoy private, quiet possession of the home. The house belongs to the renter to use legally once it has been rented. Only when essential or agreed-upon repairs need to be made or the property needs to be inspected may the landlord enter the rental unit; however, only after giving the tenant reasonable notice and arriving at a suitable time. The notification period may be cut short or waived in an emergency.

Livable Housing

Tenants should receive livable housing from landlords. It must be structurally sound, have functional plumbing, hot water, and heating, be pest-free, and have an acceptable level of security, including working and locking doors and windows.

Unless the landlord and tenant agree differently in writing, the landlord of a single-family residence or duplex shall install operable smoke detectors at the commencement of the Lease. The Landlord shall also comply with all applicable building, health, and safety laws. The landlord is responsible for paying for any repairs necessary to make the rental property habitable.


According to Florida landlord-tenant law, even if the problem is nonpayment of rent, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the specific issue and allow the tenant time to fix it before going to court to remove the renter, if the landlord believes the tenant has broken the terms of the rental agreement. If they receive a notice for nonpayment of rent, tenants should be informed that their landlord may still evict them even if they pay only a portion of the rent. The landlord still needs to file an eviction petition with the court if the tenant fails to fix an issue after receiving written notice from the landlord or engages in serious behavior that endangers the property (such as committing a crime there). Tenants have the absolute right to participate in all legal proceedings, submit their position, and be assisted by counsel.

A renter should obtain legal counsel right away if he or she receives eviction proceedings. Tenants could be able to use legal defenses. For instance, if a renter has not broken any tenant obligations, the landlord cannot use eviction as a means of retaliation. Rent that is due now and any rent that becomes due throughout the eviction process must typically be paid into the court registry in order for a tenant to assert defenses. A tenant has very little time to respond in an eviction procedure, so speed is crucial.

Security Deposits

If the landlord requests a security deposit from the tenant, the landlord must keep the deposit safe during the tenancy. As per Florida security deposit law, the landlord is required to refund the entire deposit within 15 days of the tenant moving out or to inform the tenant in writing if only a portion of it will be returned within that time frame. The renter then has the option to object in writing within 15 days of receiving the notification. 

The security deposit and interest may occasionally be returned to the tenant. The tenant must give the landlord an address where the security deposit may be sent before moving out; otherwise, the tenant may forfeit their right to protest if the landlord wants to hold the security deposit.

Withhold Rent

Under some extremely severe conditions brought on by the landlord’s negligence, the tenant has the right to withhold rent. This is only possible when the landlord disregards a crucial duty, such as failing to provide a house that is safe and livable and complies with local housing regulations. The tenant must give the landlord written notice of the issue seven days prior to withholding rent so that the landlord has time to address it.

The tenant should save the money even after withholding rent and ask the court for permission to use some of it to carry out the duties the landlord should have performed. The tenant may be evicted for nonpayment of rent if the tenant does not keep the money and seek court aid.

Move Out

The tenant has the option to leave. If there is a written lease, the tenant should carefully examine it to see whether it calls for up to 60 days’ notice that the renter will not be staying after the lease expires. If there is no written lease, the tenant may vacate the property without cause by providing written notice of their intention to do so at least seven days before the next rent is due, if the rent is paid weekly, or fifteen days, if the rent is paid monthly. If the landlord fails to fulfill a significant requirement, the tenant may end the rental agreement as long as they give the landlord written notice seven days before the rent is due (there are some abnormalities to the right to leave).

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Please feel free to review our other Florida landlord-tenant resources, including our Florida lease agreement, and you can post any legal questions to our community of attorneys, landlords and property managers in our Rental Forum.

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Jose Diaz
Jose Diaz
2 years ago

Thank you for the useful information!

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