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Florida Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

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Florida Landlord-Tenant Law: An Introduction

  • Florida landlord-tenant law outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in the state of Florida.
  • It governs various aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including lease agreements, rent payments, eviction procedures, and security deposits.
  • Florida security deposit law requires landlords to return the security deposit to tenants within a specified time frame and provides guidelines for deductions that can be made from the deposit.
  • Understanding landlord-tenant law in Florida is crucial for both parties to avoid disputes and legal consequences.

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. Under Florida landlord-tenant law, 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?

As per Florida landlord-tenant law, landlords are required to handle security deposits appropriately. 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?

Under Florida landlord-tenant law, after lease termination, landlords are required to either return the security deposit with interest within 15 days or provide written notice by certified mail to the tenant’s last known address. The notice should clearly state the landlord’s intention to impose a claim on the deposit and provide the reason for doing so. If there is a claim, landlords must return the balance, if any within 30 days of the written notice. This ensures transparency and adherence to the regulations set forth by Florida rental laws.

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?

Under Florida landlord-tenant law, if a fire or casualty occurs at the property is not caused by the tenant, and the property becomes uninhabitable, the landlord may be obligated to release the tenant from the rental 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 rental property laws, 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 landlord and tenant laws in Florida, 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?

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: The Florida landlord-tenant law mandates that landlords return a tenant’s security deposit within a set timeframe. Additionally, landlords must provide a written explanation for any deductions made. If a landlord fails to return the security deposit or makes unauthorized deductions, a tenant may be able to sue.
  • Discrimination: Discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability is prohibited for Florida landlords. 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?

In order to terminate the tenancy, all states require following specific laws and procedures when rent goes unpaid. Before the landlord can file for eviction, the tenant must be given a three-day notice to pay rent or leave.

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

If the landlord fails to perform repairs within the specified timeframe, the parties can agree on a written extension. Alternatively, the tenant can choose to vacate the property, withhold rent, and terminate the lease to avoid additional obligations.

What Must Be in a Lease Agreement in Florida?

Lease agreements can have some variations, but certain factors should be considered when drafting and communicating with renters.

Under Florida lease laws, to avoid future issues, a Florida lease agreement must 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.

At what point does a guest in Florida transition into a tenant?

A guest can become a tenant by residing on the property for an extended period and making rental payments. This can create a landlord-tenant relationship, which is subject to the laws governing such relationships in Florida. The duration for a guest to be classified as a tenant can vary. If a guest remains for 15 consecutive days, they may be considered a tenant under the Florida landlord-tenant Act. It is important for landlords and tenants to be aware of this distinction to avoid any legal issues.

Can a landlord enter without permission in Florida?

In Florida, landlords generally cannot enter a rental property without the tenant’s permission, except in specific situations. Florida law requires landlords to provide reasonable notice to tenants before entering, usually 12 to 24 hours. However, there are exceptions, such as emergencies or when the tenant has abandoned the property. It’s essential for landlords to understand and respect tenants’ rights to privacy under Florida law.

Are landlords in Florida responsible for pest control?

According to Florida landlord-tenant law, the responsibility for pest control in rental properties is typically determined by the lease agreement. Although the law doesn’t specify landlord responsibility for pest control, it’s often expected that landlords address this matter. It’s crucial to review the lease agreement for specific terms on the landlord’s responsibilities or tenant-required pest control.

What is the Landlord Tenant Act 83 in Florida?

Florida’s Landlord Tenant Act 83 sets the rules for renting. It covers rent, deposits, and evictions. For landlords and tenants in Florida, this law is your guide. It helps prevent problems, making renting smoother. Know your rights and responsibilities under this law to ensure a fair and hassle-free rental experience.

Is it possible for a landlord to raise rent without notice in Florida?

In Florida, landlords are generally required to provide notice before raising rent. According to Florida rental laws, if the lease agreement does not specify the notice period, the landlord must provide at least 15 days written notice before increasing the rent.

What can a landlord deduct from a security deposit in Florida?

In Florida, landlords may deduct from a security deposit for damages exceeding normal wear and tear. This includes unpaid rent and substantial repairs. Thorough move-in/out inspections, along with well-kept records, play a vital role in identifying legitimate deductions, ensuring fairness and transparency for both landlords and tenants.

How to become a landlord in Florida?

Becoming a landlord in Florida can be a great investment opportunity, but it requires careful planning. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Research the local rental market and determine the type of property you want to invest in.
  • Obtain financing and purchase the property.
  • Prepare the property for rent by making necessary repairs and upgrades.
  • Determine a fair rental price based on market rates and the property’s condition.
  • Advertise the property and screen potential tenants.
  • Draft a lease agreement that complies with Florida law and outlines the terms of the tenancy.
  • Collect a security deposit and the first month’s rent.
  • Conduct a move-in inspection and provide the tenant with a copy of the inspection report.
  • Maintain the property and respond promptly to tenant requests and complaints.
  • Follow Florida’s landlord-tenant laws and regulations.
When does a hotel guest become a tenant in Florida?

Guests become tenants if their stay extends beyond 14 days within a six-month period or spans seven consecutive nights.

Can a tenant change locks in Florida?

Security is a key priority for numerous tenants, and adhering to specific guidelines is crucial when considering lock changes. As per Florida landlord-tenant law, unless explicitly permitted in the lease agreement, tenants should refrain from altering the property locks without obtaining the landlord’s consent. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in complications, potentially leading to eviction.

What are the new rules for landlords in Florida?
  1. Expanded Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Florida Statutes, like Chapter 83, set the rules for landlords and tenants. Updated laws stress using written leases for clear rules and protection. Both must follow agreed terms, with landlords keeping places habitable and tenants following payment and care rules.

  1. Adjustments to Termination Notices

In 2023, the law changed to give tenants more notice before moving out. Now, landlords must give 30 days’ written notice instead of 15 for month-to-month leases. This means landlords need to plan more carefully when ending leases, shifting the landlord-tenant relationship.

  1. Rent Control and Payment Regulations

Florida doesn’t allow rent control, like many other states. Local governments can’t enforce rent limits. But landlords must give tenants written receipts for rent. Also, the state limits late fees to stop landlords from charging too much for late rent.

  1. Security Deposit and Fee Alternatives

New laws let landlords give tenants a choice: pay a fee instead of a deposit. This change follows companies offering this service, where tenants pay a small monthly fee for potential damages coverage.

  1. Enhanced Tenant Privacy

Tenants now have stronger privacy rights. Landlords must give 24 hours’ notice before entering rental properties, except for emergencies. This change protects tenant rights and ensures they can enjoy their rented space peacefully.

  1. Miya’s Law

Recent laws include Miya’s Law, requiring background checks for employees at certain rental properties. This ensures tenant safety and makes landlords responsible for their employees’ behavior, enhancing accountability.

  1. State Preemption Over Local Authorities

In 2023, changes to the law made it clear that state rules about renting homes are more important than local ones. This makes the rules the same all over Florida, making it easier to understand and follow.

Landlord’s Rights in Florida

  • Receiving payment for the use of the property is a natural right for you as a landlord.
  • Having your stuff returned to you intact at the end of the contract is another crucial entitlement. It must be sent back in the same state that it was received in, with the exception of reasonable wear and tear.
  • When it comes to the use and upkeep of the property, the landlord must adhere to local and state legislation.
  • The tenant’s rights are typically deemed to have been abandoned if they are permanently vacated prior to the conclusion of the rental agreement and the property is left empty. If a tenant is gone for more than 15 days without giving the landlord prior notice that they intend to be gone, the law presumes an abandonment. You are permitted to enter the abandoned residential unit again. You should think about seeking legal advice or assistance because the rights and remedies are frequently complicated.

Florida Landlord’s Responsibilities

  • If you ask potential tenants to fill out a rental application and they are active-duty or state-duty members of the US military, members of the Florida National Guard, or members of the US Reserve Forces, you must inform them within seven days of their submission whether their application was approved or denied.
  • It is your responsibility to offer a home that is secure, complies with housing codes, and makes reasonable repairs as required.
  • You must respect the tenant’s rights as well. The right to peaceful possession is one of the most crucial of these. By renting to a tenant, you grant that person unrestricted access to and use of your property. This implies that you are not permitted to visit the house frequently, irregularly, or without notice. Reasonable notice of at least 12 hours is required when protecting your property through inspection. Without informing and getting the tenants’ consent, you are not allowed to exhibit the property to prospective buyers.
  • It is illegal to discriminatorily raise a renter’s rent, reduce services provided to a tenant, or threaten to file a lawsuit for possession or take other legal action solely as retaliation against the tenant. If something happens after a renter has complained about housing issues, retaliation can be assumed.

Florida Security Deposit Law

Florida rental owners can charge security deposits without any specified limit. As outlined by Florida landlord-tenant law (Chapter 83, section 49), landlords are prohibited from using the security deposit funds until they are rightfully due at the end of the tenancy.

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.

The landlord must provide a written notice to the tenant within 30 days of the renter moving into the unit. This notice should include information on:

  • The Florida bank where the landlord deposited the security deposit or advanced rent, or if the landlord posted a surety bond.
  • Whether the tenant will earn interest on the deposit.

Upon the termination of the tenancy, the entire security deposit must be returned within 15 days. If the landlord fails to return the deposit within this timeframe, the tenant has the option to seek legal assistance.

If the landlord intends to retain all or part of the deposit, they must send a written notice to the tenant’s forwarding address within 30 days, explaining the reasons for withholding the deposited funds. Failure to provide this notice within the 30-day timeframe requires the landlord to return the full amount.

A landlord can withhold a portion of the security deposit for reasons such as damages beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent and utilities, and cleaning fees.

Florida Repair and Maintenance Laws

According to Florida landlord-tenant law, irrespective of the type of dwelling unit, landlords must adhere to the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes. In instances where housing codes are absent, landlords are obligated to maintain the following in good repair or condition: plumbing, windows, screens, roof, floors, exterior walls, steps, porches, foundations, and all other structural components.

Landlords in Florida must commence major repairs affecting the property’s habitability within seven days.

If a property poses safety concerns for the renter, the landlord is obligated to offer necessary assistance. Otherwise, the tenant has the option to seek legal advice, terminate the lease, or withhold rent with proper notice.

It’s essential to understand that not all repairs can be completed within seven days, and landlords should demonstrate reasonable effort to carry out repairs within a sensible timeframe.

Florida Renters Rights

In Florida, renters have important rights to keep them safe and respected. Here are their main rights:

  • They can live in a home that’s safe and meets local rules for housing and health.
  • They can look for a home without facing unfair treatment from landlords.
  • Asking for repairs, and sometimes, not paying rent if the fixes aren’t done on time.
  • They can live in their home without anyone disturbing their privacy or peace.

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
3 years ago

Thank you for the useful information!

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