Florida Rental Laws

Written by on January 7, 2013

This article summarizes some key Florida rental laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association has a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

This research and information is current as of Sept 1, 2013.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute (83.49)
  • Security Deposit Interest: Not Required, but allowed.  If interest is being collected, it must be in a Florida banking institution, and tenant receives 75% if earnings (83.49 (1a-b)).  No interest is due to a tenant who wrongfully terminates his or her tenancy prior to the end of the rental term (83.49 (9)).
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Yes, landlords are not allowed to commingle funds (83.49 (1a-b)).  Landlords are also allowed to post a surety bond (83.49 (1c)).
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Non-refundable Fees: No Statute, but is typically allowed and customary.
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 15 days if full refund, 30 days if withholding any amount (83.49 (3a)).
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes, and landlord must send notice using exact language found in Florida Statute 83.49 (3a).
  • Receipt of Security Deposit: Required to be given to the Tenant within 30 days. Landlord must identify the manner in which the money is being held, and what the interest rate is, if any. Florida has specific rules pertaining to the receipt notification, read Statute 83.49(2-3) carefully.

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute (83.46)
  • When Rent is Due: When agreed upon, at the beginning of each period, and rent is uniformly apportionable from day-to-day (83.46(1)).
  • Application Fees: No Statute. Use Cozy to avoid having to charge application fees.
  • Late Fees: No Statute (83.46)
  • Returned Check Fees: If payment is returned by a financial institution, landlord can impose a service charge 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 percent of the face amount of the check, whichever is greater (68.065). I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute (83.46)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes (83.60). Essential services are defined in Statute 83.51.
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes (83.4883.55)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No, Landlord has no obligation to rerent during a breach of lease by tenant. For specific requirements, read Statute 83.595.

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: Not less than 60 days prior to the end of any annual period (83.57(1)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Quarter to Quarter: Not less than 30 days prior to the end of any quarterly period (83.57(2)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: Not less than 15 days prior to the end of any monthly period (83.57(3)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: Not less than 7 days prior to the end of any weekly period (83.57(4)).
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Termination of Lease for Nonpayment: 3 days Notice, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays.  Specific language must be included in the notice, which is found in Statute 83.56(3).
  • Notice of Eviction for Lease Violation: Tenant has 7 days to remedy the issue or landlord can file for eviction and terminate lease (83.56(2)).
  • Required Notice before Entry: 12 hours, unless otherwise agreed upon (83.53(2)).
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): 12 hours (83.53(2))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (83.53(2b))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes (83.53(2d))
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (83.67(1))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (83.67(2))
  • Penalty for a Self-Help Eviction: A landlord who performs a self-help eviction shall be liable to the tenant for actual and consequential damages or 3 months’ rent, whichever is greater, and costs, including attorney’s fees. Subsequent or repeated violations that are not contemporaneous with the initial violation shall be subject to separate awards of damages. (83.67(6))
  • Proper Notice for Abandoned Property: Yes, first-class mail, pre-paid postage (715.104), using the specific language found in Statutes 715.105, or 715.106.  Review Statutes 715.104 – 705.111 for specific instructions and requirements for abandoned property.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlords are not allowed to evict tenants without going through the legal process (aka self-help evictions).  Penalty is actual damages to tenant or 3 months rent – whichever is greater (83.67(6)).
  • For buildings over three (3) stories, landlord shall disclose to the tenants initially moving into the building the availability or lack of availability of fire protection (83.50(2)).
  • The landlord shall, at or before the commencement of the tenancy, provide the name and address of the landlord or a person authorized to receive notices and demands in the landlord’s behalf (83.50(2)).
  • Notification shall be provided on at least one document, form, or application executed at the time of, or prior to, contract for sale and purchase of any building or execution of a rental agreement for any building. Such notification shall contain the following language: “RADON GAS: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, when it has accumulated in a building in sufficient quantities, may present health risks to persons who are exposed to it over time. Levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in buildings in Florida. Additional information regarding radon and radon testing may be obtained from your county health department.” (404.056(5))
  • Landlord shall not prevent the tenant from displaying a United States Flag (83.67(4)).
  • Landlord is not responsible for personal property left on the premise after death of tenant if the following clause is included in the signed lease agreement: “By signing this rental agreement, the tenant agrees that upon surrender, abandonment, or recovery of possession of the dwelling unit due to the death of the last remaining tenant, as provided by Chapter 83, Florida Statutes, the landlord shall not be liable or responsible for storage or disposition of the tenant’s personal property.” (83.67(5))
  • Landlord is not allowed to include clauses in the lease that force either party to waive or forfeit rights, remedies, requirements, or liabilities set forth by law (83.47).
  • It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminatorily increase a tenant’s rent or decrease services to a tenant, or to bring or threaten to bring an action for possession or other civil action, primarily because the landlord is retaliating against the tenant (83.64).
  • Retaliation is considered if action is taken on a tenant who (1) has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, (2) has organized, encouraged, or participated in a tenants’ organization, (3) has complained to the landlord pursuant to Statute 83.56(1), or (4) is a servicemember who has terminated a rental agreement pursuant to Statute 83.682.

Court Related:

  • Small Claims Court Limits: $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees.
  • Eviction Cases Allowed: Yes
  • Small Claims Rules (PDF)
  • Statute of Limitations

Business Licenses and Fees:

  • Business License Required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.
  • Rentals in Miami need a Residential Real Estate Sign permit (single family homes) or a Commercial Real Estate Sign permit (apartment units). It is a sticker that should be placed on the sign. The permit is $5.00 for a single family home, $15.00 for an apartment unit, and it is valid for one (1) year from purchase. (Miami FAQs)
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
Get Updates by Email!

Join 1000's of Landlords

  • Weekly Articles & Tips
  • Updates on Rental Laws
  • ​Useful Tools & Resources
Topics:
  Laws & Regulations
Free tools for
Landlords.

738 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • J Glen

    Hello,

    I’ve recently ended a lease at a unit. The microwave at the unit broke (my fault to which I admitted to the landlord). They are stating that they will make a claim, but have not provided proof of the original purchase price nor the date purchased to determine the value of the item.

    If the cost to repair the unit exceeds the actual cash value (depreciation factored in), can they make a claim against my deposit for the repair cost? Or are they limited to the actual cash value of the item?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Glen,

      Usually depreciation is factored in for larger items, but I suppose it could apply to microwaves.

      Microwaves are generally inexpensive to buy new, and it often costs more to fix them then it does to buy a new one.

      If this were something large, like carpet, or a fridge, I would say that the landlord wouldn’t be able to charge the tenant for the life of the microwave that it has already lived, but rather just the life that the tenant stole from the landlord through the damage. Remember, depreciation is different from life expectancy. Further, you’re not taking into account the time and energy it takes to handle this situation, which has some value too.

      In my non-legal opinion, if the microwave is under $200, then just leave it alone. If it’s a really expensive microwave and fairly old, then you could encourage your landlord to treat it like carpet, which I outline in this podcast episode: http://www.landlordology.com/ask-lucas/010-carpet-damage/

      Lastly, if you feel that the deposit was wrongfully withheld, then you could always files a small claims suit against your landlord.

      Again, I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. Good luck to you.

  • Carlos A.

    Can security deposits be held in online-only banking, such as Capital One 360 Savings Account?

    If not, can the lease specifically state that the security deposit will not be kept at a Florida-banking institution, and instead, will be held in an online Capital One 360 account?

  • elizabeth cruz

    I am 2 months in a lease I am current I paid money orders in april and may but my landlord
    d is trying to evict me for deposit can she do that she gave a 3 day notice but it is incorrect it
    said I was 2000 behind in rent I paid 1300 in money orders in april my first month of lease and 1300 money orders in may so her 3 day notice has incorrect amounts I only owe 1300 security deposit.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Elizabeth,

      If the lease says you owe a security deposit, and you haven’t paid it, then that would still be a violation. Are you sure your landlord isn’t taking your money and applying it to the deposit, and then anything left over is applied to rent? If that’s what your landlord is doing, then you would still owe rent, not the deposit.

      Does that make sense?

      This is a common practice to ensure tenants don’t prolong overdue things like a deposit. They can’t catch up unless they pay everything in full because the tenant isn’t allowed to decide how the money is allocated.

      I hope that helps a bit. I think you should talk to your landlord more and find out why the numbers to match up. Please know I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Elizabeth,

      I think that there is a communication problem with your landlord. All requirements for being in a rental should be CLEAR.
      Maybe you should enlist he the help of someone who can speak you to in your native language, and then talk to the landlord to get an understanding of what has happened, and what arrangements can be made to fix this problem before it goes any further. I would do this as soon as possible. rodk.

  • Carol

    I recently looked at a mobile home in the Gulf Breeze area of Florida to purchase as a possible rental property. There is only a front door however, no other exit. I was told by the realtor that is within code in Florida. I find this difficult to believe. Is this correct that a rental property does not require at least two exits? I believed this was a standard requrement everywhere for safety reasons? I would appreciate any feed back on this matter. Thanks.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Carol,

      Generally speaking, yes, a residence is required to have 2 forms of egress. But keep in mind, they both don’t have to be doors. A window would suffice as a form of exit in an emergency. Further, I have no idea of mobile homes have to follow the same building rules as actual structures since they are not constructed the same way.

      This is just my understanding at a national level. I don’t actually know what the laws are in florida on this, nor your county. If you’re looking for legal advice, I suggest talking to a lawyer.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Carol, continued.

      So when you look at a place to rent, safety for yourself and others should always come to mind. Old gas furnaces can kill you with a cracked furnace much more easily than any general fire hazard. So anyone needs to look and notice these issues, and its good that you have. You can easily go down to the county’s code compliance office and look up the properties date of manufacture and the applicable codes and ordinances that would apply to that structure. Mobile home or otherwise. In order to get a permit of occupantcy, all properties must pass the code inspection process. So there you have it, the county will let you know what is required for that property, and you can file a complaint- if you wish to which the county will go and inspect the property for any code violations. But do not think the landlord will like you for doing any complaining. and you may not rent from him either. But that’s just the way life. Isn’t it?

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Hi Carol. I believe that you are right in that a home should have at least 2 exits, mobile homes or otherwise. It is important to realize that safety codes have changed over the years. It used to be acceptable to just have 1 main exit to a movie theater, until around the late 1920s there occurred a fire in the concession area of one theater and blocked the main exit to which all the people subsequently died. After that, things started to change. Since before the time of the 70’s there was a requirement that homes have at least 2 exits in all homes. Manufactured homes, in Florida, are regulated by the department of transportation. (because they originally came in on wheels) They had their own regulations. Lately, since about the later 80’s- a separate exit for each bedroom was required.. A door, sliding glass door, or large enough window for a firefighter to go through with his air tank was acceptable as a secondary exit/ entry point. continued.

  • Tereza

    Hello There,
    Is there any legal provision that a lease can be terminated early without penalties if the tenant is moving out of the country?
    Thanks!

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Tereza.
      Being not a lawyer, but in my opinion the only Florida Regs that I know of that allows leases to be terminated early is that of enlisted personnel. Then they have to have certain things happen: they have to have active orders to move to another base, etc. Unless there is provision inside the existing contract, that allows the contract to be canceled, Then I do not think so. For example; hurricaines, or of such. You can look up the florida regulations at: Myflorida.com and then select legislative section. There under that page you can find the florida regulations online. This is not legal advice, as I am not a lawyer, but in my opinion this is the only thing that I know of. Don’t really know about “Penalty” though. Do you mean that you would not be responsible for continued rent charges after you left? As the contract was still in force? Please elaborate. thnx.

      • Tereza

        Thank you so much, Rob! That’s like I expected. In a nutshell, a friend of mine is moving back overseas and wants to leave a couple of months before the end of the contract. The thing is that they are very tight on money right now and were trying to avoid any expenses. But it is what it is, they are not in the military. I think their best bet would be try to negotiate wih the landlord. Apartments in their area should not stay vacant for long.
        Thanks again,
        Tereza

        • Rod Kreinbrink

          Tereza. Thanks for getting back to us. Let your friend know that under Florida Statutes the Landlord has no obligation to try to re-rent the premises, in order to obtain mitigation of damages. They could just let the contract run out and then go back after your friend in a judgment. The may try to re-rent the premises, but they are not obligated to. Hope this helps.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Be short, sweet and to the point.

Landlordology is a moderated community.
If you want your photo to appear next to your comment, create a Gravatar.

Get Updates by Email

Join Thousands of Landlords
The Landlord's Guide to Rent Collection Free Download
Free Landlord Webinar: 8PM (EST) Register Now