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)).
  • 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).
  • 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
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550 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kara

    Hello. I am a social worker and I am working with a family who is having issues with getting things repaired in their unit. The sliding glass door is broken to the point that someone could just pick it up, move it to the side, and walk in. Most of the windows are also in need of repair. The tenant has placed foil and tape over the open areas of the windows. A cat even tried jumping through one of the windows and came close to getting in. The landlord refuses to fix these things, which are clearly safety concerns for the tenant. The tenant contacted code enforcement. Code enforcement advised the tenant they would issue citations for the fence and driveway. Code enforcement also notified the tenant that the landlord does not have the property registered as a rental property. What are the tenants rights regarding these issues? She is on a fixed income, but would like to get out of this apartment unit.

    • Dan Hunter

      Question: Why did she rent an apartment that was in this condition in the first place? Assuming she did not commit all this damage after she moved in ?? She should def. take her business elsewhere.

      • Kara

        These are issues that started occurring after she moved into the unit and now the landlord flat out refuses to fix them.

        • DAN HUNTER

          KARA, IF THESE ISSUES STARTED OCCURRING AFTER SHE MOVED IN, WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THE TENANT IS DAMAGING THE UNIT AND SHE EXPECTS LANDLORD TO PATCH UP HER DESTRUCTION. NO BUSINESS COULD SURVIVE THAT TYPE OF NONSENCE. HE SHOULD PUT HER OUT, PATCH UP THE HOUSE AND SELL IT. IF HE HASN’T REGISTERED THE RENTAL UNIT AND IF HE DID NOT REQUIRE A STRONG CO-SIGNOR WHEN RENTING TO A PERSON ON A FIXED INCOME, HE OBVIOUSLY HASN’T SUFFICIENT BUSINESS ACUMEN TO OPERATE A RENTAL PROPERTY AT A PROFIT. SHE IS IN A UNIT THAT SHE SHOULD NOT BE IN AND LANDLORD IS IN A BUSINESS HE DOES NOT NEED TO BE IN. LOTS OF LUCK TO BOTH OF YOU.

          • Kara

            Dan, the things that need to be repaired are due to the property’s age and neglect over the years. The tenant’s elderly mother lived in the unit for approximately 8 years. When the mother moved out, the landlord allowed the daughter to remain in the unit. This unit is part of the triplex, in which all of the units are in need of repair. As I stated, these issues have occurred due to years of neglect by the landlord. The tenant has even offered to pay for these repairs out of pocket if the landlord will allow her to deduct the expense from her rent; however, the landlord refuses to allow her to do that.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kara,

      The way I see it, the landlord is in violation of the lease by not providing a secure premise.

      You should read statute 83.51: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0000-0099/0083/Sections/0083.51.html

      It’s explains the landlord’s responsibilities – many of which the landlord in your story is not providing.

      Not having an exterior door and windows that lock is a big deal, and the tenant *should* be able to send a “7 day remedy or quit” notice, which means that the landlord has 7 days to fix the issues of habitability, or the tenant can terminate the lease and sue him for damages. (83.56 – http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0000-0099/0083/Sections/0083.56.html_

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. I’m just an experienced landlord, who did some research into the statutes.

      • Dan Hunter

        Hi Kara, It’s good to get the rest of the story. The toughest to renovate building I ever bought was a neglected four unit. The price was right !! I was to learn the lady in number four had vacated two months prior to my purchase of the building. After an eight hour absence, she returned home to find her baby dead in it’s crib. Immediately I ordered a full building inspection. It had the usual violations that come with an older building, but I noticed the heating inspector did not have a carbon monoxide detector. I borrowed one from a friend and sure enough there was a CO leak coming from the furnace. Rain water had run down the chimney over the years , and had rusted out the smoke pipe that led from furnace to chimney. You couldn’t see it because the rust was on the bottom of the pipe. I found it by running my fingers under the pipe.
        I hope you tell your client to vacate that building. Old, neglected and uninspected buildings and be very dangerous.

        • Carol Ann Speight

          There are so many times I wish I was NOT a resident of Canada BUT in the above case of a Carbon Monoxide detector problem I can say I am elated to be a Canadian citizen! Our government,(albeit inadequate at times) has made it law that ALL landlords MUST install carbon monoxide detectors in ALL rental properties.

  • Carol Ann Speight

    Thank you so much for your answer. I will check out the article.

  • L. Green

    In the state of Florida can a landlord increase your rent by 5% annually?

  • Lucas Hall

    Hi J

    In Florida, 15 days notice prior to the end of any monthly period is needed to terminate a month-to-month agreement (83.57(3)).

    I have no idea of your “one-month extension” would be considered a month-to-month or just a single month. Even if you didn’t give enough notice, the most they could keep from the deposit would be one month’s rent – to cover the appropriate notice period.

    It sounds like the property manager was not very organized and really messed things up for both of you. One option you have is to send a “demand letter” to the owners, and threatening to sue them if they don’t return the deposit. If they don’t, then you could try filing a lawsuit small claims court.

  • Carol Ann Speight

    This is NOT rental for a residence this is “lot rent” that a mobile home sits on. We own the mobile and pay rent for “the ground” it sits on. That rent includes sewer and water fees. We are responcible for the heat and electric…..separately.
    The increases I am referring to are the “monthly rent that covers the ground”.
    Is there any law on the American books that you are aware of that indicates a lenghth of time required before rent is increased? Here in Ontario, Canada…they are required by law to present a tenant with written notice of the increase 90 days prior to the expiration of the currant lease. We have (to my knowledge since 1988) never had an actual lease written on paper BUT we used to get notices of the rent increases regularily. It is very hard to get information regarding this being we are Canadian and have no idea of what questions to ask of whom!…..Sure appreciate any and all assisstance you may offer. Thank you, Cas.

  • Lucas Hall

    Hi Carol,

    I just saw this comment. Your story makes more sense now.

    There is no statute in Florida that regulates the amount of notice to raise the rent (at least not from my research) – but rather it can only be done at the time of renewal. If you have a month-to-month, then the rent could be raised every month. If you have a fixed-term lease, then they would have to wait until renewal time. Usually a reasonable amount of notice is expected, but not statutory.

    You should read through the article at the top of this page. Each state has its own laws, which is why you should look up Florida statutes, not just “american” law.

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