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


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
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649 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Denise

    I live in a 3 family unit private home, the landlord gave me key to laundry facility on move in 2 years ago. recently new tenants have begun locked gate denying me access to laundry facility area. I have complained to landlord and she has told them to unlock it but this is occurring often and when demanded t be unlocked it is usually late in evening when I need to go to bed. Is there a law to protect me for use of common area

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Denise, Since you are being denied the full use of the property it would make sense to withhold $100 of the rent. This will get a response from the landlord and hopefully bring the matter to a resolution. Don’t forget to be nice.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Is there a law to prevent you from use of a common area? Don’t know specifically for sure. But hey, I remember all of the Mariotts resorts that I have stayed overnight. I can remember that there were common areas that the “tenants” have access to, but others from the street may not. Many hotels have a pass key system in which only registered guests have access to. So is this similar to your situation? You say that you were given a key to the laundry room at move in. Ok, I am assuming that this locked gate is separate from that area. If this is true, then you simply ask the landlord for the specific key to that gate, or otherwise make the gate accessible to you without the need to call him at all hours of the night. I am also assuming that there are not “hours of operation” on this laundry area as well. There probably should be a mechanism to prevent joe blow off the street from doing their laundry–or even a past tenant. Somewhere is your answer.

      • DAN HUNTER

        Good comment Rod !! The last sentence is the only comment with which I disagree. LOL!! I used to allow (actually invite) the neighbors to use my laundries. Those washers and dryers paid for both my two kids and me to take a nice luxury cruise both in the spring and fall of every year. We did the Mediterranean, Alaska, Panama and the Caribbean. It’s the easiest money you will ever make !!!!! Try it !!! And don’t forget to pay your income tax on the profits !!!

        • Rod Kreinbrink

          Hi Dan. When you reply to these posts, from people who are struggling for answers, you feel like you are sticking your neck out. Everyone wants a simple answer where there is none. You have to fight for rights, and that is the simple truth. When someone has a question, You and Lucas approach your answers from different perspective than mine. I do see that in your reply’s. Thanks though for your support. rodk.

          • Dan Hunter

            Hi Rod, Keep up the good comments. Points of view from a different perspective are always refreshing and informative.

      • Denise

        unfortunately it was a bike lock the tenant wrapped around my gate to prevent me from entering until he felt like allowing it.. I have since written the landlord a letter the gate hasn’t been locked since …. but only time will tell. my goal will be to move out when lease is up this July

  • Brandon

    I signed a lease with my landlord to move into a newly renovated condo on 4/4/15. He signed the lease even though he knew there would be an inspection on 4/8/15 and we wouldn’t be able to move in until the inspection was approved. The condo failed the inspection on 4/8/15. I feel as though I’m helpless in this situation as I’ve already paid $200 for the HOA Application fee and if I bail on the condo now, I’ll lose that $200. Do I have any rights in this situation or do I have to just sit and wait it out with my hands tied behind my back? In one more day I’m going to be homeless since I was led to believe I would be able to move in on the 4th, it’s now the 14th. Thanks

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hey Brandon. |Some information seems to be left out. Why did the home fail inspection? Did you get a copy of the inspection report for your records? and have you talked to the landlord about the time it would take to cure the failed inspection? The home probably is not habitable with a failed inspection, but its good to know why any pending home failed inspection. I would get a copy of the inspection and even call the inspection company for more information, if needed, and definitely be on the horn with the landlord. Maybe there is another dwelling that the owner has that you can occupy for the short term while this is sorted out, if you intend to live there.

      • Brandon

        I have not been in contact with the Landlord, only my realtor who contacts the landlord’s listing agent. Apparently the inspection failed because of a drain pipe that is supposed to be angled a specific way and the contractor had a miss communication with the city inspector. Apparently there is no firm day the next inspection is supposed to take place. I’m not sure of the process but it seems the landlord has to call the city to say it’s ready for inspection and the city calls back saying when it can be inspected. I don’t seem to be getting any help from the landlord, my realtor or the landlords realtor. Everyone just shrugs there shoulders and says “Sorry”.

      • Christian

        Hi there
        Hope you can help me out
        I live in a house in fort Myers, Florida
        I started paying 1,300 a month 2 years ago, then was increase to 1,350, $ 50 increase ). So now got a notice they want me to pay 1,425 a month ( $ 75 increase )
        I think is to much because is almost 6 % more. Wanted to know if that right what the realtor is asking me to pay.. He said the owner want that.
        Thank you

        • Rod Kreinbrink

          Hi Christian, now I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice. Now that being said, I may be wrong, but I do not recall that the florida regs ever had a % increase limitation of rent- on an annual basis. So then the landlord can charge whatever rent he wants under the contract. I am sure that the courts would be shocked by a usurous amount, but $1,425. a month would not be it. If I were in your shoes, I would contact the realtor and state that the increase would force me to look around for another place to rent, Or just find another place to rent and do not sign the new contract. Or maybe contact the owner themselves. You can probably find the name of the owner by going to the lee county property appraisers website, and type in your address to find the owners name and address. Call them and talk to the owners directly. Maybe an arrangement could be struck on the rent before you have to make a decision. The decision is yours. good luck.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Brandon, unfortunately you are just up against the wall on this one. This is what I would do, if I were you. I would call an attorney who advertises for a free consultation in the phone book. If you can not find one in an local listing, then call the local bar association and get a referral to a local attorney. All bar associations will forward your complaint to the right attorney, and you can generally receive a discounted rate for the first hour. I did just this and the first hour cost me $15.00 For just the legal advice alone, this is a good deal. I was told to say that that my referral came from the local bar association, as they gave me a ticket number to relate the referral number over the phone. It looks to me that you at a point where you are going to have to spend some money for something that was out of your control, and not your fault. I am not a lawyer, but only chime in to give advice. Sometimes you need an attorney. Good luck on this one.

  • Terri Ackley

    We moved into a single family home in Florida in August of 2013. In August of 2014 the home was sold and the new owners did not have us sign a lease. We have moved out due to problems with them and upon inquiring about the security deposit, they are stating “We were not given any security deposit. In fact we only got part of the pet deposit, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to.” Where do I go from here? Do I contact the seller or the realtor that handled the sale? Also since they did not notify us within 30 days of purchase where the security deposit was being held have they now lost claim to the security deposit? Thank you for any help!

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Personally, I would break out the old lease and look to the address of the old owners of the property and contact them first. I would ask them if they transferred the deposit or still have it in a bank account somewhere. Explain to them the situation with the old owner and that the new owners did not require you to sign a new lease.
      landlord and tenant laws . Chapter 83. You can find them online by going to: myflorida.com and then select the legislative branch. Then select florida statutes on the right hand side.
      Some areas that might interest you are damage notification, and the returning of the security deposit.

      Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 15 days if full refund, 30 days if withholding any amount (83.49 (3a)).
      Receipt of Security Deposit: Required to be given to the Tenant within 30 days.

      See what the original landlord says. This is not legal advice, as I am not a lawyer, but just trying to point you in the right direction. good luck.

  • Ray

    What is the law regarding the type of lease you can use for leasing my home. I have used a lease approved by a real estate attorney for several yeas and my HOA just recently stated I had to use their lease if I wanted to lease my property.

  • Claudio

    The girl payed for february 2nd until april 2nd in advance. so 2 months. but decided to move out in 8 of march because wanted to live with her boyfriend. Now she asks for the rent money back she did no stay in april but she did not give any notice nor bother to find someone to replace her. I put her name on the lease intially to do everything legal. But the office says she is not in the contract only added under my name. even though i payed the office 225 dollars to add her name.

    Please help?

    Thank in advance

    Additional information
    The only written deal was a piece of paper that we both have copies of. The paper says I ___my name have received the amount of __1700 from__ her name for two months rent. That is all. From those two months, she was there 1 full month and 8 days of the new month, then she left.

    I posted Full situation details: http://www.city-data.com/forum/renting/2349345-roommate-moved-out-no-notice-suing.html#post39255037

  • Pamala Williams

    I rented a 1 bedroom house 8 years ago. I originally signed the lease then added my boyfriend. I am on disability, while my boyfriend works. I am the person who paid the deposit to move in. And I am the original signer of the lease. Can my landlord change the name to his name on the lease just because my boyfriend works without my say so?

  • Bcharlton

    Need some advice , I am new to the whole renter thing. I signed a lease on a mobile home in Florida . The landlords refuse to do anything . They won’t even answer their phone so I find even bother anymore . The trailer has holes in the floor, the windows are screwed shut , some don’t even close at all . The front door won’t lock properly . The stove is the original that came with the 1976 mobile home , it’s gas and its gas tank is so old the gas company won’t fill it. I asked them for a stove or gas do I could cook food , they hooked up a grill gas canister I had. I can’t take it anymore and I just want out ! Do I have to stay in this place for 3 more months or do I have enough wrong to break the lease and move out ? I’ve paid rent in full every month .

  • John

    Hello, I was just told by the leasing office of my new place that my child who just turned 18, but is enrolled in high school must be on my lease. I understand that my child is 18 years of age making him an adult in the mind of the court. But he is still enrolled in high school. and I can’t find anywhere in any law stating either direction.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Ask them why does your son who just turned 18 to be on the lease? Is it a management requirement that all adults who reside in the homes be on the lease? I am sure at that time they can show you the requirement in writing. (pre-existing) There may be an association requirement too…..this needs to be checked out. One thing is sure. You can not have it both ways. Either your child is looked upon as a minor, and excluded from certain managerial requirements. i.e. in high school, unemployed….etc. Or he is an adult.

  • linda

    Have rented property for 7 years and been resposible for landlords items in storage. now some things are missing. Has been a big responsibility with her family going in at times when I was not home. did she abandon property

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Linda,

      I’m not sure how you could responsible for any missing items if the landlord is aware that other people have access. Was it not locked?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      In some instances, I have seen the renter store items, of the landlord, in areas such as a detached shed or even the garage. These things arise when the home is furnished, and the renter has their own furniture to use. The landlord does not have an storage area, and an mutual agreement is formed to store the owners furniture inside the garage or other areas. In your case, time has marched on and you have been aware that the landlord, or their agents thereof have accessed the storage area. –as I see it. If things turn up missing, I would just claim the defense of “due care” As long as the stuff was not in the open and available for anyone, but were stored under a lock and key situation. That’s what I would say to the judge.

      good luck.

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