Florida Rental Laws

Written on January 7, 2013 by , updated on February 24, 2018

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.

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 the tenant receives 75% of the annualized average interest rate, or 5% simple interest each year, dependent upon what the landlord chooses (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: Landlords are not allowed to commingle funds (83.49 (1a-b)).  Landlords are also allowed to post a surety bond (83.49 (1c)).
  • Additional Non-refundable Fees: No Statute, but is typically allowed and customary.
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Landlords have 15 days to return the deposit if the tenant is due a full refund. If landlords withhold any amount of the deposit, they have 30 days to notify the tenant via certified mail. (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: At the beginning of each period and without demand or notice, unless a different agreement is reached. 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: A landlord may charge a “reasonable” late fee of $20 or 20% of the monthly rent, whichever is greater. A landlord may also charge tenants a fee for any expenses accrued resulting from collecting late rent or enforcing a lien. (83.808)
  • 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 is between $50 and $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, after the tenant provides written notice to the landlord that repairs are needed. The landlord has 20 days to make necessary repairs before the tenant is able to withhold rent. The tenant must pay the withheld rent once the repairs are made (83.201). 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. The right to attorney fees cannot be waived in the lease agreement. (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(2))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (83.67(1))
  • 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)).
  • 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 83.64, 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 statewide 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.
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
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2,018 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Miriame Joseph

    Hello. I wanted to know what is the law in florida about an one apt.bedroom that includes with water? Because Im renting an apartment and its My husband, my son (2yrs), and I. Now my husband has a daughter(10yrs) and comes over to see her father. She only slept over for 2 days(weekend). My landlord told me if she comes more then a week she is consider as a vistor or put her on the lease to charge me more because the water. Now i just want to know if it is really the law.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Miriame. So let me get this straight as on observer. You have currently have 4 people living in an 1 bedroom apartment.
      And the landlord knows this predicament. What does your contract say? Does it limit the amount of people to a bed such as 1 person to a single, and 2 people to a full, queen, or king? No pullout beds from couches allowed? I say this because I only allow only 1 person to a single and 2 people to a double or higher in all my contracts, and I do not allow pull outs. I do this because the septic tank is only designed for up to 4 people. If I catch them with more people inside the home housing more persons for an extended period of time, it is eviction time. Water included in lease? You did not say.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Miriame, You need to ask an attorney about that. We at Landlordology are experienced landlords not lawyers. Old laws are changed and new laws are written constantly. Lawyers subscribe to services that keep them updated. This is one of the reasons why lawyers are expensive. Good luck.

  • Susan Britton

    I rent out a condo in Fla. the tenants are moving out. What are they responsible for upon moving out. Example carpet cleaning.

    Thank you

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Susan, I’m not an attorney but I would guess that the tenant would be expected to repair any damage that has been done to the unit. If I were you I would hire an attorney. Have him set you up with proper forms such as an application form, inventory checklist, lease agreements and co-signor agreements. Also you need to photograph appliances and other furnishings and agree in writing on a value for each one. This will give a judge how much the financial damages are to you if tenant steals your appliances or other furnishings and puts in junk ones. Application forms are a must, if you get sued for discrimination. Good luck !!!

  • Maria

    I have a lease that ends in June 7, 2018 and went to look for another apartment and summit the paper work paid and they verify my credit and everything, now the manager call me and said they can’t rent me the apartment because I still under another lease, I summit the evidence that state that I’m not renewing the lease at the current place. They state that by law they can’t do it, is that true, what the law said.

  • Richard

    I am renting a room in a private house can the landlord tell me I can not have friends over? When we rented the room we were told that there was cable tv internet and we could do laundry. After a few days there they turned off everything and said we could not use the washer and dryer. We were also told we could not cook in the house we had to cook in the garage where they cook there is no sanitary surface to prepare food what to wash hands. What can I do ?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Obviously they do not want you there at all. Personally, while I am not a lawyer, I would just look for another place to stay and then just move on. I would just do it in a way in which it does not penalize you for doing so.

  • jame fallo

    I live in florida and have a ease. I pay my rent on the third of every month but my landlord keeps charging me between 150.00 and two hunded dollars n late fees my rent is a 1,000.00 a moth is tis legal.

  • bonni fallo

    I live in florida and have a ease. I pay my rent on the third of every month but my landlord keeps charging me between 150.00 and two hunded dollars n late fees my rent is a 1,000.00 a moth is tis legal.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Bonni and Jame, You should read your lease or better yet, have a lawyer read it. Whatever the lease says is what is legal, within reasonable limits. Maybe you could consider paying on time in the future. This should solve the problem. Good luck !!!

  • Sandra lorenz

    We have a rental house in Florida. We have had the same tenants for the past three years. At first they signed a two year lease. After that lease expired they wanted to stay at least another year. Their rent was raised which they agreed to. The issue we may have is that we neglected to have them sign a new lease. They agreed to stay until May 31. 2018. But since we have decided to put the house up for sale they are talking about moving sooner. I have a feeling that since it was only a verbal agreement and we didn’t actually get a signed lease for this last year that they could move with a 15 day notice. We do have their last months rent as well as a security deposit.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Sandra, What’s your question ?

      • Rod Kreinbrink

        Hi Dan. I think she is concerned with her verbal agreement with the tenant, as she may want to get them out sooner than May 31’st. I would just honor my word and keep the agreement to May 31st. She can still put the home up for sale, and 24 hours notice can be given for any walk through, in relation to the renter. I would just use this time to fix up and whatever needs to be done in conjunction with the renters permission, and get written acknowledgements of what the renter broke and needs fixing too. Did I say “written”? No go back and read chapter 83 to realize the mistakes that were made on the damage deposits and notification thereof. I will not spoil the surprise.

        • Dan Hunter

          Hi Rod, I hope you are getting involved with landlordology again. I used to enjoy your comments and I learned a lot from you too.
          I always used to sweeten the pot for the tenant under those circumstances. A tax free $500 cash brings about a lot of cooperation from a tenant.

  • Elizabeth

    I have a rental home in Florida and my tenant is currently on a repeating quarterly lease. My question is, do I have to wait until the quarter is up to raise the rent?

  • Al duprey

    I am on a month to month lease. I notified 45 days in advance the landlord verbally I would be moving out mid month and again in writing 2 weeks before my move out day that I would be moving out mid month. At the beginning of the month I paid a full month rent . Is the landlord obligated to prorate the last month since I will not be occupying the home and gave proper notice?

  • Tanyia

    We rented our house through a friend. The renewal is nearing and my “friend” informed me that I signed a lease and the renewal fee is 10% (almost $10,000) every year even if it is an oral renewal lease agreement. I understand it is my fault for not reading the lease but she NEVER went over that part of the lease either. She has not done anything since it was rented. Is this typical? Can I renegotiate the terms? Also, there is no agent termination clause in the lease. Thank you for you help.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Tanyia,

      You need to call the florida bar association for the area that you live. They will direct you to a local attorney who can best understand you case and defend your rights. I am sorry to not be able to help you with just a sentence or two. However, you have put yourself in a legal predicament which is best served by an attorney. So in going to an attorney, you should not receive bad advice through a blog on the internet. My advice, incidentally, is marginal at best and can not be relied upon in any regard whatsoever. Just to show you how bad my advice is that I regularly go to a Vo Du witch doctor to cast spells on any tenant that I am having a problem with. I find that this method works best. Best regards.

  • Dorothy

    I have been renting a mobile home for 10 years. Last week the AC didn’t work. I contacted landlord who sent out Service man. He said it stopped because the filter was dirty and had to add refrigeration. I apologized and offered to split bill. She sent me bill and said I’m responsible. This is first time in 10 years this has happened. Any suggestions.

  • Jordan

    My boyfriend was set to move into an apartment (lease was signed weeks ago, security deposit paid, etc.) in May. He called the Spectrum to transfer his service and learned that the apt would still be occupied by the current tenant when he is supposed to move in. He called the leasing company and found out that the tenant would no longer be moving out and one of their employees was supposed to inform him 3 weeks ago that the apt is no longer available and the lease was voided. While voiding the lease is legal according to the lease he signed, is there some sort of damages for the failure to actually notify him that it had been voided? They ARE offering him a different identical apartment, but at a higher rate, despite the circumstance.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Jordan.

      Looks like you might have a nice little case action there. Go read the contract and see if there was an escape clause in the contract that was signed. Even yet, call up your local bar association and ask for a real estate attorney for a referral basis, if you can not find one on a free consultation. Usually the reduced charge for a bar association referral is about $75.00 and then bring the contract and all other information to the attorney. The attorney will need to review the contract for himself to see if it is a perfectly formed contract. Try to get in writing of the denial of occupancy for the attorney to review. Sure it costs $75.00, or so. But its a cheap price to pay to know about your rights.

  • Amanda

    Hi, I wanted to know if it is legal for the landlord to ask the new tenants for payment of their last month of rent in addition to their security deposit when starting a new lease.

    For example, I am moving into a home with a year lease from May 2018-May 2019 and the landlord is requesting rent for April 2019-May 2019 in addition to the security deposit.

    Thanks!

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Amanda. While I am not an attorney and can not give legal advice, I know of no law, in Florida, that prohibits the last months rent in advance for a residential tenancy. Other states like Georgia and Michigan it may be illegal. you did not say , however, if your rental is a residential tenancy. Your question is dubious since you stated: “April 2019-May 2019” don’t you mean First months rent: 1. May 2018, and last month rent of April 2019? Plus a security deposit that is normally equal to 1 months rent? You want to look at chapter 83 for residential tenancies. I think Condo’s have another chapter. You should always consider asking an attorney. A Link to the Florida statutes:
      http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statute

  • Marilyn

    Does tenant /landlord law vary if the property is a lot only, the dwelling is owned and occupied by the tenant. I have not been able to find a section that relates to a month to month rental of a lot to park a camper and eviction requirements.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Not quite sure. As I understand it, is that you are not receiving lot rent, and that the mobile home or RV is the property of the landlord. I have heard of evictions being done for non payment of lot rent, on rental property owned by the tenant. Usually there are existing rental contracts in this sort of thing, not month to month. Those contracts are for lot rent only. This is why you are going to need an attorneys advice with this one. Or, It could be something else. This just could be a family member outliving his welcome in a travel trailer owned by the tenant, staying on an owners property, and they want him to leave. Best be handled by an attorney.

  • Reggie

    Sent tenant Termination of lease certified letter given them 85 days that lease would be terminated. Tenant refuses to leave saying they have nowhere to go with their baby. What are my options?

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