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
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820 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Penny

    I’m being evicted for complaining to my landlord about bugs (he has never fumigated in the 1.5 yrs I’ve been here) and lack of access to tenant storage promised to us verbally prior to move in, but not included in writing. My neighbors are storing their belongings in common areas, making the place look unkempt. I am a month to month renter, with no lease. My annual lease expired 3 months ago. I have never missed or been late with rent but he put a 3 day notice to pay on my door. I paid per usual, then 7 days later a 15 day notice to vacate was on my door. I am a mature female, quiet, clean and peaceful. I have never given cause to evict. I am being told he does not need a reason to evict and that I have no rights. I can’t afford to move, especially not on only a 15 day notice. I will be homeless if he proceeds. No one will help me.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Florida Statutes. 83.57 (residential) Termination of tenancy without specific term.—A tenancy without a specific duration, as defined in s. 83.46(2) or (3), may be terminated by either party giving written notice in the manner provided in s. 83.56(4), as follows:
      (1) When the tenancy is from year to year, by giving not less than 60 days’ notice prior to the end of any annual period;
      (2) When the tenancy is from quarter to quarter, by giving not less than 30 days’ notice prior to the end of any quarterly period;
      (3) When the tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period; and
      (4) When the tenancy is from week to week, by giving not less than 7 days’ notice prior to the end of any weekly period.

      He obviously is tired of your complaining, and wants now to get rid of you. In my opinion you have no leg to stand on, and should start looking immediately for other options. Next time get a contract in writing.- it helps.

      • Dan Hunter

        Hi Penny, Sounds like you are a good customer. Maybe you could discuss the matter with him. And maybe you could ask yourself a few questions :
        1. Do you have more than one male guest every evening ? The implication being prostitution.
        2. Are you noisy ?
        3. Do you complain about petty things ?
        4. Do you have an attitude of chronic anger?
        5. Do you constantly have a lot of rough looking guests constantly in and out after a 5 minute stay ? The implication being drug dealing.
        This guy has an unstated and possibly legitimate grievance. Find out what it is and correct the situation (or move). Good luck to you.

        • Penny

          1. I have no visitors. I am a sole survivor and I no longer date.
          2. I am very quiet. One of the walls between my neighbor and myself is very thin. I have the TV on the opposite side and we’ve done sound checks (I have insomnia and run the TV at night)
          3. I do not make petty complaints. I have only asked for two things, an exterminator and the storage we were promised. I have always approached in a non combative manner but he gets very defensive and likes to gaslight, as if I am making a nuisance of myself. At one point I was crawling under the toilet before and after each use to turn on/off the water because I was too intimidated to report the problem.
          4. I am very peaceful. The music I listen to is the soundscape channel/Indian flute.
          5. No guests.
          His grievance is “you cant force me to do something I don’t want to do. This is my property, not yours”.

          • Penny

            If I could afford to move, I would have done so long ago. I am not a section 8 person but am by no means comfortable. I am living hand to mouth for the moment. I’m putting in so much effort, sweat and tears to create a way for myself to get out of my predicament. Unfortunately, new ventures take more than 4 months to produce a living wage. It will take me at least 3 to 4 months to come up with the cost of moving. I have absolutely no resources and no place to go.

          • Dan Hunter

            Hi Penney, If I were you I would drop that landlord as soon as possible !!! He needs to be in a different business !!! I wonder if he even graduated from grade school !!! I have sold properties to people that have that attitude. They did not last long as landlords.

  • Penny

    Aren’t there laws to protect people from retaliatory eviction?

  • carla

    we have lived 3 years in a condo. we r about to vacate and the LL said the apartment will need to be painted and it will be taken out of our security deposit. After 3 years, i imagine this place needs to be painted! They didn’t even see the place empty yet as we r still here! Also, there were mail and screws holes that we have covered and touched up but u can tell where the paint is different. Will this give them a reason to have us pay for waiting??

    • Dan Hunter

      Some landlords routinely keep deposits, probably because most tenants do not want to miss work to fight a case they might lose. I would photograph every wall and if they don’t return your money, I would follow thru with a law suit. Make sure and read up on the security deposit laws if it becomes apparent they intend to keep your money. If you competently patched the nail holes, I don’t think you will lose the case. I’m not an attorney but as a landlord, I have a lot of experience in these matters.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    I have to agree with Dan Hunter, as repainting is an area that can go either way. On the LL side, they may point to excessive marks on the walls, possibly made by a child. (or just dirt that does not wash away) Or they could point to some patch work that is flat and shows up against a textured wall. These show up even more after a repainting. Sometimes, even when the tenant tries to touch up the wall with some fresh paint, the tenant did not color match exactly the paint or even bought the wrong gloss in the repainting process. The better the touch up in it professionalism, the better your position is in a court proceeding. Don’t spill the paint on the carpet.!! Best of luck. Rodk.

  • Concerned in FL

    My son and I signed a 1 year lease with a company (its actually a couple). To begin, i had to pay a local safety inspection because they had never turned on power and it had been off for more than 60 days. They were using my power and water to refurbish the adjoining unit. Then there were multiple guarantees to move us into a newly remodeled unit so my son and I repacked (he is a minor). One of the reasons they were moving us was to perform work on the unit we are currently in. On the day they were scheduled to move us, they called and said I could not have the other unit due to ethics issues. They already had received a deposit on the other unit. The husband said he would refund my security deposit and let me out of the lease if I wanted (via text). I have now received a call from the wife stating they will not refund it and I am breaking my lease if I move out. The basics items in the current unit that were supposed to be repaired have not been and the wife has relisted the property.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi there,

      I don’t really understand the situation. How could they keep your money, and attempt to hold you to a lease for an uninhabitable property???

      Based on your story, it sounds like the landlord is breaking all kinds of laws. I suggest you talk to a lawyer ASAP (which I am not) and get help. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you could contact a free/discounted legal aid service provider – but you’ll have to do a google search for those.

  • Bob Stone

    A background check was performed as a result of my application to lease a condo unit. The check turned listed another man with the same name and birth date in another state, with a felony conviction. When I was told our application was denied and after 2 weeks waiting for a copy of the report, I found out this man is taller and a different race. I pointed this out to the management company, but they and the Condo Board insist on a “clean” report. The company says 30 days to correct, if they can. Do I have any legal options?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      If you are looking for issues of damages for slander and of the such, then this is not the forum for you to be on. You need to see an attorney. I would go online and search for your counties legal bar association. Many bar associations will give you a referral to speak to an specialized attorney in each specific field for only a minimum amount. Best of luck.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Bob

      It’s common for background checks to get mixed up – since they are not tied to SSN’s. Rather, they go by name and birthday.

      Just contact the provider of the report (once you get the data), and they should help you fix it. Then, you shouldn’t have a problem.

      • Bob Stone

        I did that, it takes 30 days. In the mean time the management company is making unjustified decisions causing us to lose application fees and a place to live.

        • Lucas Hall

          Yeah, it seems unfair, but can you blame them? They are just covering their tails – even if the error is obvious. Sometimes management companies are so big and unorganized that they can’t really think outside of the box.

  • Jan

    I live in a condo in north florida which was first rented by a male friend.he purchased most of the furniture used as he lived out of state we broke up and i stayed until the lease end and released the condo in my own name,and now about 5 months later he is trying to say the furniture is his and wants to take it.Having not heard from him in the last months when the lease was in his our names i resigned in my name.Does he have a claim to the furniture? any help would be great Thanks

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jan,

      If he purchased the furniture, and there has not been a contract of sale on it since then, then how would the furniture change ownership? Did you buy it from him? If not, does your lease say anything about it?

      In my non-legal opinion, it was abandoned personal property after his lease expired, which would have given the landlord the right to treat it as such. Did the landlord go through the formal process of claiming it, and then selling it back to you? But because it’s still there and there is no receipt for the sale, why shouldn’t he be able to claim it? In fact, I think he has more of a claim on it than you do (IMO).

      I know that’s not the answer you are looking for but I hope it helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Jordan Foreman

    I want out of my lease. I have a condo that is cheaper (and available due to a death in the family). The landlord hasn’t made ANY repairs since we signed the first (we renewed) even though I gave him 3 notices of all that was broken when we moved in. The most recent lease we signed I see no has NO END DATE! Just 2 begining dates. There are also several illegal clauses.

    This neighborhood isn’t safe either. Lots of crime. Am I able to terminate the lease without any fines? Thanks in advance…

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jordan

      While it is possible to terminate a lease due to violations of habitability, you’d have to talk to a professional to determine if the repair issues you are talking about are severe enough to breach habitability.

      I always suggest that a tenant tries to talk to the landlord about terminating the lease early. Perhaps they would agree to it. If not, then you could think about hiring a lawyer to force the landlord into letting you out without penalty.

      Good luck to you.

  • James

    If I vacate an apartment at the expiration of my lease and there are no damages whatsoever, rent was always paid on time, and I leave the apartment in clean (bleached to perfection) condition, and have taken pictures and video of the apartment when I handed the keys back over to them, can I still be charged a cleaning fee?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi James,

      The answer to your question really depends on your lease agreement. “Cleaning Fees” are not refundable. “Cleaning Deposits” are refundable.

      As far as I know, the state of Florida does not have a statute on non-refundable fees, but it is typically allowed and customary. However, I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. For a definitive answer, check through the statutes linked above, or talk to an attorney.

      Good luck to you.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    This same situation actually happened to my mother after hurricane Charley. She was able to rent an apartment during the time her home was being reconstructed. She left it clean. Even cleaner that she received the condo apartment. However, the contract stipulated the cleaning and they charged it against her damage deposit. She petitioned the landlord for some refund of the cleaning charge, as they had to do nothing to earn the money for the cleaning. They refused any refund, and stated that the beds had to be sanitized, along with other required cleanings. She was left with nothing to refute the charge and she accepted the charge. I do not know of any statute which says differently. Best of luck. rod k.

  • Kim

    Hi Lucas,
    My husband and I entered into a one year lease in February 2015. In the first month we had to deal with severe infestation of roaches, leaks, mold and water well pump breaking with 36 hours of no means for water or bathroom usage. We were one week late on rent this month which we contacted landlord two weeks before rent was due and let him know, which he responded with thats ok. When he came to pick up rent I explained my reason for being late in detail. After doing so, he then told me that he had to file bankrupt and will be needing to move his family back into this house because they have to move out of his current home. He also mentioned something about problems were to expensive to fix. He is Columbian so very hard to understand. What I want to know is what legal grounds do I have? Am I entitled to a full deposit refund and/or other monies? This will inconvieniant me as I dont have funds to move. Can he break a lease because of his situation?

    Thanks
    Kim

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kim

      For legal advice you’ll need to talk to an attorney – that’s what they do.

      However, I can tell you that, generally speaking, a landlord can’t just terminate a fixed-term lease because he needs to move back in. What would be the point of signing a fixed contract if the landlord could break it whenever he wanted to.

      With that said, if you don’t pay rent, the landlord could give you 3 days notice to pay or quit, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays. Specific language must be included in the notice, which is found in Statute 83.56(3): http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0000-0099/0083/Sections/0083.56.html

      Meaning, the landlord could kill your lease with 3 days notice if you don’t pay.

      But if you pay on time, then the landlord wouldn’t have any leverage. If you agree to let him terminate the lease, you could negotiate the terms – such as the full return of your deposit, etc. But if you don’t pay rent, you might be forced out with no deposit.

      I hope that clarifies things. Again, please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

      • Kim

        Hi Lucas,
        I was in contact with a Lawyer and he did some research pro-bono for me. Apparently the bank bought back the home the landlord is in and the home I am in has a bankruptcy attached to a foreclosure put on hold. The landlord is trying to ad his other home to bankruptcy and I guess move back in this one. I would like to make a cash for keys offer to him equal to what I had to pay for keys as well as an additional amount to cover moving expense and loss of income due to moving. And to include giving me 30 days to vacate. How do I go about writing this letter to make it look professional and easy for the language barrier?

        Kim

        • Lucas Hall

          Hi Kim

          That’s a great question. I suggest just browsing the web for simple templates and working from there. You could pay the lawyer to write it, which might be worth it. I don’t have a template to send you b/c I’ve never been in that situation as a tenant. But good luck to you. I hope it works out.

  • Crystal

    Hello.. i havent signed a lease in two or three years with my current landlord.. so i assumed i was renting month to month… i gave her my 30 days notice that i was moving out and shes saying the old contract is stil valid and automatcally renews. so i need to give her 60 days notice and another months rent money. everyone i talk to says it void an i am a mont to month renter.. please help

  • Yvonne

    I Co-signed a year lease with my son and his family(big mistake).
    We paid a $950.00 security deposit and left the day the lease was up. However, the landlord is now (a month later) advising me that the “overages” are in excess of $1800.00 not including materials and professional services.
    I am about to pass out!
    Am I solely responsible for this???
    My son and his wife have separated and neither are working….. I have a really bad feeling I’m doomed….. And he’s threatening to take me to court if this isn’t resolved.

    Help……

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