Florida Rental Laws

Last updated on August 24, 2016 by

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 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.
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
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1,263 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Eddie A

    A walkthrough wasnt done when i moved. Landlord trying to charge for stuff we didnt do. Is that legal?

  • Eboni b

    I have been in my apartments for a year and a half. I all of a sudden gotten a notice at my door stating that I did not pay my pet deposit and will be charged. I paid all deposits when I signed my lease and moved in plus they are charging me a $50 for pet paperwork that was never asked for. Is this even legal?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Eboni, You say you have done “all the push-ups” regarding the situation. Not being a lawyer, I would present all the paperwork and prove that this is taken care of and I would refuse to pay any money in addition to what you have already paid. If they try to evict you, you will have to fight the case or move.

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hello Eboni. While I am not a lawyer either nor can legal advice, the first thing that I would do would be to read my lease concerning the pet deposit.. A lot of people really ever sit down and read the lease. Given that pets are allowed, does the lease demand a pet deposit? It would be best if you have a lease that you can look at before asking the landlord for an extra copy, if needed. When does the lease expire? Is the new pet deposit demand tied to a new lease agreement? Where pets even allowed in the lease? Or is it a case of the landlord accepting a pet situation with you in order for things to go forward and not have to do a eviction within 6 months of lease termination? Lots of angles to look at here.

      • Eboni b

        Yes, there is a pet deposit that was paid at move in. However the money orders were applied should be taken up with the office. Again, it was paid at move in.

        • Rodney Kreinbrink

          That’s sounds good. Now did you keep a copy of the money order? If by chance you do not have a copy, there is still a chance that you can get a record of the money order by going down to where you bought it and then they can direct you to the money order company itself to find the copy. I would provide all copies of the money orders to the front office and then let them explain to you there new demand. Good luck Eboni.

  • Felix

    I rented my house to a tenant that paid the rent for about a year straight without been late the first of the month. After that first year they stated falling behind . Sometimes they paid at the beginning of the month, other times they were late. For the past two years they paid very late almost time to collect the next rent. Other times the rent was incomplete. In 2016 they din’t paid the November and December. They have no security either, and the owed partial of rent from October, first 2015. How do you deal with tenants like that? Their have all kind of excuses, most of the excuses are lies.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Felix. You are learning the hard parts of being a landlord. I have had similar happenings. After I got the renters out though an mutual understanding, I then had to go and repair, replace, and even paint the walls again. You must learn this lesson in not demanding a damage deposit, nor last rent in advance. Many people demand at least first, and either of the last two. (damage, or last) This is something that you will have to decide upon yourself. In the meantime, go read the Florida Statutes online. (my florida.com, then legislative, then read laws online) chapter 83. Residential tenancies. Learn about your rights as a landlord, and their rights as a tenant. Then, educated decisions can be made in this regard.

      • I appreciated your reply to my note. Thank you

        Is frustrated when you believed on tenants, and they don’t complied with the lease and rules. Doesn’t matter how good you are and how brakes you give them they will fail at the end of the lease. I gave them many brakes with the rent. I also asked them if you need anything please let me know I will fixed. Most of the time they were lying to me.

        • Rod Kreinbrink

          Hi Felix. In terms of tenants vrs. landlords, it doesn’t matter how many breaks in rent or being late in the rent payment. Renters need to keep your concerns at #1. I have told the last renters that its nice to have a car on lease, and I hope its roomy, as you will be sleeping in it if you do not have the rent on time. You have to say these things, as this is a business. The worst think you can be to an tenant is a friend. Keep your distance. Go watch the movie: “the super” this will help. Some people are too soft to be landlords-for their own good. Tenants resent you for having to pay rent. They do not care much about your costs of taxes, ins, or maintenance. They don’t care. You will have to decide what is acceptable.

          • Felix

            We learn as time pass by. Been nice to tenants it can be painfully. Some people doesn’t appreciated favors and compassions. I guess you need to be a monster to be a Landlord. Other ways no one care about your properties.

  • Jai e

    My landlord told e i can not have any patio furniture in my fro t porch anymore.
    When i moved in they told me i was allowed two items only and now after 4 years
    They come up with this, are they allow to co e up with new regulations, and what
    About my rights?
    Any body an have an idea on what to do? Tha ks for your help!

  • Jaime A Valdez

    My landlord told e i can not have any patio furniture in my fro t porch anymore.
    When i moved in they told me i was allowed two items only and now after 4 years
    They come up with this, are they allow to co e up with new regulations, and what
    About my rights?
    Any body an have an idea on what to do? Tha ks for your help!

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Read your contract. Then, If there is an association, inquire about the rules and regulations regarding patio furniture on the front porch. Talk to other renters about the furniture on the front porch. Somewhere you will find your answer.

  • Wendy Blount

    My lease is up for renewal on February 10. On December 22, the realtor who works for my landlord called and told me that if my family (4 of us in a small 2 br. Duplex) and I wanted to renew our lease that our rent would be increasing from $950 (plus $15 for mowing back yard) to $1125 per month – $175! Plus he increased our rent last year from $875 to $950.
    I really feel that $175 per month is excessive and people I have spoken with question the legality of this increase.
    In addition to this, I am disabled – on Social Security disability, and my income is only about $1450 per month. When we
    moved in $875 was difficult and I think he knows I’m disabled, but I’m not sure.
    But as I said – is this increase legal? It seems like “price gouging”

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Wendy. Although I am not an attorney and can not give legal advice in any regard, I do not know of any law within the State of Florida which can limit any increase in rent-after a contract expires. The new rent may be consistent of that of the surrounding market for such properties. Rent is going up fast. Within the last two years, I have seen small two bedroom apartments go from $650.00 a month to $950.00 a month. But then so have taxes, insurance, and repair costs to the homes. If you have paid on time consistently and kept the home clean, you may want to show him competing rentals and then ask him how much is a good renter worth to him? Many landlords make super deals to such people. Otherwise it may be time to move on.

  • rene ostien

    My landlord brought me in at $600 a month with no lease, only verbal. He said I could pay it weekly, to help me. What happens when 4 months out of a year there are 5 weeks? I told him I didn’t owe him the $150 at the end of this month because I paid the $600. for the first 4 weeks in December already. H e doesn’t understand at all and thinks that I am wrong and now say’s I pay him $150. a week or I can leave. Please help.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      I am not an attorney nor can give legal advice. That being said, it reads and appears to myself that you have described a verbal contract for rent, payable on a weekly basis. Given that you are paying by the week, and not by the month. This kind of problem occurs when tenants do not demand a written contract. What would you expect a judge to say? If you rent by the month, then pay by the month. If you rent by the week, then pay by the week. Consider getting a written contract so that these problems do not crop up in the future.

  • Sue

    In Florida our tenants have given us a 30 day notice by email that was sent out at 10:34 at night. First off, is an emailed notice without a signature legal? Second, does notice start the date it is sent or the date it is received?

    They are moving out bc their Master shower (only) has not been usable for the month of Dec (new condo under warranty we all have been waiting for repairs. Work was completed on Jan 4). This is a 3 BR/2 full Bath condo. What is a reasonable amount to compensate them for having to use the other bath (24 steps away)? Only one couple renting and they were out of town 10 days in December.

    Thank you! We want to be fair.

    • Rod Kreinbrin

      Hello Sue. Those are very good questions that should only be answered by an real estate attorney. I am not an attorney, and would not even try to answer ANY of your questions. However, you can go to: myflorida.com and then go to the legislative section, and under that area you can peruse the chapter 83 – residential landlord tenancies section. There are 3 sections. one for commercial, another for multi unit condo’s and the middle I believe residential tenancies. I believe that you will find the area concerning notices of quit, and procedures that must be followed to the letter in regards to notices, and of such. Good luck Sue.

  • James mcclain

    my Laidlaw have ten apt he told us sold all of them ! he did not told us ater he solid them !

  • Kahn

    I have renter in my rental that have not paid in two month .I served a 3 day but still have not paid ..What do i do next …THey think the house is in foreclosure because the renter works for the loan office in his private business (there is some issues trying to work out but have never been to court and i still own property ).Please help a big mess

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Kahn.
      You need to see a real estate attorney, to advise you what to do next. Since you have not provided all the material issues surrounding this non paying renter, and by your admonition that there are issues to work out. Given that you still own the property, and have legal rights to the property, you could go to court for a eviction procedure. However, before attempting something of this sort, you need to see an attorney to go over your situation so that they can best advise you of the best outcome.

      good luck.

  • Yairis

    I became a tenant in Nov 5, i gave a first month and one month security deposit upon moving in. In dec 26, the landlord sold the property and refuses to return my deposit. The new landord says she was lied to by the old landlord and doesnt want to take legal action against her. The old landlord said she will return it if I leave tomorrow but not if I leave in 6 months because she will not be responsible for any damages, but that makes no sense, she doesnt own the property anymore. I do have a contract which states i gave such amount but the attorney says he has to deal with the new landlord, but that won’t happen either. There MUST be a law that protects me from this. What should I do? Many thanks in advance. Best regards.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Yairis, continued.

      You are going to have to go back to a real estate attorney to go over your rights in this contract, given that it is a binding contract in itself. In the Florida laws, there is a section on renters rights Go to: myfloriida.com and select legislative section. Under that section select ” view that florida laws” Then after that loads up, then select chapter 83, (given that this is a residential property) select the right section and start reading. You will find certain remedies for renters in regard to their landlords. Then after you read this section, go back to the attorney with a better understanding of your rights. With this in mind, you can reach an educated decision of what to do next. Good luck.

      • Dan Hunter

        Hi Yairis, Although Rod gave you excellent advice I would use a different approach. I would sue the new owner in small claims court for the deposit.. (Thus no attorney fees). Let the judge sort out the laws and render a judgement. As a new owner, I lost that same case in a Michigan court. The seller lied about the amount of one of the security deposits. Although Michigan law does not apply in Florida, the same legal principals often do apply . If you lose the case, which is not likely, your total loss will only be the cost to start the case and the service fee. Don’t forget to take all paperwork to court. Lease agreement, receipt for deposit, rent receipts, etc. Good luck !!!

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Yairis, first of all you must know that I am not an attorney, and can not give legal advice. Only an attorney can do this for you. Now that being said, I would put myself into your shoes. I would first find out that if the contract that I had was for month to month, and for what period of time? 6 month lease or 1 year maybe. You did not say. Next I would look to see if I have a valid contract. I believe 2 witnesses are required for a valid real estate contract to be valid. Check with an attorney of this to see if the contract is valid. Next to my understanding, the old landlord had the obligation to inform the buyer of the existing agreement, and transfer all damage deposits to be held for the duration of the rental.

  • Tracey Mortimore

    Live in Orlando FL. For 2 years renting a 3 bedroom house owner decide to sale never informed me. Realty call and advised me. Now they call to have showing and this is disturbing my family. I bre here 2 years never been 1 day late with my rent. I just don’t was all these showing while I still living here. Do I have any right can I break the lease do to this. I trying to work with this but I feel this is wrong while I still have 6 month until my lease is up. Please I need help!

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Tracey, Chapter 83;
      83.53 Landlord’s access to dwelling unit.—
      (1) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit from time to time in order to inspect the premises; make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements; supply agreed services; or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.
      (2) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit at any time for the protection or preservation of the premises. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit upon reasonable notice to the tenant and at a reasonable time for the purpose of repair of the premises.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      3rd Paragraph.

      If the rent is current and the tenant notifies the landlord of an intended absence, then the landlord may enter only with the consent of the tenant or for the protection or preservation of the premises.

      (3) The landlord shall not abuse the right of access nor use it to harass the tenant

      This is all out of Chapter 83, for residential tenancies……Go to My Florida. com and select legislative section, then select read florida law online. go to Charpter 83 under Civil practice and procedure.

      Good luck.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Continued: 2nd paragraph. “Reasonable notice” for the purpose of repair is notice given at least 12 hours prior to the entry, and reasonable time for the purpose of repair shall be between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit when necessary for the further purposes set forth in subsection (1) under any of the following circumstances:
    (a) With the consent of the tenant; (b) In case of emergency; (c) When the tenant unreasonably withholds consent; or (d) If the tenant is absent from the premises for a period of time equal to one-half the time for periodic rental payments.

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