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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1,121 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • betty har

    have a FL rental property that was a contract for purchase (tenants defaulted and clause reverted property to month to month rental agreement) for non payment. of course they di d not pay rent either.
    there is no security deposit, must I send an intent to hold against security deposit in this case?

    I am goingto court on damages which were extensive…so there Is no security dep to itemize. The people are cons, beware. In 25 yrs of owning property never had someone threaten me as they did.

    In the end, I cannot afford to repair the home and will actually loose it through no fault of my own.

    Damn shame.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Betty, I wonder if you bothered to take a credit pull on those renters before you rented it to them. What about a criminal history check. If you did not, in my opinion, you are asking for your own trouble. This site offers those services. Remember, not everyone has the same value system as you. Now you have learned the hard way.

  • jc

    I have 12 month residential lease expiring 11/16 and the landlord wants to sell the condo. I’ve made timely rent payments for 16 months and am in compliance with the lease. There is a minor child resident. The rental agreement has no early termination clause but we verbally discussed 45 days notice if either party wanted to terminate early – but nothing in writing.

    Can the landlord force me to vacate before 11/16?

    The landlord wants to make some repairs (not damage caused by me). Can I refuse to allow him to send in construction workers while we are living here (quiet enjoyment)

    He has been a good landlord and we have been good tenants but it might take me longer than 45 days to find another place in a tight rental market. Thanks.

  • Lisa

    I live in a rental condo, and we found mold in the garage when we moved in. We called our landlord immediately. Fast forward 6 months, problem still not resolved or remediated and my family has been having allergies, coughing, and other problems the whole time we have been here. In addition, all of our stuff in the garage grew mold on it- our landlord told us to throw our stuff away and put what we wanted to salvage into storage. Now we want to leave, 6 months before our lease is up. We have sent him a 7 day notice that we will withhold rent or terminate lease. He says we owe him 2 mths rent to do so. Can I withhold rent from previous months as well? We really just want to leave- but rental market now not easy to find anything. Thanks

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Lisa,

      I don’t suggest you withhold rent if you’ve already lived there for those months. It’s doesn’t work that way.

      If you are trying to terminate the lease for a violation with 7 days notice, it’s doubtful that he can actually charge you two month’s fee (even though he may try). That 2 month fee sounds like a “early termination fee”, but those only apply if there is no standing violation.

      If I were you, I would certainly move due to the mold, but I would also hire a cheap lawyer to send some strong worded letters to make sure that the landlord doesn’t take you to court.

      That’s just what I would do. It’s not legal advice.

  • Dave Corsair

    I recently entered into a one year lease of a furnished condo. Upon presenting the landlord a list of needed repairs on her first visit 3 weeks into the lease she refused to abide by the lease. Most notably a 46 inch Sony rear projection TV in the living room which has not worked since move in.
    How do I write and send her a seven day demand letter without incurring legal fees? I’m sure she will not want to go to court and will negotiate.

  • Linden

    Lucas, I live in a senior complex in Florida. An older man died in his unit a few months back, and his body was not discovered for four days. He had no family. No one was checking on him.

    The biohazard cleanup was very expensive for the unit owner, and I wish to prevent this kind expense in case my senior tenant dies in the unit. What can you suggest to mitigate against this risk? Thank you.

  • Melissa

    We are living in rental house in FL with no written agreement of any kind. When we moved in the landlord was aware of our 2 cats and fish, but about 5 months ago we rescued a puppy and didn’t notify her directly… her husband has seen the puppy quite a few times as he has been to the house for repairs. He just mentioned to her the other day that we had the dog and she called me, was mad about it and then basically told me we needed find someone else to take the dog. The dog is well behaved, in behavior training classes and is completely house trained…. her main concern is homeowners insurance canceling her policy because he is a big dog. Since have no written agreement, pet or rental, can she evict us for not getting rid of the dog?

  • Rosa

    I’ve been leasing a one bedroom apartment for over 10 years, in a apartment complex. Now under new management and after my rental contract was made 6 months later, I’m getting a notice that I have to pay water. The manager stated, this is a new law and that I will need to pay $15 every month , aside from my rent. That this was include in my contract, stating responsible for utilities. Can they charge me water? is this legal? It’s not like I’m opening an account with Miami Dade County Water & Sewer Department, I’ll will be paying this to my renter.

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  • Fran Fournier

    I have company getting a 10% commission and also 1 months rent commission for a 1 year lease with a tenant
    The lease is up in June
    The tenant and me (owner ) want to to our own deal and split the difference
    Is this legal since the the contract is up
    Thank you
    Fran

  • Kiesha

    Lease ends 4/30/16. I notified landlord of mold on 2/15 and they had someone paint over it. On 3/1, I asked if I can break the lease one month early because unit still reeked of mold so and would be closing on a house on 3/10.They told me no.

    I submitted a maintenance request to check for mold. It tested positive and repairs are required, which never started. On 3/28, I sent a 7-day demand letter and notice to withhold rent-no response. On 4/1, I followed up to find out when repairs would start but they responded to grant my original request to end lease early. I would’ve made accommodations to make new home livable while under construction but now I have nowhere to go for 2 weeks until construction is done. What are my rights?

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  • eleanor schlesinger

    we rented a villa in naples, florida. the owner is from Pennsylvania and provided us a Pennsylvania lease which we signed. the ending date on the lease is 10/31/16. the owner just gave me written notice that we have to vacate in 60 days as he wants to sell the unit. one of the terms of the PA lease states “required written notice to terminate this lease – 60 days.” Is this legal? we thought we had till the end date on the lease and are shocked he is asking us to move out in 60 days. I appreciate any help you may have.

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  • Melissa

    my landlord went into foreclosure and it has been sold…how long so i have before we have to move out ?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Melissa,

      I’m not sure what florida’s rules are on this specifically – but generally speaking, if a tenant has a written lease, the new owner (after the foreclosure) would have to honor it.

      Again, local rules may say otherwise, so it would be wise to talk to a lawyer.

  • Kate

    Im a student and I signed a lease to begin August 2016 for a 2 bedroom apartment. The lease was executed by the apartment complex signed by both parties, and now we got a call that they don’t have the unit anymore because other tenants (students) decided to renew the lease. is this legal? There is a signed lease agreement, deposits paid and move in date.

  • John

    Rental house was very dirty during walk through. Rental agency refused to clean. I refused to sign. Now they tell me 2 weeks to get all my money back.
    Can they do that in Florida?

  • Brandon D.

    I have a 6 month lease on a fully furnished home. lease ends on june 30. My landlord had contacted me saying they are going to come to the house and remove ALL furniture from the home. Each item is listed in lease and it is not stated anywhere that they can take anything from the home.

    Is this legal?

    This is high priority as i do not have my own furniture to replace it all….

  • Montavious Jackson

    Yes, I have roommate who was recently arrested and spent three weeks in jail for Grand theft. Can I evicted or have his name taken off the lease?

  • steve

    i have rented my condo (located in Fort Lauderdale). the building has started to do emergency major repairs on the outside balconies and envelope of the condo tower. i was not aware of these repairs when i rented to my tennant. am i responsible in any way for this – can i be sued or do i have to deduct rent?

  • William

    ok my problem is my landlord shut off my internet during the night twice. we got in2 a verble argument about it. hes telling me 2 shut up, sayiny im the person who rented a movie on a preamum channal. i didnt rent or buy anything off his service. then my landlord goes missing for a hour or 2 & when he comes back hes telling me that i have utill the next day 2 vacate the premisis. i tell him that i need a eviction notice befor i even go anywhere & even if i got 1 i would still have 7 days to move me & my property out. my landlord then tells me that he got a emrergency evition wich means he can have the cops remove me off the property. he aslo lied and acuesed me of threating to kill him which is a lie.

  • William

    its me again. i didnt get 2 finish my comment. basicaly some time today 2 cops will serve me papers telling me 2 leave the premises. they will give me 5mins to grab a few o f my persal things. and i would b escorted off the premisis. now i have a room im renting that has all my stuff in it month by month. i already payed the landlord for this month in full $300. he has no lock on my doorand wont allowme 2 install1. that ik is aganst the law. he also will not give me access to the property to retreve my belongings and will not return the rent or desposit as well because i have done no damage to his room or property. so do i really need 2 move today?

  • Colleen E.

    My lease requires 30 days notice to vacate, but tenant sent notice to be out in 60 stating ‘would try to be out in 30’, making it hard to rent without an exact date the home would be available. They did vacate in 30 days, so I imposed a claim on the deposit because they asked for 60 days, and sent it regular mail, which was not returned. However, the tenant now has an attorney contacting me stating that they didn’t receive a claim and is asking for the certified mail tracking number. Obviously, the tenant is using the knowledge that my letter was sent regular mail, and now are claiming no letter was sent. If a tenant asked for 60 days, but was out in 30, and I sent the claim regular mail with no proof, would I have recourse in any of this

  • Patsy Harris

    HI! I have found a house I’d like to rent in Florida. I’ve signed the lease and the effective date is 1 June 2016. Prior to going on a business trip, the “future” landlord wanted to meet me at the airport before my flight to pick up a check for $800 to secure the property for me. (the security deposit was $1000, but he only asked for $800) When I returned home, he was adamit that I scan him a signed lease (even though I had company & wasn’t going to move in until 1 June & he already had my $800 check.) I did what he asked and scanned him my signed lease. He sent me his a few days later; after much pestering. Now he wants to break the lease because he hasn’t rec’d the $200 check that I sent. Any recourse?
    I love the house!

  • Victoria

    I’ve been renting a home since May 2015, a home we planned on renting for years to come. May of 2015 we put in a service request per AC unit not working March 28 2016 AC was no longer working & a few days later mainten. told the owner a new unit was needed as this one was a waste to pour any additional money into the UNIT. Now 4.27.2016 & the AC has yet to be fixed (we rent in TAMPA FL 86F) since the lease has been broken we adv we cannot provide our 30 day notice due to this situation of the owner not replacing the Unit. They agreed we can move out, but my electric bill was $100 higher than last months & i want the owner to the cover the difference . I want to guarantee my deposit and electric…do i have a strong case if not refunded? v

    • Victoria

      basically a shabby UNIT when we moved in and it officially broke on 3.28.2016 and or a month no AC unit was put in its place.

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