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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1,194 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Jerome

    Hello Lucas,

    My landlord sent me a reminder of the 60 day notice to vacate through email. Is this legal or should he have done it through registered mail? I am in Florida.

    Thank you!

    • Myra

      My landlord took took rent money, without my knowledge and gave it to his lawyer for an eviction notice. And then said I was a month behind in my rent! Told me to add a 100$ a month to my 750 to 850, which I did! I live with my son and his family but when we moved in 4 yrs ago we all signed a lease but it only for a yr. We don’t have one now! I ask my son to go check this out but he didn’t and now we being evicted for past due for a month. I’m responsible for the rent, I’m disabled and on SS. I can’t get ahold of anyone to help me. The Fla. Legal?? hasn’t called me back. I’m desperate for help!

  • Patrick

    It’s going on day four of only power to the stove. No ac, no lights, no refrigeration, no outlets. Can’t run my bi-pap machine for my sleep apnea. Are they responsible to put me up in a hotel until this is fixed? They keep giving me the runaround and won’t commit to when it will be finished. I can’t sleep in this heat other than an occasional hour or two when I hit complete exhaustion.

  • Andy

    Co-Tenants if both tenants break the lease and move out leaving damages greater then the security deposit, can one of the tenants file suit against the landlord without the other tenant on the law suit?

  • Deborah

    I went to Florida recently and gave my tenant plenty of notice that I would be coming to check out the house. She refused to allow me to inspect the bedrooms, in fact she blocked the hall door so I could not have access. Is this allowed? And if not, what is the solution?

  • Andy

    Co-Tenants if both tenants break the lease and move out leaving damages greater then the security deposit, can one of the tenants file suit against the landlord without the other tenant on the law suit? For the security deposit.

  • Bill Whitmore

    I would like to walk away from my 1 year lease. I will give them 60 plus days notice and forfeit 2 months rent. The apartment will be left in better condition than when I moved in. Are there any other fees or charges the landlord can try and get?

  • Nilsa Murillo

    My brother who is handicapped and has multiple sclerosis rented his home for two years. the lease expires in the end of November and he wants to move back to his house. They tried getting the tenant to sign an agreement letter but she got very upset and threatened him with not signing, not moving out nor paying the rent and slammed the door in his wife’s face. He is giving her three months notice but she refuses to cooperate. He lives in Kissimmee, Florida. What can be done to get her out without destroying his home. She has even been withholding his mail which includes his mortgage bill and his pension checks.

  • Jennifer

    My step father Co signed my lease for credit purposes. My mother and him are now pending divorce as retaliation he is threatening to have landlord evict me. Landlord text me that “she thinks it’s best I leave before it gets ugly 30days notice to vacate” I have a one year lease and it’s only the second month of lease. What are my rights. I have not broken any terms of lease on my end.

  • Crescencio Diaz

    I rented a efficiency in Tampa, Fl last night at 2am got a text message from the Landlord requesting to move out by the 16 of August. My rent is current and paid up to the 18 of August. Reason stated I parked in the wrong side of the driveway, yet his Mother told me in person to park where I parked.What are my rights under this contradictory instructions?

  • Vyacheslav

    Hello Lucas,

    My rental townhome is going under reconstruction due to structural defects. They going to replace outer walls and windows on the second flour. These repairs will last about 2 months during which I have no access to screened patio and cannot use my garage which will be blocked. I have asked a manager of landlord a question about some discount for rent and got negative answer. Can I terminate my one year lease which started 07/01/16 because of this reconstruction? What other options do I have in this situation?
    PS. The landlord did not notify my about upcoming reconstruction before I signed a contract neither sent me a notice.
    Thanks,

  • Meghan

    My husband and I signed a lease earlier in the week for a year rental. The couple lives out of state,we have sent the agreed amount in order for her to send us keys with a tracking number. Three days later;she is ignoring all emails and phone calls. Having said signed rental lease(both parties have signed,myself and my husband plus her signature);is it illegal to change locks ourselves to occupy the home?

  • Mark

    I’m in a Month-to-Month lease and found out my landlord might be selling the property with the apartment on it. My neighbor is the individual who told me about it. I called my landlord and she said she’s not sure what’s exactly going on with the property, if it’s being sold or not. If it’s sold, while I’m a tenant, what can I legally do? I do not have the money saved up, to move to a new place, last minute.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Mark

      Ownership really doesn’t affect you. In a month-to-month lease (generally speaking) either party can terminate it with not less than 15 days prior to the end of any monthly period (83.57(3)).

      When the property is sold, the new owner becomes your new landlord and simply follows the same rules that have always been in place. Yes, they may choose to terminate your lease, or increase the rent, but that could happen now, even if the place isn’t sold.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Carol Harris

    Can a landlord use a pet deposit to apply against unpaid rent?

  • Denise hutchins

    My sister an i on lease together she having being work for last five mnths .i am one paying all rent management use my income for annual update because she does have one .know my sister want to remove from the lease they refuse to remove her stated if she does leave it would call abandoned her apt because she’s primary person on top of lease but i want to stay management said i got to move also is that legally correct.when all rent pay on time every first of mnth plus water usage,Florida

    • maria Dichter

      My daughter has been living with her boyfriend for 8 years the landlord put a typed note on their door asking them to move out at the end of Sept. No reason giving. They have nto been getting along. So my question is If my daughter never signed the lease and only his name is on it. I have no idea because he won’t show me a copy of the lease and the landlord won’t either. Basically will she be responsible for any monies owed if she has never signed the lease and since she gets mail their can she stay until an eviction happens which I a don’t think would be a good thing. What are her rights as her boyfriend is an abuser and she is terrified of him and he threaten to ill her and bury her and she did not report this she is scared.

  • Michelle

    My sister is disabled due to neck surgery. She is much like any other tenant, ambulatory, successfully independent and clean. Her rent is paid ahead, never late. Her one year lease is over and her landlord will not renew. Her landlord rented to her fully knowledgeable of my sisters disability and now said that she is uncomfortable with my sister as a tenant and that she should find a more suitable residence. What is my sisters recourse? Moving to satisfy the landlords new posture on renting to my sister will put my sister in great distress. She worked so hard at making her residence a home. Thank you for your response.

  • Christine

    Our 1st year lease is up in Nov & we received a rent increase notice. The increase is $100! We weren’t planning on moving & don’t want to but it’s extreme for the condition of the apartment with dilapidated/waterlogged walls and baseboards and cupboards/ falling apart bathroom. A flood when a water line busted, cockroach infestation that took 2 months to clear and fleas when we moved in. It just got to the comfortable/clean spot it should have been when we moved in a year ago. Is $100 extreme or is it just me? $1000/month for 704sq feet 1bd/1ba seems like a lot to me for Tampa.

  • Nancy

    Can a landlord on a two year long month-to-month rental evict a tenant for non-payment of a pet deposit that was only recently imposted (last week)? The pet has been in the apartment for the entire two years. The tenant is willing to pay the $500, but does not have the resources to pay it all at once, as the landlord demands.

  • Keri

    Hey I’m inquiring about some info concerning renting a property from someone who was not the actual owner. She rented me a place that she was not paying for out her own pocket, it so happen that a government agency was paying her rent. So she rented me the place and charged me a monthly fee with a rental agreement. When the real landlord came she explained to me that the young lady who was renting the property to me was not the owner. Now the landlord is trying to evict me. Whats my rights or what should i do?

  • Mary

    Dear Lucas, I recently had my boyfriend arrested. Now i find out that money i gave him for rent 3 and 4 months ago never was paid for our rent. he had his mother come get all his stuff so i have no way to see reciepts. now the office manager for the apt. complex is trying to evict me. I am tryin to get my dissability, i cant work, and i am also trying to borrow money for my rent. I have paid 2 m.o. each in amount $50. The first 1 she has accepted, now the 2nd one she asked if i want back, too small amount paid and she doing eviction. Can the office manager do this to me?? Please help me.. Thank You

  • Sheila Long

    I was in New Jersey with a moving truck packed headed for our new Florida home. Everything was fine no problem 100 for non refundable application fee. Send us a copy of your driver license or ID. Phone call sorry owner not comfortable with you income. ??? I said but it what I pay now, and landlord letter stated never been late or ever missed a payment. House left clean. Ok no house, moved to Florida had to stay at hotel. Very upsetting. Should I seek an attorney?

  • Bill

    I have signed a new renewal lease that goes into effect on 10/29/17. Am I still able to decide not to move forward with this renewal? I am in the state of Florida.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Bill

      If you’ve signed a lease, then it’s a binding contract. I suggest you contact the management company to see if they would let you out of it, or if you could buy your way out.

  • nicki

    I have signed a 6 month lease in Tampa Florida which I am not currently living in, I keep getting calls from property manager who has moved me out of my original unit and moved me into another unit without my consent and is forcing me to resign a new lease for the new unit. is this possible?

  • RAFAEL VEIGA PAIXAO

    Mrs.,

    I have a doubt: My tenant gave the wrong information about his personal life when he made the application for the board´s approval – because my condo needs to pre-approval the tenant. (ex.: he told that he has never been on bankrupcy, also that he never been processed in court. Because of this the board denied his entrance and my rental). My apartment has been out of rental´s market for like 1 month, during the process, and the tenant had already make a “security deposit”. Is legal to me keep this “security deposit” for the reason that the tenant had a “bad faith” when he gave the wrong information for the board? Or not?

    Thank you for your help!

    God bless us.

    Rafael Veiga Paixão
    Sunny Isles Beach – FL.

  • martha salazar

    Was just looking at my lease and I noticed that my landlord didn’t sign it and I renewed it in March. Does that mean anything? Please send me an response email at marthavigo1984@yahoo.com thank u!!!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Martha

      A contract usually needs to be signed by both parties in order for it to be valid. Are you certain he doesn’t have a copy that he signed, and could produce if you asked him?

  • Veronica

    Hey,
    I have been renting in the same place for 3 years now. My lease is up 10/15, and last night, 9/19, I received an email from my landlord stating that due to property taxes and 2 new a/c units, they have to raise my rent from $1400 to $1630. They are “doing me a favor” by not raising it to the $1800+ that they think they could get otherwise. Is this large rate hike legal? Isn’t there like a 5%- 10% max amount increase or something? Also, they gave me less than 1 month notice of this increase. Isn’t there some minimum amount of time for a notice like that? Not sure what to do about staying here now. It’d be hard for me to get a place in 3 weeks too. Thanks for your quick response. :)

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