Florida Rental Laws

Written on January 7, 2013 by , updated on July 21, 2018

This article summarizes some key Florida rental laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association has a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute (83.49)
  • Security Deposit Interest: Not required, but allowed. If interest is being collected, it must be in a Florida banking institution, and the tenant receives 75% of the annualized average interest rate, or 5% simple interest each year, dependent upon what the landlord chooses (83.49 (1a-b)).  No interest is due to a tenant who wrongfully terminates his or her tenancy prior to the end of the rental term (83.49 (9)).
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Landlords are not allowed to commingle funds (83.49 (1a-b)).  Landlords are also allowed to post a surety bond (83.49 (1c)).
  • Additional Non-refundable Fees: No Statute, but is typically allowed and customary.
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Landlords have 15 days to return the deposit if the tenant is due a full refund. If landlords withhold any amount of the deposit, they have 30 days to notify the tenant via certified mail. (83.49 (3a)).
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes, and landlord must send notice using exact language found in Florida Statute 83.49 (3a).
  • Receipt of Security Deposit: Required to be given to the tenant within 30 days. Landlord must identify the manner in which the money is being held, and what the interest rate is, if any. Florida has specific rules pertaining to the receipt notification, read Statute 83.49(2-3) carefully.

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute (83.46)
  • When Rent is Due: At the beginning of each period and without demand or notice, unless a different agreement is reached. Rent is uniformly apportionable from day-to-day (83.46(1)).
  • Application Fees: No Statute. Use Cozy to avoid having to charge application fees.
  • Late Fees: 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 is between $50 and $300; $40 if the face value exceeds $300, or 5 percent of the face amount of the check, whichever is greater (68.065). I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute (83.46)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, after the tenant provides written notice to the landlord that repairs are needed. The landlord has 20 days to make necessary repairs before the tenant is able to withhold rent. The tenant must pay the withheld rent once the repairs are made (83.201). Essential services are defined in Statute 83.51.
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes. The right to attorney fees cannot be waived in the lease agreement. (83.4883.55)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No, Landlord has no obligation to rerent during a breach of lease by tenant. For specific requirements, read Statute 83.595.

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: Not less than 60 days prior to the end of any annual period (83.57(1)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Quarter to Quarter: Not less than 30 days prior to the end of any quarterly period (83.57(2)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: Not less than 15 days prior to the end of any monthly period (83.57(3)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: Not less than 7 days prior to the end of any weekly period (83.57(4)).
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Termination of Lease for Nonpayment: 3 days Notice, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays.  Specific language must be included in the notice, which is found in Statute 83.56(3).
  • Notice of Eviction for Lease Violation: Tenant has 7 days to remedy the issue or landlord can file for eviction and terminate lease (83.56(2)).
  • Required Notice before Entry: 12 hours, unless otherwise agreed upon (83.53(2)).
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): 12 hours (83.53(2))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (83.53(2b))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes (83.53(2d))
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (83.67(2))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (83.67(1))
  • Penalty for a Self-Help Eviction: A landlord who performs a self-help eviction shall be liable to the tenant for actual and consequential damages or 3 months’ rent, whichever is greater, and costs, including attorney’s fees. Subsequent or repeated violations that are not contemporaneous with the initial violation shall be subject to separate awards of damages. (83.67(6))
  • Proper Notice for Abandoned Property: Yes, first-class mail, pre-paid postage (715.104), using the specific language found in Statutes 715.105, or 715.106.  Review Statutes 715.104 – 705.111 for specific instructions and requirements for abandoned property.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlords are not allowed to evict tenants without going through the legal process (aka self-help evictions).  Penalty is actual damages to tenant or 3 months rent – whichever is greater (83.67(6)).
  • The landlord shall, at or before the commencement of the tenancy, provide the name and address of the landlord or a person authorized to receive notices and demands in the landlord’s behalf (83.50(2)).
  • Notification shall be provided on at least one document, form, or application executed at the time of, or prior to, contract for sale and purchase of any building or execution of a rental agreement for any building. Such notification shall contain the following language: “RADON GAS: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, when it has accumulated in a building in sufficient quantities, may present health risks to persons who are exposed to it over time. Levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in buildings in Florida. Additional information regarding radon and radon testing may be obtained from your county health department.” (404.056(5))
  • Landlord shall not prevent the tenant from displaying a United States Flag (83.67(4)).
  • Landlord is not responsible for personal property left on the premise after death of tenant if the following clause is included in the signed lease agreement: “By signing this rental agreement, the tenant agrees that upon surrender, abandonment, or recovery of possession of the dwelling unit due to the death of the last remaining tenant, as provided by Chapter 83, Florida Statutes, the landlord shall not be liable or responsible for storage or disposition of the tenant’s personal property.” (83.67(5))
  • Landlord is not allowed to include clauses in the lease that force either party to waive or forfeit rights, remedies, requirements, or liabilities set forth by law (83.47).
  • It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminatorily increase a tenant’s rent or decrease services to a tenant, or to bring or threaten to bring an action for possession or other civil action, primarily because the landlord is retaliating against the tenant (83.64).
  • Retaliation is considered if action is taken on a tenant who (1) has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, (2) has organized, encouraged, or participated in a tenants’ organization, (3) has complained to the landlord pursuant to Statute 83.64, or (4) is a servicemember who has terminated a rental agreement pursuant to Statute 83.682.

Court Related:

  • Small Claims Court Limits: $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees.
  • Eviction Cases Allowed: Yes
  • Small Claims Rules (PDF)
  • Statute of Limitations

Business Licenses and Fees:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.
  • Rentals in Miami need a Residential Real Estate Sign permit (single family homes) or a Commercial Real Estate Sign permit (apartment units). It is a sticker that should be placed on the sign. The permit is $5.00 for a single family home, $15.00 for an apartment unit, and it is valid for one (1) year from purchase.
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
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2,194 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Ray braswell

    I moved to my rental and week.later my only toilet in house stop working completely we call landlord right away and there after each day and we didn’t get fixed for two have weeks is there something we can do about that we had go somewhere every day to use the bathroom

  • Just have had it

    My current “landlord” has my best friend & I living in a 116° garage with 2 dogs & a cat, when there are 2 empty air conditioned rooms at the other end of this house. We have paid rent for the garage (unfinished) and told her we would pay more for a room…even 1 room to share! She fakes up eviction papers because she does not like us now since we told her we are not paying $400 for a hot garage, pplus supply her with food, plus clean up after her & 8 dogs she has. We are in Florida we are adamantly looking to move..what should we do! What are our legal rights? She’s an LPN btw…

  • Casd

    Can my landlord tell me what temperature to keep my thermostat set to? She says i have to keep it set to 76* IN FLORIDA. Utilities are included in rent. 73* in the apartment is warm. She told us today that if we dont neep at 76 that any negligent increase in utilities we wicks have to pay for. There is a clause that states any negligent increase in utilities may have to be paid by tenants. No amounts are written in lease. She thinks the electric should be $100. There are 5 females renting this apartment

  • Jessica

    Hi im currently living in a studio /garage ..it recently got sold and new owner is requesting for up coming rent and requesting to move out by the end of the month that im required to pay..1 im currently a disabled single mom with a 6 year old child with disability also this studio they consider has no water heater has no appliances nor cabinets also no a/c the ac window unitis mines i had to have it put in by my friend..what should i do??

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hi Jessica. You need to see an attorney to make sure that all of your rights are represented.

      Best of Luck.

      Rodk.

  • billi

    A couple is getting treatment 3 to 5 days once a month near my home. They have an apartment 1.5 hour away. If I let them stay for free or 50 which they offered to offset electric and inconvenience of adding two people to our home, have I given them any rights? Would I need to evict if something happens to their rental in neighboring county? I’m in Hillsborough county Florida. I can’t find the rule but once heard allowing someone to sleep over even a single night could allow them to establish tenancy.

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Good Samaritans like yourself can, and often do get punished for their actions. To make sure that your interests are represented, I would consult with an attorney in this matter. Many times an attorney will offer a free consultation over the phone. Just look to the phone book under real estate attorneys to the free offer. Or you can call the local bar association for a reduced fee voucher to even sit down with a participating attorney in your area. Best of Luck.

      • Dan Hunter

        Good comment Rod. In pro tenant Michigan under these circumstances, landlord would be required to give renter a 30 day written notice to vacate. A “free” govt. paid lawyer could demand a jury trial and drag it out for an additional 60 days. But of coarse that has nothing to do with Fl. law.

  • Nikki

    Over the course of the last 4 months our AC has broken 6 different times. Our electric bill is close to $200 a month due to the AC not properly working. Which is too high for a 2 bed 2 bath apartment. We are hoping to terminate our lease due to the AC not working properly and the additional costs it’s causing us. Are we able to break our lease without a penalty?

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Let me tell you a real story. We rent some homes, and in the contract with the renter it states that the renter is responsible to change the air-conditioning filters on a 30 day basis. The renters took out the air filters and did not replace them. They complained to me later their electric bill was over 200.00 and no cooling. Air guy comes out to discover that the coil was plugged. F.S. Chapter 83.51 (4) “The landlord is not responsible to the tenant under this section for conditions created or caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.” I had it fixed and charged their damage deposit. So what is your story?

  • James

    I have a issue with the landlord as he is not returning my 1500$ deposit after our lease got over. Instead he is threatening us that he will sue us for 25000$ for damage to his apartment due to curry odor. We gave him a clean apartment which does not have carpet .It has tiles. He claims he would need to replace cabinets, appliances, flooring, air ducts all because of the odor which we don’t think it is there .

  • Tomeka Cockrell

    If my landlord rent me half of the house and it was stated by her a rooming house but she know longer want to rent rooms and give me asset to two rooms two baths and living room/dining room share kitchen with another tenant in a 1 bedroom 1 bath and you only been threatened months going on 4 the 4th month she doesn’t want rent evict you and say the second month she put house on the market and new owner doesn’t want old tenants she lie to the courts saying you didn’t pay 3rd month rent but you have a receipt you paid and respond to the courts. why would she rent to you knowing your situation one month and put it on the market the second month knowing old tenants haven’t paid and you’re on SSI a fixed income.

  • Lessie Thomas

    my landlord has been telling me for one year that the leak is coming out of my apartment and me and my boyfriend found out that the leak is a broken pipe outside the building in the walls September 25th was the day we found on the pipe outside in the building was broke which made my water bill to be $829 since we moved here in 2018 April my water bill has went from 5 percentage to 75% my rent is always paid on time and everything the pipe outside haven’t been broken I have to turn the water off and on so my bill still won’t be high how do I take care of this situation because now that he’s aware of it and I went to the water company and got my print out of the usage of water in my payments how do I deal
    with this situation

  • Darlene

    Landloard collect 150 for my 3 aplication 1 mine -denied 2 ny cosigner-denied and 3- denied. I sent for certified copies of alll denial letters and reason. Its been a month . So i check all. Credit reports and they haven’t eveb check either report. I requested the information they used for denial. Nothing. I filled a. Complaint and here comes the Eviction proceedings. And I’m at fault because they allegedl that I violated park rules due to buying before approval. I failed to adhere to stipulation? He committed fraudulently. Acts to deny all parts of my stipulation. So Do I have any rights? FL.

  • Nestor Leon

    I recently moved to a new home in Port St Lucie, FL. With my landlord being First Key Homes. Everything seemed great until I complained of a air flow problem, and no cold water. Problem still exits. I also complaint about why I am paying 1785.00 a month when the same home are renting for 1595.00. I made this complaint the second month I moved in. I Got the run around of will fix all your issues, but have not done anything but called several maintained people that can’t fix my issues. I just want to pay less rent if they can’t fix my air flow in the house or get me cold water. Please help me understand if this is illegal of paying higher rent for the same property as others.

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hello Leon.
      Short answer is that you need to see an attorney on this one. It sounds like you have some legitimate complaints, but I am not an attorney and can not give you legal advice. This is why you need to see a real estate attorney. You can look in the phone book for free consultations, as there are plenty of them who offer them. Or, you can find out where the local Florida Bar Association is located in your area. Call them, and they can direct you to the right attorney. The bar association may offer a reduced fee referral. This way you can explain your problems to the attorney and find the best solution, and know your rights. Please bring your contract and any other documents to the consultation. Best Regards.

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  • Lindsay

    I live in Florida in St. Luice County. I recently got a pet. After I got the pet my landlord told me he legally has to replace the carpet after I leave even if there isn’t any damage, is this true? I have never heard of this.
    Thanks

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      I can talk about my incidences with tenants in relation to issues with carpets, but I am not an attorney. Almost all carpets that are polyester or rayon, for example come with a 10 year wear pattern guarantee. Nylon carpets come with a usual 20 year tread wear guarantee. I use those two measurements to calculate the carpet life remaining in any rentals that we have. One renter never cleaned the carpet, and re rented year after year. I recently said to him that if he stays for another 3 years, then he will be free and clear of any carpet damage due to his negligence of any oils and stains. He was surprised, but after explaining to him my straight line depreciation on the carpet life remaining, which was 3 years, he understood.

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