Florida Rental Laws

Written on January 7, 2013 by , updated on November 28, 2017

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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  Laws & Regulations

1,948 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Cindy

    Hi,
    My family of three adults have been renting an apt complex month to month for 5 yrs. It’s an old 1926 building with poor structures in the inside , wooded floors have holes, walls are cracked, etc. Owner takes a long time to fix things and at times things are not fixed. Owner already decided to remodel the buildings and told all tenants verbally they had a month in a half to move. All the places I have lived in the past, owners have given 3 month to vacate. All tenants and myself are furious as to him not having not the minimal of consideration to give us tenants 3 month. He told most of them that he left a note on everyone’s door which no one got. That notice never existed. We are thinking of taking it to a small claims court?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Cindy, In most states the length of time required to terminate a month to month lease is the length of one rental period. Thus a thirty day notice should be sufficient in your case. I suspect that your rent is low due to the run down condition of the property thus landlord is finally renovating the building. This will benefit the neighborhood, the new tenants and his profits. Good luck in finding a new abode.

  • Celeste Sphar

    I’m on month to month lease the propety was sold but a realor came to my house without paperwork and told me i have 30 days to move. the landlord never sent any papers either. where do i stand in this situation? the address is 6612 A beach drive panama city beach fl thank you celeste sphar

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Celeste, I’m not a lawyer but if this were my problem I would photograph every wall of every room and then move out. There are various technicalities that you could use to defend with in court but the bottom line is you will eventually have to move. You might win the battle but you will ultimately lose the war. Why spend time and money to fight a losing battle ? You will probably have to sue either the new owner or the old owner for the return of your deposit. A competent attorney could tell you who to sue. The pictures that you took upon move out will help you in court. Good luck.

  • Kristin Adams

    The windows in my apartment have all be painted shut. Is this something Fl housing law allows or should the windows be made operational?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Kristen, Those windows should be operable. In most states that would be a code violation. If I were you I would mention it to the landlord. If there was a fire, you might need to climb out a window. Good luck !!

  • ROSA VASQUEZ

    I’m a 1st time home buyer and would be closing before my lease expired. I was told that I can get out of my current list with out penalties but the office is telling me that I have to pay 2 month’s is a brake my lease. If there a law in FL that protect me?

  • nina costantino

    Is there a mandated grace period for receiving rent payments i.e.5 days for the state of Florida or the City of miami beach?

  • Dillon

    If a landlord doesn’t collect the security deposit initially and 6 months in to the lease tries to collect it. Are they legally allowed to evict you for not paying it?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Marty

    I have been on a month to month lease the landlord is selling the house . The closing is on the 23rd of Feb. I email the landlord that I would be out on Feb. 28 now the new soon to be owners want to move in on the 23rd. All my plans are for the 28th. I have paid the rent already for Feb. What are my rights?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Marty, I’m not an attorney but my best guess is that if your landlord accepted the rent for the month of Feb. the place is yours until the end of the month. If he sold the place and made a promise that he cannot keep, that’s his problem. I would tell him if he wants to “sweeten the pot” a little, say maybe $500, you might be able to get out sooner. When you negotiate always remember, “He who cares less, wins.” Good luck !!!

      • Marty

        Thanks Dan , your resonce falls in line with everyone I’ve asked. I did find out that through this site that Fla. statutes states that on a month to month they should have given me no less than 15 days notice by mail or in writing . Which they have not done . Thanks again

  • gina debiasi

    Hi dillion
    I have been at my rental since end of sept. When I rented the outside was in decent shape. Irma damages 40% of soffet and trim. We arrived to debris all over propery
    It’s been 5 months with no repair . Landlord also stores a truck and many items on one side of garage and nothing on lease specifies th is
    He promised a door be placed to a bedroom but have not had done. It’s been a nightmare .he has excuse after excuse. Back slider also does not lock. A pile of rocks he had sent to line driveway have sat in out front yard over 3 months now He promised many times to have them spread. To no avail.hot water in second bathroom only works for 5 min. He also threatened if I withheld rent he would put eviction notice on our door.Help!

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Gina, If this were my problem I would take my business elsewhere. Make sure and give him proper written notice that you are leaving. If he tries to keep your deposit you don’t want to lose your small claims court case on a technicality. Good luck.

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