Florida Rental Laws

Last updated on May 13, 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.

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.
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
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1,160 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Lindsay

    I just recently signed a lease with a landlord. (paid 1st month rent, same for security deposit, and pet fee) A friend of mine (who was actually added on actual lease), and was going to pick up the keys.(Again, all ok with landlord and previous arranged due to me living out of town)although we had discussed with her that it was ok to delay the keys a couple days, we were not aware that she was still going to be making repairs to the unit, for 6-7 days past the lease start date. She did not offer a pro rated amount, and when I asked her about the issue and said indicated I might want to re-think the lease, she told me I had “broken the lase” and I had to be out today by 5pm?!?! I felt like there were so many illegal aspects, but not sure?

    • Ruben MONROE

      the landlord has to give you a 3day notice a then ,file for the eviction with the court,then you have to be served by a proceser of the courts,and that will most likly give you thirty days by law. thats if you break the lease.
      good luck,hope all things work in favor!!!

      just trying to help, MON$Y MAN(100)

  • elevel

    I have been renting for almost a year now and the lease will expire in the middle of July. I have been very punctual with the payments and took good care of the house. Now the tenant sent us a letter letting us know his intention to increase the rent $600 a month for the next year lease contract. Is there anything we can do? The rent is already expensive without the raise .

  • Christy

    Been in the same trailer for 6 years now and I just informed my landlord that I wanted to move this year. I am on section 8 and I needed him to fill out the paperwork so I could move and he wrote that I owed 8,000$ in damages. The thing is he put out two construction dumpsters out in my yard and said I could use them and now charging me for the dump fee. If I would of known that to begin with I would of NEVER used them. Now I’m stuck here in my lease with him another year. What can I do? Btw I’ve replace the floors with hard wood floors and done many improvements and all I wanted to to was move.

  • Steve

    Nice article

  • Robert

    My wife and I were able to acquire a mortgage earlier than expected.We are breaking our lease 7 months early equaling $9450. in rent.We are financially unable to pay both and have tried asking as kindly as possible if we can negotiate a lesser amount.My landlord seems like she will pursue this, what amount should I expect to owe her?

  • Sharrion

    I have a question::: My sister live in this home for about 3years she has a pet and a couple of kids. The family that she was renting from has decided to sale the renter. Although from the last 6 months they have been month to month. that problem came about when the landlord wanted to sell the place so my sister was on broad to buy ,If they fix the plumbing. long story; They didn’t fix she’s out ,its been 30days but she has received her security deposit. what to do????

  • Nicole Gesino

    Can a landlord discuss what is going on in your unit with another tenant in another unit?

  • Matthew

    i’ve been renting a house for about 5+ months now and i told the landlord that there will be no unannounced guests yet it keeps happening… as a renter of the house, what includes with the house? all of the property or just the house? the yard, front, back and side to side or just the house?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Matthew,

      It really all depends on what the lease or agreement says. Some agreements are for the whole property, some just the dwelling, and others just a room.

      • Caprice N Manos

        Who is writing some of this stuff?!!!!

        They are wrong!

        ” Rent is only earned after the use of the property!” (Penthouse North v. Lombardi Fl. Supreme Ct., So 2d 4 DCA 1984 ).

        Mc Clean v. Spratt A notice to quit must first be given to the tenant prior to eviction and then the Three day notice.

        In all of the three day notices they usually demand all of the rent if a tenant is not paid by the fifth or sixth day of the month. But that three day notice is wrong ( and must have a correct amount to be valid) where A TENANT HAS NOT USED THE PROPERTY A FULL 30 DAYS IF THAT THREE DAY NOTICE COMES ON THE FIFTH DAY AND THUS THE AMOUNT IS WRONG AS THEY HAVE ONLY USED FIVE DAYS OF THE PROPERTY RIGHT! This comports with the 4 th DCA decision.

        • Lucas Hall

          Hi Caprice

          All the bullets listed above link to the official statutes. Which laws/statutes are you suggesting are wrong?

  • Joe

    I have tenants in a home, that I am considering selling. They just renewed the lease 4 months ago, 1 yr lease. What are my requirements/restrictions?

    Thanks
    Joe

  • Warren

    Rented an apt, property mgr/landlord never did what they said they would(was written into lease) after 12 days of back and forth, roaches a broken toilet, etc and some fixes that we were not happy with they said if we wanted to leave we could and they would refund us. We said ok, they gave us our money less the real estate commission and we left.

    Now our old RE broker says they will not give us a termination of lease in writing, which we figured was ok since they gave us our money back. Am I missing something? Do I now have to hire an attorney to get this in writing even though they gave us our money back? Would love some real imput.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Warren,

      I would be hesitant here. Without a formal termination approval, the leasing agent could pretend like you simply abandoned the lease, and sue your for the remaining rent. It’s always so critical to get everything in writing. Do you have anything else that proves he is agreeing to terminate the lease?

      • Warren

        I have an email from our broker saying he was releasing us ands check made out to us giving our money back from the listing broker.

        So your saying that intention on their part by Writing us a check and an email is not enough for us to prove we were released.

        • Lucas Hall

          In my non-legal opinion, that check doesn’t release you from your lease obligation to pay rent. You really need something on paper that says you are not obligated to pay the remaining rent – ever.

  • becky

    Hello Lucas,

    Is there a standard rental contract form for cases where the tenants do not have pets at the moment but may wish to have pet(s) in the future?

    Current form I am using has an Exhibit B for cases where the tenants have pets. I have revised the Exhibit B as below:

    1. Tenants agree to inform Landlord if they decide to have pet(s) in the dwelling they occupy.
    2. Tenants agree to pay the necessary pet(s) deposit as determined by the Landlord.
    3. In the event that Tenants decide to have pet(s) in the dwelling they occupy, the contract will be updated to include pet(s) deposit.

    Would the above suffice?

    Thank you,

    Becky

  • Mike

    Hi Warren,

    My landlord sent me a new lease for a 1yr renewal 15 days before the start of the new rental year. She raised the rent, which was not discussed prior. What are my options as, if I would have known about this, I would not have agreed to renew? Also, I do not have the resources to move out within the next 15 days.

  • Danny

    My family and I are relocating to Florida. It seems that all home rentals are asking for 1st and last month plus a security deposit? is that the law? what exactly is the law as far as requirements?

  • Bibi

    Hello, I have 2 questions:

    1. I have paid whole 9 months rent plus security deposit. Do I have right to get interest from the landlord?
    2. The wall was needs to be painted when I moved in. But landlord charged me whole wall paint from security deposit and returned me a little. Does he right to do that?

    Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

  • Sari Troha

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  • Victoria

    We are renting a house in Broward County and we have prepaid first months rent $2,000, last months rent of $2,000 and a security deposit of $2,000 + pet deposit of $350.

    We have just closed on a house and the landlord has asked if we would agree to move out earlier than Sept (when original lease is up) so that they can put the house we are renting on the market. We have agreed to this based on no early termination fees.

    But here is the dilemma, we already paid the rent, so can we expect to get the prepaid last months rent + security and pet deposit of total $4,350 back since we never had the chance to actually apply the last months rent because they contacted us after that was paid? Thanks for letting us know our rights?

  • Deaundrea

    I just moved out of a house I’d been renting for 3 years. The owner of the home passed away 9 months ago and the family had a realty company manage his property. Once he died I was on verbal month to month terms, in which I was advised that I needed to provide a 30 day notice prior to moving. The house was in VERY POOR condition when I moved in. I spent money out of my own pocket to make the home livable. Now that I moved out the new company is trying to charge me for things that were damaged PRIOR to me moving in. I honestly believe that since he passed away they dont have the money and they are trying to charge me so they wont have to come out of their own pockets. What should I do? Please advise. Thanks.

  • Catherine Nuzzo

    I would like to know how much a landlord increase a 2 bedroom apartment in
    West Palm Beach, Florida in a HOA community.

  • Pedro

    I have being living in a rental home for at least 10 years in south fl ( North Miami Beach ). I have a 3 bedroom and two bath…
    my daughter got married and I had an extra room and I’ using it to put some stuff away there..
    Landlord came in to the house cause she is having some repairs done , and she got pist cause i’m using that 3rd room to put stuff away…I believe that I am paying rent here and what ever I do in my castle is my business , my question is does the landlord have the right to tell you how to live ??

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Pedro,

      Unfortunately a rental is not a tenant’s castle. A tenant is still bound by the terms of the lease, which might include rules against things like smoking, roommates, painting, or even storage. But if you aren’t storing anything dangerous, I don’t see how she could prohibit it.

  • Becky Latham

    I recently leased our home in Tampa, Fl.. We signed a 3 year lease with our tenants. Is a 3 year lease legal in the state of Florida? I’ve received many different answers on this subject. They have been there 6 months. Can we void this lease and rewrite it into a one year lease.

  • Michele

    If u leave an apartment with possible eviction, do u have to disclose this information to ur next landlord f it is not on ur credit at the time of applying for the next rental?

  • Melissa

    My daughter signed a lease with another person to rent a 2 room apt over a persons home, prior to moving in they noticed the a/c wasn’t working and made several attempts to contact the”landlord” for repair. The “landlord” would not return calls or come to the door for several days. Since the temperatures are almost 100′ it was not safe for them to move into the apt. They have now decided not to live there since they cannot get him to fix the a/c. How can they get their deposit back and terminate the lease?

  • Janet

    I have a few questions. If I paid my rent on the 30th, and it’s due on the 1st can I be charged late fees? I believe I’m being overcharged for an apartment that all it’s fixtures is in the 1950’s. The toilets are black inside. The water heater they don’t even make anymore. The apartment they show you has up to date appliances. There’s mold all in the bathroom. The walls with water damage have been painted over. The inside of the cabinets are sunken in and damaged. The A.C. doesn’t blow out air in some of the vents. They claim that the apartment is up to par. No it isn’t! I’m living in a hobbit’s house and I don’t think the smoke detectors work. I’m miserable how can I get out of this mess.

  • Ela Kandwal

    I am living in Tampa, FL from past 3 three years, now my son is 2 year old our leasing society is forcing us to move in two bedroom which i don’t find worth ( as we are temporary in this state), when i checked other apartment societies only Camden properties were not with such rule, all rest are asking us to rent two bedroom apartment. My question is , is this a government law or just a way to earn extra money. please answer.

  • Sveta

    Hi, guys!

    My mom is a landlord in Florida (not her main job, just renting out 1 condo). She usually hires a broker to find tenants for the condo. She recently told me that the broker charges her 10% of monthly rent. The broker does not manage the apartment! The broker said that this is customary in Florida. Mom also pays her 50% of 1 month’s rent as a fee of finding the tenants.

    What?! In MA, where I live, the only thing the broker gets is a fee for finding the tenants.

    Please tell me, is it true, that the broker has a right to collect 10% of rent, just because she found that tenant.

    Thanks!

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