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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1,364 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Kay continued.

    The next problem you have is that there is an exclusion for “other than a single-family home or duplex.” Does this mean that if you live in a single family home a landlord does not have to treat infestations? I do not know. It may be covered elsewhere in the chapter, or in another chapter. I do not have the answer. You are going to have to sift through the Florida Laws. Read them, and then understand your rights. Along with the rights of the landlord. He may have already met the standard of “reasonable” under the law. I do not know. More than one type of termite infestation? You will have to do some homework now. A professional termite inspector should be considered for an opinion. G.L

  • Robert

    The condo complex, in which I own a unit is for sale. Am I under any obligation to inform a potential tenant of this fact prior to their signing of a rental lease?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Robert, You need to see an attorney with that question. My best guess would be no but I’m not a lawyer. There is a legal principal entitled “Caveat Emptor” which means let the buyer beware.

  • Chet duffy

    Rented an apartment for student in the orlando Florida, found mold throughout the apt, notified the complex many times in writing, air handling unit had serious ongoing leaks, insur folks and mold consultant deemed mold throughout. Moved out requested rent abatement for period of time leaks/mold was found. Was turned down. What is Fla law on abatement.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Hello Chet. You should see an attorney on your concerns. This issue entails many factors which can not be addressed here in this forum.
    Best Regards.
    rodk.

  • James Frazier

    If rental agreement doesn’t explicitly state landlord place Security Deposit in interest bearing account. How does tenant know if interest was accrued? Thanks

    My principle Deposit amount was refunded in timely manner by landlord from his personal account by check. Checking account or Savings Account I don’t know.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi James, Interest rates are so low, I wouldn’t even waste a phone call on the problem. If the deposit was $1,000 for one year the interest ( at 1% per year) would only be 10 bucks. Why bother ???

  • kyle

    We have lived at a apt complex for 2 yrs. when we moved in we told them our sister would be living with us. because she was 17 at the time they said she doesn’t need to be on the lease. the next year when we renewed they told us if we wanted to we could put her on the lease we decided not to. well its time to renew for year 3 they said we have to put her on. we did a application for her and they said her credit is not good enough. so she got a 7 day notice to leave our we can all be evicted. can they do this ? she doesn’t pay the rent my brother and I do. so what does her credit have to do with anything?

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hello Kyle. You have made an important question which should be answered only by an attorney. The reason is that this question is very laser focused on Credit scores-for one individual inside a group of individuals. I would guess the important thing to do now is to verify that it is the credit score itself that is creating the eviction. What did the eviction notice say for the reason of eviction? Personally, I am more worried about felony convictions than credit scores, from existing renters who are being put on a new rental agreement. All policies of the landlord should show in printed existing documents – for review. Please come back and let us know how the problem was resolved, and why. Good luck Kyle.

  • Dan Hunter

    Hi Kyle, You are dealing with an amateur landlord:
    1) If you are reasonably competent tenants why does landlord rock the boat with this ridiculous demand? He could lose your business.

    2) How can a person that is barely the age of majority have bad credit ? She is barely old enuf to go into debt much less borrow money and not pay it back !!! Your landlord has a lot to learn. If I were you, I would consider taking my business elsewhere.

  • Nicole

    I have lived in this home for 2yrs now the landlord called on April 3 saying she might be sailing the house she wasn’t sure then yesterday April the 23 she calls and said they are closing on the house Wednesday. That I needed to be out what are my right or what do I do.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Hi Nicole. When you typed your question on the page, you did not say how long of a contract that you currently have with the landlord. If you have no contract, and rent month to month, then the notice as I recall is 15 days notice of eviction. So how long is your contract with the landlord? So if I were in you shoes, I would want to know the new owners name so that I could call them to see if they are willing to continue to rent to me at the current rent amount. If they said “no” then I would asked them (if I were month to month) to be a little patient as I would begin to look around for other places to stay. The old owner should transfer any and all damage deposits to the new owner. Good luck Nicole.

  • ann Ganley

    Is a single family home ( Palm Coast FL)for rent exempt from ADA? Can landlord take home off rental market without fear of lawsuit. no contract was signed or agreed to but mgmt company took app fee for a rentor with a “support animal”. Home is currently leased month to month. Thank you!

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Ann. In short, you are going to have to see an attorney at this point. The attorneys office will tell you about the Federal ADA act, and as well as chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. We have state laws on making accommodations as well with people with disabilities, to include any other concerns. You have allowed a management company to take an application to a home that is being offered to rent by you. And as a result, you have put yourself into a position that no one on this blog can help you with. You need legal representation. Best regards Ann.

  • kenya mcginnis

    my landlord knew about the house having termites, fire ants,bees and termites. they knew of the termites but painted over termite ate up wood, and covered up wood termites ate up with solid wood and painted over it. I am taking them to court for failure to disclose these issues before I moved in. I learned they are slum lords. can I sue them ?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Kenya.

      Go the attorney the woman above you is going to have to see. Maybe you can get a discount.

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