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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2,087 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Apolo

    Hello, I’m renting a home that was sold today at auction to the plaintiff (bank). I signed a 2 year lease of which I have a year and a half left. Does the bank have to honor my lease? Do I keep paying the landlord? Should I file my lease with the county?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Apollo.
      You need to see an attorney.

      Best of Luck.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Apolo, I agree with Mr. Kreinbrink, you need to see a lawyer. If the lease was recorded with the county, the bank should have to honor it but if it’s not recorded then the buyer is not bound by it in most states. Good Luck,

    • Jeff

      I have a question I live in a rental property and the pool company they hire to come out is horrible I hired my own pool guy and told there is not to come back I live in Boca Raton do they have the right to tell me I can’t choose my own pool guy and force me to pay them more for their pool guy

      • Rod Kreinkbrink

        What does you contract say? There is you answer. And then what stops you from calling the landlord and working things out with him? Can they obtain another pool company to take care of the pool? Working with the landlord is the first and primary step- not trying to work around them.

  • DANNY TAYLOR

    I’m renting a house my commencement date was May 5th due to a HOA violation by the landlord for not repairing sod I cannot move in going on 9 days. The contract states that if I can’t move in within 5 days do to tennanci or constructionon to the property the contract is void. Is replacing the sod considered property Construction in the State of Florida and can I void the contract

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Danny, The owner should not have rented a property to you that was not in livable condition. You need to show that lease and any other supporting evidence to an attorney. If the law is on your side you would win this case in small claims court. There’s not enuf money involved to pay an attorney to represent you . Don’t be afraid to fight the case yourself in small claims court. Good Luck !

      • Rod Kreinbrink

        HI Dan.
        I would normally see the questions like this one rot on the page, and not answer them. The reason is that the view is so one sided. Take the question that was asked. He was supposed to move in on the 5th, but could not due to sod installation? The sod is not structure related. If the sod was the only thing stopping him from moving in, that he should have some damn good pictures for the judge. Did the pallets block the drive or the garage? How was the installation, or repair of the grass stopping him from the move in? HOA violations happen all the time, from trash cans to dirty roofs. If the violation is attributed to the owner, such as wrong paint color of the home, then they have a certain period of time to fix.

        • DANNY TAYLOR

          The issue is the HOA, the last step in the process was to get H O A approval for us to move into the house we filled out the application the week before we were to move in but the HOA would not look at our application because of the landlords HOA violation for an unkept lawn. The move out date for our previous rental was May 5th the same day we were to move into the new property but we couldnt because we were not approved by the HOA. We were going to be homeless if we do not find another place to live which was an apartment where we live now.

        • Dan Hunter

          Good point Rod !!!

  • Kim

    Hi there,

    I am on a month-to-month lease with my rent payment due on the 1st day of the month. On February 1st, I gave my landlord my written 30 notice that I was going to be moving out on March 1st.

    When I moved out on March 1st, I left a check for one day worth of rent. Did I owe more?

    Thanks,
    Kim

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Kim, If I were you I would show the rental agreement to an attorney and hopefully get a credible opinion. In a lot of states the landlord would be required to mitigate the damages. This means that landlord would be required to rerent the unit a s soon as possible and prorate your rent based on when new renter moves in. Good luck !!!

  • Monica McCory

    I signed a new 7 month lease. The lease goes from November 19 thru June 19th. I gave my notice on May 18th and I moved out on May 19th. I assume I for sure have to pay the month of June rent, but the assistant manager claims that I also have to pay July because I did not give a 60 day notice that I didn’t know I had to give. Is this correct?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Monica, I’m not an attorney but if this were my problem I would ask the landlord to mitigate the damages and show me the new lease after he rerents the apartment. I would be surprised if landlord could legally collect rent from you after you move out and simultaneously collect rent on the same unit from a new renter. I would make the offer to negotiate in writing and send it first class mail with a proof of mailing. Don’t use certified mail because landlord has the right to refuse delivery thus your offer to negotiate will not be entered into evidence. If he keeps your deposit under these circumstances you will probably have to sue in small claims court. Good luck !!

  • R Smith

    If you live in a rental apartment complex who is responsible to take care of a terminate infestation

  • Unice

    I rent, they added a few to my rent for delivery ups or any delivery, are they allowed to do thatwith a
    existing lease that I have aleady

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Unice, I’m not an attorney but If you have an existing lease it cannot be legally changed unless stated otherwise in the document.

  • Brenda Himmelrick

    We are renting a house. Our lease is up at the end of June. We are moving out. The issues we have are the company we rent from is suppose to take care of the pool weekly and the yard. Well the yard hasn’t been mowed in almost 2 months and the pool company only comes when they want to. We pay dearly for the services. What can we do to get our money back from them for the services they didn’t provide by the lease. We have other issues from the start. Thanks for your help.

    • Rod Kreinkbrink

      Hello Brenda.

      While I am not an attorney, nor can give legal advice, I can see the situation as you described.

      The pool cleaning company is going to say that there were never notified of need for service to the pool. Or they will point to something like for example the YOU were responsible to provide all chemicals needed for maintenance and that you did not provide those materials. So read your agreement with the pool service company. It the agreement was included within the lease itself, then ultimately you are going to have to go to small claims court, with pictures hopefully, and tell it to the judge. So in the short of it- no one is just going to give it to you. You have to take it. – With no guarantee of success.

      • Brenda Himmelrick

        It’s all included in our lease. They have a contract to be here every week. I understand that you are not a attorney. Our grass right now is at least a foot tall. We have some weeds over 3 feet tall.

        • Dan Hunter

          Hi Brenda, I’m not an attorney but if this were my problem I would have a sit down with landlord and ask him to reduce the rent in an amount that is realistic. Then I would hire my own contractors or do it myself. (or find a new place to live). Good luck !

          • Rod Kreinbrink

            HI Dan.
            They just can’t arbitrarily reduce the rent, in protest. They have to go by the Florida Statutes, or be subject to an eviction after a 3 days notice to cure or quit. And the withholding of rent is subject to certain conditions. Please go read chapter 83, and see what applies to your situation with particular emphasis of which type of housing relates to your situation. Maybe the State of Florida has a department for them to call, other than a attorney -for advice.

            • Dan Hunter

              Hi Rod, I agree they can’t reduce their own rent, I was hoping they could negotiate a rent reduction and take this burden (grass cut and pool maintenance) off of the landlord for a rent reduction.

  • TM

    I had an unexpected illness which led me to surgery. I started renting in Feb. 2018, paid 1st & last rent & deposit. I can’t afford to continue paying my rent. Is there any way out of my lease that would get back my deposit and last rent?

  • Rod Kreinkbrink

    TM. This is a legal question that is best answered by an attorney. This website is an internet blog in which the average uninformed person gives ideas as to what might be the problem, and cure of renting related issues. Also, in saying that information, I am not an attorney itself, nor can I give legal advice. Soooo if you ate a snickers bar, is there any way a person can get that original bar back into the wrapper?

  • BLAINE R RABE

    I have a dog bite issue.

    I rented to a couple. No dogs in their possession. They said there would be relatives, couple of sons, who might be there occasionally. It turned out to be at least two sons and two additional families living there. Finally one son died of drug issues. He had three dogs, pit bulls. Family decided to move, I was happy. Then a month and two weeks into a non-payment of rent situation there was an issue on move out day.

    Two dogs got out and bit up the next door neighbors dog. then they moved in two hours! Now the next door neighbor wants me to pay $1500 medical bills, etc. They want my homeowners policy and Code.

    The dogs killed the same neighbors old cat last fall. I never heard about that.

    Blaine

    • Rod Kreinkbrink

      Hi Blaine. You are definitely going to have to see an attorney. My uncle was bit by his neighbors dog last year. It was subsequently found out that the dog was the personal property of the owner. The owner was a tenant. Issues such as known, and past behaviors of the dogs biting other people. Signs on property, etc. This is why you need to see an attorney. Call your local bar association and they can give you a reduced price referral to speak to an attorney that will best fit you needs. The dog should be taken by the county. Issues of shots, vaccination records of the animal, posted signs. I hope you have learned your lesson on a “no pet policy” and what that means- except service animals- of course required by law.

      • Dan Hunter

        Hi Blaine, Those dogs were not your responsibility. I wouldn’t pay any attention to the matter. However, if you get served a subpoena you will need to seek legal advice. You can’t be held responsible for other people’s dogs, kids, etc.

  • Rich Lewis

    We are finishing our lease and have performed a “pre” walkthrough with leasing company and they have no issues. We want to do a final walkthrough before turning in keys, so that no issues come up when we are not in possession of property. Should the leasing company do a final walkthrough and give us a list of any items that they say need repair? We are trying to get back our security deposit. We are in Florida. Thank you.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Rich, You need to talk to a lawyer. There could be certain technicalities that you need to observe in a matter such as this.

  • George Moore

    Hello I was wondering how long it takes for a resident having a long-term guest turns into a tenant and has to be evicted and also how long after the lease agreement is signed for one year can they terminate the lease without the evection process in Florida

    • Dan Hunter

      You need a lawyer George. If you accepted rent from this trespasser, you might be stuck with him as a tenant.

  • jennifer santana

    Hello I am renting in an apt complex and i was wanting to know if they are allowed to enter my apt without prior notification as to the reason and when

    • Dan Hunter

      Generally speaking, if a safety hazard is suspected they can enter. If nothing was stolen I wouldn’t be concerned about it.

  • Bennie Watson

    I have been a tenant at the same apartment complex for 8 years. My carpet was supposed to be changed every 6 years. The Maintenance supervisor told me they were going to change all of my flooring this week. I spent 2 weeks packing up everything so it would be easier for the flooring men to do the work. My carpet is pulled out from the metal in one place so that I have to be real careful to keep from walking on the tacks. I was told that the landlord has decided he is going to charge me another deposit before they will do my carpet. My contract goes from February to February. Is this legal and can they refuse to take care of my floors?

  • Mrs. L

    My tenant left without giving 30 day notice. They were on a month to month. I live out of state and will take me longer than 30 days to come down and inspect the property. We inspected the property 30 days prior when we were in town and had seen damage to several areas of the house, more than wear and tear. Can we send a letter to the tenant stating we will withhold the deposit to cover the damages that we found on our previous inspections and also since no notice was given, we have lost rent. Does it have to be itemized with prices for repairs or can it just be itemized?

    Thank you!

  • Tifani B

    Hello, my fiance and I just moved out of an apartment complex and they are trying to charge us for $1,000.00 worth of damage. We got a puppy towards the end of our lease but was never put on the actual lease, the office knew and never issued us an agreement even when asked several times and there are no transitions between the carpeted area and the tile flooring which caused me to fall several times when I was in a medical boot for 6 months, this caused most of the lifting and they were put on verbal and written notice of my disability and did nothing to accommodate. Now they are claiming pet damage of $1,000.00 and the statement does not give a clear reason why the amount was so high. I just don’t know how to fight this.

    • Rod Kreinkbrink

      Hello Tifani.
      Just my non legal opinion. As for the slip and fall, you must contact an attorney for that information.
      As for the puppy, even if your contract allowed pets (which it probably didn’t) you are responsible for the damage that pet causes to the residence. They should have proof of damage. Pictures, stains in the carpet, or pad, cleaning charges, and everything else that was claimed beyond wear and tear. All carpet has a life span. how old was it, in relation to its warrantee from the manufacturer? The landlord should have calculated its remaining life for its calculation of damages. Did you take pictures before you exited for your defense? Most don’t, so do not feel too bad. Its a learning thing -just a thought.

  • Sandra Grzyk

    I have a tenant in Florida that is on a month to month lease he gave his 30 day notice by moving out leaving 7/15 and now is saying he will not pay rent and wants his reminder of his deposit the day he moves out and is giving us a hard time to show the property to new renters. What are my rights? Any advise is really appreciated. Thank you

  • Thomas Smith

    If I purchase a trailer and put my x es name on the lease and do not charge her rent and do not move in myself is that considered a sublease???

  • Dave

    As a landlord in Florida, if a tenant fails to give me their forwarding address, am I still obligated to give the tenant the required notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages on their security deposit? I don’t know how to do this if they don’t give me a forwarding address. Given that I have 30 days to notify the tenant of my intention to impose a claim, if they notify me of their forwarding address prior to the 30 day timeframe, would I then have to send them a certified letter of my intentions to impose a claim and if so, how many days would I have then? If they give me their forwarding address beyond 30 days, what am I required to do at that time? Thanks.

  • Melissa Native

    Do I forfeit the right to make claims on the security deposit if I co-mingled it in Florida?

    • Rod Kreinkbrink

      Hi Melissa. You will need to see an attorney for that answer. If a free consultation is not available, then the next best thing to do is to call your local bar association and ask for an referral. They usually offer them at an reduced rate with participating attorneys.
      Best of Luck. rodk.

  • Bob erney

    My daughter is going to usf and renting an apartment. She was told that rent is due on Aug 1st but she can’t move Into the apartment until the 17th. I think she should be able to move in on the 1st or have a due date on the 17th.

  • Rod Kreinkbrink

    If to you that the situation is untenable, then its untenable. This is just my opinion, and I am not an attorney.

  • Brandon

    My landlord in Florida wants to take from my security deposit for a lawn service they hired that I was unaware of. I have given my 60 day notice to leave the property and as result keeps coming with financial obligations and threatens to take from the security deposit. Is this legal?

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