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
Get Updates by Email!

Join 100,000+ Amazing Rental Managers

  • Weekly Articles & Tips
  • Updates on Rental Laws
  • ​Useful Tools & Resources
Topics:
  Laws & Regulations

1,304 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Marisol Rodriguez

    Our complex was bought in December.New company will not renew leases.Our lease expires in April. If we stay on month to month we must pay double the rent orbs forcibly evicted in three days. My rent is up to date and we have lived here for almost two-year-old. Is this legal? These apartments are small one bedrooms.I pay 800.00 a month

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Merisol.

      I would ask you to go to: myflorida.com and then under legislative section, go to see “florida statutes online” on the middle of the page area. You will be taken through a link. Go to section 83, the Landlord/tenant laws. There are three selections. One is for commercial, and the other may be for condo’s, and the other for single family homes. Find which apply’s to you. Then look at the eviction notices for month to month. Have they given you a notice of non renewal after your contract expires? Please read those sections. It will inform you what a landlord can and can not due under the law. Also I do not know of any law of which can limit the amount of rent a landlord can charge. Good luck Merisol.

  • MOLLY

    i live in clearwater, fl. i rent an apartment. i have a bed bug infestation. my question is: is the landlord responsible for taking care of this problem and am i able to withhold rent if she doesn’t? also can you provide citations/proof of answer?

  • Dan Hunter

    You should consult an attorney about this. My reaction to this complaint would be that it’s your mattress. As far as I’m concerned you probably brought the bugs to my rental unit when you moved in. Thus you must fumigate my unit or I will do so and take the expense out of your deposit.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    One time, a few years ago, we had a seasonal renter for 2 months. They did not want to rent for another month, but decided to rent a home on Ft. Myers beach instead. The went down there and rented that home on the beach. Unfortunately, it was infested with bed bugs. They in turn cut short the vacation and everyone went home. The renters went back up to Michigan. To which, they discovered that they brought the bed bugs home with them too. Bed bugs love to hid in luggage, and they reside in the smallest spaces. You may want to reflect upon where you stayed recently just before the bed bug problem came to light. Did you buy used luggage? Stay overnight at Orlando? Buy used furniture? used beds? All can be eggs infested.. G.L.

  • Alejandra yanes

    Hi I rented an appsrtment in Naples Florida, originally when I rented it the person who I did it with tell me that when I move out of there the paint and cleaning was normal wear and tear, now that I move over 30 days ago, haven’t get my deposit yet, I got a notice that they are charging $500 dollars for cleaning and painting and a supposed broken window, when I left I requested a walk thru and they were never available and never in the office is that ok for them to do?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Alejandra, You said that you were told that paint damage was normal wear and tear. Unfortunately the spoken word does not affect a written contract. If you discuss this with an attorney you might have some hope but I’m afraid you are going to learn that the cost of a lawyer will be more than the amount of money you are fighting for. If you win the case the attorney fees will be more than your award. Good luck !!

  • Tatiana Segrera-Randazzo

    I just rented a house in clearwater and when i came to inspect the home everything looked ok but when i moved in water and eletric already on I started noticing the house has problems… German roaches embedded in the kitchen cabinets, mold in sink mold in AC unit, electrical zaps when switches get turned on house was built 1950s or so only master bedroom, kitchen and living Room are the only rooms that are updated with 3 prong outlets the rest of the 3 rooms are 2 prongs. And i found out he illegally turned the water on too. Is this considered a house not up to code?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Tatiana, It sounds like the house just needs a good clean up and fumigation. You said the electrical plugs are not updated. Your assumption is incorrect. The plugs with the two holes are 15 amp circuits with Number 14 wire and suitable for lighting only. The plugs with three holes are 20 amp circuits with number 12 wire and they are required when there is a motor running on that circuit. Number 12 wire is thicker than number 14 wire and will carry more electricity.
      If you are concerned about whether the house is up to code you could inquire at your building dept. and they will tell you if a certificate of occupancy has been issued.
      If you intend to stay there, it might be a good idea to avoid stirring up trouble for the landlord.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Tatiana. An Eastern European name. Ukraine or Serbia? Ok, now understand that I am not an electrician, but do know a few general things. The switches always break the hot line, so this is where the zap comes from. Sounds like the switch is getting old. Tell landlord. I believe that you are right about the outlets. older ones did not have the extra ground. Newer ones do. Both 15 amp, and 20 amp today have the 3 prong ground. If built in the past, the wiring is usually grandfathered in, but check with local government. German cockroaches? existing problem should be disclosed. Mold in AC unit.? Tell landlord. Illegal water? Water association concern, then prepare to move out since the landlord is now enemy.

  • Sabrina Glasstetter

    I have lived in my house for almost 5 years. I have tried to take good care of the carpet with consistent cleanings etc. but I do have animals, and 3 boys. So there is wear and tear and a spot where the cat clawed up. Is it legal for her to charge me for the replacement of the carpet out of my deposit? Also with the walls as a second note… when I moved in they were left from the previous tenant (purple, pink…) I painted the house on my own dime. Is it legal for her to charge me for the painting?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Sabrina. Please understand that I am not an lawyer, and can not give legal advice. I can only say what I would do in my shoes. So given that I were renting an apartment, and the carpet was 15 years old and had pets with the owners permission. The landlord, would have a right to replace the carpet if it was more than wore out , but damaged. The owner, in my opinion, would have to depreciate the carpet as it has a life span of wearability. The difference would be my cost of the replacement charge of the new carpet. If it was one room, then the landlord could just replace the carpet in the one room. Many carpets have a wear guarantee that is on the back of the carpet when you purchase them at the retailer. See next reply

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Continued…. The landlord might try to take your deposit, and it may come to you filing a small claims suit against the landlord for the partial return of the deposit. Only the court can determine what, and how much would be returned to you. I would ask the judge for the owner to provide the receipts of when the carpet was purchased and installed, and also to produce the carpet wear guarantee for such fabric. You can do your own research. Polyester carpets usually come with a 10 year guarantee, while nylon can come with a 20 year crush guarantee. The question for the court is how old the carpet is, and what is the normal life expectancy of carpets. Then existing stains before renting, to determine your responsibility.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Continued again. So Sabrina, did you take pictures of the home before you moved in? Did the landlord take pictures just before they rented to you? Now you start to see and understand why it is so important to take pictures in your own defense, when renting. As for the painting, yes. I think that the landlord has a right to charge you for the repainting, since you painted the house another color. …. but without landlord permission? You did not tell us that part of the painting scheme. Either way it sounds like your deposit might be used up just on the repainting issue. Do not be surprised if the landlord comes to court with more damages to hold against you, and may get a judgement against you.
      Better futures Sabrina.

  • Janis goldberg

    Hi Lucas:here is this problem:I live in Broward county.where I live was ravaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2002.The property insurance adjusters were not paying so Landlords walked away from their properties.Who I PAY RENT TO does not own the property.now.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Janis, I gather that you are living in an abandoned property and paying rent to a con man that pretends to have a right to collect rent on that property. If it were me, not being an attorney, I would stop paying rent. If he takes you to court, hire an attorney and claim squatter’s rights. Good luck on this one.

  • Sandra

    Living in a condo Sunny Isles FL.
    The landlord decide to sell the unit without give us any notice. Also
    annoying us about showing the unit becomes very uncomfortable to live here.
    We’ll have NEVER ever signed any lease if we new it was for sale.
    We just found out that the unit is being for sell since December 2015.
    Our lease expires on 08/2017.
    Could I legally break the lease ?

    Thank you.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Ha Saunda. Being not an attorney, and can not give legal advice, I can tell you where to get your answer. Go to: myflorida.com and select legislative on the right hand side (middle) area. Then select “view florida laws online” and then go to chapter 83 of the florida statutes. Under the florida statutes it does talk about the owners right to sell the property, and I believe without notice to the renter- But you will have to check that one. Also look to the surrounding statutes about the notice the landlord must give and whether they can show it without your permission or not. Its all right there in the statutes. Good luck.

      rodk.

  • Dan Hunter

    Hi Sandra, In most states anything that affects the usage of a property has to be recorded at the county seat. Any encumbrances such as bank liens, mortgages, leases, mechanics liens, dower rights, courtesy rights, life estates, rental agreements, deeds, etc. will not be enforceable in court if not recorded for the world to see. Thus when the deal is closed there should be no surprises to the purchaser. If this were not the case, it would be impossible for a title ins. company to guarantee a title. However, not being an attorney, I suggest you hire a competent real estate lawyer.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Be short, sweet and to the point.