Florida Rental Laws

Written by on January 7, 2013

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


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. (Miami FAQs)
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
Get Updates by Email!

Join 30,000+ Landlords

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

1,027 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Carol

    Hi! Today when I got out of the shower, I opened up the door and here was my landlord standing and looking threw my papers on my table. I asked him why he was here; he said he thought someone else was living at the property that wasn’t on the lease. He asked me if I got a new car, inwhich I did. I asked him if I was behind on rent and he said “no”. I proceeded to ask him: “then why are you in my house”. He was embarassed and knew he was in the wrong. Since then I just don’t feel comfortable and wonder how many other times has he been in here. I have three kids and don’t him to be just randomly letting himself into his rental property. He knows I want out of my lease now and has been totally ignoring me. Is it wrong I want out?

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Carol. While sometimes other landlords or property managers (like myself) respond to these questions, you should know that I am not a lawyer nor can give legal advice. That being said, you should consider calling the police and filing a police report as your landlord may be guilty of a crime. Fl. Section 83.53 Landlord’s access to dwelling unit.—
      a) With the consent of the tenant;
      (b) In case of emergency;
      (c) When the tenant unreasonably withholds consent; or
      (d) If the tenant is absent from the premises for a period of time …………
      The section goes on but it does not appear that his entry was warranted. please read:
      myflorida.com then under government, then legislative. then read florida statutes online.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Please read the florida statutes and then consider if you need to make an enemy of this landlord or not. Only you can answer these questions. You should read the statutes over, and then consider all your options. Another solution is that after reading the florida statutes you might talk to the landlord to discuss now your feelings of not feeling secure in your rental home. Filing a police report will require that you swear an affidavid of accurateness and truthfulness. Remember that in the State of Florida you cannot press charges. The district attorney’s office decides to press charges or not based on all evidence. One you file an affidavid with the Sheriffs department, the criminal part is out of your hands. Good luck.

  • David

    I came home from work one night to find my former landlord going through my personal papers in my dresser. When I confronted him he claimed that since he owned the property he could inspect the inside any time without notice. I know better. I called the police. That was twenty years ago. He went to prison for burglary. Since it was not his first offense he got 20 years. He died in prison about three years ago. That was not Florida but the basic principal applies in all states. If a landlord is improperly inside the rental unit it is burglary and a felony.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi David, That’s very good info !!! Thanks !!! P.S.- If you sue a tenant (or landlord) and win the case, and decide to repo his/her car as a collection action, make darn sure the vehicle is his property. If it looks like his car but the vin number is not right you can be charged with car theft.

      • David

        That was a kind of random and unrelated reply to my comment. My comment was about landlord’s improper entry of an apartment. I didn’t mention anything about repossession of a vehicle.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Hi David. One day I came out to one of our families rental homes to have a guy treat for subterranean termites. I did notify the renter 3 days in advance of this treatment. Once there, the termite guy said that he needed to check inside the garage and the interior baseboards of the home for termite tunnels and damage. Since I did notify the renter of the inspection, I felt that this was ok. As I opened the front door of the premises, I saw that the front door was subsequently kicked in previously, and that the renter had tried to repair the front jam of the door-but had failed. The door was an inswing door, and the door jam looked ruined. Due to the damage to the home, I felt that I could take immediate possession of the home

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Continued. Although I did not take possession of the home, I demanded that the Renter Immediately hire a Contractor to professionally replace the door jam or that I would call the police and file a police report. It was then admitted to me that it was a husband/wife dispute. As for the renters, they stopped paying rent and took 4 months to get them out. To this day, If now that I found that someone had deliberately damage the home I would file a police report immediately and take possession of the home. Why that landlord is inside the home at that time? Did they give adequate notice, and under what circumstances that landlord is inside your home? I plan on filing suit against the previous renters this December.

      • David

        Legally, when a tennent signs a lease and pays rent they have taken legal possession of the property as described by the lease. This means that for the most part, as long as they don’t break the lease, they have some of the same legal rights as a homeowner. They have the right to be secure in their domicile. In other words, no one can enter without their permission, not even the landlord, without their permission except for certain exceptions. The landlord has a right to inspect but the conditions under which they can inspect are subject to local laws and or the lease. Usually they either have to give notice of an inspection or it must be an emergency. No landlord can arbitrarily explore the inside of a rented unit.

      • David

        In my case, the landlord did not have a legitimate reason to be in the apartment. They were rummaging through the drawers of my dresser in my bedroom. There was no scheduled inspection. There was no emergency. He had just decided to let himself in and go through my personal things. That is a crime everywhere. Not even a hotel owner can search a hotel room for the personal effects of a guest. In my case the landlord had a criminal record and had been convicted in the past for burglarizing apartments they owned. That is why he got a lengthy prison sentence.

      • David

        Your situation is obviously an emergency entry which is a valid reason for a landlord to enter and inspect. I’m not even sure you needed to notify the tenant. If there was evidence of likely termite infestation within the apartment that was visible from outside and claimed as such by the professional you hired then you have a valid reason for immediate entry without notice. This is because termite damage could cause an unsafe living condition for the tenant and you could be held responsible. The damage to the property is usually considered a civil issue though in some jurisdictions if you could prove it was deliberate or as the result of a deliberate act a crime may have occurred.

      • David

        Unfortunately, suing may be a waste of time. First it is expensive, you don’t always get an order for the defendant to pay your legal costs. If they have no assets then all you can get is wage garnishment and federal law limits wage garnishment to 10% for any one creditor and a total of 15%. In other words if they owe money to others then it could be many years before you get the first dollar. Typically it’s first come first served though child support followed by student loan repayment takes priority over nearly any other kind of garnishment. IRS would also come before a landlord lawsuit. The lease should have a clause that you get to keep the deposit and demand a new deposit if such damage occurs.

  • Steve

    I have 9 months remaining on my 1-year lease. The apartment complex was just sold & has a new owner. With notice and permission, people came to take pics of my apartment to be used when listing my apartment. They said if someone new wants to buy/(lease?) my apartment, they’ll give me 30 days to move out. Is my 1-year lease now void? Or are they simply preparing to advertise my apartment toward the end of my lease? It cost a small fortune to get utilities turned on 3 months ago, so in addition to the hassle of looking for someplace new, I can’t afford to restart utilities again somewhere else if I’m suddenly told I have 30 days to move out. We won’t even get into the things the former landlord promised to fix.
    Thanks for any insight.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Steve

      Generally speaking, a fixed term lease will remain intact even if a property is sold. Leases are not tied to the owner of the property but rather the property address. In most states, a new owner MUST honor the previous lease agreement. As Rod and Dan suggested, you should talk to an attorney otherwise this owner is going to use and abuse you.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Hello Steve. You should know that I am not a lawyer, nor can give legal advice. I just give a little direction, that’s all. So in reading your complaint, I can see right off that you need to receive legal advice from a real estate attorney, whether you realize it or not. So it this would happen to me an in my opinion, I would start by building a documentation log that your oncoming attorney would like to see. Once the framework is clear, the attorney has a better picture to see your position. First, I would go down to the public records office and see how the whole complex is titled. Is it in a developers name, or association, or are the individual units titled separately with each owners names. — Ops out of space.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Ok I am back. Next I would see if the owners had sold your rental unit, or had released the unit in leu of a forclosure or something. See if the association has forclosed upon it for unpaid association dues….check on everything. Pay for a copy of everything. A certified copy is not necessary. Oh, and just the important pages, not the whole thing. Next I would copy my lease information so that the attorney has a copy of it for their review. Re-read the lease. Call the owner to receive their take on this intrusion upon your rental agreement. Also, you said that “they” came in and took pictures. Did you get some information from “them”? Contact information? Or, did you just let a stranger come into your home? Out of spac

      • Rod Kreinbrink

        Ok Now call the association of the complex and find out the same information with them. Someone had put the thing up for sale. Someone believes that your unit is included up for rent. Try to get something in writing-if you can. Now with this information, you should see the situation take shape and any real estate attorney will appreciate the work that you put into this in order for you to get true legal advice. Best of luck to you. rodk.

  • Dan Hunter

    Hi Steve, You need a competent real estate lawyer. It’s easy to find one if you call your local title insurance company. I seriously doubt that your new owner can enforce the old lease in court unless it is recorded . I suspect the lease might be voidable on your part but the new owner is bound by it. Every state is different. I hope you keep us posted on this. Good luck !!!

  • Anyenis Garcia

    Hi. My landlord enter the house premises 5 days before my lease was due with out any prior notice he also invited two people to clean the backyard which was clean a week before..at That time I had moved but I had a few things to pick up from the house. A week Before he enter the house we met for an inspection of the house. he gave me a list of things to be fix. We agreed to me on the due date. the list was email to me by his reator. A day before the do date i couldnt fixed a few things from the list, so I i left a key for him and asking to tell me how much for the fixing,,for the list we agree. now he sends me a new list with things that were not in the firts list. Broken doors that were not broken and others things. I want file a claim

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Anyenis, I am not an attorney. As I understand it, you and landlord met at the property and mutually agreed to a repair list . Now he is attempting to change the list. If you have to sue him for return of your deposit, this list will win the case for you in court. However you agreed to pay him to make the repairs that you could not perform. If he is at liberty to make repairs and charge you what he decides to charge you, his price might be so high it will eat up the whole deposit. Good luck to you on this one. You will need it.

    • David

      Generally, as long as the lease is in effect, that is, right up until the last day on the lease, you enjoy all the terms of the lease as well as normal legal protections of a tenant. If you have a mutual agreement then you must abide by the agreement unless such agreement is prohibited by law. Some states have rental laws that favor tenants to such an extent that even if you agree to a landlord’s request, if the request is illegal, then you don’t have to honor that request. That said, you need to consider whether or not you did damage to the apartment while you lived there. If you did, then the landlord may have some rights not spelled out in the lease.

    • David

      A landlord always has the right to perform emergency repairs though state law and your lease may spell out details of how this is to be done. Certain kinds of repairs would be legally considered emergency repairs and others would not. An example of an emergency repair would be a water line leak. An example of a repair that would not be an emergency would be repainting a bedroom. Landlords can keep a security deposit if the renter causes damage to the property but usually they cannot keep more than the cost of the repair. Unfortunately deposits usually don’t cover the cost of many minor types of damage. Usually normal wear and tear is not considered damage. An example would be a worn carpet.

    • David

      Typically a landlord has the right to do emergency repairs any time. But usually they cannot force you to let them remodel such as replacing worn carpet or repainting a room while your lease is still in effect unless you have a legally binding agreement to allow that. An exception to that would be a scheduled remodeling that you were notified of in advance. Carpets, for example, are usually expected to be replaced about once every ten years. Most landlords won’t bother doing that kind of remodeling while the renter is living there. But larger professionally run complexes usually follow a schedule so they will usually tell you the approximate date when a carpet is due to be replaced or when your apartment is due to be repainted etc.

      • Rod Kreinbrink

        Hi David. You are right in many respects to your replies. I would like to add that the Florida Statutes do allow for collection costs as part of the judgment. It is best to ask for the cost of collection while obtaining the judgment itself to alleviate any defenses from the defendant. While in my situation with renters, it is always a concern of mine to not overstep my “rights” in being the landlord. Even though the florida statutes does talk about the right of a landlord to take possession of a property due to property endangerment. I though that since she admitted that it was a domestic dispute that she would willingly repair the door on her own. I was wrong. Next time, no forgiveness, no understanding. continued.

        • Rod Kreinbrink

          David continued. The saying of “never allow them the opportunity to allow them to do to you a second time” is a good statement to remember. As for going to court, our family understands that she is on medicade, and that she has two children of 12 or so and that there are limitations on collection. However, after the state is paid, child support, and federal loans are paid, and not to mention others who have judgments before you and recorded within the courthouse, and not to forget the lien priority at the sheriffs office. With all this……I will not allow her to trash our home and walk away. I will take her to court just to ruin her credit a little more. It does not matter on collection realities…we understand this aspect.

          • Rod Kreinbrink

            David. ” If that women flees to Indo China. I want someone to pop out the rice paddy and put a cap in here ass.” Quote from: Pulp fiction. Its the principle of the thing, and I will never, never, let her go for next 21 years after the first recording of the judgment. That’s how we roll.
            Best regards. Rodk.

  • Anyenis Garcia

    Thank you. Yes,,I will go to court. Is not even about the money, I want him to be fair with me. Again, thank you for the response.

  • Stephanie

    My landlord and I have gone round and round several times. In Jan of last year, he tried to evict us, we paid up BUT he never filed his stipulation with the courts. We ended up at court and won, he had already charged us $598.00 in legal fees that he refuses to return. We just recently bought a house and moved out of the property at the end of our lease. He is now charging us 5k in damages. We requested a detailed break down of the damages (because there was no where near this) on Oct 9. We haven’t heard anything back yet, not sure if there is a time frame for him to respond back to us in regards to our security deposit.

    This man is a shifty individual and I want to make sure I can get back everything I can.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Hi Stephanie. Long and short of it, you are going to probably hire an attorney. You can first try an attorneys letter which he might pay attention to, since you are willing to go to court and have won in the past. Let him know that you will be asking for all relevant attorneys fees in the suit. If you win, you can put a lien against anything that is in his name alone. Your attorney will tell you what can be attached, replevin, etc.

    best regards.


    • Stephanie


      We received his letter to hold our security deposit plus that we owe him money. I asked him for a list of damages and stated that I have pictures for proof of any damages. Does he have a time line for answering back to us (like we had 15 days)?

      • Rod Kreinbrink

        I would like to point out that the landlord has to use the Legal Verbage as written under the landlord tenant law, on the damage deposit notification. If he does not use the exact verbage, you may have a defense to the court on that money. Please go to : myforida.com and then select legislative section. then under legislative select read the florida laws online. I believe it is chapter 83. Please read the entire section. There you will find the exact verbage of the demand letter with all the timelines. I hope this helps. rodk.

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    Yes, you have the fifteen days to reply to his letter. So do it by certified mail, return reciept The Florida statutes allow for the landlord to use the damage deposit UNLESS there is a objection. After that the Florida Statutes kind of fall off the table. What remains is the going to court. So issue the objection in writing in certified mail, return receipt. This will keep the landlord from arbitrarily using the money. Then is going to court time. Bring all evidence with you. You will need a lawyers direction and advice on strategy – Whether the landlord sues you, or that you sue the landlord. I hope that you made pictures of the unit to show the judge the condition of home as you left it.

    Best Regards.


  • Ruby

    I have a question. I live in a efficiency, my landlady lives in the front house. A week or two after moving in she told me she didn’t want people over. I’m at work all the time. I have no car. So I have only 1 friend that comes over to help me. She keeps telling that’ll she kick me out. Is she allowed to tell me I’m not allowed visitors? I don’t not have party or hang outs. Only have help on my days off so I don’t have to get the bus with luandry or my food when i do food shopping. Another thing she told me couldn’t apply for food stamps because she wouldn’t get hers. I did anyway because my daughter and I need to eat and get health care. I really need some help. I live in my Miami, I’m not sure how the law works with landlords.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Ruby, Your landlady is really fond of overstepping ! If you have a month to month lease, she could terminate your lease at any time but the requirements that she wants to put on you are not even realistic. If she were to write those restrictions in a one year lease the judge would laugh her out of court. I am not an attorney.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Ruby, I have to agree with Dan in that your landlord is over the top. One thing I noticed in your complaint was that of the issue of Food Stamps. I used to work for the State of Florida back in 97, doing food stamps and Medicaid. I believe what the landlord may be referring to is that she may not be declaring the rent income to the agency. Personally, I would apply for my own needs and not worry too much about anyone else in this respect. As for the rest of the issues, you have the right of association. The landlord might want you to leave, and not further lease to you. But as long as you are not violating the peace noise statutes, I can not see the restrictions. I an not a an attorney though either. good luck.

  • Nina venckus

    I had a one year lease ..I guess now its month to month.. I never got new lease.. I told my landlord I was moving in 5 months. He said.. Well, I’ll have to raise your rent now.. Cause this is peak season for renters..I’ll lived here 3 years…my old lease also said condo comes with washer and dryer.. Washer has been broke for a year now.. Landlord told me if he fixes washer he will have to raise my rent.. So I had a choice… Landmatt or raise my rent.. Landlord told me.. Help

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Nina

      It’s true that month-to-month leases really don’t have any security. Either party has the right to terminate it with very little notice – which is the blessing and curse of a M2M lease.

      But you also have the right to the maintenance of the services that you were provided with in the beginning of the lease – but since it’s only a M2M, the landlord can change those amenities and most other parts about the agreement with little notice.

      It would be a difference story if you have a fixed-term lease and were locked into a contract. You could try to talk to a free legal aid provider about your legal rights, but I’m not sure if you’ll get very far seeing how the nature of a month-to-month doesn’t really provide security. But who knows, I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • enrique belardo

    What can i do to remove someone from my home who doesn’t have a lease agreement with me i tried to help them asked them leave and now they wont I’m in florida

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Enrique,

      If there is a landlord-tenant relationship (regardless of whether there is a lease), then there’s a good chance you’ll have to go through eviction court. If the person simply highjacked your house, then you should call the police. A lawyer would be able to give you actual legal advice (which I am not). Good luck to you.

  • mary

    I signed a lease about a month ago for an out of state move. im planning on moving to florida, but due to certain circumstances Im unable to take poseesion of the unit that I signed for. I signed one month prior to taking over the lease and gave notice about 3 weeks prior to actual lease date. when things changed and I realized could not move. I asked the realtor to please change or cancel my lease and that the landlord could keep the deposit. well long story short the realtor is pressuring me into walking out of my current lease to take over that one. when I don’t have the money for the move or the first or last months rent. the propery manager wont answer the phone or my message so my question is can they take me to court?

    • Dan Hunter

      I am not an attorney. This is not legal advice. As Rod said, you can kiss your deposit goodbye but it will be very difficult and costly to subpoena you into court in order to sue you because you live in another state. If he were to somehow get a judgement it would be impractical to garnish your wages, or replevin you bank account or car. There is too much involved. It would not be worth the trouble. I would forget about the whole thing Mary. Good luck to you.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Can they take you to court? Sure they can. An landlord, given that the contract is properly signed and witnessed, can hold the renter for the period of time that the unit was contracted for. They are under no responsibility to try to re-rent the unit in case you fall out of the contract. They can just wait out the contract, or under their option, they can try to re-rent the unit, but are not obligated. Most probably, you can kiss any deposit money goodbye, as it will be held in lieu of any partial rent payment.

  • Theo B.

    My family and I are living in a rental property that’s being sold in Miami-Dade county South Florida. What are our rights as tenants. We were told we would have until January 2016, however, we came home and saw a sign in the yard we are being pressured to allow buyers to see the house at nights, and we are on a month to month basis now.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hello Theo. Your situation is very common. What rights does the renter have against, the landlord who wants to list and show the rental home up for sale? Upon looking at the florida statutes, it actually states that the renter must allow the showings of a home up for sale. I do not remember where exactly in chapter 83. But you can look yourself under the website of: myflorida.com Go to legislative branch, then select: look up florida statutes online. Under the landlord/tenant law….chapter 83 you will find your answer. Good luck to you. Please remember that I am not a lawyer, nor can give legal advice. This is why you can look up the answer for yourself and keep the rental chapter for yourself in case you need it.

      • DAN HUNTER

        hi theo, i’m not an atty, thus i don’t give legal advice. however, if i were you i would fully cooperate with landlord in showing the property at reasonable hours and frequency. if you give him a hard way to go, he will serve you with an eviction notice and the “bottom line ” will be the same except you might end up with a derogatory remark on your credit. be nice, it is what it is. good luck to you.

        • Rod Kreinbrink

          Dan, the only way they could get a derogatory remark on any credit report is that if they stopped paying rent, and was taken to court for a judgment. Last time I checked, as I recall, the credit reports do not show evictions.

  • Theo B

    Thank you for that info. Just the info as to where to look was most helpful. We are truly grateful. Thanks again.

  • Fred S

    Does a residential landlord in florida have to provide a written notice if rent is late and provide an opportunity to cure deficiencybefore a late fee can be charged? 25 per day? Thank you

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Fred

      No, a late fee only needs to be specified in the lease. That is the only “warning” that is required.

      As far as I know, Florida doesn’t have a statute that regulates the maximum amount in late fees. But please know that I’m not a lawyer not is this legal advice.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Fred, I noticed your late fee is $25 per day ? I have no idea how many units you have but if you reduce your late fees you might find tenants will be late more often, thus putting more money in your pocket per year. If you try it you might like it.

      • Rod Kreinbrink

        Hi Dan. I would have to agree with you. My experience has been that if you allow renters to be habitually late, then they will be late. Rent is due on the first, and payable by the 7th. After the seventh, it is a $25.00 per day late fee that is put on the rent for next month. I allow a 1 time, per year exclusion, of the contract. I due this for the periods of time that everything goes to hell in our lives. Any landlord should be willing, and understanding of a reliable payer who runs into trouble. Credit card companies do it, so why shouldn’t we? But I make no attempt to go to the residence to collect rent. If they have to drive to the owners residence to put the money in her hands, then do so. No other excuses.

  • Margie

    We have been renting a home from a property management company for the past three years. We recently learned the owner of the home is being forced to sell the property on a Short Sale as he is going through a divorce. If I am correct a short-sale means mortgage payments are not being made. My questions are as follows: 1) How long will we have to vacate the home once it is sold (the realtor handing the sale is the same property management company we are renting from) and 2) Do we have any recourse if the mortgage payments were not being made on a property we have been making rent payments on? Thank you.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Margie,

      In short-sale situations, the owner is usually behind on mortgage payments for a few months – and they are trying to work out a deal with the mortgage company.

      1) You should know that the sale or foreclosure of a property generally won’t affect a fixed-term lease. The tenants will be allowed to finish out the lease. If you are Month-to-Month, or don’t have an agreement, then any owner can terminate the tenancy with 15 days notice (83.57(3)). Here’s a podcast I did on the topic: https://www.landlordology.com/ask-lucas/006-lease-termination-at-sale-of-property/

      2. The fact that the owner is not making payments has no affect to you or your lease. It doesn’t give you the right to refuse payments, or withhold payments. If you do, it could trigger a lease termination on your part for failing to pay rent.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Hi Margie. Although I am not a lawyer nor competent to give legal advice, I have heard of your type of situation before. If you look at chapter 83. 
      You said that this is not a forclosure, but a short sale due to his divorce. So, in effect, you are going to have to read the entire chapter 83, and read what part is applicable to your situation. Its dry reading, I know. go to:
      myflorida.com then select government section, then select legislative section. The on the right had side column, you will see read florida statutes online. go to chapter 83. select residential tenancies, (your particular position as I understand) and read chapter 83.

      good luck.


  • Rochelle Knowles

    Long story short : My parents are renting a home in Florida been there for 4 years on a yearly lease. My fiance and me talking to the owner to see if we could move our camper on the property beside my parents. Of course he said yes for 300.00 dollars a month and used an extension cord for power to the landlords power that we pay. Been here for 8 months to find out yesterday that the health depart came out and told him no campers aloud he now told us we have one wk to move our camp. He unplugged our cord and of course this was done all verbal but everyone knows we have been renting like this. Can we do anything ? He told us to move in with my parents and still pay him the 300.00 smh

    • Laurel Young

      should get an attorney. My step-father died in another State, & my mom wasn’t doing well. We felt it necessary to move for that reason. I told our landlord the situation & asked if there was any way we could get out of the lease. He said yes, he would just rent it out. He did an unannounced inspection during our move out process which I was okay with. I asked what was expected in order to get our deposit back. He described the cleaning, which we did. He told us we needed to write ” we release securities to (name of company)” in order to get our security deposit back. We did. We kept contacting him and getting ignored until today, 2months and 11 days later he responded staying no deposit will be returned due 2 cost of repairs.

  • Joshua

    I have been renting at a friends house. Two rooms. I never signed any lease agreement, never paid a deposit or anything. I had dogs off and on at the house and have had the carpets cleaned a few times, there is the usual wear and tear, nicks on the wall, nothing remotely considered major damage. Can I be forced to pay when I move out? Again I never signed any documents and it was all verbal agreements. I just don’t want my friends psychotic wife to try and charge me an arm and a leg.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Joshua,

      My opinion is that if you did any damage outside of normal wear and tear, then you should pay for it. It doesn’t matter that your agreement wasn’t written.

  • Barbara

    Hello, here’s my question. We applied to rent a condo. We had to put down a $250 holding deposit. The application noted the $250 was refundable. Our application came back with a contingency. I am self-employed and they would not accept my income. Husband had to qualify alone.. Husbands employment was pending. Well two months later and husband never finalized his employment. He continues to work for me. With the manager stating we would not be accepted without his income, I wrote them requesting my holding deposit be returned as we do not meet their income requirements. They are non-responsive. Is there a specific law to this scenario as I would like write a more formal letter. I want my money back. Thank you

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      While I am not a lawyer, nor can give legal advice. To my understanding, though, there is not a specific statute of what you are referring too, although I may be wrong. If I had to go to court, I have a very good chance of getting a judgment from the prospective landlord-under the theory of “undo enrichment.” The only thing that worries me is that the “two months” later thing. Did you ever move in? Why did it take the management company 2 months to turn you down? Accepting contingency money without formally approving the applicants sounds not right. First things first, if this is theft, then I would make a sheriffs report. Make sure that you are correct here in this regard. False reporting is a felony. Court comes later.

      • Barbara

        We never moved.. approval was contingent upon my husbands income; we had just moved to Florida and his employment had been pending. They would not accept my “income.” What they did was “move” the holding deposit to another unit (so they could rent out the one we applied for) and once he secured his employment the deposit would be used for that unit. Well my husband was not able to secure employment with the employer as expected, he rather continues to work for me. Remember, the manager would not accept my income as income. So I had requested my holding deposit be returned based on the fact that we do not qualify “under their terms” to rent . Two months since we applied, 3 weeks have passed requesting the deposit. No response

        • Barbara

          We moved because my husband was offered a job with the state however they have taken their time finalizing everything. Rentals are hard to come by this time of year. so we applied with the assumption his employment would be finalized within a week of moving. Maybe our mistake for applying for the rental before he had officially started however 1) I had not expected them to “deny” my income and 2) they accepted the application knowing the situation. If they had “approved” the application continent upon my husbands employment , it seems fishy to me that they are non-responsive to my request. I am not sure how else to formally request the deposit.

          • Barbara

            I’m sorry… I just found this on the application we signed .. they refer to it as a reservation fee. It says “the reservation fee will only be refunded if the applicants cancel this application with written notice within 48 hours, OR IF APPLICATION IS NOT APPROVED; refunds will be sent via mail within 30 days of cancellation. This application is preliminary only and does not obligate owner or owner’s agent to execute a lease or deliver possession of the proposed premises. “

            • Rod Kreinbrink

              They are obviously not denying you in writing, nor sending you back the “reservation fee.” So this is what I would do if it were myself in your shoes, but remember that this is just one opinion. So I would send them a certified letter demanding the denial, and the refund of my monies within 7 days of receipt of the certified letter, or that I would make a sheriffs report based upon the presumption of theft of my monies. If not answered, then I would make the sheriffs report. The sheriffs office will do nothing but write it up. I would just need the document for court purposes. I would file against them for the deposit fee, plus an equal amount in punitive damages. Bring all documents to court. Remember I am not an attorney. GL.

              • Barbara

                Great.. I will do that. I am glad you caught that they did not deny us in writing. Everything was verbal “your approved contingent upon your husband receiving his offer letter for employment,” “We will apply your deposit to another unit”… mhm sure. Season is here, they don’t even have any openings anymore. So yeah at this point, we do not qualify per their guidelines and there are no longer units available, so I would of definitely expected some communication; denial letter or otherwise. Obviously they do not want to give the money back and hope we just go away. Can’t wait to see the excuse they have to my request. I will see what they respond with and go from there. Thank you for all of your opinions. Greatly appreciated.

  • Dan

    What can a tenant do if the landlord does not fix things like i.e. (hot water, a/c, etc.)? Can the tenant break the lease? And if so, what is the statute to support it? Thanks!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Dan

      A tenant could:
      1. Talk to a lawyer
      2. Contact the local housing authority
      3. Potentially break the lease with proper notice if the issues affect habitability
      4. Potentially withhold rent with proper notice if the issues affect habitability

      Check the “Lease, Rent & Fees:” section which includes a link to the appropriate statute.

  • Melissa


    My apartment was just sold. The previous owner sold the building to 2 people and had to go to court to resolve the matter. During that confusion I decided to stop paying the rent because I was not sure who to pay. Now the new owner is claiming that I should pay the money that the previous landlord did not get. Can they do this? I received a 3 day notice.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Don’t know. That would be a real estate attorneys question.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Melissa

      They possibly could do this. Not really depends on the other details of the situation and what your lease says.

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Melissa, I’m not an attorney. This is not legal advice, but you do owe the money to the people that sold the building. Maybe he will sue you or more than likely forget the whole matter. If new owners try to evict and/or sue you for the money, my best guess is they will lose the case. You would not owe rent money to the buyers until their names are on the deed. Don’t let new owners bluff you into paying them because the previous owner could still sue you. Good luck on this one.

Join the Discussion

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

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

Landlordology is a moderated community.
Any request for legal advice may be ignored or deleted. Please consult a licensed attorney.
If you want your photo to appear next to your comment, create a Gravatar.

Free Webinar / Zero Vacancy / Dec. 2nd Save My Spot!