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

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. (Miami FAQs)
  • Sales and Use Tax on Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations
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904 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Brittany burd

    I have an on going issue with my landlord and getting things repaired. We moved in Oct of 2014 we were suppose to move in Sept but the apartment was covered in roaches dirty needles torn floors etc.. We didn’t get to move in until 2 weeks later. We didn’t see the aparyment before we moved in only model. Well they replaced the floor and the roaches weren’t gone but better. The landlord said we brought the roaches in even though we didn’t even move our stuff in yet. Well they didn’t prorate our rent because they had to put new floors in??? Well our ac keeps going out have cracks in our ceiling water damage. I sent a certified letter and 10 days to fix the problems she threaten to sue me. And she can find others who are happy to live like this

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      I have read your complaint Brittany, but I honestly do not know what you want me to do for you. You did not do the actual walk through of the unit before you signed the contract. Did you take pictures of the place before you started moving your furniture in? Probably not. You moved into an home with cockroaches running around? The new floor issue puzzles me. If they did not prorate the rent because they had to put new floors in, does that mean to say that you damaged the floors? You have to learn to cover yourself by notating any defect in the unit upon move in, and take pictures. I would now Re-read your contract to know all landlord responsibilities and more importantly what was not stipulated in the contract.

  • Pat

    Is it legal for the rental property to force a tenant to go without a refrigerator. The appliance is in my lease and went on the fritz 2 1/2 days ago. The company gave me a check list of items to do, which I have done and told me to “put my food in coolers on dry ice!”

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Pat, If the frig is listed in your lease as you say, then landlord is required, by the terms of the lease, to provide one. However it is strictly a civil matter, not a legal requirement. You might be jumping the gun a little bit if the problem arose only two days ago. Landlord might have one on order as we speak. I am not an attorney, thus this is not legal advice. Don’t forget to be nice. Lots of luck to you on this.

      • Pat

        Thank you, Dan! I’m fairly sure no new frig is on order, they were not wanting to issue a service call! Was just curious what their obligations were before I call and pay for service myself.

  • Victoria

    I own my home and rent extra bedrooms out where the tenants have their own room and use of the common areas of the house.

    I have a tenant now who is not current with his rent, is alcoholic, is verbally abusive towards me and disturbs the peace at the house. One other tenant is afraid of him and has given notice. Both the tenant and I have spoken to the police about his rage but the police must catch him in the act to do anything. Today he has removed the door lock to his room and replaced it and will not provide a key.

    I have asked him to leave to no avail. I have begun the eviction process. Is there any way to get him out faster by asserting he has violated Florida statute as he disturbs the peace.

    Any ideas would be appreciated!

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Victoria, This is a tough one. About all you can do is have a couple of large, male friends pay him a visit and have a “heart to heart talk” with him. They should assure him that there is a lot of street crime in the area and they will have no sympathy for him, no matter what happens to him.Would it be a good idea for you to only rent to reputable women in the future ?

  • Brenda Campbell

    I have been renting the home I’m presently in for 5 plus years, my landlord and I have had a great relationship thus far, but now his mother (the actual homeowner past away). Naturally, they have put the house up for sale that being said our relationship is now on a fine edge. Our lease expired 4 years ago, no contract since and he wants us out by end of September 2015! I do not want to cause any problem however I need more time to find a place to move Can I do get more time legally?

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    While I am not a lawyer myself, and nor this is legal advice to use in a court of law. That being said, if the contract is expired, I believe the rental agreement reverts to month to month. Florida statutes require a 15 day notice in such instances. If you want more time legally, why don’t you try this option. Talk to the executor of the estate. Maybe you can find out who that is as I believe it is they who should be giving you the 15 day notice. Maybe you can continue to live inside the home, and pay rent until the home is actually sold. During which time, you would show the home to any prospective buyers. You may be able to continue to rent from the new owner. Show a clean home, and show your neatness and reliability. G.L.

  • jessica

    My landlord says we cannot put boards on the house in the event of a hurricane but when asked he said hurricane shutter can be put up in the future if there was a bad hurricane like a cat 5. I told him I can buy the supplies myself and put them up but he says I will damage the home. He says if it gets bad to go to a shelter. Dies it sound right if a landlord decides that it’s not important to do this. Isn’t this a hazard to the home and the people who live around the home too. I have renters insurance but I would like to also protect my belongings. I am so confused and angry, what do I do?

  • Rod Kreinbrink

    While I am not an attorney, nor give legal advice, in my opinion the landlord is unfortunately correct. It is his home, you are mearly renting the structure. While it makes complete sense on your part to put some plywood over the windows in of an hurricane event, he has a fear that you will damage the home while doing so. This can be possible, since some homes have cement planking on the homes and when someone does something without thinking of the correct way, damage can occur. It is a battle at times to try to think ahead when I do this same work. Do we use cement anchors in this stucco ? does the homeowner know that anchors will remain after the plywood is put away? Hurricane comes, take your valuables and leave for safety.

  • jerry

    I rented a home in July that is owned by 2 seperate people, I paid 1st last and security to move in. I only knew about 1 owner, I have a lease. The 2nd owner showed up 2 weeks later demanding we move out and has started eviction process is this legal, were in florida. Have only been in this house for 1 month of our lease.

  • Chris

    I have tenants who recently sent me an email telling me that they received a job relocation. They still have five (5) months left on their lease. My lease does not have a termination clause, however it does state the the lease is for a year and that the tenants are responsible for the lease in it’s entirety. What can I do legally to ensure that I am not screwed at the end of the day, or at least until I find new tenants.

    • Rod Kreinbrink

      Buddy, don’t feel bad. This type of thing happens to every landlord eventually. When it first happened to me, the renters did not even say that they were leaving-they just left. They damaged the home, took furniture, and did not even leave a forwarding address. I in turn, did it all wrong. Luckily for you, and others like me, there is the Florida Statutes dealing with this type of situation. Even multiple sections actually. Section 83.56 (3) Termination of a rental agreement. and sections 83.595 Choice of remedies on early termination of a rental agreement. And downward after that. So go to the Florida Statutes online (my florida.com) then under legislative section you find that statutes, so get reading.

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