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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2,135 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Nikki H.

    Hi, We recently made an agreement w/ a family member regarding renting his house. We decided a rent amount ($1k/month) & they said they’d be out in a few days. They needed money to move so we paid $2k upfront & got a receipt. Fast forward, after 2 weeks, they had most stuff out so we bought $250 worth of paint & started painting. In the meantime, we signed a formal lease, thank goodness. Yesterday they called & said they’re having 2nd thoughts about moving & are sorry and they don’t have any of our money. We totally want to enforce this lease but don’t know what to do! This was all our money to move & have 3 kids. Help, where do I start?

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Your local real estate attorney’s office, is where you start.

      • rebecca hager

        That actually sounds criminal.You can’t take even a relatives money and not at least return the money.At least you do have a lease.WHAT DID THEY DO WITH YOUR MONEY IF THEY DIDNT MOVE??? You can pick your nose but you can’t pick your relative…Sorry.Call the police and I’m sure this unfortunately is not this this is the 1st time its every happened.Good luck!

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Nikki, I’m not a lawyer but as Rod said, you need a lawyer.

  • Evelyn Russell

    I’m Evelyn Russell resident at 808 NE 19th St Oklahoma City, I am a single mother blessed with 2 daughters. For a while now I have been searching for a genuine loan lender who could help me with a loan as I no longer have a job, all I got were hoodlums who made me trust them and at the end they took my money without giving me any loan, my hope was lost, I got confused and frustrated, it became difficult for my family to feed with a good meal, I never wanted to have anything to do with any loan lending companies on the internet again. Not until I met a God sent loan lender that changed my life and that of my family Through the help of a fellowship member “a lender with the fear of God in him Mr Larry John , he was the man that God sent to el

  • Yesi

    I have lived 4years with the same renter, after 4 years they want me to sign a lease that states that they didn’t receive a down payment. I have my recipe and a lease that shows proof. What should I do I have been threatened to give me 30 days to move out!

    • Dan Hunter

      I’m not an attorney but if this were my problem I would send them a COPY of the old lease and receipt. If they refuse to acknowledge those items you will probably have to sue them in small claims court for the money. Good luck !

  • Hollande

    In the state of Florida can a tenant withhold rent if a Mold situation hasn’t been taken care of?

  • Ruba

    If I got to move out side florida state for work contract
    And the place I rent my house demandes I have to keep paying untill the Apt is rented
    Is this legal
    There is no cancelation fees on the contract of the Apt
    Thanks

  • Marie

    If the tenant disputes the claim against their deposit, what happens next? Does the landlord need to send them some type of letter? Of so by when?

    • Dan Hunter

      Hi Marie, In most states the tenant is still the owner of the security deposit even though landlord has possession of it. Therefore you either have to sue the tenant for the money or give the money back to the tenant. However if you do not commence litigation in a certain amount of time you could end up owing double the money. Good luck !!!

  • D Benatar

    If a landlord does everything possible to fix the a.c. and some parts have to ordered and has proof of the repairs but the tenant sues if there any law regarding this matter . The cost of the repairs was about $2,600.00 and I have been sued for above this amount since I don’t live in the state and has to travel any recourse I can take

  • Rosa Torres

    As a rental Community Director once a lease is signed by both parties it becomes a legal document and can be enforce. Please hire an attorney.

  • Judy browning

    Daughter and father owns the house I rent I started business with the father but now the daughter is taking over . A week after the daughter took over she gave me a 3 day pay or quit because I only paid 1/2 the rent ( she’s something else) her dad would have worked with me ,smh she also gave me 15 day notice to move because I’m an” at will” tenant.Now she tells me she was not cut out to be a landlord and she wants to sell the house I feel like she is doing this because I did not move out ,Is this legal ? She only told me verbally, can she do this ? Can she sell the house / put it for sale without telling me? Or giving me notice? Do I have to truly move out when those days are up? I live in FLORIDA WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hello Judy.
      You need to see an real estate attorney. NO one and I mean NO one is going to give you legal advice on this site other than to say that you need to see an attorney to protect your legal rights- whatever that may be. You might want to call the local bar association and ask for a referral, if you can not find an attorney who offers “free” consultations. The bar association usually has attorneys that agree to offer discounted legal advice charges. Usually $75.00 or so for an 1/2 hour or even an up to an hour. Be sure to bring any documentation that you have so that the attorney can give you the best possible advice in regards to your case. Best Regards.

  • Thomas Trinh

    Hi Lucas,

    My rental manager did not return the tennant’s deposit , He kept it for himself! Am I as the Landlord would be responsible for the tenant’s deposit?

  • roger samuelsen

    I would like to know we lost about 200 $ of food and we had trouble getting them to fix other thing took along time it was their refrigerator they said they will not pay for it are they libel for it please let me know?

    • Dan Hunter

      If you pursue this matter in court you will need to produce the receipts of food purchases in court along with a constructive notification (perhaps a certified letter) to landlord stating the problem. Otherwise you will be wasting your time and money by suing the landlord for restitution. I put a $25 limit in my leases for food going bad under various circumstances. I am not a lawyer. Good luck .

  • Querland Telisme

    Hey, some one please help me.. I’m having problems with my landlord .. he wants to use my small little closet two Stor shutters in my one bedroom apartment.. what I use to put my belongings in … I do not have space in my apartment…. I feel like I pay for my one bedroom apartment $1095 for him to tell me that the shutter belongs in side my little closet space…when I move in March 31,2018 the shutters was not in side the apartment…I pay my rent on time every month and never let…

  • Melissa

    My boyfriend and I paid our application and admin fee to a property management apartment in Orlando, FL. Looking to cancel our lease because of our new jobs location. A couple of days later, the $450 was refunded back to my bfs bank account not sure why. We never signed a contract for our lease, we only paid for the fees to secure the unit. Our leasing agent said we have to pay back the $450 to cancel if we don’t want it to hurt our credit. Is this true?

  • Rodney Kreinbrink

    Hello Melissa.

    You and your boyfriend will have to see an attorney. The issues that are left out of your question are what paper work and agreements that you and your boyfriend signed when you made the application. This will have to be read and interpreted by an legal expert and this can not be done here on this site. If you can not find a free consultation through the yellow pages, then you can call your local bar association. They should give you a referral to participating attorney for a reduced fee.

    Best of Luck.

  • Fear

    I have a lady living with me. We do not have written lease. She rarely pays rent. She has lived with me for 5 years. I want to get her out now that she is doing drugs. What can I do?

  • Kristina

    Melbourne, Florida – I had a border (friend of a friend) with no official agreement living in a room in my house. He hasn’t paid rent or been home in over a month and left the room in absolute shambles. How long do I need to wait before I can scrap his stuff and clear the room out without consequences?

  • Fran

    I have a trailer I rented month to month to a “friend” , elec and water were in my name to help them not have deposits. I didn’t actually charge them to live in trailer they paid lot rent , elec, and water. They started doing everything we asked them not to. So I gave them a 15 notice of non intent to renew lease they were supposed to be out nov 30. They started deliberately running my bills up. I didn’t turn them off until they were shut off for non payment. Water and elec are now off 2 weeks. They still refuse to leave. I do not have the $300 to go to court to evict them. I am already stuck for dec lot rent plus elec and water bills. +Jan rent if they don’t leave . I want to just take the chance and change locks. what should I do? In Florida

  • Joy Mares

    My father has a lease at an Independent living apartment complex in Florida. I have 2 questions. 1. The lease guarantees two meals a day. lunch and dinner. They are now “testing” breakfast and brunch which ends at 2:00 on Sundays. There is a fee to have them make a take-out meal, My dad does not eat lunch and this would now require him to go to brunch vs having a dinner meal. Is this legal?

    2. When my 92-year-old dad moved in 7 months ago long pants were required for dinner only on Saturday nights. They are now telling him he must wear pants on Friday nights too since some residents wanted this rule changed? Can he be denied a meal on Friday nights because he is wearing shorts? Thank you.

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hello Joy.

      You are asking legal questions that can not be answered by a blog site. I believe a family law attorney would be your best bet on your questions. If you can not afford an attorney, you can call the local bar association in your area and see if there is a participating attorney for a reduced fee consultation. Be sure to bring with you all relevant information about your case. Not limiting to any contract information, association rules and regulations, and anything else of relevance to your issue to determine if there is a case.

  • Karen chapman

    So I moved in to a duplex in October we are on city well we’ve noticed the water is not good it ruined our clothes, dishes. I’ve been buying water since we noticed the water isn’t good I called the realtor about this he said, now mind you we are only renters, he said we are responsible for the water. I looked over my lease and it states the landlord is responsible for water , I be asked the realtor for the landlord name and address so I can confront him with this situation he refuses to give it to me. What should I do? Should I leave and break my lease? I need help.

  • Michele

    My husband and I sold our mobile home on a rented lot a couple of months ago. We spoke to the administrative assistant who was acting as our park manager at the time due to our manager leaving. She advised us that since she knew the new owner and that the new owner was already living in the park we wouldn’t need her to do a background. All she would need to do would be to come in and sign a new lease but the new owner never signed a new lease. Now we are stuck in the lease and don’t even own the home anymore.

  • SCOT

    My apartment lease states that I may renew/extend the lease for an additional 6 months. Yet, when I asked to extend, the landlord said no, he wants to rent to someone else for more money. This seems like a breach of the lease, to me. Should I consult an attorney?

  • Kishore

    Hi Landlords,

    Does anyone know what the minimum rental lease timeframes are county by county in FL? I’ve researched it and not found all info I need. I know that Orange and maybe some of the neighboring counties have min 7 months. I understand that City may trump county rules, and HOA rules will probably trump all rules. It will be good to have the county requirements, so then it b becomes easier to call the City and review HOA rules to see what exactly applies for an investment rental property,

    Thanks in Advance,

    • Rodney Kreinbrink

      Hello Kishore. While reading your question, it seemed to me that your question actually relates to seasonal renting. Home owner associations will sometimes limit, or not allow at all seasonal renting. If this is the case, then you will have to pull out and read the association guidelines, if your home is located in and is subsequent to an association. Then, for the bed tax, and other issues, you need to contact your county and ask what is the minimal time necessary on a lease to not have to pay a bed tax, county, city, and State bed tax. Then, you should bone up on Florida chapter 83, and know the Federal fair housing laws, and county, and association limitations and ordinances. This is not the end, but the beginning.

  • Danny Bailey

    I have given my 60 day notice of early termination due to loss of job. I just asked for another extension as I still do not have a job and was informed that my apartment has been leased. So I am to move out in less than 2 weeks. I asked the complex why they had notified me that the apartment had been rented. Their response is that they are not obligated since I had requested the termination. So, to confirm, I asked if I was not to be charged termination fees. Their response was that as long as the new renters complete the rental and moved in, I would not be charged the fees, However, if the new tenants reneged and did not take the apartment, I would have to pay the term fees. Can they do this? i can not extend due to the new lease.

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