Florida Landlord Tenant Law
The Comprehensive Guide to Florida Renters: Protect Yourself & Know The Law
When you need a quick summary if your rights as a renter in Florida or Florida rental statistics just stop by our site. We also have pre-written letters for many situations you as a renter may be experiencing and need help with.
Florida State Information and Statistics
Number of Apartment Residents: 2,798,130
Median Rent: $1,850
Florida has more renters than almost any state, with about 2.7 million people living in rental units.
Landlord-tenant law in Florida though is often very vague, which makes it more favorable for landlords when it comes to legal situations. For example there are no restrictions when it comes to late fees, rent control is prohibited, and there is no maximum limit that a landlord can require for the security deposit.
Note: The information below, while quite comprehensive, does not address all provisions of Florida State landlord-tenant regulations. Also regulations can and do change from time to time. While we at HomeTitan strive to update our content on a regular basis we recommend consulting with an attorney when you complete verification.
Security Deposit Laws in Florida
• Limit landlord can charge: No statewide limit in Florida
• Days for landlord to return:
Landlord has 15 days to return the full deposit (with interest in some cases) and 30 days to notify tenant of claim against all or part of the deposit
• Landlord can deduct from deposit if:
◦ Tenant Owes rent
◦ Tenant incurred damages to the rental beyond normal wear and tear
◦ Other violations agreed upon in the lease
Landlords have 15 days to return the security deposit if the tenant is due a complete refund (with any interest if applicable). If a landlord is going to withhold any amount of the deposit, they have 30 days to notify the tenant via certified mail (83.49 (3a)) with this intent to withhold and the reason for their claim. If the landlord does not provide this notification within 30 days they forfeit their right to make a deduction from the security deposit and the tenant can then seek damages. However they can file an action for damages after the return of the deposit. In the case where a legally owed security deposit is not returned on time.
Florida landlords can, but are not legally required to, put the tenant’s deposits in a bank account that is interest bearing. If they do collect interest then it must be in a Bank within Florida and the tenant must receive 75% of the annualized average interest rate, or 5% simple interest each year, dependent upon what the landlord chooses. The interest then has to be paid with the security deposit return at the end of tenancy, unless the tenant wrongfully terminates their tenancy before the end of the lease, in which case no interest is due (83.49 (9)).
In Florida there is no set limit on what the maximum amount a landlord may require for a security deposit, but there may be other city or local regulations that put a limit on how much a landlord can charge for ta security deposit. In most situations one or two months rent it the normal amount.
Maintenance & Repairs in Florida
Subsection (1) of Fla. Stat. '83.51
As in all states, Florida landlords must keep their rental properties maintained within "livable conditions", which include:
- Exterminating pests/vermin
- Doors and windows be in working condition.
- Keeping in good repair floors, screens, steps, porches, roofs, exterior walls, foundations, and other
- structural elements.
- Plumbing must also be in working condition
- The removal of garbage
The rental property must comply with the health, building and safety codes. These can sometimes be different in different Florida cities and counties.
A landlord is not allowed to just shut off the utilities even if rent is overdue.
Mobile homes or other structures that the tenant themselves own are not required to be maintained by the landlord.
These obligations covered under subsection (1) cannot be waived, however they can be adjusted in writing with respect to a single family home or duplex dwelling.
Subsection (2) of Fla. Stat. '83.51
For units other than single family homes or duplexes, and unless otherwise agreed in writing, the landlord is obligated to reasonably provide for:
- The extermination of pess and vermin such as rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs
- Locks and keys
- The clean and safe condition of common areas
- The removal of garbage
- Functioning heat during winter,
- Running water and hot water
The landlord of a single family home or duplex is also obligated to have smoke detectors installed and in working condition.
Note: While the landlord is required to provide the list above, they can include in the renal agreement provisions that require the tenant to pay for the removal of garbage, for water, for fuel, and for utilities.
Legal Consequences of Landlord Maintenance Non-Compliance
Also included in Florida Statute 83.51 is that Florida tenants have the legal right to hold the landlord responsible for not keeping the rental unit and premises in good repair and in reasonable working condition. In legal terms this is known as the warranty of habitability. Landlords are obligated to keep the rental unit in a condition that is in keeping with the applicable building, housing, and health codes.
If the landlord does not comply with subsection (1) this constitutes a "material" noncompliance, which means the tenant can use this as a defense if an action is brought by the landlord against the tenant to gain possession of the rental unit based upon nonpayment of the rent or to recover unpaid rent.
If the landlord does not comply with subsection (2) this is not considered "material", which means the tenant cannot use this to justify not paying rent or terminating their lease, so it is cannot be used a s a defense against a landlord who brings legal actions against the tenant for possession.
Notice of Entry/Access to the Premises
The Law: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.53
In most situations a Florida landlord must provide notice before entering a renter’s domicile. A landlords can enter a rental unit for periodic inspections, to make repairs, supply any agreed services, or show it to prospective purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors. However, they must provide tenants with a “reasonable notice” and it must be “at a reasonable time”. If entry is for a repair then this reasonable notice is at least12 hours prior to entry, and the reasonable time is considered between 7:30am and 8:00pm.
A landlord can enter the rental unit in 4 other situations:
1) If the tenant gives consent
2) In an emergency situation
3) If the tenant is unreasonably not allowing entry
4) If the tenant has been absent from the rental unit for a duration of time of one-half the periodic rental payments.
However, if the rental payment is current and the tenant has notified the landlord of their absence then the landlord can only enter with the renter’s permission or for the protection of the premises.
This section further states that a landlord cannot abuse their entry rights or use their entry rights to harass a tenant.
What is the required notice before landlord entry: 12 hours (83.53(2))
Is entry allowed for Emergency circumstances without notice: Yes (83.53(2))
Is entry allowed if tenant has been absent for an extended timeframe? Yes (83.53(2d))
Rent Increase in Florida
There are no laws stipulating how much a landlord may increase rent, however, with a written Florida lease a landlord cannot raise a tenant's rent during the lease period unless there is something different specified in the lease. A landlord cannot increase rent until the lease term has ended and must also provide notice of a rent increase upon lease termination. While there is no law specifically concerning the number of days/months notice for a rent increase, the law does specify the amount of notice required by a landlord in the case you want to end your rental which is essentially the same as a rental increase. So with a written lease your landlord must give you 15 days notice of their intention to raise the rent upon the end of the lease.
If there is only an oral agreement between you and your landlord the rent can be increased, unless your landlord specifically verbally agreed not to do so.
A landlord cannot raise the rent if it is done as an act of retaliation or discrimination. See the section on Retaliation and Discrimination below for further details.
Currently Florida does not have any statewide rent control statutes, nor do any of its local jurisdictions.
Rent Related Fees in Florida
Fees for rental applications are not regulated by Florida statutes so landlords can charge whatever they wish
Late Rent Fees
Florida also does not have a statute regulating the amount a landlord can charge for late rent payments so theoretically they can charge any amount they want.
Florida Returned Check Law
Fla. Stat. §68.065
Florida does set limits on the amount a landlord can charge for a bounced check:
- If the check is $50 or less - $25 penalty fee may be assessed
- If the check is between $50 and $300 - $30 penalty fee may be assessed
- If the check is more than $300 - $40 penalty fee may be assessed (or up to 5% of the amount of the check, whichever is greater)
Landlord Retaliation In Florida
Florida’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act details what is considered an act of revenge by a landlord after a tenant performs certain actions.
According to Florida Statute 83.64 (1) it It is not lawful for a Florida Landlord to do the following if it is in retaliation to a tenant's action:
- Increase a tenant's rent
- Reduce their obligatory services such as performing required repairs
- File or even threaten to file an eviction
Put simply, a landlord cannot retaliate against their tenant for exercising their legal rights in regards to their rental unit. Here are some examples of tenant conduct that a landlord may not use for retaliation:
1) The tenant notified or filed a complaint with a government agency (one responsible for enforcing building, housing, or health codes) of a violation with the rental unit and the landlord's non-compliance with their obligations.
2) The tenant organized, encouraged, or participated in a tenants' organization.
3) The tenant complained to the landlord pursuant to 83.56(1), for example notifying the landlord in writing that they intend to withhold rent or terminate the rental agreement if required repairs are not completed within the allotted legal timeframe(7 days).
4) The tenant is a military service member who has ended their lease pursuant to Statute 83.682 and given the required notice to the landlord
If the landlord can prove that an eviction is for good cause, such as the tenants not paying rent(without legal cause) or the tenant's violating of the rental agreement or other legal violations in regards the property, then this section does not apply.
Florida Military ServiceMembers Early Lease Termination
The Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain protections for military servicemembers concerning rental lease termination. Certain states, like Florida, also have their own laws for servicemember tenant rental protections.
According to Florida Statute §83.682 servicemembers can end a lease early when they:
- Have received orders that require a move of 35 miles or more from their rental premises
- Have been prematurely or involuntarily released form their active duty
- Have been required or are eligible to move to government units
- Have TDY(temporary duty orders) - temporary change of station orders, or state active duty orders that are 35 miles or more away from their current rental location, if these orders are for 60 days or more.
The landlord must be provided with written notice with a termination effective on the date listed in this notice that is at least 30 days after the landlord received this written notice. The notice must also contain a copy of the official military orders or a written verification that has been signed by the servicemembers' commanding officer.
The servicemember is also not liable for other rent or damages due to this early lease termination when they follow the correct procedure.
The statute also emphasizes that the details above cannot be waived or modified by the tenant or the landlord under any circumstance.
Lease Renewal In Florida
When Terminating a Tenancy Without a Specific Lease Term (an open-ended lease arrangement)
Unless there are other stipulations in the lease, in Florida at the end of the rental term the lease is considered terminated. If the rental agreement doesn't have a specific date of termination then the tenant is obligated to provide notice to the landlord if they will be ending the lease or if they wish to continue the lease.
It's always recommended that landlords and tenants have leases that state the lease duration, but there are often situations where a written agreement simply doesn't exist or where the written lease is lacking in this detail. In such situations the state of Florida provides laws for such an open-ended lease ( Fla. Stat. § 83.46 (2) ). When a lease has ended and the tenant continues to pay, then the pre-existing lease is not automatically renewed (unless something to this nature has been included in the lease). In such an event the duration of the lease is now established to be the duration when the rent is being paid (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly). So if a tenant pays yearly then by Florida law it is considered a yearly lease.
In these situations if the landlord or tenant wish to end the tenancy these are the timeframes for providing notice to the other party according to Fla. Stat. § 83.57:
1) Year to Year lease - a minimum of 60 days notice before the end of the annual period
2) Quarter to quarter - a minimum of 30 days notice is required before the end of the quarterly period
3) Month to month - a minimum of 15 days is required before the end of the monthly period
4) Week to week - a minimum of of 7 days is required before the end of the weekly period
When Terminating a Tenancy(at the end of the rental agreement) With a Specific Lease Term
The Law: Fla. Stat. §83.575
When terminating tenancy and the lease has a specified duration a landlord can require tenants to provide a maximum of 60 days notice of their intent not to renew the lease if this provision is included in the lease. Failure of the tenant to provide the required notice can result in the tenant's liability for liquidated damages(specified in the rental agreement). However, in order to be liable the landlord must provide a notice 15 days prior to the notification period that is contained in the lease. This notice needs to detail the tenant's obligations under the lease and list the fees and penalties that the tenant is liable for from their failure to provide notice.
In the situation where the tenant remains in the rental unit after the lease has terminated, with permission of the landlord, and the tenant does not provide the notice required then they are liable for the month they held over plus an additional month rent fee.
What are Liquidated Damages?
In landlord/tenant situations liquidated damages are damage fees that the parties in a contract agree if one party does not meet their obligations and breaches the contract. The purpose of these types of damages is because in many situations it is hard to accurately estimate what such a breach will cost, so a fee is written into the contract/lease.