Florida Landlord Tenant Laws: The Full Guide [2023]

Learn Florida landlord-tenant laws, rights, and responsibilities covering everything from rent and repairs to eviction and security deposits.

By
Rachel Robinson
|
Last Updated
November 7, 2023
Florida Landlord Tenant Laws: The Full Guide [2023]

Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but navigating its intricate web of rental laws and regulations can feel far from sunshine. These laws can directly impact landlord and tenant rights, responsibilities, and interactions, and while comprehensive, they can appear intimidating and truly overwhelming.

To simplify your journey into Florida's rental laws, we have prepared this comprehensive guide, empowering landlords to safeguard their investments and cultivate positive relationships with their tenants. At the same time, it provides tenants with the knowledge required to assert their rights and maintain a healthy living environment.

This all-encompassing guide covers a wide range of crucial topics, including tenant screening, security deposits, lease agreements, and eviction procedures. With this valuable resource by your side, you will confidently navigate Florida's legal landscape under the Florida Landlord Tenant Act, Part II, Chapter 83. Let's dive in!

Is Florida considered a landlord-friendly state?

Florida is widely recognized as a landlord-friendly state. The reasons for this designation include minimal regulations on rent control, late fees, and security deposit amounts, granting landlords the freedom to set rental rates and terms within legal bounds. 

Additionally, Florida's eviction process is considered efficient, allowing landlords to act swiftly with a seven-day notice for nonpayment of rent. Lower property tax rates further benefit landlords by reducing operating costs.

Landlord responsibilities and rights in Florida

Rights

Florida real estate investors and rental owners are entitled to certain rights that enable them to run profitable and efficient rental businesses. Some of those main rights include:

  • Requesting and collecting on-time rent payments
  • Collecting a security deposit to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear
  • Pursuing an eviction in the case the tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement

Responsibilities

Laws in Florida also hold landlords responsible for certain obligations that ensure a smooth tenancy and habitable living environment for their renters. The types of obligations depend on the type of dwelling unit.

Apartment leases

Here are the conditions that a landlord should ensure are met throughout the duration of an apartment lease:

  • Apartment keys
  • Complying with applicable building, housing, and health codes according to Florida law
  • Availability of garbage disposal bins or facilities
  • Safe conditions in all shared areas
  • Provision of functioning appliances
  • Requirements for the extermination of any wood-destroying organisms, rodents, and other pests

Single-family home or duplex leases

For single-family home or duplex leases, the landlord should meet the following requirements:

  • Complying with applicable building, housing, and health codes according to Florida landlord-tenant law
  • If these codes are not available, the landlord must keep the dwelling unit in good condition

Tenant rights and responsibilities in Florida

Rights

Tenants in Florida have fundamental rights that ensure their safety and respect while residing in a rental unit. Their main rights include:

  • Living in a habitable property that meets local housing and health codes
  • Seeking housing without discrimination from a prospective landlord
  • Requesting repairs, and in certain cases, withholding rent when the repairs are not made in a timely manner
  • Living in a property without interference of their privacy or right to quiet enjoyment

Responsibilities

In contrast, Florida tenants also have duties to fulfill in order to maintain a well-functioning landlord-tenant relationship. These obligations include:

  • Paying rent on time
  • Maintaining the unit in good condition, including keeping the property clean of trash
  • Performing small maintenance jobs when necessary
  • Maintaining a quiet environment that doesn’t disturb other renters or neighbors

If a tenant fails to fulfill these duties, the landlord may be able to take legal action, such as evicting the tenant.

Florida landlord tenant laws through the rental cycle

Florida rental application and tenant screening laws

Florida law has limited clauses covering the rental application and tenant screening process. However, it does cover the following:

  1. Tenant consent: Florida rental owners must have tenant consent in writing to check their credit history during the screening process.
  2. No application fee limit: Florida does not have any limit on the amount landlords can charge for rental application fees.
  3. Discrimination laws: Like other states, Florida has laws in place to protect tenants from discrimination based on factors such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status.

Florida lease agreement

Florida landlord-tenant law permits rental agreements to be written or oral no matter the length of the tenancy. However, it’s always advisable to have a written rental agreement in place, as it documents the rights and obligations of both the landlord and tenant. 

Florida law does not require any specific clauses to be included in a rental agreement, but all rental property owners should include these clauses in lease agreements to avoid issues down the road.

Both landlords and renters in Florida have the right to terminate the lease agreement early for various reasons. The landlord may terminate the lease early if the tenant fails to pay rent on time, violates the rules and regulations of the lease agreement, or intentionally damages the rental unit. On the other hand, tenants may terminate the lease early if they are on active military duty.

Florida security deposit laws

There is no limit on how much a Florida rental owner can charge for a security deposit.

According to Florida residential landlord-tenant laws (Chapter 83, section 49), landlords must not use the security deposit funds in any way until those funds are due to them at the end of the tenancy.

Within 30 days of the renter moving into the unit, the landlord must send a written notice to the tenant covering:

  • The Florida banking institution bank where the landlord put the security deposit or advanced rent, or if the landlord posted a surety bond
  • Whether the tenant will receive interest on the deposit

At the end of a tenancy, the full security deposit must be returned within 15 days. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit within those 15 days, the tenant may seek legal help.

If the landlord plans to keep all or a portion of the deposit, they have 30 days to send written notice to the tenant’s forward address, the reasons they are keeping the deposited money. If the landlord does not provide the notice within the 30-day timeframe, they must return the full amount.

The reasons a landlord has to withhold a portion of the security deposit include damages beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent and utilities, and cleaning fees.

Florida rent laws

Landlords in Florida are free to charge whatever rent they want for their properties, as the state does not have rent control laws. Additionally, Florida statutes do not cover rent payment conditions, meaning they can set their own terms for collecting rent.

The only thing that Florida rental laws address regarding rental payments is that the tenant must pay rent on time, and if the landlord fails to make repairs in a timely manner, renters have the right to withhold payments until the issue is corrected. In this case, tenants must inform the landlord via written notice seven days prior to withholding rent.

Florida repair and maintenance laws

No matter the type of dwelling unit, landlords in Florida must comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing and health codes. When housing codes are absent, the landlord is required to keep the following in good repair or condition: plumbing, windows, screens, roof, floors, exterior walls steps, porches, foundations, and all other structural components.

In Florida, landlords have seven days to begin work on any major repairs that may affect the property’s warranty of habitability.

If a property is not safe for the renter, the landlord is obligated to provide the necessary assistance; otherwise, the tenant may seek legal advice, terminate the lease, or withhold rent with proper notice.

It's important to note that not all repairs can be completed within seven days, and landlords should show reasonable effort to execute the repairs within a reasonable time frame.

Florida notice of entry laws

Florida landlords have the right to enter their rental for maintenance, inspections, property showings, and decorations and improvements. Landlords must give “reasonable” notice before entering the property and enter at a “reasonable” time. As of 2022, Florida code §83.53(2) defines reasonable as at least 24 hours notice. Only in the case of an emergency can a landlord enter without providing notice.

Landlords may also enter the property under the following conditions:

  • If the tenant gives consent to the landlord
  • If the tenant is away from the premises for a period of time that is equal to one half the time between rent payments.
  • If the tenant fails to pay rent without a valid reason

Florida eviction and lease termination laws

Florida statutes allow landlords to move forward with the eviction process for several reasons.

Some of the main reasons include:

  1. The end of the lease
  2. The tenant consistently fails to pay rent on time 
  3. The tenant breaches the rules and regulations of the rental agreement
  4. The tenant purposefully damages the landlord’s property

If a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord must provide a written seven-day notice to pay. If the tenant does not comply within seven days, the landlord can start the eviction process.

In the case the tenant should not be given a chance to fix the issue (for example, destruction, damage, or intentional misuse of the rental), the tenant will have seven days to vacate the premises altogether.

It is important to note that landlords in Delaware must follow specific procedures and comply with state law when evicting a tenant. This means that self-help evictions, which is the act of forcibly removing tenants or their belongings, turning off utilities, or changing the locks, are strictly prohibited.

Additional Florida rental property laws

In addition to regulations covering general issues such as repairs and security deposits, Florida rental law also covers specific regulations for topics such as renter discrimination laws and landlord retaliation. Explore some of these topics below.

Florida housing discrimination laws

Florida rental property owners must adhere to the Federal Fair Housing Act and laws and cannot discriminate against tenants based on protected characteristics such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status.

Florida's Fair Housing Act also includes additional provisions relating to discrimination against persons with disabilities. These provisions require landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, such as allowing service animals or making modifications to the rental unit to accommodate the tenant's disability.

It’s also important to note Florida law prohibits landlords from engaging in discriminatory practices, such as refusing to rent or sell housing, falsely denying that housing is available for inspection, rental, or sale, or imposing different conditions or terms on a loan based on a protected class.

Retaliation laws

Like in most states, it’s illegal for landlords in Florida to retaliate against tenants for taking protected rights like reporting a landlord for health and safety violations.

Retaliatory actions include raising rent, reducing services, or threatening to evict the tenant or repossess the rental property. Any such acts can have legal repercussions and penalties against the landlord.

Required landlord disclosures in Florida

Rent laws in Florida require landlords to make the following mandatory disclosures to renters in writing:

  • Lead-based paint: Landlords with rentals built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint.
  • Radon gas: Similarly, if the rental was built before 1978, landlords must provide notice of areas with Radon gas. (§404.056(5)).
  • Authorized agents: Landlords must provide their names and addresses along with all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
  • Security deposit: Landlords must disclose the name and location of the bank where the security deposit will be held.

Bottom line: Understanding Florida landlord tenant laws

Understanding the intricacies of landlord-tenant laws in the Sunshine State is crucial for cultivating a harmonious relationship. These comprehensive laws are designed to protect the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.

By becoming familiar with and complying with these regulations, landlords in Florida can protect their investments, build positive relationships with tenants, and run a successful rental business. At the same time, this knowledge empowers Florida tenants to confidently assert their rights and ensure a safe and respectful home.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant in Florida, a solid grasp of the state's landlord-tenant laws forms the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship. This understanding promotes transparent communication, fair practices, and harmonious coexistence.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson has 6 years of experience in writing, editing, and SEO, specializing in rental property and real estate. She excels in market trends and landlord-tenant dynamics, producing content that drives traffic and informs. Outside of work, she enjoys climbing Colorado's granite boulders.

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