Florida Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Florida landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Florida Landlord Tenant Act.

FL Landlord Tenant Law

  • Florida Code Chapter 83, Part II - Residential Tenancies

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging around $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

You can screen tenant applicants with a background check or full credit report from RentPrep.

A background check will show a person's history of addresses, evictions, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

A full credit report comes with a basic background check, credit check plus criminal check. A basic background check shows a person's history of addresses, evictions and bankruptcies.

Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks.  Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)

Avoiding Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap.  42 U.S.C. § 3604

*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.

In addition, Florida landlord tenant law disallows landlords from discriminating against members of the armed forces.

However if the dwelling has four or less rental units and the landlord lives in one of them, then he or she won't have to follow the above Fair Housing laws.  42 U.S.C. § 3603(b)

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Tenancy Agreement

(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)

Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.

To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.

If the rental agreement does not specify the duration of the tenancy, the duration is determined by the periods where rent is payable. For example, if the rent is paid weekly, the tenancy will be week-to-week.  Fla. Stat. § 83.46.(2)

If the rental unit is furnished without rent for employment purposes and the duration of tenancy is not specified in the agreement, the duration will be determined by the periods for which wages are paid. For example, if the wages are paid monthly or no wages are payable, the tenancy will be month-to-month.

In the event where the employee ceases employment, the unit can be re-rented starting from the day after the employee ceases employment.  Fla. Stat. § 83.46.(3)

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.50 requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property
  • Name and address of property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner)
  • The availability (or lack) of fire protection for a rental unit in a building taller than three stories

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.47.(1), your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • make the landlord or tenant give up any legal rights or remedies under the Florida Landlord Tenant Act
  • limit the landlord or tenant's liability when they have failed in their duties

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Security Deposit

The Florida Landlord Tenant Act does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that a landlord can ask for.

Holding Security Deposit

Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.49.(1) requires the landlord to hold security deposits in one of the following methods:

  1. Separate non-interest-bearing account in a Florida banking institution
  2. Separate Interest-bearing account in a Florida banking institution - In this case, the landlord can choose whether the tenant receives at least 75% of the annual interest rate OR 5% simple annual interest rate
  3. Post a surety bond

Regardless of the holding method, the landlord is not allowed to mix the security deposit with other funds or use the security deposit for inappropriate reasons.

There are no Florida landlord tenant statutes on additional non-refundable fees, so they are allowed if both the landlord and tenant agree to them (in the rental agreement).

Receiving Security Deposit from the Tenant

Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.49.(2)(a), Fla. Stat. § 83.49.(2)(b) requires this notice to contain the following information:

  • Name and address of the institution where the security deposit is held
  • Whether the security deposit is being held in a separate account or is mingled with other funds
  • Whether the security deposit is in an interest-bearing account in a Florida banking institution (if the security deposit is mingled with other funds)
  • Rate and time of interest payments to the tenant (if any)
  • After the lease terminates and the tenant vacates the property, the landlord will have 15 days to return the security deposit (with interest).
  • If the landlord wants to make security deposit deductions, he or she has 30 days to give the tenant a written notice stating the reason(s) for the deductions and containing the following extract: "This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of ${deduction amount) upon your security deposit, due to {landlord's name}. It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to {landlord's address}."  Fla. Stat. § 83.49.(3)(a)

If the landlord changes the location or holding method of the security deposit, the tenant must be notified within 30 days. This does not apply to any landlord who rents fewer than five dwelling units.

Deductions and Returns

Florida landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.

Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Florida landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below  Fla. Stat. § 83.51

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord has 15 days to refund a full security deposit with interest (if any) to the tenant.

If there are any deductions to be made, the landlord has to send a written extract to the tenant within 30 days of the termination of tenancy, stating the intention and reason for any deductions to the security deposit.

If the tenant does not object to the security deposit deductions within 15 days (of receiving the notice), the landlord may refund any remaining security deposit within 30 days.  Fla. Stat. § 83.49.(3)(b)

If the landlord fails to give the above notice within the 30 days, the landlord forfeits his or her right to the security deposit.

If Property is Sold

Once the property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit or prepaid rent to the tenant (at the end of the tenancy). Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents and interest along with the property.  Fla. Stat. § 83.49.(7)

The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The previous owner makes a proper transfer of all security deposits and prepaid rents and interest to the new owner
  2. The previous owner informs the tenant in writing that the property is being sold
  3. The new owner and tenant enters into a new agreement on the condition and contents of the property

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Jacksonville, Florida FL

Florida Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.

If the landlord and tenant did not make such arrangements, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be at the beginning of each rental period by default. Rent payments will be pro-rated day to day.  Fla. Stat. § 83.46.(1)

Late Rent

Florida landlord tenant law allows the landlord to charge up to 20% of the monthly rent as late fees. In addition, the landlord may charge fees for expenses incurred due to collecting late rent or enforcing a lien.  Fla. Stat. § 83.808.(3)

If rent payment is returned by a financial institution due to a bounced check, the landlord can impose a service charge depending on the check value. [Fla. Stat. § 68.065]. Allowed service charge: $25 if value does not exceed $50... $30 if value is between $50... $300... $40 if the value exceeds $300. Alternatively the landlord can choose impose 5% of the check value as service charge.

Raising Rent

There are no specific Florida landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Florida Landlord Tenant Act Fla. Stat. § 83.51 requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:

  • Compliance: Ensure that all applicable housing, building, health and safety codes are followed
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable

For a single family home or duplex, the landlord may modify the above duties in the rental agreement as long as the tenant agrees to it.

  • Pest Extermination: Landlord will not be liable for damages caused if the rental property has to be vacated for pest extermination. The tenant has to temporarily vacate the premises for up to four days without proper notice, and up to seven days with written notice. The tenant does not have to pay rent while the rental unit is vacated.
  • Security: Provide and maintain locks and keys (if requested by the tenant)
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe
  • Waste Disposal: Provide outlets for waste disposal and arrange for waste removal
  • Heating: Supply running water, hot water and heating (as far as conditions allow)
  • Smoke Detectors: Provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (unless disallowed in rental agreement)  Fla. Stat. § 83.51.(b)

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.52 also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:

  • Compliance: Ensure that all applicable housing, building, health and safety codes are followed
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property and all plumbing fixtures clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators)
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property or Essential Services

If the landlord fails in his or her responsibilities, the tenant can choose to move out if it affects the tenant's health and safety.  Fla. Stat. § 83.51

The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord seven days to fix it, or else the tenant will move out in seven days. If the problem is fixed within seven days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy will continue.

If the landlord fails in his or her responsibilities and the rental property becomes uninhabitable, the tenant can move out and doesn't have to pay rent as long as the property is uninhabitable.  Fla. Stat. § 83.56.(1)

If the landlord fails in his or her responsibilities but the rental property is still inhabitable, the tenant can remain on the property and pay less rent. The rent amount will be lowered based on how much of the property is still livable.

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Property Access

When Tenant's Permission is Required

According to Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.53.(1), the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons:

  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Supplying essential (or mutually agreed) services and utilities
  • Inspecting property for damages
  • Showing property to prospective buyers, tenants or contractors
  • Removing landlord's belongings (that are not part of the tenancy agreement)

In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 12 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and between 7.30am and 8.00pm.  Fla. Stat. § 83.53.(2)

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.53.(2)(a),(b),(c), the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:

  • Emergencies such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion
  • Tenant is late in paying rent AND has been absent for a time period that is equal to 1.5 times the rent payment interval (or longer)
  • Tenant has informed landlord that he or she will be absent for an extended period of time
  • Tenant refused landlord's valid request to enter property

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Subletting

There are no specific Florida landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Miami, Florida FL

Miami, Florida FL

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.57 requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy. How long in advance you have to give this notice depends on the type of tenancy:

Week to week tenancy

7 days

Month to month tenancy

15 days

Quarter to quarter tenancy

30 days

Year to year tenancy

60 days

For a fixed term tenancy, both the landlord and tenant shall agree on the number of days for notice to quit in the lease agreement. The number of days cannot be more than 60 days before the termination date.  Fla. Stat. § 83.575.(1)

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Landlord failed to maintain property

7 days

Tenant is deployed in the armed forces

30 days

Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident

Immediate

Tenant is Deployed in the Armed Forces

If the tenant is a service member, he or she may terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord a written notice to quit AND a copy of the military orders or written verification signed by the service member's commanding officer. The documents have to given at least 30 days before the termination date.  Fla. Stat. § 83.682

Florida landlord tenant law allows a service member to terminate the tenancy agreement if ONE of the following conditions is met:

  • The service member received orders for a temporary or permanent change of station to move 35 miles or more from the property
  • The service member is prematurely or involuntarily discharged/released from active duty or state active duty
  • After entering the rental agreement, the service member receives military orders that requires him or her to move into government quarters OR if the service member chooses to move into government quarters
  • After entering the rental agreement, the service member receives orders to move to an area 25 miles or more from the rental property AND he or she hasn't moved into the property yet

If the service member dies during active duty, his or her family member may terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord with a written notice to quit at least 30 days before the intended termination date. This notice must include a copy of the service member's military orders or a written verification signed by the service member's commanding officer. A copy of the service member's death certificate must be provided as well.

Property Damage Due to Fire, Disaster or Unavoidable Accident

If the property is badly damaged by fire or natural disaster (such as earthquake or flood), the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenant must inform the landlord that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy, and the tenancy will be terminated once the tenant moves out.  Fla. Stat. § 83.63

After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to pay rent starting from the date of the fire or natural disaster, so the landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.
   
If only part of the property is damaged, the tenant should move out of the damaged area. The rent amount will be lowered based on how much of the property is still livable.

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Eviction

According to Florida landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

3 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement

7 days

Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.

If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a three day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out.  Fla. Stat. § 83.56.(3)

If the rent is paid within three days, the tenant may stay. The three days does not include weekends and legal holidays. In addition, the notice must contain the following:

"You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of _____ dollars for the rent and use of the premises (address of leased premises, including county), Florida, now occupied by you and that I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) from the date of delivery of this notice, to wit: on or before the _____ day of _____,  {year}."

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.  Fla. Stat. § 83.56.(2)

Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by Florida landlord tenant law) in a significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy.

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within seven days, the tenant may stay.

However if the tenant violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within 12 months, the landlord can evict the tenant without giving the tenant the right to remedy the violation. In this case, the tenant must move out. In addition, the notice must contain the following:

"You are hereby notified that {insert noncompliance}. Demand is hereby made that you remedy the noncompliance within 7 days of receipt of this notice or your lease shall be deemed terminated and you shall vacate the premises upon such termination. If this same conduct or conduct of a similar nature is repeated within 12 months, your tenancy is subject to termination without your being given an opportunity to cure the noncompliance."  Fla. Stat. § 83.56.(2)(b)

Eviction Notice

Also known as "Notice of Termination of Tenancy" or "Notice to Quit", Florida landlord tenant law requires all eviction notices to contain the following:

  • Reason(s) for termination of tenancy
  • Date and time that tenancy will terminate
  • State that the tenant must move out of the property by the termination date and time
  • State that the landlord may sue to remove the tenant from the property if the tenant doesn't move out by termination date and time

If Florida landlord tenant law allows the tenant to avoid eviction by correcting the problem(s), the eviction notice must also contain:

  • Corrective action(s) to be taken by the tenant
  • Date and time that the correction action(s) must be completed

The landlord can serve an eviction notice to the tenant in three ways:

  1. Delivering the notice to the tenant face to face
  2. Leave the notice at the property if the tenant is absent
  3. Send the notice by registered or certified mail  Fla. Stat. § 83.56.(4)

Unlawful Eviction and Prohibited Practices

According to Florida landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out unreasonably and take the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing.  Fla. Stat. § 83.67

The Florida Landlord Tenant Act prohibits the landlord from taking the following actions:

  • Shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation)
  • Changing locks and denying the tenant access to the property
  • Removing locks, doors, windows, walls or roofs except for repairs or replacements
  • Removing the tenant's belongings except for surrender, abandonment or lawful eviction
  • Preventing the tenant from displaying a US flag that is 4.5 by 6 feet or smaller

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to Florida landlord tenant law Fla. Stat. § 83.59.(c), the tenant has abandoned the property when all of the following conditions are met:

  1. Tenant is late in paying rent
  2. Tenant has been absent for a time period that is equal to 1.5 times the rent payment interval (or longer)
  3. Tenant did not inform the landlord that he or she will be away from the property for more than seven days

Once the property is abandoned, the landlord may enter it, clean it, and re-rent it.

As long as the landlord makes a proper effort to re-rent the property at a fair rate, the abandoning tenant will be responsible for paying rent until the tenancy ends. If a new tenant is moving in before the tenancy ends, then the abandoning tenant can stop paying rent once the new tenant moves in.

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Resources

Florida Landlord Tenant Law: Florida Statutes Chapter 83 Part II - Residential Tenancies

Florida Landlord Tenant Handbook: Rights and Duties of Landlords and Tenants

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

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