Despite having a desire to maintain good relations and have the best of intentions, disputes between Florida landlords and tenants are sometimes unavoidable.
Luckily, with a proper understanding of the Florida landlord-tenant law, such disputes can be greatly minimized.
If you are a landlord or tenant in Florida, here is an overview of the rental laws you should be familiar with.
Overview of Florida’s Rental Laws
Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
Florida requires landlords to make certain disclosures to tenants prior to signing the lease agreement. This is as per Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. Some of the disclosures include the following:
- Landlord Identity. According to Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.50, the renter reserves the right to know the name and address of the landlord, or the person acting on behalf of the landlord.
- Radon. Levels of radon surpassing federal and state guidelines have been detected in certain buildings in Florida. Exposure to radon causes lung cancer. As such, Florida landlords are required to include a warning on all leases. As per Fla. Stat. Ann. § 404.056, all rental agreements must include this warning: “RADON GAS.”
- Fire Protection. For buildings over three stories high, landlords must tell new renters about the availability of fire protection.
Florida Security Deposit Limit and Return
When it comes to security deposits, Florida tenants have certain basic rights. These tenant rights regarding security deposits are contained under Florida’s landlord-tenant laws.
Here are basic questions regarding Florida tenants’ security deposits.
- Is there a security deposit limit in Florida? No, there isn’t. Landlords are free to charge any appropriate amount. Generally speaking, though, most landlords charge the equivalent of two months’ rent.
- How should landlords store the tenants’ deposit? Landlords have three options in this regard. They can post a surety bond or place the deposit in either an interested-bearing or non-interest-bearing account.
- Do landlords need to notify tenants once they receive their tenant’s security deposit? Yes, Florida landlord-tenant law requires this. The notice should not be made more than thirty days after receipt of the security deposit.
- Can landlords keep part of the tenant’s security deposit? Yes, under certain circumstances, landlords can keep all or part of the renter’s deposits.
- When should landlords return a tenant’s security deposit? In the state of Florida, landlords have fifteen days once the renter vacates to return their deposit.
Small Claims Lawsuits in Florida
By its very nature, small claims court is a simple, cost-effective and reasonably fast alternative to a full-blown lawsuit.
No one can sue for millions of dollars in this type of court. The state of Florida caps the amounts to no more than $5,000.
Florida Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
Landlords have many responsibilities under the Florida lease or rental agreement. One such responsibility is ensuring the property is habitable. In other words, ensuring the property meets key standards in terms of safety, health and building codes.
If the landlord, for example, fails to repair a broken heater or leaky roof, the Florida rental law gives the tenant several options.
The renter may decide to break the lease citing the landlord’s failure to maintain a habitable premise. Or, the renter has the right, in Florida, to repair the issues and then deduct the expenses from the rent.
Florida Lease Termination and Eviction Rules
The eviction process under Florida’s rental laws is codified in Florida Statute Chapter 83. To evict a tenant, a landlord must serve the tenant with a notice of termination. The eviction notice must be in writing.
In Florida, common reasons for tenant eviction include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Health or safety violations
- Illegal use of the property
- Property damage
The first step in the Florida tenant eviction begins with a notice. The notice must specify the breach committed and give appropriate notice. For instance, for nonpayment of rent, the landlord must give the tenant a three-day notice to either leave or pay due rent.
If the tenant doesn’t leave, then the only option left for the landlord is to file an eviction lawsuit in court.
Landlord Access to Rental Property
Landlords can enter their rental properties at certain times, for certain reasons. Under Florida’s landlord-tenant law, the landlord can enter a renter’s rental unit for issues related to:
- Property repairs
- To issue eviction or ejection notice
- Under court orders
- If the renter abandons the premises
- To show the apartment to prospective tenants
- Inspection of the unit
To gain access, landlords need to provide their tenants with a 12 hours’ notice.
Florida Rent Rules
Tenants in Florida pay rent in order to live in and enjoy their rental unit. There are certain disclosures, under the state’s rental law, about the rental fees that every tenant must know of.
- The amount of rent
- How rent should be paid
- When rent is due
- Where rent is due
- The consequences of paying rent late
These are the basics of Florida landlord-tenant law. When fully grasped, both landlords and tenants should be able to deal with many legal questions and problems without a lawyer.