Florida Rental Laws - An Overview of Landlord Tenant Rights in First Coast

In Florida, the relationship between a landlord and a tenant can be established in any of three ways. That is, if the rental agreement is made orally, in written form, or once the landlord accepts a rent payment or a security deposit.

Under the Florida landlord-tenant laws, once a landlord-tenant relationship is established, a renter gains certain rights. For example, the right to live in a safe and habitable rental premises and the right to a proper eviction process and return of their security deposit.

As a landlord under Florida law, you also obtain certain rights. For instance, the right to receive timely rent payments and the right to be reimbursed for costs of fixing excessive property damage. Landlords should give written notice of any repairs needed.

Are you starting out as a landlord? Are you looking to learn more about your rights and responsibilities? If so, here’s a basic overview of Florida’s landlord-tenant law.

Required Landlord Disclosures

As a landlord in Florida, you have a responsibility to make certain disclosures to your tenant before they agree to rent your home. If a landlord fails to do this, it can spell trouble. They include:

  • Disclosure on the use of lead-based paint. Was your rental premises built prior to 1978? If so, federal law requires that landlords make that information known to their tenant. That’s because the use of lead-based paint prior to 1978 was commonplace. Lead-based paint has been found to be a health hazard.
  • Disclosure on the use of radon gas in a written notice. Landlords must make this disclosure if radon gas is present or near your rental. The state of Florida requires that the disclosure include a language that details the nature and hazards linked with inhalation of radon gas.

woman with for sale sign

  • Disclosure on where you’re holding your tenant’s security deposit. This is a requirement for landlords who have more than 5 individual dwelling units and is needed for every security deposit.
  • Disclosure on the authorized authorities. You are also required to provide your tenant with information regarding the owner of the property. Additionally, you must also let your tenant know of any agents certified to act on their behalf. If a landlord fails to do so, it can cause issues.

Rights & Responsibilities of Tenants in Florida

The following are the basic renters’ rights in the state of Florida. The right to:

  • Live in a habitable rental premises
  • Enjoy the rental premises in peace and quiet
  • To have repairs done within a reasonable period and the right to withhold rent or “repair and deduct” when repairs are delayed
  • Remain in the rental until the landlord has followed the proper eviction process
  • Be treated respectfully and fairly

The following are the responsibilities tenants have in the state of Florida.

  • Pay rent on time and without delays
  • Take good care of their rented premises as per the requirements of the rental agreements
  • Respect other tenants and neighbors in regard to their right to peace and quiet. For example, by not throwing large, noisy parties.
  • Keep all dwelling fixtures—such as electrical and plumbing—clean and sanitary as well as using them reasonably
  • Not cause negligent or careless property damage and be charged it from their security deposit

Rights & Responsibilities of Landlords in Florida

As a landlord in Florida, the following are some of the rights you have under Florida law. You have a right to:

  • Enter rented premises to carry out important responsibilities
  • Make changes to the terms of the lease or rental agreement. You must, however, notify your tenant beforehand
  • Evict a tenant for causing gross violation to the terms of the lease agreement. For example, refusal by your tenant to pay rent or unpaid rent in general
  • Enforce the terms of the written rental agreement, such as enforcing a late fee on the dwelling unit

man handing over keys

When it comes to responsibilities under the Florida landlord-tenant law, they are as follows.

  • Provide habitable living spaces in accordance with Florida’s implied warranty of habitability
  • Respond to maintenance requests on time
  • Treat each tenant with respect and fairness
  • Store the tenant security deposits as per the Florida security deposit law
  • Notify the tenant prior to entry to the dwelling unit

Overview of the Florida Landlord-Tenant Law

1. Rent Withholding

Tenants in Florida have a right to withhold rent when it comes to repairs and maintenance. That’s because tenants have a right to live in habitable rental premises that’s in accordance with the state’s health and safety codes in the dwelling unit.

Once a tenant notifies you of a maintenance issue, you have 7 days to respond. If you don’t, your tenant can withhold their rent until you do so. Your tenant could also choose to repair the issue themselves and then deduct the costs of doing so from rent. Court costs can also add up, so try to prevent it.

2. Tenant Eviction

As a landlord, you have a right to evict a tenant for violating any one term of the rental agreement. Common reasons for eviction include nonpayment of rent and excessive property damage. A Florida residential landlord and tenant must follow eviction laws.

For the eviction to be successful, you must strictly follow the statewide eviction process. Otherwise, the eviction will fail and you may need to start over again.

And just like other states, all forms of “self-help” evictions are illegal. You cannot do things like remove your tenant’s belongings or lock them out of their apartment. That would be illegal and you could possibly get sued.

3. Fair Housing Act

Among the many legal obligations you have as a landlord in Florida is adhering to the Fair Housing Act. You must treat each tenant (prospective and existing) with respect and fairness in all matters within the rental agreement.

property showing

There are 7 protected classes at the federal level: race, color, gender, religion, disability, familial status, and national origin. Florida has additional protections including sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS diagnosis.

4. Security Deposits

Tenants in Florida have certain security deposit rights protected under the statewide landlord-tenant law. As a landlord, you must follow all the rules including, in the storing and return of tenants’ security deposits.

5. Early Lease Termination

In Florida, a tenant can only break their lease early under certain circumstances. They include:

  • If there is an early termination clause in the lease agreement or rental agreement
  • If the tenant is relocating to start an active military duty
  • In the case of safety or health violation
  • If there is a privacy violation or landlord harassment

As a landlord, the only way you can terminate your tenant’s lease is when they break a term.

Bottom Line

When you’re a landlord in Florida, it’s always best to know the law. If you’re still unsure about anything, feel free to give Suncastle Property Management a call today and learn what we can do for your investment.

Disclaimer: This information isn’t intended to be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and this information may no longer be up to date when you read it. If you have a specific question or need help with any other aspect of property management, Suncastle Property Management can help.

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