Our experts have researched and analyzed the most up-to-date laws surrounding landlord responsibilities in Florida. Keep reading to educate yourself on the legal requirements for renting in the Sunshine State. Refer to our state guide for an in-depth look.
Quick Facts for Florida
Extermination services for pests, lock & keys, habitable conditions, garbage removal services functioning heat facilities (during the winter months), running (hot) water, & certified smoke detectors.
Name and address of landlord in writing, written notice of how security deposit will be stored within 30 days of receipt, radon gas warning. Read more about lease requirements for Florida here and get your free template.
Max Security Deposit
No cap in Florida. Read more about security deposits in Florida here.
Reasonable Notice of Entry
At least 12 hours required.
Acceptable Reasons for Landlord Entry
Showing the property to a prospective renter, providing agreed-upon repair services, or to perform inspections “from time to time.”
When a Landlord Can Enter Without Permission
Emergencies, tenant unreasonably denies landlord access, or tenant is absent for ½ of a rental period.
Those that maintain state, building, and health codes; maintain all structural components and plumbing, as well as window screens (as necessary); specific repairs are not outlined in Florida law; most landlords list their maintenance responsibilities in the lease.
Providing a Mailbox
Not required; though all mailboxes must meet the USPS’s requirements
How Long a Landlord Has to Make Repairs
Florida specifies a “reasonable period of time;” most enforcement officials define this as a 14-day window.
Landlords in Florida may evict tenants for failure to pay rent, lease violations, failure to maintain the rental property, causing damage to the rental property, disturbing the peace & end of lease terms. A written eviction notice must be served, with the time required depending on the reason for termination. Learn about the eviction process in Florida here.
Florida remains one of the US’ most popular destinations not only for vacationers but also with those looking to make their permanent home. As such, cities such as Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa continue to foster a growing demand for rental properties. To meet this growing demand, more and more entrepreneurs are choosing to invest their time and money as landlords.
But whether they’re new or not, all of Florida’s landlords are bound to certain responsibilities that ensure the stability of their industry. These responsibilities are codified in Florida’s laws, thus providing individual tenants with the powers necessary to protect their interest when entering into a lease agreement. Landlords must implement these obligations into their business practices or risk a damaging lawsuit in due time.
Those in need of a refresher on these crucial laws and regulations have come to the right place. This guide on Florida’s landlord regulations will provide you with a primer on the most important statutory obligations while also providing contextual insights into their implications for both landlords and tenants.
A Quick Review of Landlord Responsibilities in Florida
For the most part, Florida’s state government has made a firm effort towards making their landlord-tenant laws accessible and actionable. In fact, the majority of pertinent information on this topic can be found in the Florida Statues, chapter 83, part II. Therein, the state of Florida dictates that all landlords operating in the state must:
- Comply with all applicable building, housing, and health codes
- Maintain the roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair that is capable of resisting normal forces
- Maintain all plumbing in a reasonable working condition
- Ensure that all installed window screens are in a working condition at the beginning of a tenancy
- Repair and replace window screens at least once a year as necessary
Florida’s laws also provide additional obligations to landlords of single-family units and duplexes. When entering into lease agreements for these types of units, landlords are responsible for providing or making provisions for the following:
- Extermination services for pests, including rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs, with at least 7 days prior notice. Temporary unit vacations caused by these exterminations will abate rent costs appropriately.
- “Locks and keys” (for doors, assumedly)
- Clean and safe common areas
- Garbage removal services as well as outdoor garbage receptacles (such as a dumpster)
- Functioning heat facilities (during the winter months)
- Reasonable reliable access to running water and hot water
- Smoke detectors listed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual Laboratories, Inc., or “any other nationally recognized testing laboratory using nationally accepted testing standards”
Though Florida law lays out these above responsibilities as a legal foundation, individual landlords and tenants are free to negotiate a modified delegation of repair and maintenance responsibilities as they mutually see fit. Also, the above list of responsibilities may not be all-encompassing if you live in an urban area that maintains its own local housing ordinances. To ensure full compliance, be sure to speak with your town, city, or county government before establishing any new lease agreements.
Does a Landlord Have to Provide a Mailbox?
Florida law does not require landlords to provide mailboxes on the premises for their tenants. In fact, in some areas, it is not uncommon for landlords to require tenants to obtain a PO box as a term of the lease agreement. Even so, many landlords in Florida choose to provide a mailbox or mail slot in order to avoid the need to break up the secure delivery of federally-protected private mail.
When they are provided, mailboxes must adhere to all current USPS standards governing the physical dimensions, such as width and depth. Also, all mailboxes provided for through a lease agreement must be fully accessible per the standards set in the federal Fair Housing Act. If a provided mailbox locks, landlords must provide tenants with a key and maintain the lock’s basic functionality.
Read our article on landlords providing mailboxes for more information.
What Are Landlord’s Responsibilities for Repairs?
Florida law does not enumerate the specific types of repairs that a landlord must make on their tenant’s behalf. However, Floridian landlords are still required to make repairs that maintain state and local housing, building, and health codes. As such, most maintain some degree of leverage (through a lease agreement) when it comes to making repairs on heating, plumbing, and electric systems. Tenants are typically expected to maintain their own AC unit, however (except where local ordinances dictate otherwise).
Most landlords explicitly outline their own repair responsibilities within their lease agreements. Other repairs may become the responsibility of the tenant, so long as they are specifically named in the same mutually-signed lease agreement. Should a repair need arise that falls outside of these pre-established agreements, they generally become the responsibility of the tenant (except in cases where an occupant’s health or imminent safety is at risk).
How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix Something?
Currently, Florida law does not specify a time frame in which a petition for a repair must be answered or acted upon. As such, Florida landlords are not under any specific legal obligation to act upon their tenant’s requests in a timely manner (though many still do so in order to avoid more serious maintenance issues).
In Florida, as in other parts of the country, most landlords provide for delegated repairs to the rented unit in a “reasonable period of time.” Though this wording is intentionally vague, most enforcement authorities tend to tie this language to a 14 day window of opportunity. If a landlord allows this window to expire without action, the tenant may be able to petition for an end to the lease.
Can a Tenant Withhold Rent for Repairs?
In Florida, as in several other states, tenants are empowered to withhold rent payments when they feel that their landlord’s inaction regarding a requested repair job has caused the premises to become entirely or partially untenantable. A tenant may choose to follow this course of action only after the “reasonable period of time” for repairs (per their lease agreement) has expired and they provide written notice of their intentions to their landlord.
Tenants can choose to continuously withhold rent after seven days elapse from the initial notice’s delivery.
At any point during the rent withholding period, the tenant may petition the landlord for the immediate severance of the lease agreement due to landlord’s non-compliance with its terms.
How Much Can a Landlord Charge for a Security Deposit?
Florida law does not place a cap on the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit (sometimes referred to as a damage deposit). As such, a landlord can theoretically charge any amount for a security deposit (though rates tend to remain competitive based upon the local rental market). Regardless of its value, landlords must hold these deposits in a “separate…account in a Florida banking institution”, with 75% of all interest earned through said account going to the tenant at the lease’s conclusion.
When a lease expires, the landlord is obligated to return all or part of the security deposit (plus applicable interest). If no claims are made against the security deposit, it must be returned within 15 days. If a claim is levied on the deposit, landlords have 30 days to provide part of the deposit as well as a written statement on the reasons for the claim.
When Can a Landlord Enter a Premises?
Landlords are allowed to enter a rented unit under certain circumstances.
Specifically, the landlord is always allowed to enter with the tenant’s permission. This permission can be certifiably obtained by providing “reasonable notice” 12 hours prior to the intended entrance. When used in this capacity, a landlord may enter to show an apartment to a prospective renter, provide agreed upon repair services, or to perform inspections “from time to time.”
Floridian landlords are empowered to enter unannounced under limited circumstances.
Emergencies automatically justify a landlord’s entrance without “reasonable notice.” Also, if the tenant unreasonably withholds admission privileges or is absent for ½ of a rental period, the landlord may enter without prior permission.
The Final Word
Even if you are new to the Florida rental industry, you must take the time necessary to fully understand and implement the regulations set forth in this state’s statutory code. Failure to do so could put you at risk for a serious lawsuit while also creating discord in your everyday landlord-tenant relationships. Going forward, be sure to use this guide as a quick reference while drawing up your lease agreements, planning business procedures, and working to respond to tenant grievances.
This guide has not been created to serve as any kind of certified legal interpretation. Moreover, it may not encompass every landlord responsibility applied by local housing authorities. Those looking to learn more about their responsibilities should read up on Florida’s applicable landlord and tenant laws while those looking for a full interpretation of these same laws should seek out the assistance of qualified legal counsel.