If a written or oral lease exists or if a landlord has previously accepted payment as rent, a renter has inherent rights under Florida landlord tenant law (FL Statute Chapter 83). These include the right to a habitable premises, due process before an eviction and more.
Florida landlords also have certain rights, such as the right to timely rent payments and for reimbursement of costs for property damage beyond “normal wear and tear”.
Note: these rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
In addition to the below, please check local county and municipality laws for additional rules and protections for both landlords and tenants.
Warranty of Habitability in Florida
Florida landlords are required to provide a habitable living space and must make necessary repairs in a timely manner (within 20 days of written notice). If they do not, a Florida tenant has certain options, such as the right to withhold rent.
Below is a list of common items that Florida landlords are or aren’t responsible for providing and maintaining where no other local housing, health or building codes exist.
Note: if a landlord provides an amenity not required by law, they are generally responsible for maintaining it throughout the tenancy.
|Structural components (i.e. walls, roof, doors, etc.)||Yes, reasonable working condition|
|Plumbing||Yes, reasonable working condition|
|Cooling (air conditioning)||No|
|Heating, hot water & running water||Maybe (only if unit isn’t single-family or duplex)|
|Pest control||Maybe (only if unit isn’t single-family or duplex)|
Additionally, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against tenants exercising their rights to habitable housing (i.e. requesting repairs or reporting a code violation).
Tenant Responsibilities in Florida
Beyond paying rent in a timely manner and not causing excessive property damage, Florida tenants are responsible for:
- Maintaining the unit in safe, habitable condition.
- Keeping their part of the unit clean and sanitary (including removing garbage).
- Keeping all dwelling fixtures, such as plumbing and electrical, clean, sanitary and in repair.
- Not unreasonably disturbing neighbors or constituting a breach of peace.
Evictions in Florida
Florida landlords can begin the eviction process, which can be completed in as little as 2-3 weeks, for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to Pay Rent – if rent is late (the day after it’s due, unless the lease states otherwise), a landlord may give the tenant a written 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term – if the lease period has ended or the tenant has no lease, a landlord may serve the tenant with a written lease termination notice (15 day notice if paying month-to-month).
- Violation of Lease Terms – if the tenant does not uphold both their responsibilities under the lease and their obligations under landlord tenant law, a landlord may give them either a written 7 Day Notice to Cure or Vacate or a 7 Day Unconditional Quit Notice, depending on the severity of the violation.
However, certain types of evictions are illegal in Florida, such as “self help” evictions (i.e. a landlord changing the locks themselves), and those in retaliation to protected tenant actions like filing a health and safety complaint to a local regulatory authority.
Security Deposits in Florida
- Standard Limit / Maximum Amount – None.
- Time Limit for Return – 15 days after the end of the lease..
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – Failure to properly return a security deposit may cause a Florida landlord to forfeit any right to the security deposit itself. Affected tenants may also seek damages in these situations.
- Allowable Deductions – unpaid rent, damages for lease violations and damages to the unit beyond normal wear and tear.
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – The amount withheld plus tenant’s legal fees.
Lease Termination in Florida
Notice Requirement. For a tenancy-at-will (i.e. no lease or now renting month-to-month), a landlord or tenant can terminate the tenancy with the following amount of notice from a rent due date:
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Early Termination. A lease can only be broken early without penalty for the following reasons in Florida:
- Early termination clause (if in the lease)
- Relocation for active military duty
- Habitability violation
- Landlord harassment or privacy violation
- Lease agreement violation
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Florida
- Rent control. Florida law does not have statewide rent control, meaning a landlord can charge as much as they want.
- Raising rent. Florida landlords can raise rent for any reason (after any fixed terms are completed), and can do so as often they want. The amount of notice needed before raising rent depends on how often rent is paid (i.e. 15 days notice for month-to-month leases).
- Additional fees. There are no limits on the amount of application or late rent fees a landlord can charge. However, there are limits on bounced check fees ($25 to 5%, depending on check amount).
Housing Discrimination in Florida
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act protects tenants of most housing types from being discriminated against due to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Florida law also provides additional protections for pregnant individuals.
Discriminatory Acts & Penalties. The following actions may be deemed discriminatory:
- Refusing to rent or sell housing
- Falsely denying availability of a housing unit
- Refusing to engage in certain brokerage activities, including loans, in a fair manner
- Threatening, coercing, or intimidating tenants into forgoing a fair housing right
- Refusing to accept reasonable accommodations requested by a tenant
To learn more, please refer to The Florida Commission on Human Relations website.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Florida
Landlord Right to Entry in Florida
In almost all cases, landlords in Florida are only required to give 12 hours of advance notice before entering an occupied rental unit. This includes instances where repairs are being made or when the landlord intends to show the unit to a prospective renter. Florida landlords are also able to enter without any advance notice only when an emergency threatens the unit’s inhabitants.
If a landlord fails to give proper notice and/or abuses these rights to harass a tenant, and their actions are serious enough, they could be grounds for early lease termination.
Small Claims Court in Florida
Florida’s small claims court can be utilized to settle certain kinds of landlord-tenant disputes valued at no more than $5,000. This includes eviction cases, which small claims court judges may hear and adjudicate. Disputes relating to a written lease have a 5 year statute of limitations in these courts, while oral lease agreements only carry a 4 year statute of limitations.
Mandatory Disclosures in Florida
All Florida landlords are required to make the following disclosures to their tenants, either within the terms of their lease or in a separate agreement:
- Lead-based paint. For houses built prior to 1978, federal law requires landlords to provide tenants with information about lead based paint hazards. Read more.
- Authorized Authorities. Florida landlords are required to provide their tenants with the names and addresses of all owners for their property. This disclosure must also include any intermediaries certified to act on that property owner’s behalf.
- Radon Gas. Florida landlords must provide their tenants with information relating to radon gas, whether or not it is present in or near their rental unit. This disclosure must include language provided by the state that details the nature and hazards associated with radon gas.
Changing the Locks in Florida
Florida’s current statutory code does not clearly indicate whether landlords or tenants are empowered to change a unit’s locks without the other parties permission. However, Florida law does forbid lockouts as a form of retaliation for not paying rent (sometimes known as a “self help” eviction).
Additional Resources for Florida Renters
To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.
Chapter 760 of the 2019 Florida Statues – “Fair Housing Act” – These statutes specifically outline which classes of people are protected from housing discrimination in Florida. Also, these laws can be used as a point of reference when trying to determine if a specific action taken by a landlord constitutes discrimination.
Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws in Practice – This consumer-oriented document breaks down most of the state’s major landlord-tenant laws and applies them to familiar situations experienced by both parties. This document also provides recommendations that can forgo conflict altogether.
Rights and Duties of Tenants and Landlords – These digital pamphlets outline the rights and duties assigned to tenants and landlords when they enter into a leasing relationship. These pamphlets also address what either party can do to resolve a conflict when either party fails to adhere to its assigned duties.