Tenants in Florida have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord in writing and allow seven days for the repairs to be made.
Florida Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs
Florida landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:
Heating (in winter).
Exterior garbage containers.
Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability.
If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.
What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Florida?
Florida tenants are responsible for repairingany damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety.If it’s not an emergency, tenants can usually wait until the landlord asks in writing for repairs.
On a case by case basis, the landlord and tenant can agree in writing for the tenant to handle specific maintenance. For single-family homes and duplexes only, this can include basic repair obligations like keeping the property up to code.
Requesting Repairs in Florida
Florida tenants must request repairs byasking the landlord for them in writing.To reserve the relevant legal options, the tenant must also state actions they might take if the landlord does not make timely repairs, such as canceling the lease altogether.
An example of language a tenant might use to state these intentions is: “If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter may exercise his right to cancel the rental agreement seven or more days from today.”
How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Florida?
Florida landlords haveseven daysto make repairs after getting a written request. However, a landlord who doesn’t respond immediately to an emergency situation may be liable for extra costs that the renter suffers as a result.
Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Florida?
Florida landlordscannot refuse to make repairsthat are their responsibility. However, the landlord’s refusal to repair does not allow a renter to stop keeping any terms in the rental agreement. For example, a landlord who fails to repair can still evict for a default on rent.
Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Florida?
Florida landlords arenot required to pay for alternative accommodationwhile they conduct repairs. However, when a renter has to move out of a unit for pest control reasons, the landlord must temporarily stop charging rent.
Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Florida
Florida tenants cancancel the rental agreementif the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, depending on the situation. They can alsosue for damagesorget an injunctionto force repairs.
If the failure to repair interrupts utility services, the tenant can sue the landlord for related expenses, or for an amount equal to three months’ rent (whichever is greater), for each violation. The tenant can also recover court costs and attorney fees.
Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Florida?
Florida tenants arenot allowed to withhold rent.Rent withholding is legal in Florida, but only in commercial leases under very specific conditions.
Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Florida?
Florida tenants arenot allowed to arrange for repairs and deductfrom the rent.
Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Florida?
Florida tenantscan break a leaseseven days after written notice, for failure to make needed repairs or other uncorrected issues. Tenants can also move out and break the lease immediately, when the premises are severely damaged by casualty that wasn’t the tenant’s fault (for example, a hurricane).
Can the Tenant Sue in Florida?
Florida tenantscan suewhen the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs. The tenant can recover monetary damages, or get an injunction to force repairs.
Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Florida?
Florida tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.
“If the landlord materially fails to comply with s. 83.51(1) or material provisions of the rental agreement within 7 days after delivery of written notice by the tenant specifying the noncompliance and indicating the intention of the tenant to terminate the rental agreement by reason thereof, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement. If the failure to comply with s. 83.51(1) or material provisions of the rental agreement is due to causes beyond the control of the landlord and the landlord has made and continues to make every reasonable effort to correct the failure to comply, the rental agreement may be terminated or altered by the parties.”
“The landlord at all times during the tenancy shall: (a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes; or (b) Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition. The landlord, at commencement of the tenancy, must ensure that screens are installed in a reasonable condition. Thereafter, the landlord must repair damage to screens once annually, when necessary, until termination of the rental agreement.
“The landlord is not required to maintain a mobile home or other structure owned by the tenant. The landlord’s obligations under this subsection may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single-family home or duplex.”
“Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for: 1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord is not liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant must temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph. 2. Locks and keys. 3. The clean and safe condition of common areas. 4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor. 5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water.”
“The tenant at all times during the tenancy shall: (1) Comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building, housing, and health codes. (2) Keep that part of the premises which he or she occupies and uses clean and sanitary. (3) Remove from the tenant’s dwelling unit all garbage in a clean and sanitary manner. (4) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant clean and sanitary and in repair. (5) Use and operate in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators. (6) Not destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or property therein belonging to the landlord nor permit any person to do so.”
“If such noncompliance is of a nature that the tenant should be given an opportunity to cure it, deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying the noncompliance, including a notice that, if the noncompliance is not corrected within 7 days from the date that the written notice is delivered, the landlord shall terminate the rental agreement by reason thereof. … If such noncompliance recurs within 12 months after notice, an eviction action may commence without delivering a subsequent notice … The notice shall be in substantially the following form: [statute goes on to detail required wording].”
“The landlord’s obligations under this subsection [basic code compliance] may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single-family home or duplex. … Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for: [pests; locks/keys; common areas; garbage; heat/hot water] … Unless otherwise agreed in writing, at the commencement of the tenancy of a single-family home or duplex, the landlord shall install working smoke detection devices.”
“Any right or duty declared in this part is enforceable by civil action. A right or duty enforced by civil action under this section does not preclude prosecution for a criminal offense related to the lease or leased property.”
“A landlord of any dwelling unit governed by this part shall not cause, directly or indirectly, the termination or interruption of any utility service furnished the tenant, including, but not limited to, water, heat, light, electricity, gas, elevator, garbage collection, or refrigeration, whether or not the utility service is under the control of, or payment is made by, the landlord… A landlord who violates any provision of this section shall be liable to the tenant for actual and consequential damages or 3 months’ rent, whichever is greater, and costs, including attorney’s fees. Subsequent or repeated violations that are not contemporaneous with the initial violation shall be subject to separate awards of damages.”
“If the premises are damaged or destroyed other than by the wrongful or negligent acts of the tenant so that the enjoyment of the premises is substantially impaired, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement and immediately vacate the premises. The tenant may vacate the part of the premises rendered unusable by the casualty, in which case the tenant’s liability for rent shall be reduced by the fair rental value of that part of the premises damaged or destroyed. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall comply with s. 83.49(3).”
“Examples of conduct for which the landlord may not retaliate include, but are not limited to, situations where: (a) The tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, or health code of a suspected violation applicable to the premises; (b) The tenant has organized, encouraged, or participated in a tenant organization; (c) The tenant has complained to the landlord pursuant to s. 83.56(1); (d) The tenant is a servicemember who has terminated a rental agreement pursuant to s. 83.682; (e) The tenant has paid rent to a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association after demand from the association in order to pay the landlord’s obligation to the association; or (f) The tenant has exercised his or her rights under local, state, or federal fair housing laws.”
“It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminatorily increase a tenant’s rent or decrease services to a tenant, or to bring or threaten to bring an action for possession or other civil action, primarily because the landlord is retaliating against the tenant. In order for the tenant to raise the defense of retaliatory conduct, the tenant must have acted in good faith.”