Florida Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Florida Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: March 10, 2023

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:

  • Plumbing.
  • Locks.
  • Heating (in winter).
  • Hot water.
  • Exterior garbage containers.
  • Common areas.
  • 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.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Florida?

Florida tenants are responsible for repairing any 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 by asking 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 have seven days to 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 landlords cannot refuse to make repairs that 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 are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while 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 can cancel the rental agreement if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, depending on the situation. They can also sue for damages or get an injunction to 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 are not 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 are not allowed to arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Florida?

Florida tenants can break a lease seven 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 tenants can sue when 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.

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Landlord Retaliation in Florida

It’s illegal for Florida landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction or lawsuit against tenants who have taken any of the following protected actions in good faith:  

  • Complaining to the landlord or government about failure to maintain the property.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Pursuing rights or remedies given by law or lease.
  • Taking other similar actions.

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