Under Florida law, a rental agreement can become valid either through a verbal or written agreement. Once established, the statute gives both parties – the landlord and tenant – certain rights and responsibilities.
As a landlord, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with these laws in order to avoid any potential conflicts with your tenants in the future. The following is a basic overview of landlord-tenant law in Florida.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
Landlords must make certain information known to their tenants before they move in. As a landlord, the following are the disclosures you must make.
- Disclosure of lead-based paint. This applies to landlords renting out homes built before 1978. The disclosure requires landlords to let tenants know about lead-based paint hazards.
- Disclosure of the names and addresses of the property owners.
- Disclosure on how you’re holding your tenant’s security deposit in Florida. This applies to landlords renting out at least five rental units.
- Disclosure on whether there is radon gas in or inside the rental unit.
Tenant Rights & Responsibilities in Florida
After signing their leases, tenants in Florida are given certain rights and responsibilities. Tenants have the right to:
- Have repairs done in a timely manner, specifically within 7 days of written notice.
- Live in a habitable home that abides by the basic health and safety codes.
- Be treated fairly without any bias on the basis of certain protected classes.
- Be notified prior to a rent increase.
- The return of all or a portion of their security deposit after moving out.
- Break the lease early under certain circumstances.
- In the case of an eviction, continue staying in their rented premises until the landlord has followed the proper judicial eviction process.
When it comes to responsibilities, Florida tenants are required to do the following.
- Maintain the unit to the required habitable conditions.
- Keep their rented premises in a clean and sanitary state.
- Use all the provided fixtures and facilities in a reasonable manner and for their intended use.
- Not to unreasonably cause disturbance to other tenants or neighbors.
- Not to cause property damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
- Pay rent on time, according to the due dates laid out in their lease agreement.
- Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Notify the landlord prior to moving out of their rented premises.
Landlord Rights & Responsibilities in Florida
Landlords in Florida have the following rights under Florida law (FL Statute Chapter 83). The right to:
- Enter rented premises to perform a needed or requested maintenance task.
- Evict a tenant who fails to abide by the terms of the lease agreement, such as paying rent.
- Collect a security deposit from a tenant.
- Raise rent for any reason, and to do so as often as you’d like.
- Draft a lease agreement.
- Enforce the terms of the lease agreement.
- Charge whatever amount for late rent fees.
The list of responsibilities for landlords in Florida is as follows.
- Treat all tenants equally and fairly, according to Fair Housing Law.
- Remove a tenant through a judicial eviction process.
- Provide tenants with the required disclosures.
- Only make deductions to a tenant’s security deposit for particular reasons.
- Provide a tenant with a 12 hours advance notice prior to entering their rented premises.
Overview of the Landlord Tenant Law in Florida
Landlord Right to Entry
Landlords in Florida have a right to enter their tenant’s rented premises. You may want to do so for several reasons. Such as, doing a repair, inspecting the premises, or showing the property to prospective tenants.
However, in all circumstances, you bear the responsibility to notify them in advance. Showing up unannounced is not only unlawful, but it can also expose you to potential landlord harassment claims. What’s more, your tenant could also use that as grounds to break their lease early.
Under the statewide law, you must provide your tenant with a 12 hours advance notice prior to entering their rented unit.
The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from any discriminatory acts from landlords. It’d be unlawful for you, for instance, to falsely deny the availability of your home, including certain discriminative statements in your rental ad, or show bias or limitation on the basis of certain protected classes.
The protected classes in Florida are as follows: race, color, nationality, religion, sex, familial status, disability, and pregnancy.
There is no rent control law in Florida. Consequently, as a landlord, you have the right to charge tenants whatever amount of rent you want.
In addition, you can raise it for whatever reason, and as often as you’d want. However, in a fixed-term lease, you must wait until the lease ends in order to change it.
Early Lease Termination
Typically, a lease binds a tenant for a certain duration of time. And during this entire time, the tenant is obligated to continue paying rent whether or not they live there. In addition, unlike in some other states, landlords in Florida are not obligated to mitigate damages.
A tenant can break their lease early for certain legally justifiable reasons. They are as follows.
- Violation of health or safety codes by the landlord.
- Harassment or privacy violation by the landlord.
- Relocation for active military duty.
- Early termination clause.
- Violation of the terms of the lease agreement by the landlord.
Certain laws apply when it comes to the collection, holding, and return of a tenant’s security deposit. The following are some of those rules.
- Return a tenant’s security deposit within 15 days after they move out.
- Only make allowable deductions to a tenant’s security deposit. For example, in case they cause damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
- Store the tenant’s deposit in either of three ways: a normal account, an interest-bearing account, or a surety bond.
There is, however, no rule capping the amount you can ask from a tenant.
If you have to evict a tenant in Florida, then you must follow the proper judicial process. This includes, serving an eviction notice, filing a lawsuit in court, and attending the court hearing.
Common reasons for evicting a tenant include nonpayment of rent and damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
Understanding these laws is crucial to you and your property’s success. Not only do these laws help you avoid possible issues, but they also help keep communication clear between you and your tenants.
We hope this article has helped you understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. If you have any questions regarding this content or need help in any aspect of property management, Keyrenter Broward can help!
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified attorney. Also, laws may change and this content may not have been updated at the time of your reading.