In Florida, a rental agreement is established either orally, in written form, or once a landlord accepts a rent payment. The Florida landlord-tenant law (FL Statute Chapter 83) provides each party with inherent rights and responsibilities that govern these agreements.
Understanding these rights and responsibilities is imperative for both the landlord and their tenants. This is why we at Keyrenter South Florida have put together this basic overview of the Florida landlord-tenant law.
Rights & Responsibilities of Tenants in Florida
The Florida residential Landlord-Tenant act affords tenants the following rights:
- To live in a rental property that meets the basic safety, structural, and health codes as prescribed in the Florida Warranty of Habitability.
- To live in peace and quiet, in accordance with the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment and other Florida statutes.
- Remain in their rented premises until the lease ends or the landlord has followed the proper eviction process.
- To have maintenance requests on the rental unit met within a reasonable time and to give proper notice when repairs will be complete.
- Be treated fairly without being discriminated against based on their race, color, religion, nationality, or any other protected characteristic.
- To be served reasonable notice before the landlord can enter their rented premises.
- To be notified when changes are made to their lease or written rental agreement as per Florida laws.
As for the responsibilities, your tenant has a responsibility to the following under the Florida Landlord-Tenant laws:
- To ensure the dwelling unit stays in a safe and habitable condition.
- To keep their rental premises in a clean and sanitary condition. For example, ensuring to remove garbage on time.
- To keep all amenities, fixtures, and facilities clean and sanitary, and to use them reasonably.
- Take care of all damage that they are responsible for and avoid any negligent damage to the rental property.
- To not withhold rent unless they have a legal reason. If the tenant fails in this responsibility then you may start the eviction process.
Rights & Responsibilities of Landlords in Florida
Similarly, a landlord in Florida also has an array of rights and responsibilities under Florida landlord-tenant laws. Below is some more information:
- Collect rent deposits and payments, as well as other fees that may be associated with parking, pets, and/or some amenities featured on the written agreement.
- Enter the rented unit if proper written notice is served beforehand by the real estate investor.
- Evict a tenant for violating the terms of the lease agreement.
- Use the security deposit for repairs or unpaid bills or if the tenant does not pay rent.
- Amend the terms of the lease agreement.
As for responsibilities, Florida landlords have the following:
- To disclose appropriate information as per Florida landlord-tenant law, for example, if lead-based paint is used in the property.
- To maintain the property to habitable standards as per the Florida landlord-tenant laws. If a landlord fails to do so, they open themselves up to potential legal action.
- To abide by certain legal obligations, including the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- To manage your tenant’s security deposit in accordance with the Florida security deposit rules.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
As a Florida landlord, the landlord-tenant laws state that you are required to make certain disclosures to your tenant. You can include them either within the terms of the agreement or in a separate document.
- Lead Paint: This is a mandatory requirement for landlords in all fifty states. It requires landlords to provide their tenants with information regarding lead paint hazards.
- Radon Gas: Just like lead paint, you have a responsibility of providing your Florida tenant with information regarding radon gas.
- Security Deposit Holdings: The security deposit rules are only applicable to landlords who manage at least five individual units and require a security deposit from their tenants. A security deposit must be stored by a Florida banking institution.
- Authorized Authorities: You are also required to provide your tenants with your full legal name and address. If a landlord fails to do so they may miss out on rent payments.
Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Law in Florida
Small Claims Courts
Disputes between landlords and tenants are commonplace. One common source of dispute usually involves the use and return of security deposits.
Your tenant, for example, may not agree with the deductions you have made to their deposit, and ultimately, either party may choose to pursue a legal option, under the Florida landlord-tenant laws.
Small claims courts in Florida can hear disputes valued at a maximum of $5,000 in court costs. If the agreement in operation is a written lease, the statute of limitation lasts 5 years. On the other hand, if the agreement in operation is made orally, then the statute of limitation lasts 4 years.
Landlords in Florida are allowed to enter their tenant’s unit for all legally justified reasons under the landlord-tenant laws. Including, inspecting the unit, making repairs, or showing the unit to prospective tenants, lenders, or buyers.
In addition to having a legally justified reason, Florida landlords are required to provide their tenants with the advance written notice of at least 12 hours, prior to entering rented units. The only exception to the advance notice requirement is in the event of an emergency.
The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from discrimination based on certain protected characteristics.
These protected characteristics include sex, religion, color, race, national origin, familial status, and disability. Florida law also provides additional protection for individuals who are pregnant.
The following are actions that could be classed as discriminatory, as per the Fair Housing Act.
- Refusing to rent your unit to a person based on their color, race, or any other protected characteristic.
- Falsely denying the availability of a housing unit.
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations and modifications.
- Intimidating, coercing, or threatening tenants into foregoing their fair housing right.
Early Lease Termination
As per the Florida landlord-tenant law, your tenant may be able to break their lease early without penalty for the following reasons:
- If the lease makes a provision for breaking a lease early through an early lease termination clause.
- If the tenant is entering active military service.
- If the dwelling unit is no longer habitable as per habitability law.
- In the event of gross violation of the agreement by the landlord.
- If the tenant’s privacy is violated.
- In case of landlord harassment.
Florida landlord-tenant laws also give landlords the ability to evict their tenants for the following reasons:
- Failure to pay rent, or leave unpaid rent after a fair late notice.
- Failure to move out after the lease ends.
- Gross violation of the rental agreement such as to withhold rent.
Other than these, all other types of evictions are illegal in the state of Florida.
Florida landlord-tenant law can be complicated to deal with but it is imperative that both landlords and tenants understand them.
If you have any questions or would like a further consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us at Keyrenter South Florida. We are a fully equipped property management company that is ready to help you make the most of your rental investment.
Contact us today for more information!
Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have a specific question or need expert legal advice, please contact either a qualified attorney or an experienced property management company.