Important Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws

Tenant Check January 6, 2020
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Important Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws

Florida has one of the highest populations of renters in the country. The state’s landlord-tenant laws do not offer much guidance for landlords or tenants. We have outlined the general legislation in place. Short-term rentals are fairly common in Florida and come with their own set of rental laws.

Security Deposits

Landlords in Florida are not required to collect a security deposit when renting a property. There is also no limitation on how much you can collect for the deposit, statewide. If you do decide to collect a security deposit, there are three options for how to hold it:

  • If you decide to put the security deposit in an account that will accumulate interest, you must pay the tenant 5% simple interest per year or 75% of the average interest accumulated over the year
  • The other option is to put the security deposit in a surety bond, either as individual units or all units. There are limits on the amount of money kept in the bond and interest that must be paid to the tenants under these circumstances
  • Stored in an account that doesn’t incur interest for the duration of the lease

They cannot be commingled with the landlord’s assets if they are not put in an interest-bearing account or surety bond.
It is permissible for you, as a landlord, to withhold part or all of the security deposit for unpaid rent or damage caused by the tenant.
If you are withholding funds, you have 30 days to notify the tenant by certified mail. If funds are not withheld, it must be returned within 15 days.

Rental Agreement Laws

No requirements for a written agreement for rentals less than 12 months, oral agreements are fine for less than 12 months. All other communications must be in writing. For example, repair requests, rent increases, and ending a rental agreement.

Lease Renewal

There are two options in the state of Florida for renewing leases.

  • If there is no termination date, the tenant must notify the landlord if they want to terminate or continue the lease. This is determined by the length of the lease:
    • Year-to-year: 60-day notice
    • Quarterly: 30-day notice before end of quarter
    • Month-to-Month: 15-day notice
    • Week-to-Week: 7-day notice before end of any weekly period
  • Lease ends per the date in the lease agreement
    • If the tenant doesn’t vacate the property at the end of the lease agreement, you can charge double the rent to the holdover tenant

Rent Increase

There aren’t specific laws outlined around rent increases in Florida. Rent increase terms can be outlined in the lease. Otherwise, a notice of rent increase must be in line with notice to end the tenancy, 15 to 60 days depending on the lease terms and duration of the rental.

Repairs to the Property

There are certain specific aspects of the property that must be maintained under Florida Landlord-Tenant Law. All screens must be repaired, if damaged, once per year. If the property is an apartment building the following things are also the responsibility of the landlord:

  • Removing vermin and pests from the unit
  • Lock and key replacement
  • Removing garbage
  • Maintaining running water and hot water
  • Maintaining heat for all units in the winter

If any of those responsibilities are passed to the tenant, it must be outlined in the lease agreement.
If you, as the landlord, do not maintain the above the tenant may end the rental agreement early without penalty or withhold rent. In order to do either of those, the tenant must send a written notification stating that they are going to move out if the repairs are not done. You then have 7 days to make the repairs.
A similar process must happen if the tenant wants to withhold a portion of the rent. That withheld portion must be proportional to the loss of the value of the unit. You then, once again, have 7 days to make the repairs.
Relatedly, you must provide 12 hours of notice before entering the property to make repairs. Repairs can only be made between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:00 pm.
Regarding appliances, it is not required for air conditioners to be provided. All appliance repairs that are non-necessary must be included in the lease term.

Eviction

Florida eviction law is fairly straight-forward. If the tenant fails to pay rent, breaks their lease agreement, damages or misuses property, or continues to create unreasonable disturbances, they can be evicted. If the tenant fails to pay their rent, they have 3 days to pay the rent and move out after the notice is provided. In any of the other situations, the tenant is to be given 7 days to correct the issue or move out. That is at the discretion of the landlord, whether they are given the opportunity to correct the infraction or not.

Required Rental Agreement Notices

In most states, it is required to notify tenants about lead and mold. In Florida, it is also required to notify tenants about Radon gas.