Under the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, both the landlord and the tenant have rights and responsibilities. Once these rights and responsibilities are properly understood, each party should be able to deal with many legal questions and problems without needing an attorney.
Below is an overview of landlord-tenant laws in Florida that we have compiled. For more help with your Orlando rental property contact us today!
Florida Rental Laws on Landlord Retaliation
In Florida, landlords who try to go after tenants can be stopped and sued. Here are a couple of landlord actions that qualify as retaliatory acts. The landlord:
- Attempts to intimidate or harass the renter. For example, removing the renter’s possessions from the rental unit or changing the locks on the renters’ doors.
- Refuses to make needed repairs. It’s the landlord’s duty to ensure a habitable housing.
- Increases the tenant’s rent.
- Files to evict the renter.
- Limits tenant’s access to crucial services.
There are various things that a tenant could do to trigger retaliation from the landlord. For example, the tenant has:
- Complained to a local agency about the landlord’s failure to meet their obligations as stipulated under the Florida lease or rental agreement.
- Pursued a right as granted under the lease agreement itself or under Florida’s landlord-tenant act.
- Pursued a right under the Federal Fair Housing Laws.
- Exercised their right as a tenant under Section 83.682 of Florida’s landlord-tenant law.
- Joined a tenant’s union or other organization.
- Complained to the local housing department about an apparent safety, health or building violation at the property.
Landlord’s Right to Access Rental Property in Florida
Renters have a right to the quiet enjoyment of the homes. That is, landlords cannot snoop around a tenant’s apartment as they wish. Under Florida law, landlords can only enter a rented property in the following circumstances:
- To show the property to prospective tenants, purchasers or contractors.
- Pursuant to a court order.
- When the renter has abandoned the property.
- In the event of an emergency.
- To conduct inspections and make requested repairs.
Unless it’s an emergency, the Florida tenant laws indicate that landlords must give tenants a 12-hours notice before entering the rental unit. In the notice, the landlord may specify when and why they wish to access the property. Moreover, the time of entry must be reasonable.
Eviction Laws in Florida
There are varieties of reasons for which a landlord can evict a tenant. For example, the tenant:
- Fails to pay rent
- Disturbs the peace
- Violates the lease agreement
- Causes damage to the property
- Keeps unauthorized pets in the property
To evict a tenant from the rental premises, the landlord must follow the correct procedure as stipulated under Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Law. The first step to beginning the Florida eviction process is by serving the tenant with a proper eviction notice.
There are two types of eviction notices in Florida: a three-day and a seven-day notice.
A three-day notice notifies the renter that they have three days to either pay rent or vacate. If they don’t, a landlord can file for their eviction in a small claims court. For other violations, such as having pets when none is allowed, the landlord can serve a seven-day notice.
Florida Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
Florida tenants have a right to habitable housing. That is one that meets structural, health, and safety standards. If the landlord fails to maintain habitable housing, the renter has, among other things, the right to withhold rent until needed repairs are made.
But before renters exercise this right, certain legal requirements must be met.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
Florida requires landlords to make the following disclosures to tenants.
- The name and address of the landlord. This should be disclosed before the tenancy commences. It must be in writing.
- The landlord must make known in writing, within 30 days of receiving the security deposit, information on how the security deposit will be stored.
- According to (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 404.056), landlords must include this warning: “RADON GAS” in all leases.
- According to (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.50), landlords must inform new renters about the availability of fire protection in a building over three stories high.
Florida Fair Housing Rules
Discrimination based on a tenant’s color, race, national origin, familial status, sex, religion, or disability is against Florida law. Signs of landlord discrimination include:
- Being told one thing on the phone by a landlord but are told different terms, availability or pricing upon meeting the tenant.
- Being told there is a no pet policy, even if you have a service animal.
- Refusal by the landlord to provide handicapped parking.
- Having a prospective landlord tell you about background or criminal checks over and over.
- Being told that a different apartment might fit your situation better.
Florida Security Deposit Law
A security deposit is any money a landlord takes from a tenant other than the advance payment of rent. Within 30 days of receiving a security deposit, landlords in Florida must disclose in writing:
- The rate and time of interest payments;
- The account depository’s name; and
- Where the funds are being stored.
Under Florida rental laws, there’s no statutory limit on how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit. When it comes to returning the tenant’s security deposit, landlords have between 15 and 60 days to return it.
Florida Rent Rules
There are certain disclosures about the rent that every tenant has the right to, under Florida’s landlord-tenant law. Here are the basic disclosures:
- Amount of rent – This is the dollar amount that is due during each rent period.
- When rent is due – The lease should state the exact day the periodic rent is due.
- Where rent will be paid – Are payments through the mail acceptable? Is there an office the tenant can bring the rent to? Will the landlord stop by the property each month?
- Forms of payment accepted as rent – For example, electronic funds deposit, money order, and so on.
This overview of landlord-tenant laws in Florida is only meant to be informational. For specific legal advice, please consult an experienced Florida lawyer.