As a landlord, it’s important to know that all parties on a written lease have certain rights and responsibilities. In Florida, as per Florida landlord-tenant law, a rental agreement becomes valid once there is a written or verbal agreement, or when a landlord accepts a rent payment.
To ensure your success as a landlord and improve your landlord-tenant relationship, it’s imperative to adhere to Florida landlord-tenant law. (FL Statute Chapter 83).
Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
As per Florida law, the following are the disclosures landlords must make, given reasonable notice, to their tenants prior to the renter’s move-in date.
Your Florida tenants have a right to know the name and address of the property owner. In addition, you must also provide the tenant written notice to them of any other individuals certified to act on behalf of the property owner.
Federal laws and Florida statutes require landlords to disclose information regarding lead-based paint hazards in the written lease. This law is specific to houses built prior to 1978.
When renting out a dwelling unit in Florida, you must also provide your tenants with information regarding radon gas regardless of whether or not it’s present in or nearby. In this disclosure, you must use specific language issued by the state that details the hazards associated with radon gas.
As per Florida law Security deposits are only meant for landlords managing at least 5 individual rental units and require a security deposit from their tenants.
Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants in Florida
Both the landlord and tenants have a variety of rights and responsibilities. Under Florida landlord-tenant laws, tenants have a right to
- Enjoy their rental unit in peace and quiet
- Live in a habitable rental property
- Receive proper notice before landlord entry
- Have repairs made promptly after requesting them
- Be evicted per the state’s legal eviction processes
- Be treated fairly and with respect
- Break the lease for legally justified reasons
In addition to a tenant’s rights, Florida landlord-tenant laws give tenants responsibilities, including:
- Pay rent on time and in full and only withhold rent for specific reasons
- Abide by the terms of the lease agreement
- Keep the property clean and sanitary
- Notify the landlord of maintenance issues
- Take care of any damages they cause
- Notify the landlord before moving out
- Notify the landlord when they will take an intended absence from the property or leave the premises prior to the lease ending
Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords in Florida
As a landlord, you also have rights and responsibilities when you rent out your property in Florida.
Florida statutes give Florida landlords have the right to
- Receive proper written notice from a tenant vacating the premises
- Evict a tenant for a lease violation
- Receive rent payments on time and in full
- Enforce the terms of the lease agreement, such as having the tenant pay rent or gain the landlord’s permission to make changes during the agreement
- Make changes to the lease agreement after the lease has ended
- Require a security deposit
Landlord’s obligations include
- Ensuring the property is habitable as per health codes
- Provide reasonable written notice prior to moving in
- Following the proper eviction procedures when evicting a tenant including giving the tenant notice on the process
- Adhering to the statewide security deposit rules such as if the deposit is kept in a non-interest-bearing account or otherwise.
- Abiding by all terms of the lease agreement, if the tenant fails to do so then legal action can be taken.
Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Act in Florida
Fair Housing Act
Any form of housing discrimination in Florida is illegal.
As a landlord, you cannot
- Refuse to rent your property to a person with a disability such as a blind person with a seeing-eye dog
- Evict a tenant because they refused your sexual advances
- Charge a person of color a larger security deposit or higher rent, than white tenants
- Tell certain prospects that your dwelling unit is no longer available because they belong to a certain socioeconomic class
- Subject prospective tenants to a varied screening process for any reason
- As per Florida landlord-tenant law, protected characteristics include race, color, religion, disability, familial status, and national origin.
A tenant can break their lease for a number of legally justified reasons.
Renters can break their rental agreement under these reasonable provisions
- when starting active duty
- If the unit is no longer habitable
- As a result of a privacy violation
- Due to landlord harassment
- If the landlord violates the written rental agreement
In these cases, your tenant can break the rental agreement without penalty. However, the following reasons have no legal protection against penalties should tenants fail to honor the rental agreement.
- Relocating to a new house they recently bought
- Relocating to a new job or school
- Moving to be closer to family or friends
- Moving in with a partner
- If the tenant leaves to upsize or downsize
Small Claims Court
If a tenant fails to perform one of their responsibilities it may result in a claim by the landlord.
Sometimes a landlord’s claim is disputed by the tenants or a landlord fails to perform a responsibility. But when no resolution to the conflict can be agreed upon, the aggrieved party can seek help through a county court of law.
These courts are designed to help individuals resolve disputes quickly and inexpensively. In Florida, the maximum lawsuit you can file with this court is $5,000 plus attorney’s fees.
As a landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure your rental property is habitable at all times. Among other things, this may mean promptly responding to repair requests from your tenant. If you fail to do so, your tenant may have several legal options to pursue including withholding unpaid rent.
- Breaking the lease early without penalties
- Reporting you to a relevant government agency for health codes or safety code violations
- Withholding rental payments, paid monthly until repairs are made
- Repairing the property and subtracting the associated costs from rent payments
A Florida residential landlord must make repairs within 7 days of receiving the repair request from your tenant. Should a tenant have an objection to the repairs, they must send the note in writing to the landlord’s address.
Landlords have a right to evict their tenants for a myriad of reasons. Common reasons a landlord would give a tenant an eviction notice include: when renters stop paying rent or cause excessive property damage. Should you need to evict a tenant, you have a responsibility to follow proper eviction processes.
Illegal eviction processes include locking your tenant out, changing the locks, removing their personal property from the unit, or shutting off their utilities such as water or heat.
One right you obtain when you rent out your property is the right to enter the rented premises.
You may need to do so to perform property inspections or show the unit to prospective renters or buyers. Prior to entry, you must notify your tenant at least twelve hours beforehand.
As a landlord, it’s important to be familiar with state Landlord-Tenant laws but it can be difficult to ensure the information you have is up-to-date as laws are subject to change.
Our team at Jilsa Management has ample experience in navigating Florida’s Landlord-Tenant laws and fastidiously ensures our property management services comply with state and federal laws.
For more information, contact us today!
Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws are subject to change and this information may no longer be up to date at the time you read it. For legal advice reach out to a licensed attorney or Property Management Company.