As a landlord in Florida, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with landlord-tenant law. This law highlights the rights and responsibilities of both you and your tenants, among other important factors.
Understanding the rights of your tenants and your legal obligations will help you run a successful investment business.
However, these laws and their nuances can be confusing. Thankfully, the experts at Out Fast Property Management have put together the following overview of Florida landlord-tenant law for you.
Required Landlord Disclosures
Landlords are bound by federal and state laws to make certain information known to tenants. Before a tenant can start living on your property, you must notify them of the following disclosures.
- Information regarding any known lead-based paint hazards. This is required of landlords renting out properties built prior to 1978.
- The names and addresses of all owners of the property. You must also include the contact details of any intermediaries certified to act on the behalf of the property owner.
- The manner in which you’re holding your tenants’ security deposits. This only applies to landlords renting out at least 5 individual units.
- Information regarding the presence of radon gas in or near the rental property. You must use a language specified by the state that details the nature and hazards associated with exposure to the gas.
Florida Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
Renters in Florida have the following basic rights. A right to:
- Live in a habitable property that meets the basic health and safety codes.
- Be treated in an equal and fair manner.
- Be provided proper notice prior to having their periodic lease terminated.
- Be provided proper notice prior to any changes being made to their lease agreement.
- Have repairs made within a reasonable time period.
- A proper eviction process that follows the state law.
Common responsibilities tenants have in Florida include the following.
- Maintain the unit in a safe and habitable condition.
- Not cause damage or destruction to any part of the premises.
- Maintain the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.
- Using all the provided amenities and facilities for their intended purpose.
- Paying rent on time, every month.
- Abiding by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Notifying the landlord when looking to be away for an extended period of time.
- Providing proper notice to the landlord prior to terminating their periodic lease.
Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
As a landlord in Florida, you have the following rights as per state law. A right to:
- Require tenants to abide by certain rules contained in a lease agreement.
- Screen prospective tenants prior to allowing them to rent your rental property.
- Evict a tenant for not honoring the terms of the lease agreement.
- Collect a security deposit from a tenant and withhold a portion for certain legally justified reasons.
- Penalize a tenant for breaking the lease without penalty.
- Be served proper notice from a tenant looking to terminate their periodic lease agreement.
When it comes to responsibilities, they are as follows.
- Provide notice of at least 12 hours prior to entering an occupied rental unit.
- Provide certain mandatory disclosures to their tenants prior to leasing out their property.
- Follow the statewide eviction process when evicting a tenant for failing to abide by certain lease terms, such as payment of rent.
- Treat every tenant equally and fairly as per the Fair Housing Act.
- Make repairs within a reasonable period of time.
- Ensure the tenant lives in peace and quiet.
- Abide by the terms of the lease agreement.
An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws
Tenants in Florida have a right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their rented premises. Before accessing your tenant’s rented premises, you must serve them with a notice of at least 12 hours.
And that includes instances where you may need to show the unit to prospective tenants or make repairs. The only exception to providing the notice is when entering the tenant’s unit to handle an emergency.
If you were to enter your tenant’s rented unit repeatedly without notice, you’d be liable for tenant harassment. Consequently, the tenant may be able to use that as legal grounds to terminate their lease early.
Maintenance & Repairs
Landlords in Florida have a duty to provide their tenants with a habitable living space. The state’s “implied warranty of habitability” requires landlords to provide tenants with certain items in order to comply with local housing, safety, and health codes.
Such items include the following.
- Hot and cold running water.
- Working plumbing and sanitation facilities.
- Safe electrical outlets and wiring.
- A pest-free home, if addressed in the lease agreement.
- Conforming locks.
- Adequate receptacles for garbage, if renting out a multi-family residential unit.
- Safe floors, stairways, and railings.
Anti Discrimination Laws
Tenants have a right to a fair and equal opportunity to rent your home. It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminate against their tenant based on their race, color, nationality, religion, familial status, and disability.
The Florida Fair Housing law also adds pregnancy as an extra protection to the federally protected list.
As a landlord in Florida, you have a right to charge tenants a security deposit. But when you do, you must comply with certain regulations. Including:
- Storing the deposit in either an interest-bearing account, a normal account, or posting it as a surety bond.
- Returning the deposit to the tenant within 15 days of lease termination.
- Only making appropriate deductions to the deposit.
Renters Rights to Withhold Rent in Florida
Renters in Florida have a right to withhold rent if repairs aren’t made within 7 days of issuing a notice. They may also be able to make the repairs themselves then deduct the cost of repair from future rent payments.
Small Claims Lawsuits
Conflicts over the return of security deposits can be common. The tenant may think they have returned the property in good condition while the landlord may hold a different opinion.
Consequently, the matter may end up in a small claims court. Florida small claims courts can hear lawsuits amounting to no more than $5,000.
Now you are familiar with Chapter 83 of Florida Statutes regarding the rights and responsibilities each party to the lease has. If you have any more questions, Out Fast Property Management can help!
We’re a quality Tampa property management company. Our high-quality services can help you maximize the return on your investment property. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.