Landlord Laws in Florida: Explained

Understanding landlord laws in Florida is crucial. Florida law details landlord and tenant rights in the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act to clarify each party’s rights and responsibilities. This is essential to keep the relationship between landlords and tenants healthy.

But sometimes, there are problems — and legal action needs to be taken.

This can occur whether there is an oral agreement or a written contract for a rental property. Both of these can be used in Florida, but written lease agreements are preferred because they are much more easily proven due to the documentation.

Either way, decisions must be made on what happens next when a dispute arises.

Understanding landlord laws in Florida is necessary to know the steps to be taken when violations of lease agreements occur.

What rights do landlords have for their property?

Once a lease agreement is signed, the property is essential in the tenant’s possession. However, landlord rights in Florida provide access to the property under specific terms and conditions.

A landlord can enter at reasonable times and with reasonable notice to inspect the apartment/home/duplex, make repairs, supply agreed-upon services, or show it to a potential buyer. Possible times are considered 7:30 am to 8:00 pm, and reasonable notice is at least 12 hours before entry.

That being said, landlord rights also allow entry to a property to protect or preserve the premises in the case of emergency, if the tenant has given consent, or if the tenant has unreasonably withheld support.

An additional circumstance in which a landlord can enter a rental unit is if the tenant has not been present for an extended period, which would equal half the time for periodic rental payments. This time frame would depend upon the terms of the lease agreement, whether it is paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Responsibilities of the Landlord.

The Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act requires specific responsibilities of landlords across the state. These responsibilities will vary depending on what type of dwelling is being rented to the tenant.

Landlord rightsIf the dwelling is an apartment:

The landlord must provide keys, safe conditions in common areas, garbage disposal facilities or bins, and functioning appliances. They also are required to exterminate wood-destroying pests such as mice, rats, etc. Compliance with applicable building, housing, and health codes under Florida law is also required. When regulations are not available, good plumbing conditions must be provided.

Important note: Landlords’ purchasing of appliances is not required by law; it is at their discretion.

If the dwelling is a single-family home or duplex:

The landlord must maintain compliance with applicable building, housing, and health codes under Florida law. The residence must be kept in reasonable condition if regulations are unavailable.

Landlords and Security Deposits in Florida

When a tenant moves into a rental property, it’s common for landlords to require a security deposit. This deposit serves as a form of insurance for the landlord in case the tenant causes any damage to the property or fails to pay rent. Specific laws in Florida govern how landlords can handle security deposits.

  1. Maximum Security Deposit Amount

Under the revised landlord laws in Florida, landlords can charge tenants whatever amount they choose as a security deposit. It’s important to note that landlords are still not allowed to charge non-refundable fees as part of the security deposit. Any fees charged must be clearly defined in the rental agreement and considered rent, not a part of the security deposit.

  1. Deadline for Returning the Deposit

document explaining landlord laws in FloridaAfter the tenant moves out, the landlord has 15 days to return the security deposit and any accrued interest to the tenant. If the landlord intends to make deductions from the deposit, they must provide the tenant with an itemized list of damages and expenses within 30 days.

  1. Deductions from the Deposit

Landlords can only deduct from the security deposit for specific reasons, such as unpaid rent or damages beyond normal wear and tear. If the landlord deducts from the deposit, they must provide receipts and documentation to support the deductions.

  1. Penalties for Violations

If a landlord violates the security deposit laws in Florida, they may be penalized, such as paying the tenant up to three times the amount wrongfully withheld. Landlords need to follow the rules regarding security deposits to avoid legal issues and maintain a positive relationship with tenants.

Understanding the landlord laws in Florida surrounding security deposits is essential for landlords in Florida. By following these guidelines, landlords can ensure a fair and transparent process for themselves and their tenants.

When to Consult a Lawyer

Landlords must understand landlord laws in Florida and their responsibilities to determine when legal action is necessary. The rental agreement is a legal contract, and any violations, such as a tenant’s failure to pay rent or significant damage to the property, may require legal intervention. In such cases, it is advisable to seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in landlord laws in Florida.

It is important to note that eviction proceedings have specific “conditions precedent” that must be met before taking any legal action. These are steps that must be taken to protect the landlord’s rights.

How We Can Help

At Golden Key Law Group, our attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience regarding landlord laws in Florida. We can provide comprehensive assistance to landlords regarding landlord rights and obligations.

We can assist in reviewing the relevant regulations and your rental agreement, and we can also represent you in court if your case requires legal action. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our landlord and tenant lawyers and discuss your legal options.

*Disclaimer: Please note that real estate-related consultations come with a fee.