Tenants' Rights in Florida

5 Rights of Tenants in Florida

The state of Florida has the third largest population in the nation. With so many people, the state has put together an extensive landlord tenant law which spells out the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in Florida. These rights cover many different situations, from the security deposit to landlord entry. Here are five rights of tenants in Florida.

Florida Tenant’s Right to Fair Housing

The first right protected under Florida law begins before an individual even becomes a tenant.

It is the right to fair housing. In 1968, a nationwide law was passed, which is known as the Federal Fair Housing Act.

The purpose of this Act was to end discrimination in any activity that was related to housing. This includes discrimination when buying a home, when renting a home or when trying to obtain financing for a home.

Seven classes of people are specifically listed as being protected from discrimination under the Federal Fair Housing Act. These seven classes include:

  • Color
  • Disability (Physical and Mental)
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex

While some states will include additional classes which are protected, Florida’s landlord tenant law does not include any additional classes other than those already protected under the Federal law.

An example of discrimination would be if a Jewish man attempted to rent an apartment from a Christian landlord. The Christian landlord does not want to rent to a Jewish tenant, so the landlord denies the prospective tenant housing based solely on his religious beliefs, not on any true qualifying standards.

Florida Tenant’s Right to the Security Deposit

Sec. §83-49

A landlord in Florida has the right to collect a security deposit from their tenants. Although the landlord has the right to collect a deposit from the tenant, the landlord must still follow certain rules set forth by the state. These rules include how much a landlord can charge, how the landlord must store the deposit, written notice after receiving the deposit and when the deposit must be returned to the tenant.

Florida landlord tenant law does not set a maximum on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. The landlord is free to set whatever security deposit amount he or she chooses, but the catch is finding a tenant who is willing to pay that amount. Between one and two months’ rent is acceptable. You may be able to charge more for outstanding apartments with a ton of amenities or fully furnished units.

A landlord in Florida has three options for storing a tenant’s security deposit during the life of the tenancy. He or she can place the deposit in a non-interest bearing account, in an interest bearing account or can purchase a surety bond in the amount of the deposit.

Tenants in Florida have the right to be notified once the landlord receives their security deposit. This notification must occur within 30 days of the tenant paying the security deposit.

Landlords in Florida have 15 days after tenant move out to return a tenant’s security deposit if no deductions have been taken from the deposit. If deductions are going to be taken from the deposit, the landlord must return the deposit within 30 days of tenant move out.

See Also: Florida Security Deposit Law

Florida Tenant’s Right to Notice Before Landlord Entry

Sec.

§83.53

Florida’s landlord tenant law includes a section about a landlord accessing a tenant’s apartment. With an effort on protecting a tenant’s right to the quiet enjoyment of their living space, Florida’s law requires a landlord to give notice in most situations before the landlord can enter the apartment. To make repairs, the landlord must give at least 12 hours’ notice and for all other situations, the law simply says the landlord’s notice must be “reasonable.”

There are certain situations when the landlord does not have to give advanced notice. This includes during emergencies or when the tenant has abandoned the unit.

The law also states the legal reasons a landlord can enter a tenant’s apartment, such as to inspect the unit or show the unit to prospective tenants. If the landlord violates the terms of Florida’s law, then the tenant may seek legal action.

If the tenant refuses to allow a landlord lawful entry into their unit, then the landlord can also seek legal action. Either party may be entitled to damages.

See Also: Florida Tenant's Right to Notice Before Landlord Entry

Florida Tenant’s Rights After Landlord Retaliation

Sec. §83.64

Florida’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act contains a section regarding revenge between landlords and tenants. This clause is meant to minimize conflict between the two parties. The clause includes the acts of a tenant that could cause a landlord to retaliate, as well as the acts of the landlord that could be considered acts of retaliation.

In Florida, examples of legal tenant acts that could trigger landlord revenge include the tenant complaining to a government agency about a health or safety violation at the property or the tenant being a servicemember and terminating a lease early because of deployment. Examples of landlord retaliation in Florida include the landlord increasing a tenant’s rent or the landlord filing a retaliatory eviction in an attempt to remove the tenant from the property.

Landlords will have to prove that their actions were not acts of retaliation and were simply legally allowed duties of a landlord. Tenants will have to prove that the landlord specifically discriminated against him or her as a result of the tenant’s action.

See Also: Florida Tenant's Rights After Landlord Retaliation

Florida Tenant’s Right to Rent Disclosure

Sec. §§ 68.065, 83.46(1), 83-56(3-4) and 83.57.

Renting an apartment can be stressful, especially for a first time tenant. Florida tries to make this process easier by requiring landlords to disclose certain things to their tenants about the rent. This disclosure is for the benefit of both the landlord and the tenant so each party knows what is expected of them.

Landlords in Florida should include the basics terms of the lease in the lease agreement. This includes how much rent is due, when it is due, the forms of payment that the landlord accepts and where the rent should be paid.

If a landlord in Florida wishes to terminate a tenant’s lease agreement for nonpayment, he or she must first send the tenant written notice to Pay Rent or Quit. If the tenant does not pay their rent or move out of the unit, the landlord can decide to terminate the rental agreement.

See Also: Florida Tenant's Right to Rent Disclosure

Florida’s Landlord Tenant Law

To view the original text regarding Florida’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act please see Florida Statutes Annotated §§ 83.40 to 83.682.