Florida is home to one of the largest renter populations in the country. Out of the 19 million Florida residents, nearly 3 million live in rented homes. This means that over 13% of the state’s population are renters.
And the figure is much higher in Orlando. According to the 2019 Census ACS data, almost 40 percent of Orlando residents are renters.
But while there be many rental properties in Orlando, the state’s tenancy laws aren’t particularly detailed. In other words, Florida is a landlord-friendly state.
As a landlord, you may not always be aware of the best course of action to take when it comes to handling certain issues. It's for this reason that many Florida landlords enlist the help of professional property management companies.
This basic overview of Florida landlord-tenant law should help make things easier for you.
Important Laws for Florida Landlords to Be Aware Of
What Disclosures Must Landlords Make to Florida Tenants Prior To Lease Signing?
As a landlord, there are certain disclosures that you must make to your tenants prior to them signing leases. These disclosures are as follows:
You must disclose your identity or the person you’ve authorized to act in your capacity. This means providing your tenant with your legal name as well as your address.
You must disclose to your tenant the presence of radon gas. You must provide them the following notice. “Radon Gas: Radon is a radioactive gas that may be a health hazard to people exposed to it over an extended period of time. Dangerous levels of radon gas have been found in some buildings in Florida. For additional information regarding its testing, please seek help from your country health department.”
You must disclose to your tenants the availability of fire protection. Florida laws also require landlords to notify their tenants of the availability of fire protection in their rented premises. This requirement is only for landlords renting a building with more than 3 stories.
You must also make a disclosure in regards to how you are storing a tenant’s security deposit. You must state which account you’re keeping it in, as well as what interest it is accruing.
You must disclose to the tenant important details in regards to rent. For example, the rent amount, when it falls due, acceptable forms of payment, and where it should be paid.
As a Florida landlord, you should be sure to provide all these disclosures to your tenants before lease signing.
What are some of the Basic Rights Florida Tenants have?
In Florida, tenants have a right to:
Live in their rented premises in peace and quiet, free from any unreasonable disturbances.
Live in a habitable rented property that is properly weatherproofed, has properly working plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems among other things.
Remain in their rented premises until the landlord has followed the proper eviction procedure to remove them.
Exercise their rights if the landlord fails to maintain their units to certain standards. For example, tenants may withhold rent payments until the problem is resolved.
Receive written notice when the landlord wants to access the premises.
As for responsibilities, tenants must:
Pay rent on time, every time.
Keep the premises in clean, sanitary conditions.
Notify the landlord when maintenance issues arise.
Notify the landlord when seeking to leave the premises.
Abide by all terms of the agreement.
What Are the Basic Rights Florida Landlords Have?
Whether you own single-family, multi-family, or commercial properties, as a Florida landlord, you have a right to:
Be notified by the tenant who is vacating their rented premises.
Be notified when maintenance issues accrue.
Enforce the terms of the lease.
Evict the tenant for a serious lease violation.
As for responsibilities, you’re responsible for:
Maintaining the units to habitable standards. At the most basic level, this includes ensuring the property adheres to basic structural, health, and safety codes.
Respecting your tenants' right to privacy.
Following all rent and security deposit rules.
Adhering to the lease or rental agreement.
Overview of Florida Tenancy Laws
Fair Housing Rules
Whether you own multiple rental properties in Florida or if you're just considering the purchase of your first, it's important to be aware of fair housing legislation.
Tenants in Florida, much like everywhere else in the country, are protected by the Fair Housing Act. The purpose of this act is to ensure that all housing-related activities are done without any form of discrimination against certain individuals.
There are at least 7 protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act. They include color, disability, sex, religion, familial status, race, and national origin.
This means that, as a landlord, it’s illegal to discriminate against tenants on the basis of these characteristics.
For example, when screening tenants, it’s illegal to ask questions that discriminate based on innate characteristics.
Your screening process should select tenants based on qualifying standards, like employment and income. The number of children a tenant has, for example, should be none of your business.
Conflicts between landlords and tenants aren’t unheard of. It’s for this reason that Florida’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act contains a section in regards to revenge between tenants and landlords.
Examples of tenant actions that could lead to landlord retaliation include:
Complaints by a tenant to a relevant government body in regards to safety, building, or health violations at their rented premises.
Tenants breaking leases early for legally justified reasons, such as military deployment.
In turn, the landlord could seek revenge, for example, by:
Raising the rent amount.
Making some previously available amenities unavailable.
It's common for landlords to require security deposits from their tenants, and for good reason. Security deposits help cushion a landlord against certain liabilities. For instance, the nonpayment of rent or excessive property damage by tenants.
Florida landlord-tenant law regulates the handling of deposits by landlords. Some basic rules are as follows:
Landlords must store a tenant’s security deposit in any of three ways: an interest-bearing account, a non-interest bearing account, or a surety bond.
Landlords must notify the tenant upon receipt of their deposit.
Landlords must return the deposit within 15 days once the tenant moves out.
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