Florida landlord-tenant laws guide

Although Florida has been recognized as a mostly tenant-friendly state, legally speaking, it has become less burdensome for landlords in recent years. Beyond a great vacation spot, Florida is fast becoming a more permanent residence for families, college students and senior citizens.

 

At a Glance:

Late Fees: There are no limits put on how much a landlord may charge for a late fee.

Security Deposit: The statutes do not specify a maximum limit for a collected security deposit.

Returned Payment Fee Limit: In Florida, the landlord may charge a bounced check fee of either $25, if the payment does not exceed $50; $30, if the payment is $51 – $299 or $40, if the payment is $300 or more.

Notice to Enter: Unless there is an emergency or if agreed upon otherwise, the landlord or property manager must give the renter 12 hours’ notice before entering the leased premises.

 

Security Deposits:

In the Sunshine State, there are no stated restrictions on the amount you may charge, and no interest payment requirement. Clear security deposit policies should be spelled out in the lease agreement, and in the event of a dispute the judge will ask to review the lease. When accepting pets, if you wish to collect a pet deposit, they are treated as an extension of the security deposit and all the same rules apply. Security deposits cannot be commingled with personal or operating banking accounts.

At the end of the tenancy, when the landlord is ready to release the security deposit, it must be sent to the tenant’s forwarding address or last known address within fifteen days. However, if any deductions are being made, the landlord may have thirty days. For deposits where deductions are made, specific language found in the Florida Landlord-Tenant statutes must be used.

 

Eviction:

Step One – Proper notice is sent to the offending tenant. If rent is not paid, a 3-day notice must be given. The amount may only be the rent and not include other charges. Once the tenant pays rent, case closed. IF the tenant breaks a term of the lease, a 7-day notice would be provided to the tenant. That tenant must stop or fix the problem, if applicable. Most leases specify how to serve the notice. If not, personal service, mailing first class or certified are good ways. **Each day is counted on the first day after notice is delivered. Do not include weekends or holidays in your count.

Step Two – Tenant does not pay or correct the problem. It would then be time to go to the district or local court where the rental property is located and complete a complaint. Another option is to see if there is an online option for filing.

Step Three – Go to court, be prepared with ledgers or proof of paid rent, any notices, letters or communication, police reports, as applicable. It never hurts to create a time-line or outline for reference for court. OR contact an attorney for representation.

 

Questions? Ask a Florida Attorney!

Have questions about Florida’s landlord-tenant laws?  We have you covered.  Ask in the box below, to have your questions answered by living, flesh-and-blood attorneys!

 

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