Renter’s Rights & Duties in the State of Florida

by Real estate financingMission+
9 minutes read

Renter Under The Law:

Regardless of how often regular payment is made, a person who pays money to live in a property is a tenant governed by Florida law. That property could be an apartment, condominium, townhome or single family house. Intervals of payment could be scheduled weekly, monthly or other time-frames. The property can be rented from an individual, a business entity or the government, even without a written lease.

Florida Statutes Part II, Chapter 83 specify the rights and responsibilities of a tenant. Called the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act, these statutes prevail over a written lease. However, a written lease may also contain specifics of the agreement that could affect the tenant’s rights. When there is no written lease, the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act regulate the tenant’s rights.

Renter’s Rights:

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LIVING CONDITIONS” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

Under Florida law, the dwelling being rented must be structurally sound and fit as a living space. Plumbing must be fully operational with hot water. Heating is required. The structure or unit must have functional locking doors and windows as part of reasonable security. There must be no pests in the living space. All health, building and safety codes must be complied with by the landlord. If there are any repairs that must be made to make the dwelling livable, the landlord must pay for them.

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LANDLORD ENTRY” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

While the renter is living in the townhome, apartment, condo, or single family house, he or she has the right of peaceful and private possession. This means that the living space is the tenant’s for use in a lawful manner. If the landlord needs to make repairs or inspect the property, he or she must give the tenant reasonable notice. Only after such notice may the landlord enter. Such entry must be arranged at a mutually convenient time. For an emergency, notice may be shorter or waived altogether.

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SECURITY DEPOSIT” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

When a tenant is required to pay a security deposit, the landlord must hold that deposit during the lease agreement. When the tenant moves out of the apartment, condo, townhome, or single family house, he or she must give the landlord an address for receipt of the security deposit and correspondences. The full amount of that deposit must be returned to the tenant within 15 days after the tenant moves out of the residence. If some or all of it won’t be returned to the renter, the landlord must provide written notice giving the reason within 30 days after the tenant’s departure. The tenant then has 15 days from receipt of that notice to object in writing. If no forwarding address was given to the landlord, the tenant may lose the right to be object to the landlord keeping the deposit.

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MOVE-OUT” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

A tenant can move out according to the lease agreement terms. If there is no written lease agreement, the renter must give written notice of his or her departure at least seven days before the next month’s rent is due for weekly rentals, or 15 days before rent is due for monthly rentals.

If the landlord does not meet major obligations of the lease or neglects to adhere to Florida law, the tenant can terminate the lease. This must be done seven days before the next rental payment is due. There are some exceptions to the rules about moving out, so tenants may wish to seek the advice of an attorney. Contact a lawyer which you can easily find in our beycome directory!

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DISPUTES” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

The landlord must provide notice to the tenant in writing if he or she claims the tenant is in violation of the lease agreement. That writing should contain the particular issue and the tenant must be provided time to fix the problem, even if the problem is non-payment of rent. If past due rent is the problem, a landlord may receive a partial payment and still evict a renter. Once the landlord has given notice in writing of the problem and allowed the tenant reasonable time to correct the problem, the landlord can then go through the court system to have the tenant evicted. If the tenant is renting a condominium and a condo association receives rent payments, the tenant should seek advice from an attorney.

Even in cases wherein the tenant commits a crime on the property, otherwise endangers the residence or fails to correct a problem after receiving written notice, the landlord still must go through the courts to gain eviction. Tenants are fully allowed to be present in court proceedings and can argue his or her case. The tenant can also be represented by an attorney.

If the landlord is not complying with the law, such as not providing a safe, habitable home in compliance with housing codes, the tenant may be able to withhold rent. Before the tenant can withhold rent, he or she must inform the landlord of the problem in writing. The landlord then has seven days to fix the issue. If the tenant withholds rent, he or she should save that money for court permission to use it to fix the associated problem that the landlord did not. If the tenant does not go through the courts and fails to keep the rent money available, the tenant can be evicted. If either party takes the other to court, the party who loses in court may be required to pay attorney’s fees and other costs for the other.

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EVICTION” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

A tenant can be evicted if he or she does not pay agreed rent amount on time. Court orders are required to evict a tenant, after the tenant has been provided written notice of the problem. A landlord cannot seek to evict a renter after the tenant complained about legitimate housing conditions to authorities, as retaliation for that complaint.

Landlords are not permitted to lock tenants out or turn off the tenant’s utilities without court order of eviction. If this is done without court permission, the landlord may owe the tenant up to three months’ rent or other financial damages. Only the Sheriff’s department can lock a tenant out when a Writ of Possession and Court Order are provided.

Once a tenant is provided eviction papers, that renter should seek the assistance of an attorney to see if he or she has legal defense. In eviction cases, tenants have to act quickly because there is very little time allowed for response.

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RENTER’S DUTIES” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

The tenant of the rented apartment, condo, townhouse, or single family house has the responsibility to use the property in a lawful manner according to the lease agreement. The tenant must not damage the property beyond normal wear and tear. All building, housing and health codes must be adhered to by the tenant. The apartment, condo, townhouse, or single family dwelling must be kept clean with working plumbing. The tenant is also responsible to ensure nobody in the dwelling violates the law or disturbs the peace.Tenants must pay the full amount of the rent on time, as agreed within the written lease or verbally prior to move-in. Partial payments of rent still leave the tenant vulnerable to eviction.

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DISPUTES” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

If the tenant is notified in writing by the landlord of non-compliance to the lease or Florida law, the tenant must fix the problem within the specified time period. If the tenant does not correct the issue according to that written notice, the landlord may take the tenant to court for eviction or other action.

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REPORTING OF PROBLEMS” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

If the tenant has a problem with the landlord’s non-compliance with the lease or Florida law, he or she must give the landlord written notice of the issue, with seven days to fix the problem. This must be done before withholding any rent. The tenant then should save that rent money and seek assistance from the court to fix the problem using those funds. Without seeking court guidance, the tenant may be evicted.

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MOVE-OUT” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left|color:%23222222″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” el_class=”text-transform” css=”.vc_custom_1502167026073″]

The tenant must comply with lease terms for move-out of the townhome, apartment, condo or single family dwelling. Up to sixty days’ notice may be required by Florida leases, before move-out is granted. When there is no written lease, the tenant must provide seven days’ notice for weekly rentals or 15 days’ notice for monthly rentals. Upon move-out, the tenant must provide the landlord with a forwarding address for receipt of any correspondence and for return of the security deposit.

Source: http://www.floridabar.org

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