The Florida Landlord-Tenant Law

Carsandra D. Buie represents clients throughout Sanford and Seminole County in various legal matters pertaining to landlord and tenant law. Florida Landlord-tenant laws set forth in Florida Statutes at Part II, Chapter 83, Florida Residential Landlord-Tenant Act:

The law governs the rights of both landlords and tenants. Even with a signed lease, the laws “prevail over what the lease says” according to the Florida Bar Foundation.

A tenant has certain rights and responsibilities under Florida law. A tenant in a federally subsidized rental housing has rights under federal law as well. If there is no written lease, these laws regulate the tenant’s rights. If there is a written lease it should be carefully reviewed. A tenant is entitled to the right of private, peaceful possession of the dwelling. Once rented, the dwelling is the tenant’s to lawfully use.

Common Requirements for the Landlord

After the property is rented, the landlord may enter the dwelling only in order to inspect the premises or to make necessary or agreed-upon repairs and only if the landlord gives the tenant reasonable notice and comes at a convenient time.

The landlord is required to provide a dwelling that is fit to be lived in. It must have working plumbing, hot water, and heating, be structurally sound and have reasonable security, including working and locking doors and windows, and it must be free of pests.

Disputes Can Arise Between Landlords and Tenants

If the landlord contends that the tenant violated the rental agreement, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the problem and give the tenant time to correct the problem, even if the problem is nonpayment of rent, before the landlord can go to court to have the tenant removed. Tenants receiving nonpayment of rent notice should be aware that a landlord may accept part of the rent owed and still evict the tenant.

Tenants renting a condominium should be aware that the condominium association may demand that the tenant pay the rent to the association instead of the landlord. If the tenant commits a serious act endangering the property or fails to correct a problem after written notice from the landlord, the landlord still must go to court to be permitted to evict the tenant. In a court proceeding, the tenants have the right to be present and argue their case and be represented by an attorney.

If the landlord takes a security deposit, he must return the full amount of the deposit within 15 days after the tenant leaves. Before moving out the tenant must give the landlord an address for the receipt of the security deposit.

Requirements for the Tenant

The tenant, under certain circumstances caused by the landlord’s neglect, may withhold rent. Before doing so, the tenant must give the landlord seven day’s written notice of the problem so that the landlord can fix the problem.

The tenant must pay the agreed-upon rent on time, comply with building, housing and health codes, and maintain the dwelling without damage, other than normal wear and tear. The tenant must maintain the plumbing and keep the dwelling clean. The tenant must not violate the law or disturb the peace, nor allow guests to do so.

If the tenant is served with papers seeking eviction, the tenant should seek legal help. The tenant may have legal defenses. The landlord cannot try eviction when the tenant has not violated tenant responsibilities. The landlord can never remove the tenant’s property or lock the tenant out. Only the sheriff’s office may do this, after a court order and writ of possession.

Having problems with your landlord or tenant? Contact Our Law Office

If you need legal advice or representation on a landlord-tenant law issue, call attorney Carsandra D. Buie to consult with you on your legal problem. We will find an efficient way to resolve your dispute or litigate on your behalf. Call us at 800-219-3297 for more information.