Jacksonville FL Landlord-Tenant Law
April 9, 2020
A wide array of federal, state and local laws govern the relationship between Jacksonville, Florida landlords and tenants. One of these laws is the statewide Florida landlord-tenant law.
Understanding these federal laws are important for both landlords and tenants in order to avoid any potential legal conflicts, such as violating health codes or a tenant who will withhold rent or tenant disputes over the amount of rent to be paid, for example. The landlord-tenant relationship can spiral to the point where one or the other will want early termination of the rental agreement. A landlord must provide an eviction notice.
The landlord-tenant law is governed by Florida Statutes Chapter 83. It stipulates what rights and responsibilities the landlord and tenant have in regards to living in/managing a dwelling unit. If a landlord fails or a tenant fails to follow the Florida state law, there will be legal consequences.
Innovative Property Solutions has made this article as an overview of the landlord-tenant law in Florida and what it means for your Jacksonville property.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
As stated in the Florida landlord-tenant laws, the following are the declarations that every rental property owner in Florida has to disclose to their tenants before allowing them to sign the rental agreement:
- The identity of the landlord. Florida landlord laws say that they must disclose the name and address of the person authorized to handle all the necessary management matters in the lease during the rental period. (See Fla. Stat. Ann. §83.50).
- Warning about Radon. Levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in any applicable building in Florida. A landlord must disclose its presence in the lease, as it is a radioactive gas that might present certain health risks. (See Fla. Sta. Ann. §404.056).
- Warning about fires. Florida law mandates that in all buildings greater than 3 stories tall, new tenants need to be made aware of the availability of fire protection. (See Fla. Stat. Ann. §83.50).
- Rules about a security deposit. A landlord must also disclose the rules about deposits in the lease. The rules include details such as: whether the tenants' deposit will be kept in a separate interest bearing account or non-interest-bearing account, the account depository’s name, and the time and rate of any interest payments, all placed in a Florida banking institution. (See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§83.49, 83.43 (12)).
- Details about rent. When it comes to periodic rental payments, landlords in Florida must disclose things in the lease like the rent amount, when rent is due, length of the tenancy, grace period, acceptable payment methods, and the price of late fees.
Related: Florida Security Deposit Laws
Florida Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
Under Florida laws, the following are the basic Florida renters' rights, even if they're not specifically mentioned in any lease agreements drawn up for the tenancy. A tenant has the right to:
- Remain in the rental premises until the due eviction process of the tenants has been carried out, so you cannot perform an illegal eviction that includes of things like removing the tenant's personal property
- Have repairs done in a timely manner
- Be notified of any changes that are made to the written lease or rental agreement
- Be notified when the landlord receives their security or rent deposits
- Live in a peaceful and quiet rental home
- Live in a home that meets both Jacksonville and Florida safety, health and building codes
Below are the basic tenant responsibilities under Florida law. A tenant is responsible for:
- Providing proper notice prior to moving out
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease
- Providing payment of rent on time without fail, to not pay rent owed could result in severe consequences
- Taking care of the rental premises, such as keeping it clean and sanitary, or else risk losing the deposit
- Providing written notice when leaving for a period of time/when the remaining tenant knows of an intended absence from the premises for more than a few days
- Informing the landlord, in writing, of any needed repairs
Florida Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
In the state of Florida, the landlord-tenant laws indicate that landlords have these basic rights:
- The tenants must abide by all terms stipulated under the lease or else face consequences such as the loss of their security deposit
- The tenants should inform them, in writing, of any needed repairs
- Month-to-month tenants must provide reasonable notice prior to moving out of the rental unit
- The tenants should provide such notice to the landlord when they are leaving the premises for an extended period of time.
Below are the basic responsibilities of a Florida residential landlord, according to landlord-tenant laws in Florida:
- Abiding by the terms of the lease for the rental unit
- Following the entire legal procedure when evicting tenants
- Providing 24 hours’ written notice prior to entering a tenant’s home
- Attending to any repair requests promptly, ideally with written notice
- Ensuring the property adheres to the state’s health and building codes
- Maintaining a peaceful, quiet place of residence
Related: Jacksonville, Florida Eviction Process
An Overview of the Florida Rental Laws
Under Florida landlord-tenant laws, every renter in Jacksonville has a right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their dwelling unit. As per Florida statutes, landlords must provide further notice to the tenant within 24 hours prior to entering their homes. Some of the reasons why landlords may need to enter a tenant’s home include:
- To make any requested repairs
- Following a court order
- During an emergency
- To show the property to a potential renter, buyer or mortgager
- When there are sufficient reasons to believe a tenant has abandoned the rented premises and a landlord needs to recover possession of the dwelling
Warranty of Habitability
According to every written rental agreement, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to keep their rental premises up to a habitable standard. Housing and health codes must be followed to avoid sometimes severe penalties. The following are the common characteristics of a habitable dwelling unit. Under landlord-tenant laws, a property should have:
- Properly functioning locks
- Properly repaired and maintained stairways, floors, and railings
- Clean and vermin-free grounds, at least at the time of renting
- Lighting, electrical and plumbing facilities that are up to code
- Effective weatherproofing of the exterior walls, the roof, and windows
Fair Housing Laws
Any form of discrimination that Florida landlords may have towards a tenant is illegal in Jacksonville, FL. It's among the landlord responsibilities to treat all tenants equally. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on certain classes, even if there's no written agreement. If a landlord elects to violate the Fair Housing Act, it can have legal consequences. These include:
A security deposit is any advance payment a tenant makes to a landlord prior to signing the lease. While Florida doesn’t set a limit to how much they can ask for a security deposit, most landlords often ask for the equivalent of one or two months' rent. Written otice must be given to the tenant as well, which can be described in any and all rental agreements more thoroughly in security deposit laws, including how to impose a claim.
Under the rental agreement, Florida landlords may require security deposit money for many reasons, such as to:
- Cushion themselves against defaults in rent payment/nonpayment of rent
- Help cover any damages a tenant causes that exceed normal wear-and-tear
- Cushion themselves against income loss in the event a tenant breaks the lease early
Jacksonville Tenants Rights to Withold Rent
Tenants in Jacksonville have several remedies when a tenant's landlord fails to take care of important repairs. To withhold rent is more common while the tenant wanting to terminate the rental agreement is the extreme. Other more common remedies include:
- The tenant withholding rent until the landlord handles the repairs (unpaid rent is legal in this case)
- The tenant suing the landlord for not carrying out their responsibility as stated in the lease agreement
- The tenant exercising their right to repair the damage themselves and then deducting the amounts from the rent
- The tenant calling the state or local health inspectors on their landlord
Small Claims Lawsuits
When all fails, both the landlord and tenant can seek legal redress in a local small claims court. A small claims court can help handle conflicts arising from things like a security deposit and property damage.
In Florida, the amount a litigant can recover is limited to $8,000 (as of April 2020).
Disclaimer: This blog is only meant to be informational and not a substitute for legal advice. If you need more help, please consider hiring professional attorney services or a real estate management company.