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Florida Renters Rights

Florida Renters Rights

Before You Rent in FL

The Sunshine State really is hot stuff – in fact average temperatures in July and August are in the low 90s. But the great weather and miles of beach are just two reasons why lots of people move to Florida and join its other 18 million residents.

Students can choose from 11 state universities and a number of private institutions too. Families and young professionals have many opportunities in big cities like Miami and tourist centers like Orlando.

Whatever your circumstance, we hope you find the right place to call home. If you’re renting it really makes sense to know your rights. So we’ve put together a quick guide to some of the key points.

Rental Agreements

Remember you don’t have to agree to a rental contract. If there’s something in it you don’t like – and it pays to read a lease carefully – change it, or don’t sign it at all! Remember, there’s no grace period for rental contracts, if you sign it, you’re bound by it.

It’s always best to take a look at the apartment in person if possible - that way you can spot any problems, flag them for repair or at least get the landlord to agree that they were there before you moved in.

Technically a rental agreement can be written or oral, but for your own protection always insist on a written one. If there’s a dispute it’s not easy to prove your point if you have nothing in writing.

Deposit and Rent Requirements

The most common reasons for deposits are to protect your landlord from damage. That’s why it makes sense to have a good look at the property and note down or photograph (with a date stamp) any damage before you sign the lease. Give a copy to your landlord and keep one for yourself.

The landlord's responsibilities

These vary depending on your type of rental unit. If it’s a single-family home or duplex the landlord must:

  • Comply with the applicable building, housing and health codes.
  • Where there are no applicable codes they must keep the roof, windows, screens, floor, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations and all other structural components in good repair.
  • Keep the plumbing in reasonably good working condition.

Landlords of other units – like an apartment - must take reasonable measures to exterminate rats, mice, ants, wood destroying organisms and bed bugs; provide locks and keys; keep common areas clean and safe; arrange garbage removal and provide outside receptacles and ensure functional heat during winter plus running water. Hot water must also be available.

Remember this doesn’t mean the landlord has to pay for utilities, water, fuel or garbage removal – they just have to make arrangements for them to be available. Check your lease to make sure that it’s crystal clear who pays for what.

Your responsibilities

  • You have to comply with all building, housing and health codes and keep the dwelling clean and sanitary.
  • Remove garbage in a clean and sanitary manner.
  • Keep plumbing fixtures clean, and in good repair.
  • Not destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or property belonging to the landlord – or let anyone else do that.
  • To conduct yourself or make sure your guests conduct themselves in a manner that doesn’t unreasonably disturb your neighbors or cause a breach of the peace.
  • Safely and responsibly use and operate all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances.

Withholding Rent

If you’ve got legitimate concerns about your unit and its condition or state of repair and your landlord doesn’t do anything about it, you can withhold the monthly rent. But you must notify your landlord by certified mail seven days before your monthly rent is due. And you need to state that they’ve failed to comply with Section 83.60 of the Florida Statutes. Remember you have to pay the landlord the rent if repairs are made within an allocated time.

Access to the Property

You’ve got rights to privacy, but your landlord also has the right to access the property within reason – as long as you’ve been given proper notice. However, the landlord can enter your property at ANY time if you’ve unreasonably withheld consent for him to enter, or there’s an emergency (like a burst pipe), or if you’ve been absent from the property for one half of the rental payment period without telling your landlord.

Security Deposit

After you’ve moved out, if the landlord wants to keep any, or all, of your security deposit he must follow specific procedures. If the landlord hasn’t made a claim after thirty days from the end of your lease you should contact an attorney and start taking steps to get it back. If you’re comfortable with it, you can take your case to the small claims court yourself.

The price of protection

If we were to go through all the law on Renters Rights in Florida it would take hundreds of pages. But we hope this gives you a small idea of some of your rights – and your landlord’s responsibilities. You can most likely settle minor disputes yourself; however, you may want to consult a lawyer for more complicated matters.

It also makes sense to take out our Renters Insurance – because your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your personal possessions – or your personal liability if you accidentally damage your, your neighbors or your landlord’s property. For less than a dollar a day* you can count on us to protect you from:

  • Theft, fire, wind, smoke and vandalism coverage
  • Water damage liability protection for your unit
  • Personal liability coverage

Find out more about getting protected today!

*Based on a national average cost of $10,000 personal property coverage, $50,000 personal liability coverage, $250 deductible, and replacement cost. Visit our website for an exact quote based on your state and the amount of coverage you need.

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All insurance products are offered by The Signal, L.P. The Signal, L.P. is a licensed Insurance agency appointed by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida and American Security Insurance Company. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida and American Security Insurance Company are Assurant, Inc. companies licensed to offer insurance products. Protect Your Bubble, the Protect Your Bubble logo, Bubble and Squeak and other Protect Your Bubble trademarks, service marks, graphics and logos used in connection with this website are trademarks of Assurant, Inc. in the United States.