What a Landlord Cannot Do Florida

In Florida, landlords have certain restrictions on what they can and cannot do. They cannot refuse to rent to someone based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. Landlords cannot discriminate against tenants based on their source of income, such as Section 8 vouchers. They cannot enter a tenant’s unit without permission, except in emergencies or to make repairs.

Landlords cannot retaliate against tenants for exercising their rights, such as reporting housing code violations or withholding rent due to unsafe conditions. If a landlord violates any of these laws, the tenant may take legal action, such as filing a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Landlord’s Duty to Maintain Property

In Florida, landlords have a legal duty to maintain their rental properties in a habitable condition. This means that the property must be safe and sanitary for tenants to live in. Landlords are responsible for making sure that the property is free from pests, mold, and other hazards. They must also make sure that the property is in good repair and that all appliances and systems are working properly.

There are a number of things that a landlord cannot do in Florida when it comes to maintaining their property. These include:

  • Failing to make repairs to the property in a timely manner.
  • Raising the rent without giving proper notice.
  • Evicting a tenant without a valid reason.
  • Harassing or intimidating a tenant.
  • Discriminating against a tenant based on race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.

If a landlord fails to meet their duty to maintain the property, tenants may have a number of legal remedies available to them. These remedies can include:

  • Withholding rent until the repairs are made.
  • Filing a complaint with the local housing authority.
  • Taking the landlord to court.

If you are a tenant and you believe that your landlord is not meeting their duty to maintain the property, you should take action to protect your rights. You can contact the local housing authority or a tenant’s rights organization for assistance.

Landlord’s DutyTenant’s Rights
Maintain the property in a habitable conditionWithhold rent until repairs are made
Make repairs in a timely mannerFile a complaint with the local housing authority
Give proper notice before raising the rentTake the landlord to court
Evict a tenant only for a valid reason
Harass or intimidate a tenant
Discriminate against a tenant

Prohibited Entry and Inspections

In Florida, landlords are restricted from entering rental units without the tenant’s consent. This is enshrined in the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The Act also protects tenants from unreasonable inspections.

Here are instances where a landlord cannot enter a rental unit:

  • Without the tenant’s consent except for the following reasons:
  • To make repairs or improvements.
  • To show the property to prospective tenants or buyers.
  • In case of an emergency.

The landlord must give the tenant reasonable notice before entering the unit. For non-emergency entry, the notice must be at least 24 hours in advance. For emergencies, the landlord must give notice as soon as possible.

The landlord can only enter the unit at reasonable times. This is generally considered to be between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. However, the landlord and tenant can agree on different times.

The landlord cannot enter the tenant’s unit if the tenant is not home. The landlord can only enter if the tenant has given permission or if there is an emergency.

If a landlord violates the tenant’s right to privacy, the tenant may take legal action. The tenant may be able to sue the landlord for damages or to get an injunction to prevent the landlord from entering the unit.

Here are some additional rules regarding landlord entry and inspections:

  • The landlord cannot use a key to enter the unit without the tenant’s consent.
  • The landlord cannot enter the unit while the tenant is sleeping.
  • The landlord cannot enter the unit while the tenant is using the bathroom or showering.
  • The landlord cannot enter the tenant’s unit to search for illegal activity without a warrant.
Summary of Landlord’s Rights to Enter a Rental Unit
Reason for EntryNotice RequiredTime of EntryTenant’s Consent Required
To make repairs or improvements24 hoursReasonable timesNo
To show the property to prospective tenants or buyers24 hoursReasonable timesNo
In case of an emergencyAs soon as possibleAny timeNo
To inspect the property24 hoursReasonable timesYes

If you are a landlord or a tenant in Florida, it is important to be aware of these rules regarding entry and inspections.

Discrimination and Fair Housing Laws

Landlords in Florida must comply with federal and state laws aimed at preventing housing discrimination and promoting fair and equal housing opportunities for all individuals and families. These laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against people based on certain protected characteristics, such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability.

Here are some specific examples of what landlords cannot do in Florida under these laws:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing to someone because of their protected characteristic.
  • Set different terms, conditions, or prices for housing based on a protected characteristic.
  • Make housing unavailable or less desirable to someone because of their protected characteristic.
  • Retaliate against someone who has filed a complaint of housing discrimination.

In addition, landlords in Florida must make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, and they cannot discriminate against families with children. This means that landlords must allow people with disabilities to make modifications to their units, such as installing grab bars or ramps, and they cannot refuse to rent to families with children.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against by a landlord, you can file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). The FCHR will investigate your complaint and take appropriate action if it finds that discrimination has occurred.

The following table summarizes the main points of Florida’s fair housing laws:

Protected CharacteristicWhat Landlords Cannot Do
Race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disabilityRefuse to rent or sell housing, set different terms or conditions, make housing unavailable or less desirable, retaliate
DisabilityFail to make reasonable accommodations
Familial statusDiscriminate against families with children

Security Deposit Restrictions

In Florida, landlords are prohibited from charging excessive security deposits or using them improperly. Here are the key restrictions on security deposits that landlords must adhere to:

  • Maximum Amount: The security deposit cannot exceed the amount of one month’s rent.
  • Non-refundable Fees: Landlords cannot charge non-refundable fees in addition to the security deposit.
  • Written Statement: Landlords must provide a written statement to tenants within 30 days of the commencement of the tenancy, specifying the amount of the security deposit, any deductions made from it, and the remaining balance.
  • Reasonable Time to Return: Landlords must return the security deposit to tenants within 15 days after the termination of the tenancy. If the deposit is withheld for damages, the landlord must provide an itemized list of the deductions made.

To further protect tenants, Florida law also imposes the following restrictions on the use of security deposits:

  • Permitted Deductions: Landlords can only deduct expenses related to damages to the premises, unpaid rent, and cleaning fees (if specified in the lease).
  • Unlawful Deductions: Landlords cannot deduct for normal wear and tear, repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility, or expenses incurred due to the landlord’s negligence.
  • Proper Notification: Landlords must notify tenants in writing before deducting any amounts from the security deposit.
ActionAllowedNot Allowed
Charging more than one month’s rent as a security depositNoYes
Charging non-refundable fees in addition to the security depositNoYes
Withholding the security deposit beyond 15 days after the termination of the tenancyNoYes
Deducting for normal wear and tearNoYes
Deducting for repairs that are the landlord’s responsibilityNoYes

Tenants who believe that their landlord has violated these restrictions can file a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

Well, that was quite an enlightening trip through the legal labyrinth of landlord-tenant relationships in the glorious state of Florida! I hope you found this article as entertaining and informative as it was intended to be. Remember, knowledge is power, and knowing your rights as a tenant is crucial in navigating the sometimes-choppy waters of renting.

Before I bid you farewell, let me remind you to bookmark this page and check back often for updates and additional articles on landlord-tenant laws and other fascinating real estate topics. Who knows, you might just stumble upon invaluable information that will come in handy down the road. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!