Florida Tenant Landlord Act

By Kate Fogle
Know the law before you rent.
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Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes provides the law governing relations between landlords and tenants. The chapter covers nonresidential tenancies, residential tenancies and self-service storage space. Part II, known as the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, governs the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants who enter a rental agreement for property that will be used by the tenant as a place to live.

General Provisions

The law requires landlords and tenants to act in good faith and gives courts the right to refuse to enforce a rental agreement that it finds unconscionable. A rental agreement for less than one year may be an oral agreement, but longer agreements must be in writing. The duration of the tenancy is either specified in the rental agreement or, if not specified, determined by the period covered by each rent payment.

Landlord Responsibilities

The landlord must maintain rental property in compliance with the law, keep the building structurally sound and maintain the plumbing in working order. For properties that are not single-family dwellings or duplexes, the landlord must provide running hot and cold water, heat in the winter, garbage removal and pest control, as well as maintaining common areas in a safe and clean condition. The landlord is required to provide a smoke detection device for single-family homes and duplexes.

Tenant Responsibilities

The tenant is responsible for keeping the premises clean and sanitary. The tenant must remove garbage from the premises and keep the plumbing clean and in good repair. The tenant may not damage or remove the landlord's property and must not disturb the other tenants. The tenant is required to use the landlord's facilities and appliances in a reasonable way. The tenant must also monitor guests to ensure compliance with these rules.

Right of Access

The tenant has a right to privacy, but the landlord may access the property with written notice to make repairs, supply services or show the property to others when necessary. The landlord may enter the premises without notice with the tenant's consent, in an emergency, when the tenant refuses to consent without reason and when the tenant has been gone for a time equal to half the normal rental period.

Remedies

If a landlord violates the terms of the rental agreement, the tenant may withhold the rent, but only after giving notice in writing at least seven days before the rent is due. If a tenant violates the terms of the rental agreement, the landlord may evict the tenant. The landlord must give the tenant a three-day notice of eviction for nonpayment of rent or a seven-day notice of other noncompliance before filing the proceeding.

About the Author

Kate Fogle, an attorney and former English teacher, is the communications director for a non-profit agency in Stockton, Calif. Prior to recent articles on eHow.com, her writing has been published in-house for professional purposes. Fogle is a graduate of UC Davis with a JD from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall.