Florida law does not discuss prorated rent that's collected when a tenant moves in before the first of the month. It does discuss the possibility for prorated rent in three different circumstances — company housing, tenants staying after the lease expires, and tenants losing possession of the unit through eviction, surrender or abandonment. If prorations are addressed in the lease, then the provisions are binding, unless they violate the law.
Florida Statute 83 — the Landlord and Tenant Law — governs the behavior of rental participants. The law addresses many areas of potential conflict, but circumstances can arise that are not covered in the statute. In this case, the terms and conditions of the lease are binding on both the landlord and tenant, unless the terms are deemed unconscionable and, therefore, unenforceable. If the lease states a policy for proration of rent, it must be followed.
The law doesn't address prorated rent that a tenant usually pays if the move-in date is prior to the first of the month; those conditions are in the lease. However, the Florida Landlord and Tenant Law does allow for the possibility of prorated rent in three types of circumstances: if a company is providing housing and the employee is fired, the lease expires and the tenant remains; if the tenant is evicted; or if the tenant abandons the property.
Florida Statute 83.46 (3) is concerned with the situation in which an employee, who is provided with free housing as a condition of his employment, either quits or is fired. In these types of situations, there's typically no lease and no mention of the rent, since the employee lives in the unit free of charge. The law states the employer is entitled to rent for the period of time between the employee's termination and the date the employee vacates the living quarters. The charged rent is equivalent to the comparable rents in the area.
Florida Statute 83.58 discusses what happens when the tenant stays in the unit after the lease expires. If the extension is without the landlord's approval, the landlord may follow the legal eviction process. In Florida, this is easily accomplished in less than a month, if the steps are followed precisely. If you miss a step or do it incorrectly, the process has to start over from the beginning. The landlord is entitled to double the rent during the time the tenant refuses to vacate the premises.
Florida Statute 83.595 addresses the situation that arises when a landlord takes possession of a property after a tenant has abandoned or surrendered it, or was evicted. The landlord may consider the lease terminated and take possession for his own account; or he takes possession of the unit for the account of the tenant. In this case, the landlord holds the tenant responsible for paying the difference between what the lease stipulated as rent and what the landlord recovers from re-leasing it. The landlord must make a good-faith effort to rent the unit.
Pat O'Connor is the broker/owner of The Veritas Real Estate Group in Coral Springs, Fla. She holds a M.A. in psychology from the University of South Carolina. O'Connor has been writing real estate and loan origination textbooks, as well as developing online courses, since 2005. Her latest publication is the kindle ebook, "The SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator National Exam Study Guide."