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In most cases, a landlord can ask for as much as two months' rent as a security deposit, unless the apartment is furnished or the tenant has a water bed. Tenants who rent a furnished apartment can be required to pay as much as three months' rent as a security deposit, and water bed owners may have to pay an additional half-month's rent. Security deposits must be returned within three weeks of tenant move-out.
Tenants have the right to housing that is “livable.” Landlords are responsible for keeping the building up to code and insuring that all systems (such as heat and plumbing) are in working order. Landlords must provide working deadbolt locks on outside doors and functioning smoke detectors. Tenants are likewise responsible for keeping their homes clean and in good repair. Landlords are not required to make repairs caused by the tenant or his guests. Furthermore, unless the lease specifies otherwise, landlords are not legally responsible for making repairs to appliances or amenities (such as washing machines or swimming pools).
Termination of Tenancy
If a tenant is on a month-to-month lease, and, along with all other tenants in the unit, has lived in a rental unit for a year or more, she usually has a right to 60 days notice if the landlord wants to terminate the rental agreement. Exceptions to this rule are when the landlord has sold the unit to someone who wants to move in right away, or when the tenant or tenants have not lived in the unit for more than a year. In such cases, landlord must give 30 days notice. If a tenant is involved in certain illegal, dangerous, or harassing activities, the landlord may only need to give the tenant three days notice before beginning eviction procedures.
Peace and Quiet
A tenant has the right to peace and quiet in her home. Landlords cannot enter a rental unit without providing the tenant with at least 24 hours notice, except in an emergency. Landlords must also take action against tenants who are disturbing the peace and quiet of other tenants. Failure to do so can give a tenant the right to terminate a lease early with no penalty. Tenants are also responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in their buildings. Tenants who disturb the quiet other tenants, or who allow their guests to do so, can be evicted.
Mobile Home Park Tenants
Tenants who rent a mobile home from a private owner are subject to the same landlord-tenant laws as tenants in standard housing. However, a mobile home owner who rents space in a mobile home park, or who rents a mobile home directly from a mobile home park, has special protections. These include “just cause” eviction (a mobile home park owner can’t refuse to renew a lease without good reason) and the right to be offered at least a 12-month lease upon move-in.
The law requires the landlord to keep the apartment in a livable condition. Landlords must provide necessary services such as hot water, heat and electricity, and keep common areas in proper condition. The landlord must also keep the plumbing in proper working order. Tenants may have the right to withhold rent if landlords fail to make necessary repairs.
Florida tenant law prescribes certain responsibilities for renters. These include complying with building codes; maintaining a reasonable level of cleanliness in the apartment; taking out the their garbage; using elevators properly; and using electricity, plumbing and other facilities responsibly. Tenants must also refrain from disturbing other tenants.
A landlord must give tenants three days' written notice before beginning eviction proceedings. If the grounds for eviction are not resolved, then the landlord can file suit. If the judge allows the suit to proceed, then the tenant will have five days to avoid eviction, at which point the landlord can legally remove the tenant from the premises.
The tenant retains certain privacy rights over his rented apartment even if he does not own it or the building. Landlords are not permitted to enter the tenant's home without cause. Just cause would include emergencies or when the tenant gives permission. Landlords cannot enter an apartment to forcibly obtain owed rent or repossess the tenant's property as a form of payment for rent.