For anyone wanting to rent a Florida condo or any Florida condominium owner thinking about leasing out their Florida condo as an investment, it’s important to know there have been changes to Florida landlord – tenant law that became effective this summer (effective on July 1, 2013) which may impact your decision to lease as well as your future landlord-tenant relationship should you decide to rent the condo.
Florida Landlord – Tenant Law can be found in Chapter 83, Part II of the Florida Statutes. It is in this section of the Florida statutes where the legal requirements for landlords and tenants in leasing Florida condos and other Florida residences can be found.
There were several changes made to these statutes this year; here are some examples that will impact on renting Florida condos:
1. Florida Statute 83.64 Curtails Retaliation Against Tenant When Association Is Involved
Florida laws were changed this year that impact properties overseen by either Cooperatives, Condominium Associations, or Homeowners’ Associations. When the owner of the condo (or home or other property) is delinquent on his or her obligations to the association, then that group can try and get paid by demanding that the tenant living in the condo pay their rent to the association instead of the landlord.
That’s not new, that’s been Florida law. What the 2013 amendment does is make it illegal for the landlord to then retaliate against the tenant who did what the demand required: this makes things easier for the tenant stuck between a rock and a hard place when the landlord and the association are at odds, and it also helps the association meet its community responsibilities (like upkeep and maintenance of common areas, etc.). Landlords and Florida condo owners may not be as happy with the non-retaliation provision.
Here is the full text of this amended Florida law:
(1) It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminatorily increase a tenant’s rent or decrease services to a tenant, or to bring or threaten to bring an action for possession or other civil action, primarily because the landlord is retaliating against the tenant. In order for the tenant to raise the defense of retaliatory conduct, the tenant must have acted in good faith. Examples of conduct for which the landlord may not retaliate include, but are not limited to, situations where:
(a) The tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, or health code of a suspected violation applicable to the premises;
(b) The tenant has organized, encouraged, or participated in a tenants’ organization;
(c) The tenant has complained to the landlord pursuant to s. 83.56(1); or
(d) The tenant is a servicemember who has terminated a rental agreement pursuant to s. 83.682.
(2) Evidence of retaliatory conduct may be raised by the tenant as a defense in any action brought against him or her for possession.
(3) In any event, this section does not apply if the landlord proves that the eviction is for good cause. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, good faith actions for nonpayment of rent, violation of the rental agreement or of reasonable rules, or violation of the terms of this chapter.
(4) “Discrimination” under this section means that a tenant is being treated differently as to the rent charged, the services rendered, or the action being taken by the landlord, which shall be a prerequisite to a finding of retaliatory conduct.
2. Florida Statute 83.56 Changes Eviction Process
There are several changes in the eviction process that became effective this summer, making it easier for Florida landlords to kick out people leasing their Florida condos. Tenants still face strict eviction procedures if they fail to pay rent or they do not abide by “reasonable rules or regulations” under the lease – but other lease violations give the tenant a bit of wiggle room.
Under Florida Statute 83.56(2), it is now Florida law for landlords to give the tenant a chance to cure a violation of the terms of the lease before any eviction process can start; however, if the tenant does the same thing again within the next year (the violation of the lease reoccurs within 12 months), then there’s no longer any need for the landlord to give another warning to fix things: the eviction process can start immediately. No second chance here for the waffling tenant under Florida law.
(2) If the tenant materially fails to comply with s. 83.52 or material provisions of the rental agreement, other than a failure to pay rent, or reasonable rules or regulations, the landlord may:
(a) If such noncompliance is of a nature that the tenant should not be given an opportunity to cure it or if the noncompliance constitutes a subsequent or continuing noncompliance within 12 months of a written warning by the landlord of a similar violation, deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying the noncompliance and the landlord’s intent to terminate the rental agreement by reason thereof. Examples of noncompliance which are of a nature that the tenant should not be given an opportunity to cure include, but are not limited to, destruction, damage, or misuse of the landlord’s or other tenants’ property by intentional act or a subsequent or continued unreasonable disturbance. In such event, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement, and the tenant shall have 7 days from the date that the notice is delivered to vacate the premises. The notice shall be adequate if it is in substantially the following form:
You are advised that your lease is terminated effective immediately. You shall have 7 days from the delivery of this letter to vacate the premises. This action is taken because (cite the noncompliance) .
(b) If such noncompliance is of a nature that the tenant should be given an opportunity to cure it, deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying the noncompliance, including a notice that, if the noncompliance is not corrected within 7 days from the date the written notice is delivered, the landlord shall terminate the rental agreement by reason thereof. Examples of such noncompliance include, but are not limited to, activities in contravention of the lease or this act such as having or permitting unauthorized pets, guests, or vehicles; parking in an unauthorized manner or permitting such parking; or failing to keep the premises clean and sanitary. The notice shall be adequate if it is in substantially the following form:
You are hereby notified that (cite the noncompliance) . Demand is hereby made that you remedy the noncompliance within 7 days of receipt of this notice or your lease shall be deemed terminated and you shall vacate the premises upon such termination. If this same conduct or conduct of a similar nature is repeated within 12 months, your tenancy is subject to termination without your being given an opportunity to cure the noncompliance.
3. Florida Statute 83.62(1) Lets Landlords Evict on Weekends and Holidays
Florida Statute 83.62(1) applies to situations where there has already been a judgment of eviction and it’s a question of when the landlord can physically take possession of the condo. Under Florida law now, the Florida clerk must issue a writ to the local sheriff that puts the landlord in possession of the property within 24 hours notice being posted on the condo premises. It does not matter if this involves a legal holiday, a Saturday, or a Sunday. The notice gets posted and the clock starts ticking.
(1) In an action for possession, after entry of judgment in favor of the landlord, the clerk shall issue a writ to the sheriff describing the premises and commanding the sheriff to put the landlord in possession after 24 hours’ notice conspicuously posted on the premises. Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays do not stay the 24-hour notice period.
Larry Tolchinsky’s Tip:
These changes are now the law of the State of Florida, and these are three examples of several changes made to Florida landlord-tenant law. What about those lease forms that Florida landlords may have already printed and ready to use? Their language isn’t going to jive with the new laws — but there is a window where these pretty printed forms can still be used that ends on December 31, 2013.
The Florida statutes will control, however: landlords and tenants might consider checking with a Florida real estate attorney or Florida condo lawyer about amending these forms or revising language in lease documents to match what the law now requires from both landlords and tenants.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to Chat with Larry in the comments below, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in general comments.