How Do Tenants Properly Withhold Rent in Florida?

Tenant and Landlord discussing withholding rent

Under Florida law, Landlords must keep rental properties free of dangerous conditions. Tenants can withhold rent if the following requirements are satisfied:

  • Notice in Writing: The tenant must notify the landlord in writing of the landlord’s noncompliance.
  • Intent and Reason Not to Pay Rent: In the writing notifying the landlord of noncompliance, the tenant must indicate his or her intent to withhold rent payment and the reason why tenant is withholding rent.
  • 7-Day Period: From the date of the tenant’s written notice, the landlord has 7 days to fix the problem. The tenant can withhold rent if the landlord does not complete the repair within 7 days.
  • Permit Landlord Entry to Make Repairs: The tenant must allow the landlord to enter the property and make repairs or complete the maintenance requested in tenant’s written notice. 

What Are a Landlord’s Obligations for Maintaining a Unit?

According to Florida Statute 83.51, a landlord shall, at all times during a tenancy, comply with the applicable building, housing, and health codes. If there are no codes to comply with, the landlord must maintain the roofs, steps, doors, windows, and all other structural components in good working condition.

Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, a landlord for a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall at all times make reasonable accommodations for:

  • Exterminating rats, mice, roaches, ants, termites, and bedbugs; 
  • Maintaining locks and keys; 
  • Maintaining clean and safe common areas;
  • Garbage removal; and 
  • Maintaining functioning heat during the winter, running water, and hot water.

However, a landlord may provide in a rental agreement that the tenant is obligated to pay for costs or charges of garbage removal, water, and other utilities, so it’s essential to always review your agreement before signing it to understand your rights and obligations under the lease.

Additionally, under Florida Statute 83.51, a landlord is not responsible to the tenant for any negligent acts of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or any other individual located on the property with the tenant’s consent.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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