Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law several changes to the Florida Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (Fl. St. ch. 83, pt. 2). These changes certainly affect landlords, property managers, and investors. These changes take effect on July 1, 2023. The following is a brief review of the changes.
MONTH-TO-MONTH TENANCY TERMINATION
Under HB 1417, landlords must now give to tenants at least 30 days’ written notice prior to the end of the monthly period to terminate a month-to-month tenancy. It used to be 15 days’ notice. This will require landlords to further plan ahead regarding termination of month-to-month tenancies. In a real and practical sense, this is a major change for landlords and will change much of the way landlords do business.
TERMINATION OF TENANCY WITH SPECIFIC TERM
Under HB 1417, F.S. 83.575(1) now reads (updated provision bolded):
83.575 Termination of tenancy with specific duration.— (1) A rental agreement with a specific duration may contain a provision requiring the tenant to notify the landlord within a specified period before vacating the premises at the end of the rental agreement, if such provision requires the landlord to notify the tenant within such notice period if the rental agreement will not be renewed; however, a rental agreement may not require less than 30 days’ notice or more than 60 days’ notice from either the tenant or the landlord.
Under this amendment, if the lease agreement requires the tenant to provide the landlord with a Notice of Intent to Vacate the premises at the end of the lease term, the tenant cannot be required to provide the landlord less than 30 days’ notice of their intent to vacate, and the notice requirement cannot go past 60 days prior to the end of the lease term. So, the tenant’s notice to the landlord must be delivered between 30 and 60 days from the natural expiration of the lease term. Prior to this amendment, there was no minimum number of days required to give the landlord such notice. Be sure update your forms and templates.
NOTICE TO ACCESS PREMISES
F.S. 83.53(2) now requires landlords to give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice to access the premises (not including emergencies). It used to be 12 hours’ notice. Be sure to update all of your notice to access forms and email templates.
FEE IN LIEU OF SECURITY DEPOSIT
There has been a major market push for landlords to offer tenants an option not to pay a security deposit if they sign up for a “fee in lieu of security deposit program”. There are many companies that offer this service now. The service is effectively where the tenant pays to the company a small fee (usually less than 5% of the security deposit amount each month), and in exchange, the company promises the landlord to pay for damages caused by the tenant during the tenancy.
Given these companies’ market presence and success, they have been able to lobby the Florida legislative brach to introduce an amendment to the statute that codifies the process and procedure for landlords to offer this service to tenants and the tenants’ rights in this regard.
This article does not deep dive into the specifics of this statute. Suffice it to say, the amendment (now F.S. 83.491) effectively does the following:
“The bill amends and expands the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The bill provides that a landlord may offer a tenant the option to pay a fee, or monthly fees, in lieu of paying the traditional security deposit for a rental unit. The bill gives the landlord the option to permit a tenant to pay a security deposit in monthly installments.
“If the landlord and tenant agree to a fee in lieu of a deposit, the agreement must disclose that:
- The tenant has the option to pay the security deposit instead of the fee at any time.
- The fee is nonrefundable.
- The landlord’s use of the fee to purchase an insurance product does not affect the tenant’s liability for rent, damages, or other amounts owed.
- The landlord has exclusive discretion whether to offer tenants the option to pay a fee in lieu of a deposit.
- A landlord may not submit an insurance claim for a tenant’s unpaid rent, fees, or other obligations or damages to premises until 15 days after the landlord notifies the tenant of the amounts owed.
“The bill applies to rental agreements entered into or renewed on or after July 1, 2023.”
STATE PREEMPTION OVER LOCAL AUTHORITY
Under HB 1417, the addition of 83.425 takes away all local authority to regulate landlord-tenant relationships governed under F.S. 83 ch. 83, pt. 2. It states,
83.425 Preemption.—The regulation of residential tenancies, the landlord-tenant relationship, and all other matters covered under this part are preempted to the state. This section supersedes any local government regulations on matters covered under this part, including, but not limited to, the screening process used by a landlord in approving tenancies; security deposits; rental agreement applications and fees associated with such applications; terms and conditions of rental agreements; the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant; disclosures concerning the premises, the dwelling unit, the rental agreement, or the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant; fees charged by the landlord; or notice requirements.
This will make landlord-tenant law and business uniform, as landlords do not have to worry about local governments changing how landlords are to conduct business within the local jurisdiction.
Here are some highlights under the new F.S. 83.515, which imposes a number of obligations on landlords to run background checks as a condition of employment.
Miya’s law applies to “landlord of a public lodging establishment classified under s. 509.242(1)(d) or (e)”. F.S. 509.242(1)(d) and (e) define “nontransient apartment” and “transient apartment” as follows:
- (d) Nontransient apartment.—A nontransient apartment is a building or complex of buildings in which 75 percent or more of the units are available for rent to nontransient tenants.
- (e) Transient apartment.—A transient apartment is a building or complex of buildings in which more than 25 percent of the units are advertised or held out to the public as available for transient occupancy.
The landlords must run background checks on employees as a condition of employment, and the landlord can terminate or reject employment to persons who have the certain criminal convictions, including:
- A criminal offense involving disregard for the safety of others which, if committed in this state, is a felony or a misdemeanor of the first degree or, if committed in another state, would be a felony or a misdemeanor of the first degree if committed in this state.
- A criminal offense committed in any jurisdiction which involves violence, including, but not limited to, murder, sexual battery, robbery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, and stalking.
The statute also requires the landlord to “[m]aintain a log accounting for the issuance and return of all keys for each dwelling unit” and “establish policies and procedures for the issuance and return of dwelling unit keys and regulating the storage of, and access to, unissued keys.”
For the full text of this amendment, go here.
Rent Control Prohibited
Local governments can no longer enact rent control of any kind and in any circumstance. Under SB 102 (known as “Live Local Act”), F.S. 125.0103 now states, “A municipality, county, or other entity of local government may not adopt or maintain in effect any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure that would have the effect of imposing controls on rents.”
photo credit https://www.vecteezy.com