Landlord-Tenant Notices Are Important!

Landlord-Tenant law is driven largely by notices. Without the delivery of proper notices to the tenant, landlords will lose the remedy to enforce the lease and tenant obligations. Here are several important situations where F.S. ch. 83, pt. 2 requires that the landlord deliver written notice to a tenant in order to take further action regarding the tenancy.

Tenant’s Failure to Pay Rent

If the tenant has failed to pay rent by the due date, the landlord must deliver written notice to pay or vacate, pursuant to F.S. 83.56(3). The notice must be in substantially the following form:

“You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of (past due amount) dollars for the rent and use of the premises (address of leased premises, including county), Florida, now occupied by you and that I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) from the date of delivery of this (year) 

The landlord can only include back rent — no other monies owed may be included unless the lease agreement defines the charge as additional rent. There are also limitations on the ability to charge fees for Section 8 tenancies. The amount of rent demanded may not exceed what the tenant owes in back rent. 

There are a number of reasons a notice to pay or vacate may be deemed legally defective by the court:

  • The notice was not signed by the landlord or lawful agent of the landlord (real estate broker)
  • The notice stated the incorrect landlord name (legal title holder of the property)
  • The notice failed to state either the landlord’s address or phone number
  • The notice was not dated and failed to state the date the notice was served to the tenant
  • The notice gave the tenant less than three days to pay the back rent

Tenant’s Violation of Tenant’s Obligations (Other than Rent Payment)

Pursuant to F.S. 83.56(2)(b), if a tenant violates the tenant’s obligations (other than payment of rent) under the lease agreement or F.S. 83.52, the landlord must deliver written notice to the tenant to cure the violation, unless the violation is non-curable. Examples of curable violations include having unauthorized occupants, pets, or vehicles; failing to keep the premises clean and sanitary; and not putting utilities in the tenant’s name. The notice language must be 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 further warning and without your being given an opportunity to cure the noncompliance.”

The notice must be in writing, specify the violation, and give the tenant at least seven days to cure the violation. If the lease agreement provides for more than seven days for the tenant to cure the violation, the landlord must give the tenant the number of days provided in the lease agreement, but it may not give less than seven days. 

There are other issues regarding notices to cure, including waiver of the violation pursuant to F.S. 83.56(5)(a). Namely, if the landlord accepts rent with knowledge of the violation, the landlord waives the violation. There are exceptions, such as when the violation is continuing in nature or is a subsequent violation. 

Termination of At-Will Tenancy

If the tenancy is an at-will tenancy, the landlord may terminate the tenancy, but they must deliver the written notice to the tenant pursuant to F.S. 83.57 terminating the tenancy. Depending on the duration of the tenancy (e.g. annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly), the landlord must deliver the written notice to the tenant the provided number of days as stated in F.S. 83.57 prior to the end of the tenancy period. 

Making a Claim on the Security Deposit

When a landlord holds a security deposit for the tenant’s faithful performance of the tenant’s obligations, the landlord must comply with F.S. 83.49. The landlord may make a claim on the deposit by delivering a written notice of the claim to the tenant’s last known address within 30 days of the tenant vacating the premises upon termination of the lease. The written notice must specify the claims the landlord is making and the amount claimed. The notice must contain language as required by F.S. 83.49(3)(a):

“This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of (claim amount) upon your security deposit, due to  (details of damage). It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord’s address).”

Failure to comply with this statute results in the landlord forfeiting his right to make a claim on the deposit. 


Knowing how and when to use notices during the tenancy is critical to successfully managing rental property. There are many pitfalls surrounding each of the notices provided in F.S. ch. 83, pt. 2.