According to the state’s “implied warranty of habitability,” Florida tenants are guaranteed a livable rental without serious hazards or dangerous conditions. If a unit develops a major problem and the landlord doesn't take action, a tenant has two options. They can remain in the rental and withhold partial rent until the issue is fixed. Or, if the unit is completely uninhabitable, they can move out and terminate their lease.
Landlords must keep rentals safe and livable
In Florida, the warranty of habitability is established by the state’s Landlord-Tenant Act. The law requires landlords to meet and maintain certain housing standards when renting out property. Either they must comply with any local building, housing, and health codes, or—if there are no local codes—they must maintain windows, floors, roofs, doors, foundations, porches, exterior walls, and other structural components so they’re in reasonable working condition. They’re also required to make sure window screens are installed and in good working condition.1
There are also a few more requirements that apply to all Florida landlords. Specifically, they must provide:
- Pest extermination
- Keys and locks
- Safe and clean conditions for common areas
- Disposal facilities for garbage
- Functioning heat, hot water, and running water facilities
Typically, these are the landlord’s responsibilities, regardless of what it says in the lease. But if a landlord is renting out a single-family home or duplex, they are allowed to make the tenant responsible for some of these repairs. However, the tenant must agree to take on these responsibilities in the written lease.
If a landlord refuses to make repairs, tenants can withhold rent—or move out
If a rental unit develops a serious problem and no longer meets the requirements listed out by Florida law, the landlord is required to fix it. If they refuse or ignore a tenant’s repair request, then the tenant is legally allowed to withhold rent—as long as they follow the exact process laid out in the law.2 The other option for tenants with an unresponsive landlord is to terminate their lease entirely and move out.
Tenants in Florida are not allowed to make repairs on their own and deduct the cost from their rent, however.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.