If you have purchased a commercial property to rent, you must understand the Florida laws governing this process. Doing so can help you avoid costly legal fees and citations.
Review the answers to common questions of first-time landlords in Florida.
Can I charge a security deposit?
Florida allows landlords to charge security deposits and does not limit the amount. However, the state does dictate where you can keep the deposit money. You can either pay the tenant 5% interest on a posted bond, place the deposit in the tenant’s name in an interest-bearing account or place the deposit in a separate account that does not earn interest.
If you decide to keep the security deposit because of necessary repairs to the unit, you must provide 30 days written notice with an itemized receipt by certified mail.
Who maintains the rental?
The answer to this question depends on the type of Florida commercial building you purchase. For all residential rentals, you must meet all relevant health, housing and building codes. You are also responsible for keeping the exterior building structure and plumbing system in good repair.
If you own an apartment building, you are also responsible for:
- Maintaining working heat, hot water and running water
- Providing outdoor garbage dumpsters
- Providing safe, clean common areas
- Providing working keys and locks
- Exterminating insects and rodents
You do not have responsibility for these tasks if you rent out a duplex or single-family home, except for items that the tenant negotiated in the lease.
Florida allows landlords to use either oral or written leases for their rental properties. However, you should always have a written lease that clearly establishes the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.