Rent is very expensive in most places in the US, and some areas of Florida are very expensive to live in. You will find that there are many considerations that can impact rent and if you are on a fixed income, or you have just moved to the area, you might be worried about changes to your rent cost after you have moved into a rental. In some parts of the US, landlords cannot raise rent past a certain ceiling, which can provide security for those who live at their rental properties.
In Florida, a landlord can raise the rent by any amount so long as they notify the renter in advance. This is not the case in all states, but in Florida, this is allowed. This means that you will need to be sure that you read all communication from your landlord that is sent to you to be sure that you are aware of these kinds of changes before they go into effect.
If you want to learn more about whether or not your landlord can raise your rent in Florida, read on!
How Much Can My Landlord Raise My Rent in Florida?
In Florida, there is no limit to how much you can raise the rent as a landlord. This means that the landlord that owns your property can raise the rent amount by any number that they choose. They might find that many people cannot rent the property for a price they have picked that is in excess of the standard cost of living in the area of the rental. This is a risk they are allowed to take.
As a renter, this means that you might find that your rent can be increased exponentially over time without your consent and without warning. This can be a big burden on those who are living on a fixed income or who have a tight budget. This is one of the considerations that you will need to have in mind if you are moving to Florida or if you are working with a tight budget when you are shopping for a place to live.
While it is not likely that your landlord will raise rent to the point that you cannot afford to stay in your location, sometimes areas of cities will improve and grow enough that landlords feel like they can charge a much higher amount for the property. You will find that you will not be able to prevent this from happening if your property is in one of these areas and you might have to give up your rental because of this change to the amount that is being charged for rent.
How Much Notice Period is Required When Raising the Rent In Florida?
In Florida, you will find that you cannot have your rent raised until after your lease has ended. For those who are renting month-to-month, Florida landlords only have to give 15 days’ notice for the next due rent date. This is not very much time for you to prepare for an increase, particularly if it is a large one. This is one of the reasons that many people feel that they need to get a lawyer to help them to contest the rent increase that is being imposed on them.
If you have a lease that has been broken, or you have not been given the full 15 days’ notice for the rent increase, you might need the help of a landlord tenant lawyer to defend you against the landlord that has increased your rent. Due to the nature of these laws, this is a common dispute and many landlords will try to cut the notification time short so that their renters are not able to protest the change.
Does Raising the Rent Impact the Amount of the Security Deposit?
The increase in rent will not impact the security deposit of those who have already been contracted to rent a property. It will probably change for those who are new to renting a property. This is another item that is at the discretion of the landlord and they can choose to keep the deposit the same or they might increase it to keep pace with the rent. If you are living in an area that has experienced increased rents in general, your new security deposit will probably be more than the one that you paid for your prior rental.
For those who are worried about the increase of a security deposit for a property that they are already renting, this is a question that must be asked of the landlord. You should not expect a change to the security deposit if the rent goes up to where you are already renting, but there is no law that prohibits this change either. This is another area that can lead to disputes that can be handled by a lawyer if there is an increase in rent that is not communicated correctly or is forced before the time limit of notice has been given.
What Counts as Rental Increase “Notice” According to Florida Law?
State law requires that notice be a physical letter that is delivered to the tenant. This can be mailed or be delivered in hand. There are many templates that are present online that can be used by landlords to serve notice to their tenants of the change in rent. These notices should state the date that the rent will change and they need to be delivered before the 15-day notice begins.
This is not much work on the part of the landlord and you should expect that you will get this notice as soon as a rent change has been proposed. Your landlord should never neglect to take this step and you will have grounds to get help from a lawyer if this has happened to you.
On What Grounds Can Rent be Increased?
There are some limits to the reasons that you can increase rent. You cannot just increase rent to retaliate against a tenant or for discriminatory reasons. There are renter’s rights and tenants’ rights that do govern why rent can be increased. The rights of tenants to defend themselves against rent increases are as follows:
- They can form a tenant’s union to advocate for tenant rights
- They can join a tenant’s union that already exists
- They are required to be allowed to live in a habitable rental property
Landlords cannot raise rent right after a tenant exercises these rights because this will count as retaliation. Likewise, you cannot raise the rent for discriminatory reasons of any kind at any time. The protected classes through the Federal Fair Housing Act are race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, sexual orientation, unfavorable military discharge.
Am I Allowed to Object to the Rent Increase?
Yes, you are allowed to object to a rent increase. You will want to get a lawyer to expedite the process if the increase is very large or the dispute is not civil. Until the case has been decided, you will continue to pay the former rent payment. Your landlord cannot force you to pay the rent that they have asked for until the court has determined the outcome of the case.
This is a right of tenants and landlords cannot force the new rent onto them if it has not been agreed upon by the tenant through the court process. Having a lawyer involved can make sure that there are no extensive conflicts with the landlord over rent while the court case is open. Your lawyer might need to serve your landlord with a letter explaining what they are allowed to ask for rent and what they are not allowed to demand during this period.
If you are properly served notice of your rent increase and you wish to protest the increase, you will have to seek the help of a lawyer. You might not have grounds to argue against the increase if there is a reasonable cause for it, but you might also be able to successfully have your own rent modified to meet your needs. You will likely not be successful but you can certainly try to make sure that you do not have to move out of your current property by coming to an accommodation with the landlord.
Are Landlords Prevented From Raising Rent During Public Emergencies?
There are times where rent increases might be prohibited due to national emergencies or federal emergencies. These laws must be followed by all landlords, regardless of the location of their property or their desire to rent the property at an increased rate. Failure to follow the limits of these laws can lead to legal penalties and more serious charges.
If your landlord has increased your rent during a national emergency, you will want to get a lawyer right away. You will want to have this assistance to prevent being forced to pay rent that you cannot be asked to pay at this time. You will find that this will be a big help to your cause to prevent being charged rent that you do not owe during times of emergency.
Public emergencies and other kinds of federal laws that prevent rent increases must be followed by landlords no matter what they might wish to rent their property for. During the period that the rent cap is in place, the properties in question cannot be rented for more than the stated rules of the rent control law and regulation. Any instance of a landlord trying to increase the rent during a time of rent control requires that action be taken to halt the increase.
Are There Any Cities in Florida That Do Have Rent Control?
There are some times and certain situations which might lead to cities in Florida having rent controls instituted during a local or national crisis. These cities are required to provide notice to the renters in the area about the duration of the rent control period. This will be sent out after there is a public vote in the county that approves the rent control. The end period of the rent controls might be stated in the original letter or you might get a letter warning you of the end of the period in the future when it has also been voted on.
Rent controls are not common in this state, but they will have to be followed by all landlords in the state if they are put in place for a specific county. If your landlord is trying to increase your rent despite rent controls being in effect, you might need to get a lawyer to help you to defend yourself against this unlawful rent increase. This is not a common problem, but it is definitely cause for concern and for action if you are being asked to submit to a rent increase during a time where rent controls are in place.
Working With a Skilled Lawyer Can Help Your Rent Dispute
If you have been served with a letter that states that your property will be undergoing a rent increase, you might want to get a lawyer to help you argue against the increase. While your landlord might be well within their rights to increase your rent per Florida law, there are some reasons that rent cannot be increased. If you believe that you have a case to argue against the increase successfully, your lawyer will help you to prove that the rent increase should not be allowed.
This is particularly true if rent controls are in place where you live or if you believe that there has been discrimination against you that has led to the increase. You will find that having a skilled lawyer on your side when you are arguing against rent increases can make a successful outcome much more likely. Skilled lawyers who understand rental law will be able to help and advise you if you have experienced what you believe to be an unlawful increase in your rent.
At The Lopez Law Group, we have assisted many tenants with their legal disputes, including unlawful rent increases. Give us a call at 866-505-4348 for your case evaluation!