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Tampa Real Estate Lawyer > Blog > Landlord Tenant > What Is The Warranty Of Habitability In Florida Landlord-Tenant Law?

What Is The Warranty Of Habitability In Florida Landlord-Tenant Law?


In Florida and many other states, tenants have an implied warranty of habitability in their homes. This means that a landlord is required to furnish the basic essentials that a tenant needs in order to live comfortably. While there is a statute that governs the specifics required of a landlord, the warranty itself is implied – in other words, it does not need to be written out to be a part of every lease signed in Florida. If a landlord fails to provide any of the requirements of this warranty, the tenant may seek compensation or other remedies in court.

Room For Interpretation

It is important to understand that while a warranty of habitability covers many amenities and types of dwelling, it does not cover everything. Such a warranty usually does not apply to RV parks, hotel rooms, or, if they are being rented, mobile homes. In terms of amenities, for example, a landlord is not required to provide a mailbox, or kitchen appliances like refrigerators or stoves, but they are required to provide functioning electricity and heating hookups.

If you live in a single-family home or other housing development like an apartment building or a condominium association, the warranty will generally apply. While most people associate the idea of ‘habitability’ with function, the implied warranty also grants a tenant the right to “peaceful living,” (essentially, the right to live undisturbed except in emergency situations) and the right to a structurally sound dwelling. Tenants are also guaranteed the right to an eviction notice – if they are evicted, they must receive proper notice. There is some flexibility in terms of exactly what constitutes ‘peaceful living,’ but the landlord must at least make a good-faith effort.

Has The Warranty Been Breached?

Despite these requirements, it is an unfortunate truth that many landlords will engage in behavior that invalidates the warranty of habitability, particularly in the area of eviction. These so-called “self help” behaviors invalidate the warranty because very often, they involve making the dwelling uninhabitable. A common example is when a landlord changes the locks without informing their tenant, which means that the tenant cannot properly occupy their unit. Sometimes this can occur as retaliatory behavior, or as a result of discrimination, but regardless of reason, it is illegal and generally actionable in civil court.

If you believe that your landlord has violated Florida’s warranty of habitability, you are legally permitted to withhold rent until the condition is fixed (though you must provide written notice to the landlord that you intend to do so). In some situations, it is simply better to move; since the landlord is in violation of the law and your lease, you are no longer bound by it and can simply find another rental property. However, each case is different, and it is often better to contact an attorney than simply trying to handle such a situation yourself.

Contact A Tampa Landlord-Tenant Attorney

The majority of Florida landlords are ready and willing to put in the work to have a good relationship with their tenants and keep the warranty of habitability. If yours is not among them, calling a Tampa landlord-tenant attorney from the Seward Law Office can give you the help you need to ensure that your rights are protected. Attorney Alicia Seward has handled these cases before – let her handle yours today. Call our office to schedule a consultation.



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