Today the Leon County Commission will hear an overview of local ordinances in Florida that require rent increase notification to certain residential tenants and allow tenants to be released from their residential leases, without penalty, when rent is increased by more than an identified threshold amount.
At a meeting on June 14, 2022, the Leon County Commission requested an agenda item reviewing local ordinances adopted by various local governments related to the landlord-tenant relationship.
The review found that a number of local governments in Florida, including Broward County, Collier County, the City of Hialeah, the City of Lake Worth Beach, the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, the City of Naples, Orange County, Palm Beach County, the City of Tampa, the City of West Palm Beach, and Islamorada, Village of Islands, have recently enacted ordinances that require written notice to a tenant when the landlord proposes to raise the rent.
Staff notes that Collier County twice considered an ordinance to require written notification of proposed rent increases but declined to adopt the ordinance.
The local ordinances that require written notification of rental increases were summarized by staff as follows:
Applicability. The applicability of the ordinances varies. For example, the City of Hialeah ordinance applies to residential tenancies without a specific duration when rent is paid on a month-to-month basis. Other ordinances apply to rental agreements with a specific term, or during a residential tenancy without a specific duration when the rent is payable on a monthly basis, such as in: the City of Lake Worth Beach, the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, the City of West Palm Beach, and Islamorada, Village of Islands.
Exemptions. Most of the ordinances do not provide for exemptions. However, Broward County’s ordinance does not apply to mobile home lots governed by Chapter 723, F.S. and other types of lodging such as transient public lodging establishments or vacation rentals. Other exemptions will be considered by the Broward County Commission at its meeting in October. Orange County’s ordinance also does not apply to mobile home lot rents in mobile home parks.
Notice. Typically, the ordinances require landlords to provide 60-days’ written notice to tenants when proposing to raise rents by more than 5% of the current rental amount. An exception is the City of Hialeah, which requires written notice when rents are to be raised over 10% of the present rental amount.
Options. The ordinances give tenants the option to accept the increased rental amount, reach a compromise with the landlord, or reject the increase. If the tenant rejects the increase or has not reached a compromise with the landlord, the landlord may enforce the rent increase or require the tenant to vacate the dwelling unit at the end of the lease term.
Enforcement. The responsibility for enforcement is typically assigned to code enforcement officers, though some of the ordinances do not provide an express enforcement mechanism.
Penalties. Some of the ordinances do not specify a penalty. For the ordinances that provide a penalty, the violations are civil in nature and impose fines in varying amounts. ($500 per offense is common).
Scope. In Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, which are charter counties, the ordinance applies countywide, unless in conflict with an applicable municipal ordinance. In Orange County, which is also a charter county, the ordinance applies within the incorporated and unincorporated areas. Had Collier County adopted the ordinance as proposed, the ordinance would have applied only in the unincorporated areas of the county. For the municipalities and village that have adopted ordinances, the ordinances apply within the respective municipal and village boundaries.
The staff recommendation for the agenda item is for the elected officials to accept the overview of local ordinances and to provide future direction.