If you’re considering a rental property investment in the Sunshine State, it’s key to understand rent control laws in Florida.
Rent control is a set of laws or codes that either restrict how much landlords can charge for rent or regulate the amount they can raise it each year. Many of these laws also give tenants the right to renew their leases and limit the grounds for eviction. For the most part, these regulations affect apartment buildings. As of now, there are existing rent control laws in four states, as well as Washington, D.C. With affordable housing becoming a hot political topic, many state and local governments across the nation are either updating existing rent control laws or adopting them for the first time.
In cities like Orlando, as well as places across the country, rent prices are climbing much faster than wages are, which means many people are having trouble finding affordable housing. This leaves people asking, “is there rent control in Florida?” Although lawmakers in Florida recently proposed two bills that would remove the state’s restriction of rent control ordinances, both of the bills died before coming to a vote, but with so many vocal supporters, it’s likely we haven’t heard the last of it.
There are rent control pros and cons for both the landlord and the resident, but whether or not it increases the amount of affordable housing is up for debate. So, how would it affect property management in Tampa or perhaps, property management in West Palm Beach? Read on to see what rent control in Florida could look like.
Current Rent Regulations
Florida statutes are fairly landlord-friendly. Currently, there is no statute that limits the amount a landlord can charge for rent. Instead, property owners look to the local market for their rent prices, using basic rules of supply and demand. Generally speaking, the less housing there is available and the more people looking for said housing, the higher the rent will be.
Additionally, landlord-tenant law puts no limits on the amount a landlord can increase rent. All they have to do is give notice 60 days before the end of an annual lease, or 15 days before the end of a month-to-month lease. Then it is up to the tenant whether or not they want to sign the new rental agreement or find another place to live. If a tenant doesn’t sign the new lease and fails to move out on time, they can be charged double their previous rent for every month they overstay their lease.
There is no legal limit on the amount a landlord can require for a security deposit, nor is there a limit to the amount they can charge in late fees or application fees. Of course, they need to spell this out in their lease agreement, and landlords with an unreasonably high-security deposit or late fees will likely have trouble placing tenants.
Property owners in Florida are also not currently required to offer lease renewal for their tenants, nor are there any limits on what they can put in their lease agreements that warrant grounds for eviction, so long as it doesn’t involve the landlord entering the property without proper notice. Once again, as long as owners can find a tenant who agrees to the terms of the lease, they are free to run their property as they see fit.
What Would Rent Control in Florida Look Like?
If Florida reversed the state ban against rent control, it wouldn’t have any immediate effect on landlord-tenant law. However, it would allow local governments to enact rent control ordinances, and the effect it would have on landlords would depend largely on how restrictive they were.
True rent control, where the law dictates how much you are allowed to charge for an apartment, likely won’t happen. Rent stabilization ordinances are much more likely. A city may organize a rent board to dictate yearly rent increases, like New York or San Francisco. It may only restrict older apartment buildings, or it may look more like Oregon’s law, which affects all buildings 15 years or older, including single-family homes.
Rent control ordinances will also likely limit no-cause evictions. New York, San Francisco, and most rent-regulated areas require landlords to offer renewal on leases. Many of these places will limit what justifies grounds for eviction in the lease agreement. For some landlords, that will mean dealing with difficult residents that they can’t get rid of. For others, it will mean a steady income with lower turnover. It’s all a matter of how well you place tenants.
How Property Management Can Help?
Many of the issues that may arise from new rent control ordinances – in Florida and beyond – can be addressed with the right business savviness; however, being a landlord is a full-time job, and it doesn’t always afford you the time to work on your business plan.
That’s why you need property management experts on your side. Great Jones can handle tenant placement, routine maintenance, and payment collection, so you can focus on growing your portfolio. We can help you vet your purchases, and introduce you to local real estate experts so you can make the smart purchase. Learn more about partnering with Great Jones for property management services.