Whether you’re a renter or a landlord, you have certain rights and responsibilities when entering into a lease agreement.
Housing Stability Assistance
Do you need assistance solving a dispute with a landlord? Eligible residents may be able to work with Bay Area Legal Services through the Hillsborough County Housing Stability Program to effectively, efficiently, and amicably solve disputes outside the court system.
When it starts
As soon as you come to an agreement with each other, your obligations start. Keep these things in mind about lease agreements:
- Agreements can be verbal or written.
- Your agreement binds you and the other party to prearranged terms.
- Avoid confusion by having a clear, written agreement.
- Never sign a lease agreement if you don’t understand or agree to the terms.
Renter rights and responsibilities
- Before you move in, do a walk-through with your landlord
- Check off any damage and imperfections, and take pictures and/or video
- Put the findings in writing, and make your landlord sign the document
- Repeat the above procedure a week before you move out
- Put all repair requests in writing
- Use certified return receipt mail for any and all correspondence to your landlord
- Obtain renter’s insurance
- Follow all applicable building, housing and health codes
- Keep your part of the building clean and sanitary
- Dispose of garbage properly
- Do not damage, deface, destroy or remove any part of the premises
- With 7-days' notice sent by Certified letter, tenants can withhold rent for violations by landlords concerning keeping the property in conformity with all building, housing and health codes
- Contact a lawyer for advice as this note is for informational purposes only and may not completely describe requirements of Florida law
- Return of deposit money with 15 days if no claim is made against it, but the landlord has 30 days to send you a written notice delivered by certified mail for any claims
- After 30 days, landlords forfeit their rights to any claims on your security deposit
Landlord rights and responsibilities
- Keep property in conformity with all building, housing and health codes
- Maintain structural components and plumbing in good repair
- Exterminate insects and rodents
- Maintaining the heat, and hot and cold running water during winter
- Collect rent
- Collect late penalties, if written into the lease
- Enter the premises at any time for protection or preservation concerns
- To perform repairs, give at least 12 hours’ notice and enter between 7:30 AM and 8 PM
- Renter's Resource Guide | Renter's Resource Guide Spanish
- Florida Landlord/Tenant Law
- FPIRG – Renter’s Rights
For code violations call:
- Unincorporated Hillsborough County: (813) 274-6600
- City of Tampa: (813) 274-5545
- Plant City: (813) 659-4200, ext. 4141
- City of Temple Terrace: (813) 506-6680
For complaints and security deposit disputes call:
- 5+ Units / Apartments: Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation - (850) 487-1395
- Under 5 Units: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - (800) 435-7352 or (850) 410-3800