Rent Increase Notice

Florida Rent Increase Notice: What Landlords Need To Know

Over the past year, inflation has steadily risen across the world, triggering fears of a coming recession. Rising prices have affected every aspect of our lives, from groceries to gas to utilities. Inflation has also hit the housing market, with data revealing that rental prices have risen by 23% since 2019.

If you own an investment property, you may be feeling the crunch yourself - and may be wondering if and how you can raise the rent for your properties. In Florida, to increase the rent, you must send a letter to tenants to notify them at the end of the lease term or within 15 days of the next rent due date for month-to-month leases. You can raise the rent for almost any reason, as long as it is not discriminatory or in retaliation.

Eaton Realty is a full-service real estate company headquartered in Lithia. We handle all aspects of property management for our clients, from purchasing an investment property to helping them set a fair rental price to screening tenants. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help simplify property management for you.

When Can a Landlord Increase Rent?

Unlike some states, Florida does not have statewide rent control laws. There are a few places in the state with rent control laws - and Orange County voters will soon be deciding whether to approve a rent control ordinance to limit landlords’ ability to increase rent. In the vast majority of the state, however, landlords are generally free to raise rent as they see fit.

However, there are regulations that control the notice and timing of rent increase notices. Generally, landlords cannot increase rent during the lease term unless the contract contains specific provisions that allow it. If no such clause exists, then landlords cannot increase the rent until the lease ends.

Landlords must provide sufficient notice of rent increases to their tenants, although there is currently no statewide law that sets the exact amount of notice to be given. Most landlords give notice of a rent increase at one payment period in advance. Depending on the length of the lease at issue and where the property is located, landlords may need to provide notice from 7 days to 60 days in advance.

Although there isn’t a statewide notice requirement, it is a good idea to follow the same general guidelines for notice of a rent increase as you would for notice of non-renewal. As such, notice for a rent increase is as follows:

 

  • Week-to-week lease: 7-day notice
  • Month-to-month lease: 15-day notice
  • Quarter-to-quarter lease: 30-day notice
  • Year-to-year lease: 60-day notice

 

Ultimately, Florida landlords can increase the rent for their investment properties - provided that they provide proper notice to their tenants. In most cases, landlords cannot increase rent while a rental agreement is in effect - but they are free to do so once the lease has ended. If you want to be able to raise the rent during a lease term, you can add a provision to your rental agreements that allow you to do so.

 

Proper and Improper Grounds for a Rent Increase

In Florida, landlords can increase the rent for almost any reason, including rising costs or a desire to make a greater profit from their property. The only restriction on a landlord’s ability to raise rent is found in Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Law: you cannot increase rent to retaliate against a tenant or for discriminatory reasons.

For example, consider a situation where a tenant withholds rent until necessary repairs are made. Their landlord is upset and wants to be rid of what they consider to be a problem tenant. When the lease term ends, they provide notice that the rent is going up by 25%. In this situation, a court may find that the landlord increased the rent to retaliate against their tenant.

Similarly, landlords cannot raise rent in a discriminatory way. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, you cannot discriminate against a person for their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation) familial status, and disability. If you learn that a tenant is gay and decide to raise their rent as a way to force them out, it might be considered discriminatory.

Rent increases for any reason that is not discriminatory or retaliatory are otherwise allowed. However, during public emergencies - such as the COVID-19 pandemic - there may be restrictions on your ability to increase rent during this time. It is a good idea to consult with a real estate attorney before attempting to raise the rent during a state of emergency.

 

Does Florida Limit Rent Increases?

The state of Florida does not impose any limits on how much you can increase the rent or how frequently you can do so. However, some cities in Florida - particularly in Southern Florida - have introduced rent control measures. These ordinances are generally not designed to limit the level of rent increases, but the amount of notice that tenants must receive.

For example, in Miami-Dade County, if you plan to increase the rent by more than 5%, you must provide at least 60 days of notice to your tenants. This rule applies to all leases, not just year-to-year agreements. Again, this ordinance does not limit how much you can increase rent by, but simply imposes a lengthier notice requirement.

Beyond local measures designed to protect tenants in tight housing markets, there are no limits on how much or how often you can increase rent - other than what the market will bear. If you set rent at too high of a price, you run the risk of having an empty property - which will cost you more in the long run.

 

How to Write a Rent Increase Notice

Notifying your tenants of a rent increase is relatively simple. You simply have to write a letter to your tenant that informs them of (1) the new rent amount; and (2) the date of the change in rent. These notices should be delivered by hand or by mail within the time frame specified by the lease or (if applicable) local law. To ensure that your rent increase notice is effective, you should include the following information:

  • Tenant(s)’ name
  • Property address
  • Landlord or property manager’s name and contact information
  • Date that the letter was written
  • Date that the rent increase will take effect
  • Current rental amount
  • Increased rental amount
  • A reference to the lease
  • The amount of time that the tenant has to give notice that they will not renew the lease

 

If you choose to send the letter by mail, you should deliver it via certified mail so that you have proof that the tenant received it. If you deliver in person, you could tape it to their door and snap a photo or hand it directly to your tenant(s).

 

Example Florida Rent Increase Notice

Still not sure exactly what to write in your rent increase notice? To make the process easier for you, we’ve created an example template. Simply click the link below and make a copy of the document to start editing your own notice. You can use everything we’ve written, or you can use the template as a starting point to create a notice that is completely your own.

 

 

While our rent increase notice helps to simplify your job, working with Eaton Realty to manage your property would make your life even easier. We’re a full-service property management company that will handle rent increases, tenant placement, property maintenance, accounting, and more for you.

 

How Rent Increases Impact Security Deposits

Florida law does not set a limit on how much a landlord can request for security deposits. Typically, rental agreements tie the security deposit to the rent - such as requiring a full month of rent as a deposit. When you raise the rent, you may be curious as to whether you can also increase the security deposit amount.

It is possible to ask for a bigger security deposit from your tenants, unless the lease prohibits it. That being said, it may be considered unusual for a landlord to increase the security deposit for tenants who are already living in a property (as opposed to a new tenant). As a result, the question of whether to increase the security deposit is often more of a practical matter than a legal one.

 

Can Tenants Appeal a Rent Increase?

Tenants can object to a rent increase, although their likelihood of success is low unless you violated Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Law or a local ordinance. They may start by responding with a letter that outlines their issues with the rent increase, or even file a petition in court. However, unless the rent increase was retaliatory or discriminatory or you did not provide them with adequate notice, any appeal will almost certainly fail.

In most cases, if a tenant has a problem with a rent increase, they will simply move out of the property and find somewhere else to live. This raises an important issue for landlords: whether it is better to have a long-term, stable tenant or to get higher rent from a new tenant. The answer depends on a number of factors, including what the market will bear. If you can raise the rent and have dozens of applicants for your property, then it may be worth it to lose an established tenant.

If you are struggling with the decision to increase rent, your property manager may be able to help you figure out a solution. In some situations, you may be able to come to an agreement with an existing tenant to a rental price that works for both of you.

 

Property Management Solutions for Hillsborough County

There are a lot of good reasons to get into property investment - including the opportunity to build equity and turn a tidy profit simultaneously. Yet dealing with tenants and the day-to-day hassles of being a landlord can be burdensome. A property management company can help you achieve your goals as a landlord while taking on tasks such as rent increase notices.

At Eaton Realty, our goal is to ensure that our clients’ experience as landlords is as stress-free as possible. We work with investors throughout the Tampa Bay area to manage their residential and commercial properties. Our property managers will help you find and purchase a property, market it, find tenants, set rent, and handle any issues that may arise along the way.

If you’d like to learn more, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 813-672-8022 to talk to a team member.

 

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