Tenant Screening Florida

If you’re in search of information on tenant screening in Florida, visit our guide specific to Florida regulations. It’s filled with free resources and helpful tips to get the best tenant in your rental.

Reporting Guidelines

Reporting guidelines for bankruptcies, judgments/liens, and evictions are set by the Federal Credit Reporting Agency (FCRA). The FCRA has determined that: 

  • Judgments are reportable for up to 7 years from the filing or released date
  • Liens are reportable for up to 7 years from the filing or released date
  • Evictions are reportable for up to 7 years from the filing or release date 
  • Bankruptcies are reportable for up to 10 years

Overall, a well-rounded screening process that includes a review of an applicant’s criminal history can help landlords make informed decisions and create a safer living environment for their tenants and their property. 

Similar to other states in the nation, Florida does not have their own state guidelines for reporting criminal records. Instead, they follow federal guidelines, which include: 

  • Felony charges that resulted in a conviction are reportable indefinitely
  • Felony charges that resulted in a non-conviction are only reportable for 7 years from the file date
  • Misdemeanor charges are reportable for 7 years from the file date if it was a non-conviction, and 7 years from the disposition date if it was a conviction

Landlord Rights

Here are just a few of the most popular landlord rights in Florida.

Lease Renewal Rights

In Florida, the lease doesn’t automatically renew, so when the term of the lease is up it’s up unless both parties agree to sign a new lease. If one party wants to stay and the other wants to leave, then they can give their notice and end the tenancy.


You have a right to protect your property through inspection, but you must give reasonable notice of at least 12 hours.

Landlord Responsibilities

The landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in. It must have working plumbing, hot water and heating, be structurally sound and have reasonable security, including working and locking doors and windows, and it must be free of pests.

In return for these rights, it is your duty to provide a home that is safe and meets housing code requirements and to make reasonable repairs when necessary.


If the landlord contends that the tenant has violated the rental agreement, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the specific problem and give the tenant time to correct the problem – even if the problem is nonpayment of rent – before the landlord can go to court to have the tenant removed. The landlord can never remove the tenant’s property or lock the tenant out.

Section 8 Rules

Florida Section 8 requires households to pay up to 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent. An adjusted income is the amount of money remaining after all other expenses have been paid for the month. These expenses typically include utilities and food.

All rentals must meet the Section 8 housing requirements. The rent must be considered reasonable. The home must be considered safe and sanitary.

For more information on Section 8 in Florida, check this page out.

Security Deposits

Florida state law does not impose regulations on the amount of security deposit a landlord can charge.

Florida law requires landlords to place a tenant’s security deposit into an account at a Florida bank or in a surety bond. Interest on the deposit must be paid to the tenant annually as well as when the tenancy ends.

Tenant security deposits must be returned within 15 days after lease termination, or else the landlord must provide a written notice that deductions will be assessed. Within 30 days after lease termination, the landlord must refund the balance with an itemized list of deductions.

Florida laws concerning security deposits can be found in Fla. Stat. Ann. Title VI, Sec 83.49.

Regarding Application Fees

Florida law doesn’t limit the amount a landlord can charge for an application fee.

Regarding Tenant Bad Checks

Civil Penalties: If the tenant fails to make the check good within 30 days of the demand, triple the amount owed plus bank fees, court costs and reasonable attorney fees. Not less than $50 and not more than $2500. If payment is made within 30 days, a service fee of $10 or 5% of the check value, whichever is greater can be added to the amount due. In cases of stopped payment, a reimbursement for the travel expenses for filling papers.

Criminal Penalties: If it is a misdemeanor, then they could get a fine of $300 or 6 months in jail. For a felony, they could get up to 5 years in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Allowable Fees: $30

Regarding Notice of Termination for Nonpayment

A tenant will receive a 3-day notice to pay or quit for not paying rent. After that, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings through the district or county court, according to Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(3).

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