The Tenant Bill of Rights previously adopted by the St. Petersburg City Council is no longer in effect in accordance with a new Florida state law. HB 1417, which governs residential tenancies, went into effect on July 1, 2023, pre-empting local governments from regulating landlord-tenant relationships. For more information, see HB 1417.
The City of St. Petersburg remains committed to protecting the rights of renters and will continue our work with the Community Support Specialist Program aimed at educating and providing resources for tenants facing eviction, while looking for new and innovative ways to educate and protect our valued rental residents.
Know your rights by reviewing a summary of Landlord-Tenant Law in Florida and remember these tips:
- Before you sign the lease, make sure you read and understand the terms of the agreement. For help on what to look for in a lease, see Tenant Tips for Lease Agreements from Gulfcoast Legal Services.
- Notices to and from a landlord must be in writing and copies of all documents should be kept for your records.
- Before you move in and prior to moving out, conduct a walk-through with the landlord and document any damage with photographs.
- When you get ready to move from a rental unit, regardless of the duration, be sure to give advance notice as specified in your lease, settle all accounts, understand the conditions of the security deposit, provide a forwarding address, and leave the premises in a clean condition.
- Research code violation history at the location by contacting 727-893-7373 or searching the Codes Compliance online database.
- Use the interactive Renters Map tool to view rental properties in St. Petersburg that have had recent interior property maintenance or Tenant Bill of Rights violations.
All Residential Rentals Must Be Fit for Habitation
All rental units must be maintained to minimum property maintenance standards, including but not limited to:
- Doors/windows that function and lock; walls, ceilings, floors, and interior finishes maintained in good repair.
- Electric and plumbing maintained in good repair with hot water supplied to kitchen(s) and bathroom(s).
- Permanent heating source must be provided, and all provided appliances must function as intended.
If there is an issue with your unit for which you have not assumed responsibility under your lease, contact your landlord as set forth in your lease. If your landlord does not address the needed issue within a reasonable timeframe, issues can be reported to the City Codes Department at 727-893-7373.
You may be able to withhold your rent if your landlord fails to do what the law or rental agreement requires. Failure to follow proper procedures to withhold rent may lead to eviction. Please visit Pinellas.gov/landlord-tenant-information or contact legal aid for further information.
Florida Law does not allow a landlord to force a tenant out by:
- Shutting off the utilities or interrupting service, even if that service is under the control of the landlord.
- Changing the locks or using a device that denies the tenant access.
- Removing the tenant's personal property from the dwelling unless the action is taken after the surrender, abandonment, or recovery of possession of the rental unit due to lawful eviction or the death of the last remaining tenant
Retaliation and Discrimination Are Illegal
A landlord may not raise your rent or threaten to evict you because you reported a health or safety violation or filed a fair housing complaint. A landlord cannot treat you differently because of your race, nationality, disability, or sexual orientation, among other criteria. If you feel you have been discriminated against or retaliated against, contact the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights at 727-464-4880.
Seek help as soon as you know you will not be able to pay rent. Find Legal help before you receive a notice from your landlord. If you do get a “3-day notice” or any written notice that you have to pay or leave, reach out to legal aid the same day you get that notice. Your possible solutions depend on how soon you get legal assistance.