On June 14, 2022, the Broward County Board of Commissioners passed the “Tenant’s Bill of Rights and Notice of Late Fees Ordinance.” You can a full copy of Ordinance 2022-31 HERE. It becomes effective on September 1, 2022. Below is what you need to know to comply with the the new Tenant’s Bill of Rights and Notice of Late Fees Ordinance.
- NEW WEBSITE WITH RESOURCES FOR TENANTS AND LANDLORDS
The new Broward County website with resources for tenants and landlords is HERE.
- LANDLORDS MUST GIVE TENANTS A COPY OF THE TENANT’S BILL OF RIGHTS BEFORE RENTING TO THEM
New tenants on or after September 1, 2022: Landlords must provide prospective tenants with a copy of the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources” BEFORE accepting a final rental application, a rental application fee, or otherwise entering into a rental agreement with them.
Tenants who were already in a unit by September 1, 2022: Landlords must provide tenants with the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources” prior to the commencement of a new rental term.
Month-to-month tenants already in a unit by September 1, 2022: Landlords must provide tenants with the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources” before October 1, 2022, and then once per year after that.
Landlords need to get the tenants to sign for the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources.” There would be a “rebuttable presumption” that the landlord complied with this part of the ordinance if the landlord gets a written, dated, and signed affirmation from the tenant stating that the tenant timely received the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources.” This means that the tenant would be on the defense to disprove that the landlord did not comply. Landlords would need to keep a copy of the signed “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources” on file for at least one year after the tenant vacates.
How do landlords send the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources” to the tenants? The Ordinance does not state how the “Required Notice of Rental Housing Rights and Resources” must be delivered to the tenants. However, a landlord may comply with this requirement through an agent (property manager, rental manager, or real estate license).
- LANDLORDS MUST GIVE ADVANCED WRITTEN NOTICE OF LATE FEES BEFORE CHARGING THEM TO TENANTS
What is the Notice of Late Fees? It is unlawful for a landlord to assess a late fee to a tenant without first providing written notice to the tenant for EACH late fee assessed (unless the same late fee continues to accrue after delivery of the notice). A landlord may comply with this requirement through an agent (property manager, rental manager, or real estate license).
What if the lease already has a late fee provision? That is not enough – landlords would still have to provide written notice.
What if there is no lease? Would the landlord be able to charge late fees? The ordinance is not clear on this issue.
What would need to be included in the written notice? The written notice would need to include:
- A statement that a late fee has been incurred.
- Identification of the specific provision of the rental agreement that provides for the late fee.
- The amount of the late fee.
- If late fees will increase or continue to accrue, an explanation of the rate at which such fees will increase or accrue.
- Factual basis for the late fee.
How does a landlord deliver the Notice of Late Fees to a tenant? The Ordinance requires that the landlord send the tenant a Notice of Late Fees, BEFORE the late fees are assessed, by one of these methods:
- Email to the email the tenant provided in the lease or otherwise. Keep a copy of the email on file.
- Certified mail to the address for notices in the lease. Keep a copy of the written and dated notice mailed. Get proof from U.S.P.S. or other delivery service showing both the mailing date and delivery address of the notice.
- Posting a notice on the front door of the rental unit. Keep a copy of the written and dated notice posted. Take a time-stamped photograph of the notice posted on the front door.
- Hand delivery to the tenant. Keep a copy of the written and dated notice delivered. Get a signed and dated statement by the delivery person certifying hand delivery of the notice to the tenant.
- THE NEW ORDINANCE IS EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 2022
The new Ordinance is effective as of September 1, 2022. That means the provisions of the Ordinance apply prospectively from September 1, 2022, and apply to any new rental agreement entered into after that date and to any renewal or extension of an existing rental agreement with a term that commences after that date.
DO NOT FORGET that the ordinance requiring written 60-day notices for rent increases over 5% and termination of monthly and quarterly tenancies already took effect on May 1, 2022. Our legal update on that ordinance is HERE.
- THE NEW ORDINANCE APPLIES TO ALL OF BROWARD COUNTY
The Tenant’s Bill of Rights and Notice of Late Fees Ordinance applies to all of Broward County, including the municipalities.
- REAL ESTATE LICENSEES ARE DEFINED AS “LANDLORDS”
“Landlord” is defined as any individual, firm, corporation, or other organization or group of persons however organized that is shown as the lessor, landlord, or property owner under a rental agreement, or someone acting on their behalf. That includes property managers, homeowners’ associations, co-ops, condo associations, and real estate licensees (brokers, sales associate, or broker-sales associate).
However, it is important to note that “a real estate licensee is not a landlord within the meaning of this division [Ordinance] if they are only involved with the marketing of a rental unit and are not involved with either the preparation of the rental agreement or communicating with a tenant on behalf of a property owner during the term of a rental agreement.”
- SHORT-TERM RENTALS ARE NOT IMPACTED BY THE NEW ORDINANCE
The new ordinance only applies to residential tenancies under Chapter 83, Florida Statutes. It does NOT apply to mobile home tenancies, RV parks, or short-term rentals that are 30 days or less.
- HOW WILL THE NEW ORDINANCE BE ENFORCED?
Code enforcement, including municipal code enforcement officers, and any law enforcement agency would be able to enforce the new ordinance. The Ordinance does NOT create a private cause of action.
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