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Common terms and definitions

Note: The following definitions are intended to be helpful, BUT they are not intended to constitute legal advice or address every possible meaning of the term(s) contained in this glossary.




The Florida Landlord Tenant Act contains the following definitions:

(Florida Statutes Section 83.43)


(1) “Building, housing, and health codes” means any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning health, safety, sanitation or fitness for habitation, or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use, or appearance, of any dwelling unit.

(2) “Dwelling unit” means:

(a) A structure or part of a structure that is rented for use as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person or by two or more persons who maintain a common household.

(b) A mobile home rented by a tenant.

(c) A structure or part of a structure that is furnished, with or without rent, as an incident of employment for use as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one or more persons.

(3) “Landlord” means the owner or lessor of a dwelling unit.

(4) “Tenant” means any person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement.

(5) “Premises” means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part and a mobile home lot and the appurtenant facilities and grounds, areas, facilities, and property held out for the use of tenants generally.

(6) “Rent” means the periodic payments due the landlord from the tenant for occupancy under a rental agreement and any other payments due the landlord from the tenant as may be designated as rent in a written rental agreement.

(7) “Rental agreement” means any written agreement, including amendments or addenda, or oral agreement for a duration of less than 1 year, providing for use and occupancy of premises.

(8) “Good faith” means honesty in fact in the conduct or transaction concerned.

(9) “Advance rent” means moneys paid to the landlord to be applied to future rent payment periods, but does not include rent paid in advance for a current rent payment period.

(10) “Transient occupancy” means occupancy when it is the intention of the parties that the occupancy will be temporary.

(11) “Deposit money” means any money held by the landlord on behalf of the tenant, including, but not limited to, damage deposits, security deposits, advance rent deposit, pet deposit, or any contractual deposit agreed to between landlord and tenant either in writing or orally.

(12) “Security deposits” means any moneys held by the landlord as security for the performance of the rental agreement, including, but not limited to, monetary damage to the landlord caused by the tenant's breach of lease prior to the expiration thereof.

(13) “Legal holiday” means holidays observed by the clerk of the court.

(14) “Servicemember” means any person serving as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty and all members of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces.

(15) “Active duty” means full-time duty in active military service of the United States. The term includes federal duty such as full-time training, annual training, and attendance while a person is in active military service or in a school designated as a service school by law or by the secretary of the applicable military department. The term does not mean full-time duty in the National Guard. The term shall also include the period during which a person in active military service is absent from duty as a result of illness, being wounded, being on leave, or other lawful cause.

(16) “State active duty” means full-time duty in active military service of the State of Florida when ordered by the Governor or Adjutant General in accordance with s. 250.06, s. 250.10, or s. 250.28 to preserve the public peace, execute the laws of the state, suppress insurrection, repel invasion, enhance security and respond to terrorist threats or attacks, respond to an emergency as defined in s. 252.34 or to imminent danger of an emergency, enforce the law, carry out counter-drug operations, provide training, provide for the security of the rights or lives of the public, protect property, or conduct ceremonies. The term includes the duties of officers or enlisted personnel who are employed under the order of the Governor in recruiting; making tours of instruction; inspecting troops, armories, storehouses, campsites, rifle ranges, or military property; sitting on general or special courts-martial, boards of examination, courts of inquiry, or boards of officers; or making or assisting in physical examinations. The term shall also include the period during which a person in active military service is absent from duty as a result of illness, being wounded, being on leave, or other lawful cause.

(17) “Early termination fee” means any charge, fee, or forfeiture that is provided for in a written rental agreement and is assessed to a tenant when a tenant elects to terminate the rental agreement, as provided in the agreement, and vacates a dwelling unit before the end of the rental agreement. An early termination fee does not include:

(a) Unpaid rent and other accrued charges through the end of the month in which the landlord retakes possession of the dwelling unit.

(b) Charges for damages to the dwelling unit.

(c) Charges associated with a rental agreement settlement, release, buy-out, or accord and satisfaction agreement.


As routine or simple as a legal matter may seem, every situation has its unique aspects that should be analyzed by an attorney.  This website and the information and forms contained in it are for general information purposes and do not constitute legal advice.  I encourage you to contact my office with your landlord and tenant questions and concerns.   The viewing or use of this website, including the use any of the forms contained on this website, does not create an attorney-client relationship between the viewer or user of this website and our Firm.  To form an attorney-client relationship you must retain our office by entering into a written agreement and paying a retainer fee.  I look forward to the opportunity to serve the legal needs of your landlord and tenant matter and again encourage you to contact my office.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience, this information is available online.

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