New Palm Beach County Ordinance Requiring 60 Days’ Notice from Landlords on Residential Tenancies Upheld by Court
By Brett T. Lashley and Stanley D. Klett, Jr.
The steady influx of people relocating to South Florida has made Palm Beach County one of the fastest-growing destinations for those seeking a low-tax, high quality-of-life place to call home, becoming the third most populous county in the state.
This migration has depleted residential rental unit inventory and caused significant rental hikes. Palm Beach County rents rose by an average of 37% as of 2021 and tenant notification of price hikes or lease terminations by landlords in some cases was a mere 15 days.
On September 13, 2022, the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners enacted Ordinance 2022-027 which requires landlords in Palm Beach County to provide residential tenants with 60 days’ notice when the landlord intends to not renew an annual lease; when the landlord intends to terminate an at-will tenancy, more fully described in the “Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act,” Part II Chapter 83, Florida Statues section 83.57(1)-(3); and when the landlord intends to increase rent by more than 5%.
In what may be the first case involving the new ordinance, in South Bay One, LLC, v. Wilson Case No. 50-2022-CC-012889, the County Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida upheld the validity of the ordinance and found that the landlord’s 15-day notice terminating a month-to-month at-will tenancy was not in compliance with the ordinance. In order to avoid having to reset the 60-day notice clock, landlords should be aware of the new ordinance. Tenants should also be aware of the new ordinance to ensure their landlord is providing them with sufficient notice.
Key takeaways from the ordinance include:
- Previously, landlords had to provide 15 days’ notice before the end of the monthly rental period to terminate an at-will month-to-month tenancy pursuant to section 83.57(3). Now, Landlords must give 60 days’ notice to terminate an at-will month-to-month tenancy.
- For leases that renew annually, landlords must give 60 days’ notice of intent to terminate the tenancy.
- After the tenant receives notice of any rent increase of 5% or more, the tenant must accept the rent increase, reach an acceptable compromise on the rent, or reject the increase. After the 60 days have run, landlords may enforce the rent increase or require the tenant vacate the rental property.
- Municipalities may enact their own ordinances requiring longer notice periods.
- Any landlord who violates the ordinance could face fines of up to $1,000 per day per violation for a first violation, $5,000 per day per violation for a repeat violation, and up to $15,000 per violation if the violation is found to be irreversible in nature.
About Brett T. Lashley
Brett Lashley is a member of Jones Foster's Litigation & Dispute Resolution team. He focuses his practice in the areas of complex civil litigation and general commercial litigation with an emphasis on employment, real estate, and contractual disputes. Brett represents individuals and businesses in matters involving alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, confidentiality agreements, the enforcement of noncompete agreements, specific performance involving real property and commercial contracts.
Brett earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law where he was the Vice Chair of The Florida Moot Court Team and was awarded Best Brief in the Appellate Lawyers Association competition in Chicago. While at the University of Florida, Brett gained valuable experience as a teaching assistant for Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy, as a judicial intern for the Honorable Mark W. Klingensmith, Fourth District Court of Appeal, West Palm Beach, and as a Summer Associate at Jones Foster.
About Stanley D. Klett, Jr.
Stan Klett is a Florida Bar Board Certified Business Litigation specialist with more than 30 years of broad-based litigation experience. He practices in the areas of commercial litigation, trusts and estates litigation, arbitration and mediation, property rights, administrative litigation matters, and employment litigation.
Stan has represented banking and lending institutions, Fortune 500 companies, real estate brokers, agents, and owners, as well as contractors and subcontractors. He counsels clients in a wide variety of transactional disputes and litigation matters related to real estate, construction, foreclosures, lien law, collections, and landlord/tenant.
Stan has been recognized on several legal industry peer-review lists including Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, and Florida Trend Magazine's “Legal Elite,” and has received Martindale Hubbell’s AV Preeminent® rating, the highest peer rating standard. He has held numerous leadership positions in industry and nonprofit organizations, including his current role as Chair Emeritus for the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches and Chair of the Board of Directors for Gulfstream Goodwill Industries. Stan has served as past president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the PBCBA North County Section.
About Jones Foster
Jones Foster is a commercial and private client law firm headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Established in 1924, the Firm has served as an integral part of South Florida’s growth and prosperity for nearly a century. Through a relentless pursuit of excellence, Jones Foster delivers original legal solutions that help clients, colleagues, and the community to move forward. The Firm’s attorneys focus their practice in Real Estate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Private Wealth, Trusts & Estates, Corporate & Tax, and Land Use & Governmental. For more information, please visit www.jonesfoster.com.
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- March 16, 2023
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