In Florida residential rental statutes define a tenant:

83.43 Definitions.—As used in this part, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings unless some other meaning is plainly indicated:

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

I was informed \ cautioned by a police officer that any person living (i.e. residing, accepting mail), that they are in fact a tenant and may not be denied access: despite not being on the rental agreement.


Is there any Florida statute or any other relevant authoritative (government) statute that supports the notion that anyone (i.e. not on the rental agreement)'living' in the unit (unknown how long that must be) is a tenant? Is an adult child (not listed on lease) of the lease a tenant?

Is there a comprehensive (verifiable) standard for determining if a person is a tenant? For example, if Joe Cool is listed on the rental agreement as a tenant, then a third party can verify Joe is on the lease. I'd like to understand what exactly triggers tenancy.

  • There is also more than one kind of tenant under the common law distinguishing between "privity of estate" which obligates someone in actual possession to pay rent to the landlord even the absence of a written or oral lease, and "privity of contract" which obligations someone with a rental agreement to pay the landlord even the absence of actual occupancy.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 25, 2017 at 20:05
  • @ohwilleke Please consider promoting your response to an answer with references. Is there a pair of adjectives to differentiate the different tenant classes described?
    – gatorback
    Sep 28, 2017 at 1:22

1 Answer 1


You should look at the definition of "rental agreement" in that same statute, which says:

“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.

Therefore, telling someone they can stay there for ____ weeks also counts. You probably won't find a "comprehensible (verifiable) standard" because courts likely use a balancing test, which can also include a person's intent, to determine whether a person is a tenant in a landlord-tenant dispute. Each jurisdiction varies in its statutes, too.

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