Yes, they can charge because even if no one is living there, the tenant (I am guessing you) signed the lease and is responsible to its end. If the tenant moves out early, they are still liable for the lease to its end. Now, if the landlord has not been maintaining the property, that is different. See below: Landlord's DutyThe landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in. This is generally called the "warranty
of habitability." "It is clear that the Florida Residential and Landlord-Tenant Act imposes definite obligations upon the landlord which continue throughout the term of the lease and which did not exist under the common law." Paterson v. Deeb, 472 So. 2d 1210 - Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 1985.This is also written into Florida Code. FS Section 83.51 specifies the extent of the landlord's statutory obligation to maintain the leased premises:"(a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing
, and health codes; or(b) Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural
components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing
in reasonable working condition. However, the landlord shall not be required to maintain a mobile home
or other structure owned by the tenant."This also includes:"1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be liable for damages
but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.2. Locks and keys.3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water."Tenant's Options"The tenant has the right, under certain very aggravated circumstances caused by the landlord's neglect, to withhold rent. This can only be done when the landlord fails to comply with an important responsibility, such as providing a safe and habitable home in compliance with local housing codes. Before rent is withheld, the tenant must give the landlord seven (7) days written notice of the problem so the landlord can fix it. Even after withholding rent, the tenant should preserve the money and seek court permission to spend part of it to do what the landlord should have done. If the tenant does not preserve the money and seek court assistance, the tenant may be evicted for nonpayment." **Florida Bar Association
's summary of law.Application of PrinciplesOkay, so we have all this now and we can apply it. The landlord is arguably breaching the warranty of habitability. If so, the tenants would need to give 7 days WRITTEN notice demanding that this be fixed. If it is not then, then he can deduct rent and go to small claims court to have this action confirmed and the Court order the landlord to fix it and/or to have the deducted rent used to have the tenant fix the matter with that money. However the issue is that this has to be done BEFORE the lease ends. Once it ends, then it is arguably too late. So one may wish to issue the demand now (even if the lease is coming to an end), and if the landlord does not fix it, then the tenant can go to small claims court to demand reduction in rent, to offset any deposit withholding, etc. Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I need to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty. Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.