Florida Usury Laws
Usurious lending practices have long been condemned, even before specific laws were enacted banning the practice. For example, in “The Diving Comedy,” Dante actually places lenders that charge usurious interest rates in what is known in the work as the Seventh Circle of Hell. This is a level in hell that ranks even below the place where people have committed suicide are condemned.
With that in mind, Florida actually has enacted a pretty liberal system when it comes to usurious lending practices at the present time. It ranks as one of the most liberal laws in the country when it comes to what lenders can charge in the way of interest on personal loans.
The State of Florida has established a two tier system when it comes to usury limitations on personal loans. On personal loans under $500,000, the general usury limit that has been established in Florida is at 18%.
In considering loans above $500,000, the general usury limitation has been set at 25%. As mentioned, this is one of the highest usury maximum rates to be found anywhere in the United States at this point in time. The rationale behind this interest rate generally is founded upon the idea that the lender has a great deal more at risk with a person loan of this magnitude. Therefore, a more substantial interest rate is suitable and appropriate to the circumstances. With that said, however, it is not common for interest rate on traditional personal loans to reach this interest rate level.
The statutory proscriptions against usurious interest rates generally are set forth in Title 39 of the Florida Code, as amended. There are also some relative statutory provisions that impact lending practices in Florida in Title 33 of the Florida Code.
Generally speaking, Florida courts are fairly restrictive when it comes to dealing with issues involving usury and lending practices. In this regard, if a loan agreement or contract that is brought before a court in Florida, and if that loan agreement calls for an interest rate that runs afoul of and counter to the statutory provisions and restrictions pertaining to interest rates, such an agreement will be struck down in most instances as illegal and unenforceable.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you have questions about usury laws in Florida, you should contact a qualified and experienced attorney. Moreover, while we make every effort to keep the information in this article up to date, the laws governing lending practices and usury limitations do change from time to time.