If you rent a property, usually, the landlord will require a refundable security deposit on top of the monthly rent. Landlords often ask for it to be paid in advance and withhold them to protect the premises from damage, unpaid utility bills, or simply cover for non-payment of rent until the premises have been vacated.
When Can We Get the Security Deposit Back from a Landlord in Florida?
A landlord has to return the tenant’s security deposit within 15 to 60 days after the premises was vacated and keys were returned. Let us imagine that this is not the case, and a landlord intends to keep the amount or a portion of the deposit.
Is Wear and Tear on the Premises a Basis for the Landlord to Withhold the Tenant’s Security Deposit?
Landlords should not withhold the security deposit due to the damages that occur because of aging, commonly called wear and tear. In Florida, the law underscores that a tenant must return the rented premises in the same condition when they took it.
Likewise, under the same law, the landlord should not withhold the tenant’s security deposit for any amount relating to the normal aging of the premises, for example, scuffs on the floor, air filter replacement, and painting maintenance.
If the wear and tear is included in the lease agreement and described as a responsibility of the tenant before vacating the premises, it must be followed. If no mention of the wear and tear in the lease agreement and dispute arises, Florida’s common law shall be followed.
What are the Deductions the Landlord can make in Florida from a Tenant’s Security Deposit?
Damage made by the tenant exceeding ordinary wear and tear while in possession of the premises for some time may prompt the tenant to deduct an amount from the security deposit. Any damages that can cause harm affecting the value of the property committed through intent or purpose shall be grounds for the landlord to deduct from the deposit.
Examples of damage beyond wear and tear are broken windows or missing screens, missing door handles, a hole in the wall, tears, punctures in the carpet or linoleum, or pet urine stains in the wall and carpet.
Charging the Tenant and Imposing a Claim on Security Deposit
The law allows a deduction of a portion or equal to the damage. The landlord should give the tenant a written notice through certified mail at the last known address within 30 days before vacating the premises. If the landlord fails to provide information to the tenant, the landlord loses the right to claim the security deposit.
Tenant’s Objection to Landlord’s Notice of Intention to Impose Claim on Security Deposit
Upon receipt of the landlord’s notice, the tenant has 15 days to reply through certified mail and object to the claim. If the tenant fails to send their reply within the time frame, the landlord can deduct or keep the security deposit. If there is a remaining balance in the security deposit, the landlord should return the credit to the tenant within 30 days.
If both parties do not reach an agreement and a legal suit is filed, the party that prevailed is entitled to get all the attorney’s fees and costs from the lawsuit.
We can help you get your Money Back.
Knowing about your rights when it comes to security deposits is essential. We are knowledgeable in real estate laws in Miami and have legal experts ready to help you. The law firm of Jurado & Farshchian, P.L., will win for you. Get in touch with Attorney Romy B. Jurado at (305)921-0440 or send us an email at Romy@jflawfirm.com to start a consultation.