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Security Deposit FAQs for Florida Landlords & Tenants

Security Deposit FAQs for Florida Landlords and Tenants

At Flaman Law Group, when landlords and tenants in Miami, Hollywood, and other South Florida communities contact us in need of a Florida landlord-tenant dispute attorney, they often have questions. Our Florida landlord-tenant lawyers are always willing to answer these questions in a no obligation consultation, but we've also put together this FAQ to give you a starting point for some of the questions you may have.

Security Deposit FAQs for Florida Landlords Can I Charge a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is money collected from the tenant at the beginning of the lease term. Landlords across Florida are allowed to charge a security deposit to protect them against unpaid rent, damage to the property, and other, specific losses.

How Much can I Charge for a Security Deposit?

In Florida, there are no specific laws that limit security deposits. However, counties and cities do have the right to set limits, so whether you rent in Miami, Hollywood, or other South Florida communities, check local regulations. Most landlords set the security deposit at between one month or rent to one and a half the amount of the monthly rent.

Can I Charge Non-Refundable Fees in Addition to the Security Deposit?

Yes, you can charge non-refundable fees, but only for specific purposes. For example, some landlords set application fees, pet deposits, or carpet cleaning fees. As with security deposits, there are no laws which limit what landlords can charge for these.

If you decide to charge fees in addition to the security deposit, you need to clearly outline these fees in the lease agreement. You also need to keep the fees separate from the security deposit.

What can I Deduct From the Security Deposit?

Landlords can deduct from the security deposit for:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Cleaning fees if the tenant leaves the rental in a excessively dirty state
  • Damages beyond normal wear and tear
  • Any fees specified in the lease agreement
  • Sudden lease termination, in some cases
  • Unpaid utilities

It's important to keep records and provide an itemized statement explaining any deductions made.

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear?

Normal wear and tear refers to the expected damage that can happen due to normal use of a property. It can include faded or scuffed paint, worn carpeting, and similar damage. Landlords in Florida cannot deduct from the security deposit for normal wear and tear.

Where can I Turn for More Help?

If you're facing a dispute, contact Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation with a Florida landlord-tenant dispute attorney. Our offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood serve landlords across South Florida.

Security Deposit FAQs for Florida Tenants Can My Landlord Withhold the Entire Security Deposit?

Landlords can deduct for any legal reason, including damage beyond wear and tear and non-payment of rent. How much they deduct will depend on how much rent is owed or how much repairs will cost. If the cost is as much as the deposit, they can withhold the whole security deposit. If the security deposit doesn't cover damages or unpaid rent, landlords can even ask you to pay more, in addition to keeping the security deposit.

What if My Landlord Fails to Return the Security Deposit in a Timely Way?

Florida law requires landlords to return a security deposit with 15 days after a tenant moves out, in most cases. However, if there are any deductions, the landlord has 30 to inform the tenant of this. If they don't inform the tenant within 30 days, they may lose the right to withhold part of the security deposit.

If you don't get back your security deposit, write to your landlord to let them know. Keep a copy of the email or letter. You may also want to contact a Florida landlord-tenant dispute attorney, who can help protect your rights.

What Should I do if I Disagree With the Deductions Made From My Security Deposit?

Start by communicating your concerns in writing, either by email or a letter. Keep a copy of your communication.

Ask your landlord for an itemized statement detailing the deductions, including supporting documentation, such as requests from contractors who have provided an estimate for repairs. Go through this list to determine whether the requests seem reasonable.

In these cases, it is often a good idea to seek legal help, especially if the landlord is trying to keep the entire security deposit or is asking you for more money in addition to that. You can always contact Flaxman Law Group at 970-999-0530 to speak to schedule a no obligation consultation with a Florida landlord-dispute attorney. We have offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, so we can help no matter where you rent in Southern Florida.

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