Florida is not only known for its beautiful beaches and warm weather, it’s also one of the largest populated states in the whole country. Among the nearly 22 million people that make up the Florida Population, there are millions of individuals who rent the homes that they live in. To help protect both landlords and tenants, Florida has mandated their own set of Landlord and Tenant laws. Among the law is set guidelines and rules pertaining to every aspect of renting residential homes, including laws specified for security deposits.
Is There a Security Deposit Amount Limit?
In accordance with Florida’s landlord and tenant laws, there’s no specific limit as to how much a landlord can require as a security deposit. However, it is not usual nor frequent that a landlord asks for more than that first and last months’ rent up front.
Is My Landlord Required to Notify Me After Receiving My Security Deposit?
The landlord and tenant laws also state that when a landlord receives a security deposit, he or she must confirm via a written notice, to ensure the tenants that the deposit has been received and is being held in the landlord’s possession. The notice of security deposit must be written and sent to the tenants within 30 days after receiving their deposit. The notice must also include the bank institution in which the landlord is holding the funds, and how the funds are being kept, whether they are deposited amongst other monies or if they are being kept separately. Often times landlords will store the security deposit in a non-interest-bearing account, to better accommodate the tenants. Nonetheless, there has been instances where the landlord stores the funds in an account that does in fact accrue interest. If this is the case, then the landlord must disclose that information as well as the subject interest rate.
What If My Landlord Refuses to Give Me Back My Security Deposit?
A landlord cannot just “refuse” a tenant repayment of their security deposit for no reason. Not only is that unjust, it’s unlawful. A landlord may, however, conduct a walk-through of the unit at the end of the duration of the tenant’s renting period. The walk-through is not required under Florida law, but landlords usually do so to ensure that the residence is free of any excessive property damage. For example, a landlord could potentially hold you liable for a red wine stain on the rug or a cracked tile on the kitchen floor. Some other examples of a landlord withholding a security deposit is when the tenants fail to cover rent a certain month, or when the utilities go unpaid. A security deposit is essentially a security blanket for the landlord to ensure that he or she is not lucked out when it comes to renting out their space.
When Will I Receive My Security Deposit Back?
Florida statute provides that a landlord is to refund the full amount of the security deposit, minus any findings of property damage or other incidentals, within 15 days after the tenants move out of the residence. If the funds were being held in an interest accruing bank account, then any interest that has been accrued must be refunded to the tenants in full. Another important thing to note is that if the landlord has decided that a deduction of the security deposit is necessary, he or she must, by law, notify the tenant within 30 days after the tenant’s move out date. The burden lies upon the landlord to follow the law and its proper procedures, thus, if the landlord fails to give notice within 30 days, then their right to make that deduction against the security deposit is forfeited. However, the landlord may then have the option to initiate a lawsuit for damages against the tenant, if he or she so desires.